Zanchieta Lodge and Wild Cat Reserve

Zanchieta Lodge and Wild Cat Reserve, Bloemfontein: Hours, Address, Zanchieta Lodge and Wild Cat Reserve Reviews: 4/5

Zanchieta Lodge and Wild Cat Reserve

Zanchieta Lodge and Wild Cat Reserve
4
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Popular mentions

4.0
15 reviews
Excellent
7
Very good
3
Average
3
Poor
1
Terrible
1

Asma2
Spain29 contributions
Jan 2022 • Friends
It’s very sweet with bunnies and squirrels and chicken running about freely in the gardens.
It’s a bit sad to see so many caged animals. Not all the animals are injured and being rehabilitated. The leopards and lions were bought. But they keep the animals well fed. It is just sad that the beasts aren’t free to get the exercise and normal life in the wild.
But a great job on the injured animals and happily spent funds for keeping care of animals.
All in all - too many caged animals - set
Them free in their natural habitat.
Great staff.
Very very bad roads.
Written 13 January 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alec M
2 contributions
Dec 2021 • Family
1. Dirty bedding 2. Not warned that the road was in terrible condition when we phoned to book a caravan site. 3. REALLY worrying was: no emergency number is given - the lady who booked us in shouted ‘close the kitchen’ and the staff up and left without greeting. 4. Disgusted: the lady that booked us in told us that she could not warm our food in a microwave. We were too tired to buy their meat and braai. 5. Great animals & enclosures. Summary: go to see the animals. DON’T spend any time at the lodge.
Written 30 December 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Peter M
Johannesburg, South Africa32 contributions
Jan 2021
On Saturday 9 January 2021, my wife, my two teenage daughters and I had booked an overnight stay at this place. It wasn’t cheap (dinner and breakfast were extra too), but it had a mix of 4 and 5 star ratings on various websites and it was advertised as a sanctuary for big cats. We were looking forward to it as a welcome break of what is usually fairly long drive. We booked through Afristay.com.

It had just rained before we arrived and the dust roads there were a quagmire of mud and flowing water. At times I really thought that we’d get stuck and would need to call someone (goodness knows who) in Bloemfontein for a tow. The place is badly signposted and, what signs there are, are so badly faded that one cannot easily read what they say. I ended up following their general colour and shape.

The entrance was not an auspicious beginning. The electric gate was wide open, it had long ago stopped working and the intercom to reception was non existent. However, as we drove up the rough driveway, we were greeted by a beautiful cheetah in the large fenced enclosure on our left. Perhaps this wasn’t going to be too bad.

At 16h30 in the afternoon, when we arrived at reception, what was clearly a very boozy picnic lunch was still taking place under the tree in the communal area: lots of empty beer bottles, shirtless men and people smoking bubbly bubblies. This despite the ban on alcohol in SA at the moment and not a mask in sight. The place was generally really run down. The reception itself was a rough and ready affair: a messy office desk at which one stands and provides personal details and signs indemnities. In case you re eaten by a large cat you understand, the establishment doesn’t want to be held responsible.

We were led to our rooms by the manager. To be fair, for reasons which will become clear shortly, I didn’t go into mine I merely stood at the entrance and looked in. It smelled damp. It was dark. The ceilings were low. It was cramped. The whole feeling of the place was unwelcoming. This was partly due, I think, to the continuing revelry going on only a few metres away but also because the place was so run-down. The manager offered nary a smile and behaved as though he was doing us a favour by handing me a grubby pen and insisting that the first thing I did was complete the registration book (and sign indemnities of course).

I suppose we could have lived with this, after all it was just a night and we could chalk it down to experience, but from the moment I arrived neither I nor my family wanted to be there. This had been a BIG mistake and my girls didn’t feel at all comfortable - particularly my elder daughter after being ogled by some of the men at the party. This aside, we would have stayed the night if it had not been for the fact that when the guest room door was opened (and this will explain why I didn’t go into the room), the manager went in first and shooed three large sheep off the bed and out of the door. Yes, that’s correct, THREE SHEEP - livestock - had been reclining on the bed. Nice for the sheep, less nice for the subsequent occupiers. This apparently, judging from the manager’s reaction, is apparently not as rare an occurrence as it should be.

