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posted on 5/8/2007 Day 5: Savannah Cheetah Foundation in South Africa! Bats in the Belfry!!  No, that would be a bat in Joe’s hut.  He sure can run barefoot on that dash to the main lodge because “something” was getting him. Nona nana nana nana, BATMAN!  That was after finding the croquet mallet against his door and another one snuggled in his bed.  Someone had propped a window open (for later mischievous  purposes, I’m sure) and part of Africa entered.  Gail had Leaping Lizards in her room.  We were told the walkways to the tents were elevated to help keep the animals out of the tents.  Well, tonight Rebecca heard some noises when she was walking down the path. She spotted a snake, which slithered under the walk. It had apparently been stalking a bird that took off flying. Got her adrenaline flowing.   We had an ostrich crew leader supervising our rock work this morning.  Sam tried to give him a pick, but he was just closely supervising.  Later a giraffe came to monitor our progress. It sauntered up to the edge of the road and just stood and watched.  We finished our rocks and started spreading sand today.  This part is a lot easier.  The post holes are nearly done.  Digging technique consists of getting down in the hole with a coffee can.  That’s after penetrating 2 feet of rock with the gwala and scooping that part out with hands.  We never thought we’d miss a manual posthole digger.  Visible progress is a good feeling.   Later after lunch, Bill learned butchery skills when he helped prepare the cheetah food.   Some of us walked down to the remnants of a local African village.  The group before us had plans to rebuild this village, but only managed to erect four mud walls.  Personally, we think mud pie making would be a lot more fun than rock picking.  Look, another future project!  We collected branches for our bon fire tonight. We are very excited because it will be in a big African pit near one of the huts.  One of the African crew noticed Pam’s tee-shirt with American Red Cross and its logo on it.  He laughed, and pointed, “Look, the tee-shirt has a mistake on it.  It’s supposed to say American Red Neck!!”  Obviously we are establishing a camaraderie, because we all got a big laugh. The vets got brain strain sitting in front of the computer most of the day compiling the proposals and protocols for the Savannah Cheetah Foundation. .  Anyone want to know how to treat a cheetah?!  Actually, they worked on standardizing health protocols, release techniques, monitoring parameters, as well as researching other organizations’ work in this field.   Only two more days here. On Friday, another bus ride to Johannesburg! Part of the group will be flying to Kapama Lodge that is part of or near Kruger National Park which is the big world-renowned natural reserve in South Africa. This park is 20,000 square kilometres. That is about the size of Israel. The accommodations appear very luxurious on their web site. “ The Big Five” is what most tourists will strive to see. Actually, it was the hunters coming on safari to get those animal trophies, but now most people are photo shooting.  They are five animals – lion, cape buffalo, rhino, elephant, and leopard.   Dinner was delicious as always.  They drink a lot of juices and water here instead of sodas.  There is always a juice de jour.  Often it is a mysterious juice but very delicious. We think tonight’s was apricot. There also seems to be a different type of bread for every meal.  The morning toast is fried and very yummy. Probably not very healthy, but everyone has been having extras of that toast. Perfect Shot strikes again because she captured a photo of a meerkat! They move burrows periodically, and this one has moved in not too far from the tents. Sam plans on staking out that burrow in the morning. Our other morning treat will be watching the cheetahs’ run. That is planned for 7 am. We are very excited, but now it is time to go light up that bonfire.  
