The Mokolodi Nature Reserve, located just on the edge of Gaborone in Botswana is a smallish nature reserve that boasts a wide variety of game for viewing, rhino and/or giraffe tracking, a couple of local hippos in the lake, quaint chalets and secluded camp sites.
They had two cheetahs a while ago, in a large, fenced-off enclosure but for safety reasons had the cheetahs sent away and the enclosure closed off. Not long ago they reintroduced a couple of cheetahs into the reserve, again in a fenced-off enclosure where visitors can, along with a guide, interact with the cheetahs and come up close and personal with these elegant cats.
A few rules are given to the group by our guide and into the enclosure we go. Thuto the one cheetah avidly greeted us at the gate, walked in between the whole group and just plopped down on the sand, posing to be photographed and stroked.
The cheetahs (Lesedi was in the adjacent enclosure) were brought up in captivity, so they are far from being wild and dangerous. They are however still "wild" animals who can always surprise you. We walked along with Lesedi as she made her way to the small watering hole for a drink. Along the way she paused a couple of times to offer the group "selfie" moments and stroking opportunities.
At the watering hole, the local hyena came by on her side of the enclosure to see what all fuss was about. While our guide explained some very informative facts to us about cheetahs and their habitat, people took photos of the cheetah, took turns with stroking her and eventually followed her back to the shade.
After a few more photos were taken and facts shared, we made our way back toward the main gate as Thuto followed us slowly, staying in the shade along the way. As we gathered around the gate, she lay down in a shadey spot near the gate and bid us farewell with a lazy stare.
Mokolodi has an active education centre where kids from schools all over the Gaborone and nearby areas come to learn AND experience the nature that can be found all over the country. The cheetah interaction is a great addition to this educational path Mokolodi are taking and hanging out with those two cool cats will be an experience any school kid and even an adult won't forget anytime soon (just ask my wife).
Check out the Mokolodi website for more information and contact details.
See gallery below for the rest of the cheetah snaps:
"We are a Botswana-based couple who live for those outdoor, bush-bound moments."