Guide to Cheetah’s Rock, Zanzibar
The national parks and nature reserves established in the African continent serve an important purpose- to work tirelessly towards conservation efforts. The sad truth is that while we are blessed with the most amazing creatures, we are terribly negligent in looking after these creatures. That’s why the efforts that are underway are so important. To still offer a unique experience in a country filled with amazing nature reserves is nothing short of remarkable. But that’s exactly what Cheetah’s Rock promises and delivers. Run by Jenny Amann, this is an educative and immersive experience, quite unlike anything you might have seen.
What you’ll experience is close encounters with animals in a way you’re never seen before. The educational tour is three and quarter hours in duration.
You’re greeted with the traditional welcome drink- coconut water. A cat, the friendly kind is also at hand to greet you. You will also be briefed on the safety precautions you will have to be mindful of. Cheetah’s Rock also has other animals on its premises. They do put on a show but here’s where the difference comes in- in this space, animals are well-fed, well taken care of and taught through positive lessons, not punishment. Chaka the zebra is fearless with humans as are the bush babies. You’ll learn that one of the simple pleasures in life is to bury your nose in the soft fur of the bush babies and take a deep breath. Till you discover that there’s nothing perfumed about it! But the 4 Ms- Mortina, Maurice, Monchichi and Max- will make you fall in love, effortlessly. As you tear yourself away from them, you can make your way to the ring-tailed lemur and the Vervet monkeys. The striped hyena, Gimmick and Gizmo are kept away from visitors, for the animals’ safety. The white lion, Aslan is a rare being. He is a white lion, one of about 300 that exist in the world. He too is kept safe in his enclosure. The young lioness Savannah is friendly though- you can take pictures with her as well.
The main draw of course was Tyson. He was a friendly fellow, who actually sat and posed for photographs with awestruck tourists. Sadly, Tyson was suffering from lung cancer and died a while back from pneumonia related complications. He was the first cat in the centre and had been with them since 2011. He was the face of the centre and continues to be.
You should make a booking before you go to the sanctuary. The fee is 160 dollars per head. Guests below the age of 15 are not permitted so plan accordingly. There is a dress code and some strict rules to follow for the safety of animals and of visitors.
In 2018, Cheetah’s Rock got two cheetahs from the Conservation Center. Two more girls are also expected to join soon. The cheetah is an endangered species and centres like Cheetah’s Rock are essential for their survival and growth. Go there for an experience you’re not likely to forget in a lifetime.