posted on 5/7/2007 Day 4: Savannah Cheetah Foundation in South Africa! Goeie moré .  That is “Good Morning” and pronounced with a gargle –ghoo yah more rah. Ice on the walkway!!  Most people may not realize that summer in the US means winter here in Africa, but we are really feeling the chill. The elevation here is 6000 feet, quite a difference from Oklahoma. Folks are beginning to lock up the tents in creative ways. One tent tied the luggage stand to the zipper so if you tried to get in you would hit the luggage rack.  Not just for security which is very well here compared to the rest of South Africa, but because some Oklahoma prankster has been on the rampage. Half the group was snuggled up in toasty beds, but the other half had been “informed” that breakfast was again at 6 am.  Hah, Hah. Our fearless leader had scrounged up a space heater for his tent in anticipation of the cold front—serves him right that some unknown person made off with it! An Oklahoma City fireman is directing the pranks so those poor kids don’t have a chance.  Remember, age and treachery will outdo youth and skill every time.  Joe, the cellophane wrap on the toilet seat was not put there by the maids for sanitation purposes!   We left off the South African Factoid yesterday, so today we will add a few extra gems of knowledge. The eucalyptus trees have over 120 species here. It is planted because it grows so fast and is used as a windbreak as well as for shade. It is considered a nuisance tree because it sucks up so much water—nearly 500 gallons a day!  There are 9 provinces (or states) in South Africa and 11 official languages.  The major African tribes each have their own languages.  However five of the major ones are more dialect and understand each other well. Bantu, Zulu, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana are just some of the ones I can remember being told about. Afrikaans is a combination language consisting of 80% Dutch, 10% French, and 10% German, but everyone speaks English.   Our work assignments were given out right after breakfast.  When Pieter asked how many women would rather paint than pick rock, “Rhino Bait” Kurt raised his hand too!!  Nice try, Rhino Bait. This ground is growing rocks, all of which need to be removed from the 100 yard long cheetah run site before topsoil can be delivered.  Our heavy equipment consisted of two bent up rakes, two heavy metal picks (with dull ends), and a kafut, which is a heavy iron bar with a flat side and a point on the other end for breaking up rocks. We used a “shovel wannabe” which was very small and dinged up to scoop up the loose rocks.  Hands actually worked better. Our last piece of heavy machinery was the gwala, which is a heavy metal bar with a flat piece of iron welded to the end. This is used to dig the holes. (used like a one sided post hole digger!) Then, of course, all of our American muscle completed the array of equipment. The African crew of five guys helped as well. Abraham was the crew leader.  Meshak and Bontu didn’t say much but were hard workers. Jimmy seemed to be the one everyone was picking on. Isaac supervised the girls painting in the morning.  Someone (Sam) taught them about rednecks.  Now they call us “The Redneck Team!”  The Africans were cold with stocking caps and jackets and the Okies were hot! All of us together racked up an impressive pile of very heavy rock.  The rock got much heavier during the day!  We also accumulated plenty of blisters and tired muscles. Home Depot sounds really good about now. How about John Deere?!, Back hoe?!, Box Blade?!  However, we can look down at the mostly rock free ground and feel good. We have a very personal relationship with each one of those rocks. Check out the photos.  Gary stripped to his pants and plunged into the cold pool on the way back.   The three veterinarians started their morning going into Parys to meet with the South African veterinarians, a husband-wife team of Drs. Johan and Brigitta Wessels. A tour of their very nice facility (Parys Dierehospitaal) was provided, complete with a stock of Hill’s Science Diet, Eukanuba, and Royal Canin!  Parys was considered a retirement town, but is booming and growing now. It is located near the largest meteor impact site in the world, which has been declared a National Heritage site.  The biodiversity and climate here is also unique compared to the rest of Africa.  This region is near where the oldest human remains were discovered.  The veterinarians laid out the some of the work necessary to finish polishing the cheetah foundation proposal.  Health protocols, vaccination requirements, cheetah and human safety, stress factors, tracking and monitoring techniques, land impacts, food sources, local and national resources were just a few of the many topics that were discussed.  The Species Survival Plan was discussed and will be researched.  Overall, the vision is to train and release captive bred cheetahs in order to create a wild population of free roaming cheetahs from their offspring. There are currently no wild cheetah populations in the Free State or in many other provinces. This worthwhile project is unique, and hopefully, should contribute greatly to the survival of this species and the existing limited gene pool.  Our vets returned to a cold lunch, before going out to assist our team’s flagging energies.  Everyone helped with a big burst of rock moving and raking up all the little rocks to help protect the cheetahs’ paw pads. A very impressive amount of rock was moved! See the big rock pile in photos. Tomorrow we finish the last small section of rocks and then begin with the top covering of sand and soil.   Estelle, come on, you did get your frying pan back! It is too late to lock up your kitchen to deter the pranksters, afraid they have already raided that area for tonight!!
