Our first stop was the Cango Wildlife Ranch, a stunning conservation and attraction destination, located just outside of Oudtshoorn.
The adventure begins at The Valley of the Ancients, we walked through a dark entrance, the sound of drums reverberating around us. Our first sight was the tank filled with Malawian cichlids in the Zimbakwe Temple Ruins. Over head we spotted hornbills and the cutest flying foxes, otherwise known as bats, that I have ever seen.
We then met Dolce and Gabbana, a Red River Hog and an African Bush Pig. Dolce is the only breeding male in South Africa, and after Gabbana was rehabilitated following a dog attack, they were introduced and a happy friendship was born!
As we ventured into Vulture Cliffs the first thing that struck me was the size of the vultures! They are huge and beautiful, in a creepy “I’ll totally peck you to death” kind of way. The bright red bloody carcass did nothing to lessen their creepiness. As you can see they have a massive wingspan which allows them to fly long distances in search of food.
Lemur Island was full of… you guessed it, Lemurs! It took a lot of self control not to break into “I like to move it, move it” right then and there with all the Madagascan Ring-tailed Lemurs jumping around. On the left, sharing Lemur island was a pat of flamingos, so pretty they looked like they were fake.
This sweet little thing is a Pygmy Hippopotamus, apparently what they lack in size they make up for in attitude, kind of like my 4 year old son.
Since it’s winter the Nile Crocodiles are basically comatose. They are aestivating, which is kind of like hibernating, where they are inactive for long periods of time and they slow down all of their bodily processes. These terrifying creatures can live between 70 to 100 years and weigh anything between 225 and 550 kilograms!
Below is the very interesting story of a crocodile named No. 13:
We then walked over to Cheetahland, which has a long treetop catwalk that looks over various furry creatures, big and small. We saw white lions, African leopards, cheetahs, a serval, massive white Bengal tigers and more!
Can you spot the Leopard below? Their well camouflaged fur makes them wildly successful hunters, as well as their broad diet, and amazing strength which they use to move heavy carcasses up into trees. Though they aren’t fast like the cheetah they can run up to 58 kilometres per hour.
These cuties are bat-eared foxes, aren’t they absolutely adorable?
Next up… ENCOUNTERS! We had Cheetah, Junior Cheetahs and Lemur encounters lined up. I was in heaven getting up close and personal with all these insanely awesome animals. All the proceeds from these encounters go to the vital funding of conservation and captive breeding programs, if you would like to be more involved please consider joining the Cheetah Preservation Foundation.
Isn’t she just the picture of perfection?
This organisation has worked at the conservation of cheetah and other endangered species for over 28 years and are one of the 5 biggest cheetah centres in the world. They’ve had the highest survival rate of cubs produced globally for years and also produced more cheetah cubs than that of the entire USA, having a vital impact on the conservation gene pool of this species. If you would like to know more about the amazing work they do, click here.
Being able to touch these incredible creatures was a privilege that I will never forget.
The Lemur experience is a fun one for the kids, with these little primates climbing all over you and sitting on your head!
Besides the ring-tailed lemurs you interact with there are brown lemurs that one of the guides entertains on the side, apparently they are much too mischievous for encounters! These 3 are named (from left to right) Daisy, Clyde and Stitch. Personally I think they’re even cuter than their more famous stripy cousins.
This little blue Duiker kept popping up all over the place, took me a few tries to get a photo, he’s quicker than he looks!
There are so many more creatures and areas to experience at the Cango Wildlife Ranch, unfortunately we ran out of time so this is all I have to show you. We will definitely go again though so come back soon and check for an update!
Previous stop: Sleeping at AfriCamps!
Next stop: Smitswinkel for Lunch!
Thank you to the Cango Wildlife Ranch for having us. Opinions expressed are my own, as always.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and we’ll get back to you.