To Africa and Back
As my departure date grows closer, I can’t help but look to the future for other possible travel itineraries through Africa, and I’ve already determined what my next trip will be. I guess it’s getting ahead of myself, but I can’t help but be inspired by the possibilities.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned my
unhealthy irrational love of cheetahs in past posts, but probably not why. I’ll start by saying I’ve always thought they were one of my favorite animals. It wasn’t until watching PBS Nature’s The Cheetah Orphans that I really became passionate about cheetahs and their conservation, though. I’ve probably watched the show a hundred times (I suggest you watch it, too, if you’re at all interested in cheetahs) and suffered through the emotional torment willingly. (You will cry both happy and sad tears.) And since then, all I can think of is how much I want to go somewhere and help them.
Of course, this blog is all about realizing that dream as I plan to volunteer at a cheetah rehabilitation for a week in South Africa. And I couldn’t be more excited. But the more I think about what I’m about to be so lucky to experience, I can’t help but remember what inspired this in the first place: the cheetah orphans.
So after some research, I discovered the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya where Toki spent the majority of his cheetah adulthood. I found an update that said he hadn’t been seen in a while, and that a male leopard had been spotted on the conservation. (Leopards are larger and will kill cheetahs as a mark of their territory – so, not good.) Although his whereabouts are unknown (they took off his radio collar about five years ago to let him lead a normal life,) Simon King came across a small female 8 week old cheetah orphan that they have named Sheba.
The orphan was transferred to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. I may never get to see the cheetahs that inspired me, but maybe I can see the orphan that crossed Toki’s path. And support the conservancy that supports her.
Talk about full circle.
I guess for me this is more than just my current travels influencing my future plans, but I think in any case, the more you travel, the more you plan to travel more. It’s infectious and rewarding, no matter what the inspiration, and once you’ve begun, it’s difficult to stop.
And I really don’t ever want to stop.