posted on 5/6/2007 Day 3: Savannah Cheetah Foundation in South Africa! Another Brrrr! morning at the Savannah. This morning breakfast began at an EARLY 6 am.  Then off for the day at 7 am for our three-hour bus ride. It was another fast warming day and the layers of clothing start getting peeled off.  It is amazing how cold it is at night, and then so hot during the day. A cold front is expected tomorrow.   We set off for our adventure to the Lionsrock Park in Bethlehem, South Africa. This is a conservation project funded by foreign investors that is for the rescue of non-breeding lions only. The facility used to be a hunting lodge, and is quite plush. The backdrop was two huge rock formations with vast grassland below. We started our visit at the lodge where we met with some of the staff. This organization just took over the facility in November 2006, is hoping the construction will be completed this summer, and plan for their grand opening this November.  We met with three veterinarians from Germany, Dr. Tom Schafhauser, Dr. Sabine Lentz, and  Dr. Andrea Grochowski. Dr. Grochowski is the facility veterinarian.  Our three veterinarians from Oklahoma, Dr. Patti Maness, Dr. Kimberly Weiss, and Dr. J.T. Walker, met with those vets and the farm manager, Annelie de Klerk.  Sam Stucky and Bill Meadows added their expertise from the planning and construction of Tiger Safari in Tuttle, OK.  Pieter Kemp of The Savannah Cheetah Foundation had tons of practical daily information and protocols that he uses at his facility.  It was a fantastic brainstorming session, and lots of good ideas were thrown on the table by all involved.  This Lionsrock Park currently houses 25 lions, all of which have already been altered.  Their plans are to be the largest facility of this type in the world.  Some of the pens will be the size of 6 football fields when the project is completed.  The pens are oval to prevent fence-pacing behaviour and to facilitate exercise.  There are plans to include facilities for public visitation, and possibly catwalks extending over the lions’ pens for safe viewing in the lions’ natural habitat.  All of which will probably be handicap accessible.  These folks have a superb vision, and we wish them the best of luck in implementing their grand plans.   Everybody met for another delicious African meal, and then off for our safari tour of their 1250 acres. Check out the pictures of the lions and wildlife we spotted. Sam thought he saw meerkats and we backed up for better pictures, only to discover later they were actually ground squirrels. Sorry Sam, they did sort of look like meerkats at a distance. Sam was really bummed. Meerkats are still on the list to spot. Kimberly “Perfect Shot” Weiss got left by her safari vehicle because she was still waiting for that perfect shot. We did wave as we drove off. Luckily, she was picked up by the other truck. Okay, the pictures were worth it. The second driver convinced “Perfect Shot” that a pile of mud was a hippo in the pond.  She tried oh so hard to get that perfect shot of the mud hippo.  We all had a big laugh back at the lodge.  Six hours on that bus in one day created lots of opportunities for mischief and song making.  You should not fall asleep around this group!  These past few days have been the weekend here. Most of our activities have revolved around getting orientated and sharing information.  The morning will start our “real” work.  Everyone is anxious to begin construction!  Come back tomorrow to hear about our blisters.
posted on 5/5/2007 Day 2: Savannah Cheetah Foundation in South Africa! After our posting last night, a few of our intrepid explorers returned from their night walk, i.e. ground safari.  Kurt “Rhino Bait” discovered that the sign that said “Rhino Crossing” really means that!! The group was walking and shining their flashlights looking for eye reflections.  They found some eyes and kept their lights trained there trying to figure just what the critter was. The critter began stomping the ground and snorting. Guess what….. it was a rhino!!  Our fearless explorers, “Rhino Bait”, Kim, and Jeremy, scattered.  Actually Kim was walking briskly backwards trying to get a good photo shot!!  Kurt was dragging her by the arm and saying “HURRY!” They could hear the rhino walking through the brush. After reaching “safety” and no more rhino walking noises, Kurt “Rhino Bait” walked off the road and fell in a hole. His fellow explorers wanted to help but couldn’t stop laughing.   Another interesting night of animal noises.  Brrr, Brrr, Brr in the morning!! Thank goodness for the electric blankets, but you eventually have to get out of bed. We started out morning very early with a 5 am wake up call and breakfast at 6 am.  Everyone was prepared for a long road trip (2 hours), then our visit to the Elephant Sanctuary. Another loaded van, and off we went.  The drive through South Africa is very interesting.  