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Playing with Tigers, Cheetahs, and Lemurs at Cango Wildlife Ranch, South Africa

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Not your average zoo, Cango Wildlife Ranch in South Africa offers a mixed medley of animal interaction and educational tours. Located in Oudtshoorn (pronounced Oats-horn), South Africa, just an hour drive north off the Garden Route, this experiential animal refuge is one of many reasons to make the trek to the wild-west Klein Karoo (other reasons include exploring the fascinating Cango Caves and riding an ostrich cowboy-style.)

The Ultimate African Animal Adventure

Cango Wildlife’s biggest tourist draw is their animal encounter attractions. For an extra fee, you can pet and play with cheetahs, lemurs, tigers, or even swim with crocs! The costs per “encounter” vary, and they offer discount package rates, if you choose to have two or more encounters (check current pricing here). I chose a package of three: cheetahs, white tiger cubs, and lemurs. It was well worth the extra cash!

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The handlers actually told us that they walk the cheetahs several times a day to get them accustomed to being around people.

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I love how they just stop when she does, wait for her to get her appropriate rest, then move on when she’s ready to go again.

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Excuse me, while I walk my pet cheetah.

[wpvideo K87Yrw5L]

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This old gal died from natural causes. However, she once ingested a coke can (from a tourist) that cut her stomach to shreds. Surgery was performed, and she survived, until much later.

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The “Angelina Jolie” fish that the lady in the above video refers to:

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Sista’s got some lips!!

White Tiger Cubs

The two tiger cubs were absolutely adorable, and they were just young enough to play with at about six-months-old (any older and they are considered dangerous). Another thing I’ll say about the staff at Cango Wildlife, they had the best dispositions and were quite witty. Pay attention to what this fella says at the end of the video about my iPhone…

…”It’s like the same one I stole last week.” I thought it was funny…

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Cheetahs

I had a couple of opportunities to pet and play with cheetahs in South Africa. There are several cheetah conservation centers (near Addo NP, Cape Town, Jo-Berg) and ample opportunity. If you only have time for one, though, I would recommend Cango Wildlife, because it’s sort of a one-stop-shop to interact with many different types of animals.

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My cat sits like this, too- all cross-legged and proper-like.

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Lemurs

The lemurs may have been my favorite, though. They were not-at-all-shy, curious, and somewhat affectionate creatures (or maybe they just wanted the food we were giving them).

Notice the foot pointed out like a ballerina. Hilarious

Notice the foot pointed out like a ballerina. Hilarious

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Check out her feet!

Check out her feet!

What? Got a bug in my hair?

What? Got a bug in my hair?

 

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I love how this little guy is looking lovingly into my eyes. Ha!

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Here, you have to imagine that this little guy has hopped up on that rock to tell me a secret. ADORABLE! I also love that he’s standing on two legs like a little person.

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The lemurs have this funny little sunbathing ritual that they do. It’s like they’re in (yoga) Sukhasana pose.

Combo sukhasana and mountain pose

Combo sukhasana and mountain pose

My cat does this pose. I guess that's why they call it cat pose...

My cat does this pose. I guess that’s why they call it cat pose…

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Don’t forget about the other animals, though! 

There are a wide array of indigenous species that you can get up close and personal to (without having to pay extra).

Adorable little pint-size.

Adorable little pint-size.

Hand for reference. It's like a pygmy deer!

Hand for reference. It’s like a pygmy deer!

Meerkats are some of my favorites, too. You see these guys all over southern Africa. Such characters.

Meerkats are some of my favorites, too. You see these guys all over southern Africa. Such characters.

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This is the second time I've ever seen a porcupine. Very interesting creatures.

This is the second time I’ve ever seen a porcupine. Very interesting creatures.

Look at those quills!

Look at those quills!

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Hyrax- essentially an over-sized rodent. These are all over South Africa as well. This one's got some grub on his face.

Hyrax- essentially an over-sized rodent. These are all over South Africa as well. This one’s got some grub on his face.

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Kind of gross, but I guess that’s just nature?

Birds

One of the things I always come away with on a visit to Africa is a great appreciation for vibrantly colored birds.

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And then there are the not-so-colorful ones.

Quintessential Africa. Doesn't this look like a screen shot from The Lion King?

Quintessential Africa. Doesn’t this look like a screen shot from The Lion King?

Vultures- actually prettier- or maybe just more interesting- than one might expect.

Vultures- actually prettier- or maybe just more interesting- than one might expect.

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What are your thoughts on Cango Wildlife Ranch? Do you want to visit?

Thanks for reading!

♥ Lindsay

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10 Responses to Playing with Tigers, Cheetahs, and Lemurs at Cango Wildlife Ranch, South Africa

  1. Expat Eye May 21, 2013 at 12:55 PM #

    Amazing! The tigers and lemurs are so cute! You lucky thing!

    • The Traveluster May 22, 2013 at 9:11 AM #

      They really were so adorable and so tame. I couldn’t get over how tame the adult cheetahs were. They are the only wild cat that can be handled as an adult (by tourists). Apparently they are more docile and can be more easily trained when raised in captivity.

      • Expat Eye May 22, 2013 at 11:59 AM #

        Definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity!

  2. l-jeezy May 21, 2013 at 4:39 PM #

    I completely AGREE! I would just about anything to squeeze that tiger tight. 🙂

  3. Michelle JR May 22, 2013 at 8:50 AM #

    This looks absolutely fantastic… I want to go NOW!

    • The Traveluster May 22, 2013 at 9:10 AM #

      You SHOULD! Or at least put it on your “one day” list :). Mine is very long!

  4. Mel Alexander (@xxxander) May 28, 2013 at 12:25 PM #

    I think I’m a little in love with that cross-legged cheetah ;o). Thanks for sharing this detailed account of your experience with these awesome creatures! This type of personal interaction with wildlife would be a first for me…and the thought is super exciting! Is Oudtshoorn doable as a day trip from Cape Town or would you recommend 2 days to take in the sites in this region? Thanks!

    • The Traveluster May 28, 2013 at 1:54 PM #

      @Mel – I think Oudtshoorn could be a day trip, but not from Cape Town, from somewhere like George or Mossel Bay. Cape Town is very far away from Outdshoorn. It would take all day to drive there and back. If you are in Mossel Bay or George, you could do a day trip, but you wouldn’t be able to cover everything. You could do the Cango Caves and Cango Wildlife or Cango Wildlife and an ostrich farm show. I would suggest staying overnight to not be rushed and to enjoy the climate and the nature!

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