So if you read my last post you’ll know all about the joys of Ukutula and how I really did enjoy spending two weeks cuddling baby lions. However, I have decided to highlight my top three moments throughout these two weeks and I mean tear your heart out cute, spectacular, magnificent moments. This was sooo hard to decide but I’ve managed to narrow it down so here you go..
- Visit to the Monkey Sanctuary. There are a number of trips organised by Ukutula which is a great experience for anyone who has limited time in South Africa, for example. Soweto township tour, Sun City or the combined trip to the elephant and monkey sanctuary and the local craft market. The Monkey sanctuary in Hartbeespoort takes in primates who have been abandoned or abused. Often people buy pet monkeys and then come to the realisation that they cannot look after them once they reach sexual maturity, often the case for the monkeys we met in the sanctuary. It was such a great experience as we got to learn about all the different breeds and their individual personalities, they are really funny animal, so cheeky trying to get into your pockets and bags. One particular monkey stole my heart, our guide explained it was likely he had been brought up in a house with a toddler as the monkey sucked his thumb and had probably learned this from example. He was so calm as I walked up to him to take a photograph he reached out his hand for mine, my heart just melted. I could have stood there holding this little guys hand for the rest of the day, it was the sweetest thing.
- Walking with Lions. Ukutula offer an unforgettable experience in which you walk trhough the game reserve alongside lions of up to two years. You are given a briefing and a large stick which you can use to create a personal boundary. Watching these creatures walk about freely you really begin to understand their presence in the animal kingdom. It is something I will never forget, I also got a certificate at the end of my stay, a way to really remember how lucky I was to have this experience.
- Last, but not least, probably the most heart wrenchingly cute moment was the transfer of 5 new baby lion cubs to Ukutula. They were so tiny and sleepy, I just wanted to play with them all day, and some days I did. They were yet to be named but they all quickly developed nicknames in order for us to differentiate between them, this was useful when figuring out who drank what etc. I instantly fell in love with one inidivual lion cub, who also turned out to be the one who heat butted a crate and acquired a little scar above his eye. Or as we liked to call him ‘Fatty Buddha’, he was also the biggest out of the cubs.