One of the main activities that I enjoy doing is the morning tour – sometimes we have guests and sometimes we don’t, but the animals still need feeding! To start off with we go into the ostrich enclosure and hand feed the ostriches for around 5 minutes before pouring the rest into their feeding trough – the 8ish ostriches are fed a big bucket filled with half corn and half lucerne pellets. Afterwards, we move onto the big baboon enclosure. We feed them 4 buckets of millipop, making balls of millipop with our hands and throwing it over the fence – 10 points if you hit a baboon! I’ve only hit 1 baboon before though and I’ve done it around 8 times now! The morning tour also feeds lots of the lions – they get either a donkey leg steak, half a donkey rump or half a donkey head. The heads are so heavy and it’s hard to throw it over the fence without splashing yourself with brains or blood! After the lions are the Caracals – there are 6 of them and Enrico (the guide) tries to get them to jump for the donkey hearts however I’ve only ever seen 2 actually do it! Next are the wild dogs. They are usually fed donkey intestines or leftover meat – I have a great video of the wild dogs attacking the intestines as we throw them into the enclosure! Personally I’ve also given them a whole springbok that tore completely apart – it was very impressive. After the wild dogs we feed the 24 Cheetahs a donkey leg steak each. When I first arrived at Harnas there were 26 cheetahs however unfortunately the 2 oldest Cheetahs have died of old age during my stay which is sad. Finally we feed the 5 leopards, each of which have a separate enclosure. 2 of them eat out of a tree which is quite cool to watch – they get given donkey leg steaks as well but theirs are smaller than the lions!
Another activity we can be assigned is either morning or afternoon outside feeding – each of which feed the same types of animals but in different enclosures. We feed some baboons, lions, wild dogs, leopards and occasionally the porcupines (if there is no night drive) and they all get the same sort of food as they do during the morning tour.
The afternoon tour involves feeding 3 cheetahs, the mongooses and Gumbi the hyena as well as having a tour around the farm and a drive out to the church and the volunteer village. However, as volunteers we only help with the feeding of the animals and the farm tour. I’ve only done one of them, they aren’t very exciting but it is good to get the information about all the animals and find out the stories behind some of their names.
In addition to those 3 activities, there are 4 people that go on fence patrol from 6.15 to 7 nearly every morning and around 8 people that go on a night drive from 8pm-10pm nearly every night. They are both pretty self explanatory really! Fence patrol involves driving around the perimeters of the outside enclosures looking for holes under the fences and checking the electric fences are working properly. On the other hand, the night drive involves driving around looking for animals with a spotlight as well as patting Dolce and Gabana (2 leopards) through the fence and feeding the porcupines. I don’t mind doing either because at least you get to see the animals and learn where they all are!