We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“TENIKWA AN EXPERIENCE NOT TO BE MISSED”

Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre
Book In Advance
More Info
US$64,86*
and up
Cheetah Walk and Wild Cat Experience
More Info
US$42,27*
and up
Wild Cat Photographic Tour
More Info
US$16,76*
and up
Wild Cat Experience Tour
Ranked #2 of 14 things to do in The Crags
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Tenikwa grew from humble beginnings in 2002 when the owners started rehabilitating injured birds in a wooded shed behind their house. Today Tenikwa has grown to be one of the largest active Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres in the Western Cape, attending to a diverse variety of animals accepting both terrestrial and marine mammals and birds. Rehabilitating injured and abandoned Wildlife with the goal to release them back to the wild. Our centre rescue, rehabilitate and release between 250 - 450 wild animals annually. We work closely with nature/conservation authorities in our area, CapeNature, SANParks, BirdLife, and SANCCOB. Our Awareness Centre ensures that our Rehabilitation facilities are sustainable, funding the rehabilitation work and to raise awareness of the conservation issues in South Africa, Tenikwa offers various, programs throughout the day, catering for all ages and fitness levels with a focus on providing a conservation-based, informative tour. Guests learn about the indigenous wild cats of South Africa and why they are disappearing from our landscape.Species include African Wild Cats, Serval, Caracal, Cheetah, Leopard and Lions. The Tenikwa encounter is a great follow-on to a game reserve / safari experience; from viewing the cats at a distance to the opportunity to study these beautiful animals at close quarters. Tenikwa also has a Meerkat Meander where visitors can see Meerkats and Tortoises and there is also a variety of indigenous waterfowl, Blue Cranes and Marabou Storks to delight bird watchers. Tenikwa supports the upliftment of local communities through Eco tourism and is environmentally responsible. Entrance fees fund Tenikwa's NPO Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release Programme. Open 365 days a year. Amenities include a Tea Garden for light meals, Parking, Wheel-chair Friendly, Mothers Corner
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase
Reviewed 13 July 2015 via mobile

We spent a morning walking with the Cheetahs. The guides were brilliant the owners fantastic. Attention to detail and safety top class.

Thank you for your wonderful work looking after our stunning cats.

Will definitely recommend your establishment to everyone and when in Plett will pop in for coffee.

Warm Regards
Jenean and Family

1  Thank Jenean G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MandyFreeman_Tenikwa, Manager at Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 29 July 2015

Hi Jenean

Thank you for the wonderful review. We are very happy to hear that you enjoyed your visit and that you appreciate our efforts at Tenikwa. The Cheetah Walk is an experience that will stay with you for life. I will let everyone know about your positive feedback.

We will keep the coffee warm :) See you again.

Kind Regards
Steven Hendriks

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (1 518)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

715 - 719 of 1 518 reviews

Reviewed 9 July 2015

Took our Grandchildren to experience the cats. Well run appreciated the children being kept at a distance from the Lions the female Lion was very interested in the children not interest in the adults. Close viewing of Leopard & guides well informed. A good experience to be recommended to support the work they doing.

Thank Beryl H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MandyFreeman_Tenikwa, Manager at Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 29 July 2015

Thank you for taking the time to review us.
Children are the future and we believe that they will help us make a difference in protecting Bio diversity and relaying the message to future generations. We are thrilled to learn that you support our cause and had fun with your Grandchildren at Tenikwa. Our Lions - Mkulu and Kaluma have unique characters and in a way are also still kids as they are almost 8 months old even thou due to their size - fast growth so fast they look a lot older :)

We hope to see you again in Future

Kind Regards
Steven Hendriks

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2015

Had a lovely tour of the Centre and had a great insight to the cats there, getting really close up and into their enclosures too except the lions and leopard.

Our guides Senzo and Sizuie who took us for our Cheetah walk were just superb and we had a lot of fun there. Fortunately we were only two for the group so my daughter and I had a real personal close up time with 'Thunder' the cheetah, who basically took us for the walk as he was a bit nimble on his feet.

I was very happy to see the Honey Badger there too, my all time favourite as they are mad!

All in all, a very enjoyable time with nice facilities there.

1  Thank cosmicroy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MandyFreeman_Tenikwa, Manager at Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 29 July 2015

Hi

Thank you for taking the time to review us.
It is great to read that you enjoyed your time at Tenikwa. Thank you for the feedback on Senzo on Sizwe, our guides love reading reviews like yours. We offer close encounters with some of our cats so that visitors can experience our cats without moving into their space and without physical interaction, Just observing these magnificent animals in a natural environment.