This was a first for me. The place definitely didn’t live up to its advertised standards, and I strongly suspect that whatever good ratings it has relate more to its work with big predators than its accommodation, but not meeting expectations is not unusual. The sheep, however, were unique, the final straw - pun intended. I decided that I was not going to subject any of my family to this place any longer and I told the manager that I did not want to appear insulting, but that we wouldn’t be staying. He said nothing, offering neither an apology or any suggestion of recompense. Tired as we were, we carried on to Johannesburg and arrived late that evening, exhausted and frustrated.

Needless to stay, this place has refused to refund me and, despite opportunity to do so, has failed to apologise for the massive inconvenience caused to my family and me. We contacted Afristay who were ultimately most helpful, and this place was deaf to them too.

We are fortunate to have travelled a lot, both locally and internationally. We use a variety of booking sites and, mostly, the places we stay at live up to their advertised standards. Sometimes we’re disappointed, when clearly the pictures were taken years ago and the place is in desperate need of a makeover, and sometimes we’re very pleasantly surprised. This place, however, (and you may have noticed that I have not once done them the courtesy of mentioning their name) sets the record a the worst! Not by a little margin mind you, but by a yawing chasm! If you feel like having your money taken from you, then you may like but, otherwise move swiftly on to the next listing.

I will be taking this matter up with the appropriate authorities and tourism organisations. Livestock is a guest room, irrespective how cute it may be - and these sheep were more on the unwashed side, is not acceptable. This place may have been nice once, but it definitely isn't anymore.

I also notice that I haven't used the descriptors appalling, vile, horrific, horrible, disgraceful or outrageous. Apply them as you wish to the above.
Written 15 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mike D
Tadley, UK31 contributions
Nov 2019 • Friends
Amazing work done here. The guided tour is well worth it and is very informative. I don't really have the words to describe it properly.
Written 30 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Adrian P
leicester10 contributions
Mar 2019 • Couples
Lovely last night in Africa listening to the cats and jackels singing to each other after a very informative walk and talk while feeding the animals. Very worthwhile visit wish we could have stayed longer
Written 19 March 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bigcatz
Kenilworth, UK3 contributions
Jul 2018 • Solo
Had a lovely two night stay at Zanchieta. Very welcoming, good food, accommodation was excellent. I stayed in Room 9 which is near the lions. Queen bed, large bathroom with bath and huge shower! Very clean and lovely view of the lions and farm. Very peaceful. Rabbits and Cara the 3 legged Springbok who roam around will always come and say hi. Definitely recommend.a stay here.
Written 31 August 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

yvonne v
Knysna, South Africa72 contributions
Jul 2018
We spent one night at Zanchieta on the way to Kruger. I am normally not a fan of enclosed lions, but all these lions have been rescued from various places and cannot be returned to the wild. When walking around the enclosures when can get extremely close to them and it was amazing to stand centimeters away from these magnificent animals. The sounds of lions roaring throughout the night was truly amazing. The females are on contraceptives because their cubs would also not be able to be free. I take my hat off to these amazing people who have given their lives to make these lions' lives as comfortable as possible.
The camping facilities and ablutions are basic but spotlessly clean. Lots of hot water and each site has power. I would recommend experiencing this unique facility if you're looking for a campsite near Bloemfontein.
Written 27 August 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Yvonne C
Cairns, Australia6 contributions
Jul 2018 • Couples
What an awesome experience! Our guide Mieke was fantastic using heaps of humour in our tour. She told us all the quirky traits of the animals and was quite informative too. Loved it and would highly recommend this.
Written 29 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you Yvonne C. We are looking forward to welcoming you soon again. Regards Zanchieta Team
Written 31 July 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Janine V
Bremer Bay, Australia1 contribution
Dec 2017 • Family
Zanchieta is a hidden gem and we definitely got more than we bargained for. Listening to the lions at night, relaxing on the lawn and having the freedom to roam the farm was such a blessing. We had 3 meals a day and enjoyed the afternoon feeding tour.
Good value for money and a quiet spot to rest and relax.
Written 19 December 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sean P
Pinetown, South Africa44 contributions
Sep 2017 • Couples
Our family enjoyed the best Wild Cat Experience. to be so close to these beautiful creatures who are lovingly cared for. we will definitely visit again. thank you
Written 16 September 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We thank you. See you soon.
Written 18 September 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 12
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing