March 20, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 24°F


Tenikwa Cats

During our first week in South Africa, our group went on the Garden Route (think of a scenic drive like Rt 66). I’ll talk more about the trip in a later post but one of my favorite stops was the Tenikwa Wildlife Center This centre was founded to help rehabilitate animals and also serves as a reservation for big cats.

Many cats in Africa are in danger of extinction because of the increase of people in rural areas and farming. Some species, such as Cheetahs, are disappearing because of small gene pools as well as loss of habitat.

The tour started off with some of the smaller African cats such as the African lynx and then moved towards the larger cats like leopards and cheetahs.

The best part about this centre was that learning about the cats was very hands on and we got to go inside of many of the cages. Yup, inside. With African cats. Wow.

I never thought I’d be two feet away from a cheetah, but there I was.


Learn Xhosa!

Xhosa is a click language, so certain letters will denote certain click sounds.

X = this is a click similar to the sound you would make to spur on a horse using the side of your mouth

Ce = This click is made by placing your tongue behind your two front teeth and pulling away. It is the same position as making a tsk-tsk sound.

Gq = this click is similar to imitating the sound of a cork coming out of a bottle. Put your tongue at the roof of your mouth and click away!



Xhosa = X click-o-sa

Gqirha = Gq click-ear-ah this means doctor

Nonceba = non-ce click- ba this means grace


One of the first cats we saw was a caracal or african lynx.


The servals were very curious of us and would come right up, sniff us, and investigate our shoes. I guess curiosity is genetic with cats.


A juvenile cheetah walks over to greet us.



An adult cheetah relaxes in the shade.


Me next to a cheetah. Like every other cat, they purr like crazy when given attention.