Contrasts of housing and life styles were evident. Dix, our driver, gave us stories about the history as well as giving impromptu language lessons.  A McDonalds was spied!  The huge hills created by tailings from the gold mines ring the town of Johannesburg and its suburbs. They are yellow, very alkaline, and not much will grow on them. There are 88 gold mines in this region and the deepest is 4 km.  Only 32 mines are currently operating but the others may open again when the price of gold or technology to extract the gold improves. There are also huge coal factories, and all of this industry creates a brown haze hovering in the sky over Johannesburg. We didn’t expect to encounter this degree of pollution. It appeared worse than Los Angeles. The Elephant Sanctuary is near the Hartbeespoort Dam.  The lake and its feeding river, the Crocodile River, were very picturesque. The entrance to the Elephant Sanctuary was hidden but marked with a large elephant head with a wooden entryway. A meandering walk through the brushveld was shady and demonstrated just how dense the vegetation and short brushy trees could become.  Dix told us hunting in the brushveld wasn’t much fun, but great camouflage for the animals. We arrived at the reception area and met our guide, Andrew.  He was a riot.  His anecdotes, the accent and manner of speaking were colourful and entertaining. We could really envision an elephant making one of us a pancake with a little sushi on top!  The program consisting of another short walk through the brushveld, and three of the elephants (actually the handlers talked, and the elephants demo’d) gave us a class in elephantology. Most were natural behaviours from the wild that are just encouraged by the handlers’ to make the elephants easier to handle, treat, and keep healthy. The animals here are rescues that have been “naughty” in other areas by leaving their enclosures, uprooting local farmers’ trees, or even being removed from other animal parks due to mistreatment.  The wildlife in South Africa is very regulated in the parks.  There are protocols by species for feeding, care, and land/animal ratios.  The finale was an elephant kiss with lots of snot and dirt from Timba, the little two year old.  It feels like a wet Hoover vacuum on the cheek.  Most of the guys chickened out, but the girls all got branded.   The lunch consisted of African fare.  The butternut squash soup had a pumpkin flavor and some of us really liked it. A traditional African meat dish, Doma, was ground meat in seasoned sauce with a cornmeal type of topping. There were also chicken and beef dishes as well as salads and dessert. The second part of the program was an optional elephant ride (for an additional fee) and most of the group elected to participate.  Hey guys, no saddles and no saddle horn—just one very thin towel, and the waist of the little handlers.  Some of these guys may have cracked ribs!  The mount wasn’t bad, but the “get up” leans first one way and then waaaay the other way---hold on tight. The ride was cool but for such a wide platform (their back) they sure had bony backbones and prickly stiff hair. Check out Patti’s attached video—her elephant is still “naughty”!  Actually, the handler said the elephant was just being a teenager!  Kumba, the elephant, wouldn’t stay in formation – she kept stopping, backing up, and shook her head which nearly dislodged Patti.  That poor handler’s eyeballs must have been squeezed out!  The advice from her dear fellows, “Hey, could you fall toward the camera!”  Kumba then left formation to go check out a tree, but Patti was still on!  No Patti sushi on video today!  Group photos and feeding the elephants for their reward finished off this fantastic adventure. Thanks again to Andrew—his humor was a highlight! Last stop was a Coca Cola run for those of us on the trip having withdrawals, then most of us slept on the way back.  Hint, don’t sleep with your mouth open around this helpful group!  Kim has great pictures of “Baboon” Bill asleep, mouth agape, and an approaching banana. Stay tuned for tomorrow antics……
posted on 5/4/2007 Day 1: Savannah Cheetah Foundation in South Africa After enduring an 18 hour flight from Oklahoma to South Africa, Savannah Cheetah Foundation’s Pieter Kemp greeted 17 jet lagged personnel from Tiger Safari.  We loaded into vans for the hour and half drive to the Foundation grounds.  Upon arrival at the camp, we were warmly greeted by Pieter’s wife, Estelle.  We got our tent assignments and dragged our luggage and camera equipment for this last leg of the never-ending trip.  We then returned to the lodge for dinner.  After an incredible dinner everyone was ready for some rest.  It was delicious and a perfect ending to the day.  Everyone was too excited to go to bed now.  We ran around comparing accommodations and unpacked.  Many of us were astonished by the unexpected luxury of our tents.   Once the sun came up we were amazed at the beauty of the place.  