Banner newborn Rhino

English Afrikaans Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French German Italian Japanese Portuguese Russian Spanish

Meeting the Volunteers: Cynthia Knuppe

WRITTEN BY // Claudia Hauter CATEGORIES // Team | Capecheetah-blog | Inverdoorn-blog

“All noble things are as difficult as they are rare.” – Baruch Spinoza

Meeting the Volunteers: Cynthia Knuppe

The lodge is abuzz with activity, and not only because it’s summer season. The other reason for all the energy coursing through the reserve is the interns and volunteers. I have never seen so many at one time, and considering the passion and enthusiasm they bring with, you can just imagine the spirit in the place. I caught up with the new arrivals, sitting under the shade close to the dam, with Velvet and Iziba gamboling nearby. The term “cheetah girls” doesn’t apply anymore, as the team no longer consists of women only. I got a chance to chat to all of them, but as Cynthia, a dental hygienist from the Netherlands, was literally on her last day I decided to share her interview first.

You may have read her post that she wrote for us about her cheetah experience (if not, you can read it here), and this already gave me a little insight into the cheetah girl that I had only met, briefly, once before. I enjoyed being able to get to know her a little better and I think the stand-out moment was when the team set out to track the released cheetahs. At one point during the tracking, Cynthia and I stood in the middle of the reserve, blinking against the blazing sun, watching handlers Leah and Marlene coax out the released female cheetah to check up on her. We had a quiet chat as we marveled at this amazing cat in the distance, adapting to her new freedom.

Cynthia marks the cheetah as her favourite animal. “They’re friendly and I like how they hunt. They put in a lot of effort to catch their food.” She also counts her time with the cats as some of her best times at Inverdoorn. “Little things like sitting with the cats at the dam,” she reflects. “Being in the nice surroundings, it’s quiet.” And it is these little moments that have brought her to the conclusion, as she ponders what she’s learnt during her time on the reserve, that “you must enjoy life while you can. Enjoy the little things.”

This was not her first time in South Africa, a country she says she loves for its “weather. The view of the mountain, the sea, and the culture, the people, the way of living.” She had done volunteer work previously, in 2011, and leapt at the chance to come back and do it again. “I always wanted to do volunteer work,” she says. “Take a break from working, but instead of a holiday, go further and do something. I want to see the world.”

And that is exactly what she has done, travelling to the Karoo and working with the cheetahs. “The work is quite physical,” she says of the more challenging moments, made more difficult in the time when she was the only volunteer on the reserve. “But I enjoyed it,” she adds. “And it was compensated by doing a safari.” This gave her the chance to get closer to animals on safari than she had ever been before, and the cheetah run at the end of the sunset safari was a definite highlight.

Being the only volunteer soon changed as others arrived and joined the cheetah workforce. At first coming across as fairly quiet, I soon saw how easy-going she is in the amiable way she gets on with her fellow volunteers and how easily she fell into conversation with me. Her time at Inverdoorn may be over, but she won’t be forgotten quickly. “I hope to give a hand as much as possible,” she says, and having relinquished her holiday, it is already evident that she had done exactly that.

About the author

Claudia Hauter

Claudia Hauter

Taught from a young age to save the planet and driven by a love of the environment, Claudia Hauter now writes and manages social media for Inverdoorn Game Reserve, Western Cape Cheetah Conservation and RhinoProtect – hoping to do her part in saving this little planet we call home.

Comments (0)

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest. Optional login below.

Reservations & Info

Inverdoorn Game Reserve


112 LOOP STREET 8001

Tel:  +27 (0)214 220 013
Fax: +27 (0)86 719 71 50


Meet The Team

  • Meet the Team: Stephane Lemonnier

    Meet the Team: Stephane Lemonnier

    The staff members at Inverdoorn come from around the world, with diverse personalities and characters but what brings and keeps them together is the love and care they have for wildlife...

  • Focus on: Lauren Leonard

    Focus on: Lauren Leonard

    Today we place "FOCUS ON" Lauren Leonard (23). South African, born, bred and buttered in Cape Town. She comes from a journalistic and media background and has quickly developed a love for...

  • Meet Chantelle De Bruin

    Meet Chantelle De Bruin

    Meet Chantelle de Bruin(21), one of Inverdoorn Game Reserves passionate and dedicated volunteer. Chantelle, was born in Bloemfontein, Free State and moved to Cape Town, a few years...

  • Meet the Team: Mekka Pietersen

    Meet the Team: Mekka Pietersen

    When you meet Mekka Pietersen, our Assistant Lodge Manager, you will be greeted with the biggest, warmest smile. She was born at Inverdoorn, where her family has lived for three...

Keep up to Date

For all the latest news about your favourite animals at Inverdoorn like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest news and blog posts about the cheetahs, the rhinos, the lions and all the other animals that live on the reserve. Read about the people who look after them and have dedicated their lives to wildlife and its conservation.

Share Your View

Did you enjoy your trip to Inverdoorn? Submit a review to Trip Advisor or send us a review via our website. We want to hear all about your trip: what you liked, what you saw, the best parts and any suggestions and ideas for how we can improve the experience for YOU are also welcome. You can read what others have said about us by checking out some of the articles and press releases or chat to other guests on Trip Advisor. You can even join our Inverdoorn Community and stay in touch with our rangers, animal handlers and other guests.

Contact Infos

Inverdoorn Game Reserve

112 LOOP STREET 8001

Tel:  +27 (0)214 220 013
Fax: +27 (0)86 719 7150


footer map inverdoorn