On the menu today was a visit to the Cheetah Outreach centre where everyone got the rare opportunity to stroke Joseph the oldest and largest of the centre’s cheetahs.
While their major work concerns education around the cheetah and the need to protect and preserve this most graceful of the big cats it’s not all they do.
One of the major success of the programme is to breed and provide Anatolian Shepherd dogs to farmers who would normally see the cheetah as a threat and kill them if found.
The Anatolian Shepherd integrates itself with the farmers’ animals and will protect them from all predators and since the cheetah is non-confrontational by nature the presence of the dog is enough to ‘chase off’ any attacker.
Next stop was a beach front house in Gordon’s Bay where the owner Laffie supervised a Braai lunch – a pig on a spit roast with all the trimmings went down well as did the opportunity for a ‘paddle’ and to engage in that most Northern Irish of pastimes, throwing stones into the water.
A final short visit to the V&A Waterfront in Capetown for last minute shopping was squeezed in before the run out to the airport and the overnight flight to London. The journey went quickly for most as they spent it fast asleep and after transferring to Dublin we had only the coach journey to Belfast to look forward to. We left the cloudless skies of Cape Town and a temperature of 28 degrees to arrive home to similarly cloudless skies but a temperature of 8 degrees!
This was memorable trip for all concerned which fulfilled the objectives set out before the trip of enhancing the boys’ cricketing experience, providing them with the opportunity to experience a different culture both off and on the field and become more mature and rounded personalities because of it.
All the coaches are looking forward to seeing the boys’ perform at their clubs this coming season but hope also that they will spread the word of what they have seen and share the learning experiences with their friends.
Tour manager Alan Waite will be making a final report on the trip in which he will no doubt name and thank all those who make it possible.
One name he will leave out will be his own but if there was one person who make the trip possible it was Alan himself. He shouldered an enormous burden of responsibility for the organisation of the venture and for this he is owed an enormous debt of gratitude by all who were part of the trip.