On July 8th, Mike and Melissa Harrington along with their comrades Abram, Mallory, Andrew and Ryan enjoyed a walk on the wild side. As part of a package deal, the group began their day on a sunrise walk with cheetahs. The cheetahs are residents of Tenikwa Rehabilitation Center in The Crags, South Africa. The center provides a safe place for a variety of wild cats that would otherwise suffer at the hands of reasonably upset farmers (imagine the conflict of wolves and farmers near Yellowstone). Part of the center includes opportunities to walk these powerful and beautiful cats when the sun rises and again when it sets. The concept is interesting and intriguing as guests ponder the necessity of walking one of the world's fastest animals. Regardless, it is an experience that can hardly be beat.
With the sun casting it's brilliance over the golden grasses and through the green trees and bushes each participant finds themselves being introduced to two Cheetahs. The Harrington's and crew are introduced to two brothers, Duma and Zulu, the next hour or so will be spent taking turns holding on to the leads, trying to capture a good shot and petting this large, muscular purring kittens. The experience is exhilarating! Each cat possesses such great strength and beauty and to spend such a significant amount of time in their presence is astounding. They lead you through the brush with occasional sprints and moments when you are forced to drop the lead. Every moment feels like the most significant, most extraordinary of ones' lifetime. As the imagery of the lion and the lamb is brought to the forefront of one's thoughts, they must give thanks for this creature and all of creation.
With hardly a moment to truly process what they had just experienced, the Harrington's and crew were sitting down to a cup of hot tea, muffins and scones, preparing to meet the other cats housed at the center and for their next wildlife adventure at MonkeyLand.