Giraffes were grazing 100 yards from our tents.  Imagine our surprise when we looked out to see the flora and fauna and finally realize that we’re in Africa.  Over breakfast we got to compare who heard what noise and to what animal we thought it belonged.  After a wonderful breakfast prepared by Annie, Peter and Estelle met with Tiger Safari Park Director Bill Meadows to plan our itinerary for the stay.   Trips on the weekend include tours of other facilities under construction, Krueger National Park, and Elephant Park. Work projects to be completed during this week will be constructing the cheetah run.   After Dr. Bhagavan Antle’s recent visit to the Foundation where he demonstrated the lure system and showed how beneficial it was to Cheetahs’ health and attitude, the Foundation has been striving to add one to their facility.  Tiger Safari’s volunteers are here to implement that project.  One of our activities today was to visit the site of the proposed cheetah run. The rocky grounds really make us look forward to digging holes. We also had a photo opportunity and got to pet some of the tamest cheeetahs, which will get to use the run.   An open safari bus tour of the grounds showed us an amazing variety of wildlife.  Gemsbok, Springbok, Wildebeest, Zebras, Sable Antelope, Kudo, Eland, and Red Hartebeast were among the herd animals we spotted.  During orientation, Pieter said we shouldn’t see any poisonous snakes, even though some exist in the area.  He stopped and backed up the bus because we had passed a snake.  We immediately had to roll up our windows because the snake turned out to be a Black Ringholtz Cobra which is a spitting cobra, and we were downwind!  The cobra posed nicely for us and was quite a thrill.  There were shades of Jeff Corwin when Pieter got out of the bus to get the cobra to flair out so we could see the two white marks on its neck that give this cobra its name.  Even better thrill when he lost it in the grass.  The highlight of the tour was when two Southern White Rhinoceroses crossed the road directly in front of us.  The frantic shuttering of cameras clicking as well as Kurt’s shivering in the front seat didn’t seem to bother the rhinos a bit.    Later that afternoon we returned to the cheetah breeding facility for feeding time.  Estelle and Pieter demonstrated their regime with their balanced diet, as well as handling techniques.  We were thoroughly awed by their expertise, and by how much these cheetahs will allow Pieter and Estelle to do with them.  Children, don’t try this at home.  We got a lot more amazing photos.  A number of these photos are posted on our website, www.tigersafari.us, under our photo gallery Africa.   Look for our postings and updated pictures daily!
posted on 5/3/2007 Finally arived in Africa! The trip was long but the Savannah Cheetah Foundation accommodations are beautiful. After arriving we immediately had supper and are looking forward to working with the cheetahs in the morning. Check the photo gallery to view our pictures from Africa. Remember to click on the Africa folder on the left.
posted on 4/29/2007 Park will be closed while we are in Africa! Tiger Safari Park will be closed May 2nd though May 14th while we are in South Africa. There will be just a small crew here to take care of the animals but not enough for the Park to be open. Sorry for the inconvenience, and we hope to see all of you soon.
posted on 4/29/2007 cheeta1.jpg Tiger Safari Africain Adventure Finally Here! Tiger Safari staff and park Vets will finally be traveling to South Africa Wednesday, May 2nd. Staff will be working with Cheetahs among the other animals at the Savannah Cheetah Foundation south of Johannesburg. Updates will be made daily of our activities so keep an eye on the changes in the photo gallery.
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Tiger Safari Hours & Prices!

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                                    Operating Hours  

        Tuesday  - Sunday 9am to 5:30 pm


        Your VIP Tour awaits request upon arrival - Space limited.

Special Pricing for School field trips, Churches, Day-Cares, and Nursing Homes! For pricing and booking call:
405-414-9365

Now Booking for School Field Trips

  • General Admission
  • $15 general admission 
  • Children under 2  FREE 
  • Military Discount $2 off general admission& $5 off VIP!
  • VIP ($35.00) Includes  interaction with animals 
  • Birthday Parties indoor and out Makes for a great Day
  • Overnight Stays
  • African Safari Hut
  • Jungle Safari Tree House
  • Primitive Camping
  • Safari Slumber Parties up to Thirty Guests VIP Tours and Much Much More!
  • School Field Trip Group Rates
  • $8.00 - Groups of 20 or more - kids
  • $10.00 - Groups less than 20 - kids
  • $10.00 - For Adults

Park Director: Bill Meadows
963 County St. 2930
Tuttle, Oklahoma 73089

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