Walk with wild cats at Tenikwa Wild Cat and Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted by Fatima Anter on 8 April 2011

Tenikwa Wild Cat and Wildlife Sanctuary in The Crags (near Plettenberg Bay) offers educational tours and (some) interaction with cheetah, serval, caracal and other captive-bred cats. Tours cost R150 a person and includes some exciting (and sometimes hair-raising) viewings of these great felines.

Our tour started with a short video introduction and a visit to the African wild cat’s area. To me they look like domestic cats, but our guide pointed out the differences. Next to the serval den, one of them was a bit restless and kept pacing around his area, but the other was calm and not bothered by our presence. There’s no fence between you and the animals, so be prepared for a really close look.

The leopard’s site was the only one we couldn’t enter. He’s a scary fellow. He didn’t misbehave or scare us in anyway but he had a sly look about him. One wrong move and he’ll jump out and you’ll wet your pants. You can walk through but there’s fence all around you, so he can walked under, above and next to you while you explore.

The caracals were chilled. They didn’t pay any attention to us roaming around their living room searching for them. When we eventually found them, they just greeted us and went back to sleep. I was hoping for a bit more enthusiasm. Same with the cheetahs: they didn’t seem fazed that we were trying to get a picture with them. They just happily lazed in the shade and didn’t bother us. Although it’s still a scary experience because they’re right next to you, I think it’ll be more frightening when they’re actually up and about.  So I’ve vowed to make a trip back soon.

Apart from all the cats, there’s also blue cranes, marabou storks, African penguins, meerkats and a seal. If you’re up for something a bit more daring, you can take the cheetahs for their daily walks (at sunrise or sunset). They’re on a leash and you get to accompany them while they get their exercise (from R400 a person). This is definitely on my to-do list for my next visit.

Contact Tenikwa Wild Cat and Wildlife Sanctuary

Tel 044-534-8170, [email protected], www.tenikwa.co.za

Forest Hall Road, Kurland Turnoff, The Crags, Western Cape.

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