After an internship of almost five months at Inverdoorn I decided to spend my last days as a cheetah girl to have the opportunity to compare these two different departments in the same company.
Working at the lodge can be difficult psychologically, because we have to meet all the demands of the guests and make sure they are always happy. We try our best to resolve any problems and make their stay a happy one so that they leave with only good memories. It's also challenging working with such a mix of cultures because of the different ways of thinking, but that also makes it an interesting way of working.
Working with the cheetahs is really different because it's more of a physical job and we have to be much more concerned with safety, so we have to pay a lot more attention. It's not as glamorous as a lot of people think. It's not just lying around with the cheetahs, but a lot of cleaning, meat work, farm maintenance and general running around. Of course, when we do get to spend some time with the cheetahs it's just awesome.
For me, the best part of it was the cheetah tracking because it's a new challenge every day. It can take ten minutes or two hours to find them; but when you finally find them, it's like a gift from nature. They are such amazing and beautiful animals, and seeing them in the wild is just unique.
When we were tracking the female on Thursday we saw that she had difficulty walking, but we couldn't see anything, no scratch, nothing. We decided to wait a day and when we came back on Friday morning she was better. Hopefully it was nothing serious.
Out of all my memories, the one that I will remember my whole life was when we went to the dam with Velvet and Iziba. Leah decided to make them run a little bit. So Hannah, one of the volunteers, was at the back of the car hanging a plastic bottle to make it attractive for the cheetahs, and Leah was driving. I was also at the back, the perfect place to see how happy the cheetahs were to run and play this game.
These two different experiences were very interesting, because it helped me to understand how each department works together and communicates and makes Inverdoorn function the best they can for both the animals and the guests.
Working at the lodge and as a cheetah girl are both challenging, but equally enjoyable and unique. I will never forget my time here thanks to the amazing environment, the beautiful animals and the lovely people. This was the best experience of my life (so far)!