This morning's adventure was to hire one of the hotel's vans and drivers to take us up to the wine country. Our first stop was the Spier estate. An interesting winery unlike any I have been to before, Spier has a Cheetah Sanctuary and a bird rescue on the grounds. Upon our arrival, our driver offered to go and make a booking for us for lunch and we headed for the Cheetah Sanctuary.
What a cool place! For the price of a few dollars, you can learn about the animals and discover why they are dying off. You can also talk to the people at the center who are trying an innovative approach to saving the cheetahs.
We even paid a few extra dollars to go into the enclosures with some of the cheetahs. While petting them and interacting with them, the staff at the reserve talked about their program to provide farmers with dogs to scare off the cheetahs rather than have the farmers shoot the cheetahs for taking their livestock. The program has really cut-down on the livestock that cheetahs take and as a result, help preserve the wild cheetah population.
Next to the cheetahs is a bird rescue where they rehabilitate wild birds that have been injured and found. I've been to bird rescue programs before; there are a couple of them in Florida, but there is nothing the likes of this one that I have ever seen.
First off, the place is huge! There are enclosures by the dozens the birds are all kept comfortable and provided with a cooling mist in the heat of the day. We missed the flight show – they bring out some of their birds that have been with them a while and talk about how they hunt, how they live in the wild, etc. still, we did get to talk to the guy who worked there and watched as he fed the fledgling owls.
We took turns holding and stroking the plumage of one of the eagles. It was all too cool!
Then, the birds fed, it was time for us to head into lunch. The place was a collection of outdoor pavilions, tents, tree houses, and shady nooks where you can have lunch. We were offered a table along one of the walkways and had a lunch from the buffet of game meats and African foods. It was lovely. There were wandering entertainers wending their way around the place.
After Spier, we'd asked the driver to take us to another winery of his choosing. While understated by the sheer expanse of Spier, the Warwick estate was a lovely location. We sat out on the deck by the shop as the staff brought a selection of six of their wines out for us to try. The scenery of the vine-covered hills rolling off toward the distant mountains, the cool breezes, the wine and the friends; it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Back at the hotel, we have a couple hours before dinner… we're headed into town to go to a restaurant that is by the docks that Terry and Angie know of. I suppose I should wrap this up for now.
Wherever you are today, I hope you're having a lovely day!
Don Bergquist – 01 November 2007 – Cape Town, South Africa