Cheetah’s Rock- Zanzibar’s Not So Little Hidden Gem
Have you ever imagined yourself sitting in a locked cage with not one but two hyenas? I didn’t either until I was being invited by Jenny at Cheetah’s Rock to do that. It was a never been done before moment for myself and Jenny, the animals care taker. This was not all!! Read on to find out why Cheetahs Rock was one of my favourite places to visit in Zanzibar!
Cheetah’s Rock Location
Only thirty minutes’ drive north of Stone Town near the village of Kama, is a very special place called Cheetah’s Rock. Open only three times a week to the public, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 2 pm with an entrance fee of $160 US. Not so cheap!
Sign Your Life Away
I arrived to the reception at Cheetah’s Rock along with 32 other visitors who were being handed a fresh coconut and a piece of paper. The paper was a waiver that Cheetah’s Rock and the staff are not responsible for theft, injuries or any deaths if caused on the property.
If we didn’t sign the paper we weren’t allowed access to the animals. There we were, all happily signing our lives away to Cheetah’s Rock! Why? Because we love a sense of adventure, and to live on the edge sometimes. We are completely curious dimwits.
Although I much prefer to see animals in the wild, I must point out that Cheetah’s Rock is not a zoo, it is a rescue and rehabilitation center and each animal there has their own story.
Let’s talk Chaka The Zebra.
Now most of you know that even though Zebras are sociable they are wild and fierce animals. Jenny introduced us to Chaka who wasn’t only sociable but a complete romantic! Chaka romanced me by handing me a red rose with his mouth that Jenny threw on the ground. Chaka also showed us how he plays football, I kid you not!
The Bush Babies
Sitting in a cage of Bush Babies, Jenny handed us a bit of spaghetti to feed them, I was surprised how much they loved spaghetti! In my head I couldn’t stop thinking, ‘but I love spaghetti too! Is this my spirit animal?’
Jenny asked us to smell the Bush Babies as they went by and to identify their smell. Everyone guessed right. Besides having extremely soft fur, these babies had a strong zesty, orange smell. But from why do they have that smell?
We found out, what we smelt was the urine of a Bush Baby. ‘Eau De Bush Baby’! It definitely smelt better than what I would have expected for urine!
Feeding the Lemurs and their friends
Somewhere in the middle of Cheetah’s Rock we found ourselves surrounded by Lemurs, few peacocks, an albino peacock, and tiny adorable antelopes called dik diks.
They all gathered as we fed them carrots and mango.
Aslan The White Lion
One the highlights was of course Aslan, the White Lion. I had no idea white lions couldn’t actually survive in the wild because they’re not able to camouflage, that they are constantly being hunted and are on the endangered species list.
When we asked Jenny if we can go into the cage with Aslan, she said she stopped doing that the day she heard Aslan Roar. The minute the lion roars he/she are marking their territory and will only see the humans as food. That’s when Jenny knew she can no longer enter his cage and be too close to him, neither can the tourists.
Tyson- King of Cheetah’s Rock
We then moved on to Tyson, the friendly Cheetah who has learnt that to get his treat he must sit on his throne while all the tourists take photos of him. Tyson is also the reason why Cheetah’s Rock is called what it is.
I have to admit I was petrified and excited at the same time to be sitting in his field on a chair with 32 other people waiting for him as he sprinted fast towards us. Imagine sitting there sipping on Champagne in the presence of a Cheetah. How amazing was that.
Locked in a Cage with Hyenas!
Soon as we had finished and we thought it was the end of the tour, Jenny tells us she would like to try something for the first time and wants to test it out. She has never taken anyone inside the Hyena cage and if there are enough people saying yes to going in, then she would do it. This was directly after we were shown the power of a Hyena’s teeth!
Jenny pulled out a metal cup that was crushed down to almost nothing by these hyenas. Imagine what it would do to a human! Still almost all of us volunteered to go in despite being told that.
We went into the cage and Jenny handed out pieces of meat to feed them. I decided to keep my hands to myself and by my side. We had to sit closely next to each other with no space. Apparently a hyena will not see us as individuals but as one block that is larger than them, so they don’t attack.
My Last thoughts
What an incredible place and what a wonderful woman Jenny was to be spending her time with these beautiful animals. The experience that is offered at Cheetah’s Rock is like no other, you learn about the animals and you get to interact with them on personal level. I highly recommend that if you’re in beautiful Zanzibar, you have this high on your list of things to see!
Make sure to book early as it is in high demand. Not more than 30 something people can enter on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. No kids under 15 years old unfortunately its a strict policy. It is also pricey, so make sure you budget for it!
Subscribe to stay tuned on that one time I fed a Hyena meat with my mouth. I was surrounded by more than 12 Hyenas out in the wild!
For more on Zanzibar check out the other blogs to get inspired on what else you can do during your stay:
Machunduchi village: Quad biking to the most eye opening part of Zanzibar
Changuu Island: formerly known as Prison Island is a piece of heaven