Cango Wildlife Ranch, Oudtshoorn, South Africa
It started off as sibling posturing "you won't swim with crocodiles" "oh I will" "nah bro, you'll just end up pulling out"
Andrew watched this back and forth banter then asked "shall I lock up and we can settle this?"
So into the car we clambered, just a short drive from the Africa Inn, two or three minutes along the road, is the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
We assumed we would get in, see who had it in them to face the challenge and head back to the Africa Inn.
Once inside the little oasis we found so much great conservation work at play, the staff were great and the location was excellent.
One of the staff members passed us and let us know that the baby cheetah cubs were just being fed and if we headed straight to the cheetah area we would have a chance to see these little ones!
Ohhh... myyy.... gosh... cheetah cubs! I practically ran!
They were so tiny, so cute, I melted.
They are part of the wider cheetah conservancy and once strong enough are raised to be wild animals in an extremely large area of conservation. Because of this, unfortunately they cannot be handled unlike one of the other cheetahs which is very much a placid creature and you can buy experience tickets to pet it.
Beaming from a glimpse of these tiny creatures, we continued around the park.
We headed up onto elevated walkways amongst the big cat enclosures. It was great to see that these cats had so much space to prowel around.
The next stop was the large aviary. I'll be honest, I could very easily become a crazy bird person. In particular I adore little parrots so was made up when they tried attacking me for my jewellery!
We made our way through the park right to the far end of it. We crossed over the crocodile enclosure and I couldn't help but shudder at the prospect of these jurassic creatures. There was this terrible moment I had with Nile Crocodiles on a newly dammed reservoir in the Ethiopian Highlands. I leapt out of a boat on the newly impounded reservoir to scale a small island in the water which was only recently a mountain top. As I leapt out of the boat ontop the land I saw a dozen crocodiles scramble into the water, some were small, others far longer than I am tall. I freaked and was dragged back into the boat and we decided to get the hell out of there!
So when Cici asked if I'd like to join her submerged in a crocodile cage I uh, resisted the temptation and instead watched in awe and fear as she was submerged alongside this big guy...
... and sent this video to our mother
We checked the time, hours had passed, Cici used their facilities to shower off, apparently everything was well kitted out and the towels were lovely and fluffy and fresh.
The whole park was an entire surprise, it went above and beyond our expectations and we had a fantastic afternoon. If you find yourself in Oudtshoorn, go dunk yourself in the pool with Jason, or just have a wander around, it's surprisingly wonderful!
After hours in the sun, we felt a little like this guy...
...so headed back to our wilderness home to soak in the last of the rays and watch the sun set.