Day 16 – Busch Gardens

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Got up at 07:30 in preparation for our free visit to Busch Gardens. After a leisurely breakfast in the villa we set off just after nine. There were no accidents today so the journey took just over an hour. We had both decided to travel light today so no heavy camera bag for me and no handbag for Jan. This backfired slightly as when we eventually reached the front of a slow moving queue to get through the entrance we were told we needed ID to get in. I was OK but Jan’s ID was in her handbag in the boot of our car. Luckily customer services were sympathetic and gave her a hand stamp so we rejoined the slow moving queue at the back again and this time we were both admitted. We headed off to the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster for our first ride of the day but there now wasn’t time to do it before the live Cheetah display which we had missed on Monday. In the Cheetah enclosure they have set up a system where a wire is connected to pulleys at opposite ends of the enclosure. This is driven by an electric motor. A lure is tied to the wire and they get the Cheetah’s to chase it similar to a Greyhound Race. It is very impressive to watch a Cheetah in action and in the short distance of the enclosure they have been timed at 36 mph. When they get to the other end they do a fast turn and chase it back. Apart from being exciting to watch it is essential for their cardio-vascular needs. After the display they got the remaining six female Cheetahs in and fed them. After they had finished feeding they started chasing each other round the enclosure which was great fun to watch. My only regret was that I didn’t have my movie camera with me as my pocket camera cannot cope with the speed of a Cheetah – I just caught the end of its tail! After all that excitement we headed off to the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster. We decided that this time we would queue for the front seat which we both agreed made the ride even better. After that we went to look at the animals including some Hyenas which were right up against the glass in their enclosure so you could get right close to them. From there it was back to Cheetah Hunt for a second ride in the front seat. We then headed off to the theatre for a Sesame Street 4D film but on the way there it started to rain so it was good timing although during the film we got sprayed with water so we got wet anyway. We were going to go on the Sheikra roller coaster next but it started to rain heavier and there were rumbles of thunder so all the rides were closed. Eventually the rain eased a bit so we headed off to the Marrakesh Theatre to watch the Rock-A-Doo-Wap show which was mainly songs from the late 50’s but they also did a medley of Four Season’s songs. It was a very enjoyable and professionally produced show – the singing, dancing and musicianship was excellent. The rain had now stopped so we headed back to Sheikra as the clouds were starting to threaten again. On the way there we passed the wooden roller coaster Gwazi. There were signs outside saying that there were new cars and the ride had been improved. I foolishly believed this and went on it, Jan had more sense and stayed behind. The ride was just as brain numbing and bone shaking as it ever was and I came off it with a headache – never again! At Sheikra we queued for the front seat and this time we also bought a film of us riding on it – a great ride. We then stopped for a quick snack. Whilst we were there some woman bought some sort of ice cream pie and left it on the table unguarded whilst she went to get cutlery. At this point about 3 or 4 gulls descended on the pie – they were so quick and made a right mess of it. It was starting to rain again so we jumped on the Sky Ride and headed for the exit stopping off to look at the Cheetah’s again. Whilst we were there a man came close to the enclosure with a guide dog which got the Cheetah’s quite agitated. It was now starting to rain harder so we headed for the car park after a most enjoyable day. The journey back was slow to start with but with the promise of dinner at Outback to look forward to it soon went. Dinner as always was excellent and we arrived back at the villa at 21:00. The weather forecast for the weekend is not good so we will have a lazy day tomorrow.

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