Kind Regards
Steven Hendriks

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2015

In South Africa, where big game is big money, It is easy to have knee jerk reactions to businesses reliant on charismatic megafauna.
I had one for a whole month.
Operating both 'crazee cat' tours of resident animals and a rehabilitation centre where injured wild-life is cared for and released, Tenikwa, like Africa, is a beast of many conflicting parts. Founded by wildlife mavericks Len and Mandy Freeman, it struggles to balance entertainment with environmentalism.
In terms of animal welfare,it is much less exploitative than most of the wild-life experiences you can pay for. The enclosures are incredibly spacious and well designed,with good approximations of natural habitat and abundant privacy. It is obvious the owners really care.The behavior of the animals contrasts positively when compared to that in zoos -what I mean by this: in zoos the animals tend to be zoned out zombies: burned out by being endlessly stared at. In contrast, it is clear the relatively low numbers of visitors at Tenikwa create a situation where spectator stress is minimal and animals are actually interested in you, ie: walking to the fence and investigating.This connecting experience is what people pay for and it is a really lovely aspect of Tenikwa.
What I paid for was a month spent volunteering and doing an incredible amount of laundry (later)
On the a less positive note, half tame animals are dangerous and problematic. Many of the animals here were kept as pets and handed in when they started shredding their owners.On an an even less positive note, other residents are luxury items, bought from captive breeders and existing here for no other reason than to entertain - in particular the lions and cheetah.They do not breed at Tenikwa. In the case of cheetah,a species in desperate decline due to inbreeding, it is sad to see animals being kept in a place where they cannot contribute to the gene pool. Soap-box moment: how ever good places like Tenikwa are, they ultimately exploit animals. But, so do you and I everyday and every minute-everything we consume exploits somebody, and just because you cannot see the damage doesn't make your contribution any less brutal.End of soap-box moment.
It was great to see very few stereotypic behaviours (pacing etc) often seen in captive predators, testament to the care and work by the staff in creating experiences that alleviate animal boredom (enrichments). Mainly food and odour based, these enrichments were often simply a cardboard box filled wit

5  Thank sodroog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MandyFreeman_Tenikwa, Owner at Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 9 July 2015

Dear Sophie, thank you for your review, albeit an unusual choice of platform to provide feedback about your experience as a volunteer. I am glad that we were able to expose you to the real face of conservation in South Africa and I am glad to see from our chats and your review that you have gained a more balanced view as well as insight into the complexities and contradictions that we deal with on a daily basis. I was curious on your choice of words to label us as maverick conservationists until I looked up the definition as "someone who refuses to play by the rules, isn't scared to cross the line of conformity, but their unorthodox tactics gets results." I guess you are spot on! We choose to go against the flow, to take very specific species, captive bred animals who would otherwise not contribute to conservation, give them a wonderful home and use them to raise awareness of the key issues facing their species in the wild, and at the same time, take the money that they generate in terms of gate takings, and use it to rehabilitate and release wild-born animals. We receive no governmental subsidy for the thousands of Rands we spend doing this, making a meaningful contribution to conservation and to these species like penguins on the brink of extinction. Had we wanted to go down the route of exploitation, we would maximise our profits by breeding our animals, having an endless supply of cubs for the lucrative petting trade and pack the volunteers in, twelve at a time and more for their "Wildlife Experience". I am sure that you did notice that you were the only volunteer for the month, giving you exceptional one-of-kind opportunity to work hand in hand with our animal keepers. Sophie, breeding captive-bred animals like cheetahs or lions has no impact on the wild populations. Wild populations are in decline because of habitat loss. Genetic stagnation is a consequence. Raising awareness of these issues and dealing with human-wildlife conflict will impact wild populations. Adding more cheetahs to reducing wild spaces will only increase the pressure these species are facing. The conversation of conservation is a fascinating topic. Damned if you do and Damned if you don't. I hope you will continue to remain in contact with us and follow the conservation work that we undertake. Thank you once again for volunteering with us and for your review. Regards Mandy

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2015

This is a must-do if you are interested in learning more about big cats of Africa and are looking for an experience of a lifetime. I had read about this place in Lonely Planet as a Top Choice attraction and was not disappointed. The center rehabs and breeds captive cheetahs to raise awareness about the plight of these cats in the wild. You can opt to go walking with the cheetahs and also tour the facility and see the other big cats. The guides are superb and really truly care about the fate of these magnificent creatures in their native lands. I work as a professional outreach biologist/educator so am particularly critical of education facilities and was very impressed with this place. Booking ahead of time is highly recommended as the cheetah walks routinely sell out days in advance. Bring your camera, long pants and sturdy toe-covered shoes (these are required), and extra cash for tips for your guide as they deserve it. The center also has a gift shop and snacks for purchase. We spent half a day walking the cheetahs and touring the other big cat enclosures. Enjoy!

1  Thank grebegirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MandyFreeman_Tenikwa, Manager at Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 29 July 2015

Hi

Thank you for writing this wonderful review.
I am so pleased to read that you recognize the work that we do and that you support our cause.
At Tenikwa each species of cat has a message that they relay to guests visiting them. They are spokesman for their species educating the public on the issues they face out in the wild and that we as humans can help them by contributing to protecting Bio Diversity and restrict Habitat Loss..
We do not breed with our Cheetahs because one of the biggest issues Cheetahs face in the wild loss of habitat and raising awareness on the human wildlife conflict will have a greater contribution than adding more Cheetahs to a already constrained habitat.

Travel safe and we hope to see you again..
Kind Regards
Steven Hendriks

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre also viewed

Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape
The Crags, Plettenberg Bay
 
The Crags, Plettenberg Bay
 

Been to Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing