Moody lightroom settings - French Bulldog Photo

Last weekend little Jackson, a friend’s French bulldog, had his first gingerbread house Christmas party. I already wrote about the gingerbread house tradition last year (time flies!) so just a little reminder: The gingerbread house party was started 5 years ago by two friends of mine, Katie & Jonas, who have organised the yearly Xmas together ever since. And with organising I don’t only mean the general work that goes into hosting a dinner or party at home, I also refer to all the baking fun that goes into this sort of party beforehand. It turns out that you’ll need an Saturday to bake all the gingerbread pieces that will eventually become the structures of the gingerbread houses that the party guests will get to build. Awesome friends :)

It all started 5 years ago..

While the first gingerbread house party had one ‘baby guest’, this year’s party saw 5 kids already… A couple of them are around the 3 to 4 years mark and were super excited to build their own gingerbread houses. And they somehow did a better job than us. For some reason (not at all related to mulled wine and eggnog), our pretty house managed to break apart.. I guess we were a bit too eager about all the sweets and put way too much weight on the roof.. and whoosh. The housing structure just couldn’t take the prettiness of our decoration!

Moody lightroom settings - Xmas Party

Gingerbread House Making

Apart from having an immense sugar and sweets supply during the day of the party (most of the sweets go onto the house, while others magically wander into your mouth), we also had mulled wine, eggnog, Mac & Cheese and hot dogs. No surprise, that little Jackson was all over the place trying to secure as many treats as he could :)

Happy kids, happy dog

Moody lightroom settings - French Bulldog Photo

For a while he decided to strategically position himself under the table. Especially where the kids were sitting, he was quite a happy camper. Once everyone was done decorating, Jackson put on his best cute dog face and managed to get some more of the human food..

Moody lightroom settings - French Bulldog Photo

Moody lightroom settings - French Bulldog Photo

But really, who can resist that look?!

And the winner is…

… not our gingerbread house! Apparently it doesn’t count if the house can’t stand on its own.. But fair enough, even if ours had not broken apart, this house would still have won. Doesn’t it look super pretty? While we were keeping Jackson happy, Jackson’s mummy had enough time to create her masterpiece..

Moody lightroom settings - Gingerbread House Photo

Good night, little Jackson

Moody lightroom settings - French Bulldog Photo

Moody lightroom settings - French Bulldog Photo

It was such a fun day and once all the kids plus parents had left, we decided to start our Xmas movie marathon. After Bad Santa we moved on to Die Hard (such a Christmas classic haha). Though I think only one of us managed to watch the whole movie. The rest fell asleep halfway in.. after the sugar high there is always a sugar low :) Zzzzzzz…

Moody lightroom settings - French Bulldog Photo

tenikwa-wild-cat-wildlife-sanctuary

If you still can’t get enough of Africa’s beautiful wild life after visiting Kruger National Park, pay a visit to Tenikwa Wild Cat & Wildlife Sanctuary in Plettenberg Bay. Plettenberg Bay is located on the Garden Route and makes a lovely half-a-day trip from Knyzna.

Founded in 2002, Tenikwa is now one of the largest wildlife rehabilitation centres in the Western Cape accepting both terrestrial and marine species. To fund the rehabilitation work, the sanctuary offers various, small group programs during the day. By joining these tours, guests learn about the indigenous wild cats of South Africa and why their species are endangered.

Wild Cats Experience

We joined the Wild Cat Experience tour which was one of the best tours in a non-safari environment I had. The guides supply you with an immense amount of information about the South African wild cats and answer all your questions. You will walk through the different areas of the Tenikwa sanctuary and will see all types of wild cats including servals, caracals and cheetahs. There is also a beautiful leopard which you can see in close proximity (see photo below).

But don’t be fooled, he just pretends to be that nice! When we approached the fence of the leopards enclosure he appeared to be super relaxed and sleeping. But then we started to walk back again on the little path that leads along the fence, he waited for the opportunity for our group to split and suddenly jumped up and sprinted towards the fence where a little girl was just running after her mummy. The leopard literally attacked the fence to reach the girl!

This all happened in 3 seconds and right in front of me. Of course the girl started crying immediately and I lifted her up and brought her to her mummy. The poor little one was still shocked at the end of the tour.

Lesson learnt: Leopards no good for cuddling! haha

If you do want to come close to wild cats without the fence in between you and the cats, hang out with the cheetahs. As opposed to leopards, cheetahs can be tamed (to a certain degree). Part of the Wild Cat Experience tour is to enter the cheetah enclosure. But these cats were really chilled out. They were sleeping right in front of us. You can also book a separate tour that lets you spend more time with the cheetahs.

Don’t leave the group…

But an actually important lesson I learnt during this tour and during the safari is to NEVER leave the group and never appear smaller than the rest (don’t pick sth up from the ground for instance!). Cats are waiting to get a chance to attack the weakest/smallest of the group. That’s why kids were not allowed in the cheetah enclosure and were also not allowed to join the safari walking tour. And that’s also was caused the cutie leopard to have a go at the little girl.

tenikwa-wild-cat-wildlife-sanctuary

And apart from all the wild cats, there are also monkeys and lots more animals to explore. So, a tour to the Tenikwa Wild Cat & Wildlife Sanctuary is definitely a great day out for kids, too. Just don’t let the little ones venture off by themselves!

tenikwa-wild-cat-wildlife-sanctuary

tenikwa-wild-cat-wildlife-sanctuary

To visit the Tenikwa Sanctuary, click here to get to their website.

Tenikwa Cat Sanctuary Safari South Africa