Daniell Cheetah Breeding Farm

On our last drive back from Johannesburg, we went via a different route and per chance saw the Daniell Cheetah Breeding Farm (a non profit organisation), which is approximately 90 kilometres from home – can’t believe we haven’t heard about it before.  We promised ourselves we would definitely pay them a visit just as soon as we could.

As luck would have it, we were able to go just the other day.

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What a fabulous experience.  Now, I am not one for animals in cages but do believe there is a place for it and Daniell Cheetah Farm is just one of those places.  The aim of the Daniell Cheetah “Project” as they call it, is to play a part in the conservation of the Cheetah, the re-establishment of pure gene lines, as well as educating people on the importance of conserving the cheetah.  Besides knowing the cheetah is the fastest land animal, we learnt that the cheetah is quite vulnerable out in the wild – who knew!  They are the only big cat who purrs and interestingly they can’t retract their claws entirely and their whiskers curl forward allowing them to touch their preys face enabling them to sense when their prey is dead.

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As you all know, I am somewhat fanatical about cats and jumped at the opportunity to interact with the wild cousins of our fur babies and was allowed into an enclosure with two serval sisters.  The one was very playful and relaxed while the other sister was a little on edge to have two strangers in her space.  The serval has a fairly short tail which allows it to jump 3 meters in hight – a longer tail would inhibit it’s jumping and servals have the longest legs of any cat, relative to their body size.

Daniel Cheetah farm 22I just love the distinctive long black ears on a caracal which have tufts exceeding half the length of the ear.  The one we saw had a cold, poor dear and was doing quite a lot of sneezing.

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Being able to stand next the second biggest cat in the wild, the lion and hear it “grunt” is incredible!  They make the most amazing sound which seems to come from the pit of the stomachs.  I think they call it woofing – a very deep sound which seems to make their bellies contract while they almost purse their mouths and point their noses slightly up in the air.  Their coats felt as wirey as I had imagined and the two 9 month old brothers had just started growing their manes and believe they will nearly triple in size by the time they are fully grown.

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The leopards were not interested in acknowledging our presence and were quite happy snoozing on top of their wooden pillars.

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Trying to get a photograph of a meerkat is quite a challenge.  They are such busy, almost hyper active little things who don’t stop for a second!  These family orientated foraging guys can look directly into the sunlight and can close their ears keeping sand out while they burrow. I never realised just how small they are either; they weigh no more than 730 grams.

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There are also black footed cats at the farm but alas I was unable to get a photo to share with you.  They are nocturnal felines and I guess would be no bigger than your average domestic cat and would say they resemble a tabby cat with spotted fur with stripes on the legs.

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64 thoughts on “Daniell Cheetah Breeding Farm

  1. yes! this is so cool! when I was a kid, the cheetah was my favorite animal of all, well, because it was the fastest, what else?. I wanted to be a veterinary. Today, I don’t even have pets hahhaha 🙂 But growing up, I even had a deer, countless bunnies, 2 dogs, frogs, toads, fish and I use to feed a spider throwing tiny grasshoppers on the spiderweb… I was 6 please don’t judge 🙂

    • Paul, you would have loved this place! I am thinking of asking my husband to take me again – it was so cool! How sad you don’t have pets today – maybe you can adopt a puppy or kitty from a shelter. What an amazing childhood you must have had with all those animals. I always joke and say to Pete that our family would be complete if we could get a giraffe and a squirrel – no, no, 2 of each. 😀 Now about the spider, see, I am petrified of them – a true arachnophobic I am! Have a super day. 🙂

      • I’m sure I would have loved that place! Growing up in a little town in Venezuela… tons of animals! tons! Iguanas, Snakes, Spiders! the whole deal.. it was crazy.. I am not a fan of spiders anymore… for some reason, i also developed a phobia and although I love to photograph them.. I can’t imagine touching one… its not gonna happen! Living in LA now… I live in a condo… I will get pets when I get a house and have a yard, until then… pet-less! 🙂 here’s a link to the photos I took when I went to visit SA:

        http://www.pbase.com/paul_palop/southafrica

        • The thought of even being close to a spider makes me weak at the knees! You will have to live vicariously through your magnificent images of animals until you can get one when you have a garden. Your photos from your South African trip are incredible! I can only hope to take such beautiful photographs – I shall have to practice a lot more regularly. Thank you so much for sharing the link. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Emma! I am honoured you want to show your husband. Meerkats are absolutely adorable little things – would have a few at home it I could, although I am sure my cats would disagree. Have a super day and thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  2. That you were allowed to interact with the cheetahs must have been quite an experience. Hope the caracal recovered from its cold and is doing well, interesting to learn that it sneezes just like us human. Beautiful photos.

    • Tanya, it was AWESOME x 1 000 000! It was amazing that the cheetahs purr was so gentle, almost muted in comparison to my 3 furries. We will have to go there when you come and visit. Have a beautiful day. 🙂 xo

  3. Oh please take me there! I love all the cats & I can’t believe you actually got to touch some of them. How did you ever drag yourself away from there?
    My daughter & I were talking about the serval because breeders here are selling Savannah cats. Don’t know if you’ve heard of them – they’re a cross between a domestic cat & a serval so VERY large for a house kitty. I was showing pictures to my husband & his comment was “I’m not sure that I could fall asleep with one in the house”.

    • Diane, I would love to take you there – maybe after your kitchen renovation. 😀
      Oh my that does sound like a BIG house kitty – wonder what my 3 would think of one of those. I wonder how they know how “domesticated” they will be.
      Don’t think my hubby would be too comfy sleeping with one in the house either.
      Have a happy day. 🙂 xo

  4. I’m so envious! What a wonderful experience. I had no idea meer cats weigh so little. Not even a kilo? That is very small indeed. We have them at Taronga Zoo. They are so cute and gorgeous to watch. They’re always digging and they work as a family with someone always on guard. Even though they’ve never, ever been attacked (being in a safe enclosure at the Zoo), they always have one or two on guard looking for trouble. One day an eagle flew away from the bird enclosure and landed in the meer cats enclosure. The meer cats were in a spin! This was the moment they had all been waiting for and quite out of practise, they had no idea what to do. It was hilarious. I would love to take my family to SA to do a safari. You live in such unique part of the world with all those precious animals xx

    • Shame, poor little meerkats – it must be quite a thing to live in captivity and have instincts then not quite know how to action them when threatened. Charlie, there are so many wonderful places for you to visit to go on safaris here and I am sure it would work out quite cheap for you guys to come here. Have a super weekend. 🙂 xo

  5. How exciting! All kinds of cats, domestic and wild, are beautiful and impressive, so full of personality. I hope the rescue efforts are wonderfully successful–it would be a terrible thing to lose any of these marvels. Thanks, once again, for taking us on a fantastic outing with you!
    Have a gorgeous weekend, my sweet!
    xo

  6. Your inner self must have leapt for joy, Mandy, when it learnt of this place, being you’re such a cat lover. Good to learn there’s a place looking after preserving cheetahs. Their genes really are a mess and human intervention is the only way to assure their future. I’m sure you’ll be going back there, the only question is when. 🙂

  7. What a wonderfull journey my friend, lucky me to found your great review,
    my cousin have been there once he visit South Africa, i guess this would worthed to visit later on(once i had sufficient fund….hehehe)

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