Whilst in the planning stages of my trip to Zanzibar another fellow travel blogger brought my attention to Cheetah’s Rock, she told me I had to go here and experience it for myself. I almost immediately googled the site and pre booked my place! Booking is essential, as the groups can only go up to 37 people per tour, there are only 3 afternoon visits a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday starting at 2 pm promptly till around 7 pm. This is in order to let the animals rest and be ready to meet you. The price of the tour is $140 including your transfer to and from your hotel, to be paid in cash on the day of your trip. Visitors under 15 years of age are unfortunately not allowed to take the tour due to legal reasons. Once you have decided you wish to visit Cheetah’s Rock simply fill in a form on their site online and await confirmation. You certainly won’t regret it!!
Cheetah’s Rock is located near Kama Village on the West Coast of Zanzibar, which is North of Stone Town and South of Nungwi, where I was staying. The journey took around 45 mins to 1 hour to arrive. You are picked up by a driver and there were some other guests going from hotel, so we all travelled together. Cheetah’s Rock is ran by Jenny, who has been rescuing and helping mistreated animals for over 30 years, she firstly had premises in Spain, but they out grew them and had to look for a much larger location, which they found in Zanzibar. The wild animals are either rescues or have been gifted to them by legal conservation centres. No animal has been captured in the wild. All animal handling methods are 100% violence free, based on trust, respect and reward. It receives no financial support from the government or any NGO’s, they depend entirely on the fees paid by the guests attending the tours or donations. This is why not only do you get a once in a lifetime experience here, you are also supporting Cheetah’s Rock in the conservation of wildlife and providing the rescued wild animals with the most natural habitat possible. All tours are in English and you are given lots and lots of information on the animals and their individual stories, some are heart breaking. Jenny has trained them all, some from babies depending on when they first came to her, she believes that you can train any animal through love and trust, which she shows you during the tour. It is amazing to watch and see! There is no drugging, defanging or mistreatment here at Cheetah’s Rock, as the first words she says to you after welcoming people is you are in the animals environment now, if they don’t want to do something they won’t be made too. It is not a performance type place, it is a chance to see these beautiful animals, such as Zebra, Lion, Monkeys, Bushbabies, Cheetah and a Bengal Tiger plus many more in a happy environment filled with love and care. Respect this when you visit and you will have an amazing time.
On arrival you are welcomed and taken to sit in a waiting area, given a fresh coconut to sip on and asked to fill in an attendance form. Jenny then comes and introduces herself, she then talks you through your afternoon, giving you hints and tips throughout in order to make your experience the best. After a safety talk you all head off into the enclosures, firstly heading to a large area enclosure to meet a very friendly Zebra which I wont spoil in case you are going to take the trip yourself. I will say, Jenny is an amazing trainer and it is surprising how far love, trust and reward can get you into training a rescued wild animal. Each person is given time with the animals and can feed or stroke most of them. You enter nearly all the enclosures during your tour, bar Aslan the White Lion, who Jenny has had since he was a baby and he slept in her bed, he is too big now and unfortunately you cant pet him. You can feed him meat and have a photo opportunity however. My favourite parts of the tour by far were the Bushbabies, holding them and feeding them pasta, Tyson the Cheetah who near the end you enter his home, a beautiful garden where he comes to greet you and you toast him with a glass of bubbly! He is simply amazing, again he has a soft nature and seems very loving, you can tell all the animals love Jenny. Again she says at any point if Tyson has had enough he will be left, not made to come back to see people, you have to understand that. Finally the surprise at the end you get to see the feed of a baby Bengal Tiger, 6 months old his nighttime bottle, no not of milk of chicken soup… I was so honoured to have entered this magical place and thrilled to have the opportunity to spend time with all the animals on a one to one basis, in such a great environment. Unlike zoo’s where animals don’t have the space to move or time spent with them giving love, care and training, Cheetah’s Rock is a paradise for any animal who is brought here and Jenny plus her team and family are doing an amazing job, long may it continue!
Whether you are an animal lover, or just slightly curious Cheetah’s Rock is the place you need to visit, take a tour that’s my advice, see for yourself! Cheetah’s Rock
Some tips before your Tour-
Wear shorts or jeans, don’t wear skirts or dresses anything floaty.
Trainers are best to wear on your feet
Remember your camera! Great photo opportunities
Remove your jewellery beforehand