Apart from its natural beauty, The Garden Route also provides plenty of opportunity to interact, observe or get close to a variety of animals and wildlife. If you are a fan of our furry friends and would like to learn as much as you can while on the Garden Route, then this list is for you. Find here 10 Wildlife and Animal Centres along The Garden Route and do them in your own time on self drive tours or join one of our group Garden Route tours.
1. Cango Wildlife Ranch
Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn is a popular wildlife and interaction park and a regular stop on Garden Route tours along with visiting Ostrich Farms and The Cango Caves. Observe and interact with a large number of different animals including lions, cheetah’s, birds, bats, monkeys and, if you’re up for it try cage diving with crocodiles!
2. Jukani Wildlife Centre
Jukani specializes in different cat species from all over the world. The centre adopts or saves animals in danger or in need of a new, better home. Lions, tigers, leopards and more can be seen here. Some very rare cats, soon to be extinct can be observed here as the story of their demise will be shared by your guide. Jukani is found on the N2 motorway and easily accessible when touring the Garden Route.
3. Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre
Tenikwa is another facility on The Garden Route with a variety of lesser known cats of South Africa, also in great need of assistance as their numbers in the wild are dropping rapidly. Here you can take a walk with a cheetah or go on one of the hourly, guided tours to show you around and inform you of the animals' daily routines, natural habitats and level of endangerment. Tenikwa is found within a small village called 'The Crags' near Plettenberg Bay.
Also within 'The Crags' on the Garden Route you will find Monkeyland. A living forest experience of hundreds of monkeys going about their daily lives. Visit them on guided tours in their natural habitats as they play, run a round, lounge in a tree or even come a little closer to you to inspect the welcome visitor. Guided tours depart from the restaurant on a regular basis and you can enjoy a light lunch or refreshment at the restaurant while viewing some monkeys cruising around.
5. Birds of Eden
Birds of Eden is the world’s largest free-flight bird cage and truly a highlight on many Garden Route tours. Guided tours through the park can be requested but in general visitors walk through the park in their own time and pace. Birds of Eden is truly an ignition of the senses, even if you’re not a bird lover. The sights and sounds and collection of birds in the park will surely offer something that you’ve never seen before and will probably never see again.
6. Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary
Even though wolves are not indigenous to South Africa, you can learn more about them right here on the Garden Route. Apart from wolves, you can have a look at some pigs, donkeys, goats, sheep and more. Bring the kids and let them pet some of the animals. A picnic area is available to relax and take in the glorious nature of The Garden Route.
7. Knysna Elephant Park
In the heart of The Garden Route, between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay you will find the signpost for Knysna Elephant Park. Take a walk alongside elephants and feed them optional fruits as they keep you company during their feeding times in the field. Group tours happen very regularly during the day, and rides or additional activities can be booked for certain times during the day.
8. Ostrich Farm
Oudtshoorn, even though not officially part of the Garden Route, is a popular stop during tours. It is known as the Ostrich Capital of the World due to the large amount of ostriches and farms concentrated in the town. Visit one of these farms, learn about the birds, their lifestyle, high quality leather and if you've never tried ostrich meat, then this is the time to try it!
9. Lanwood Snake Sanctuary
If you love them or even if you cannot stand the sight of them, snakes are awesome creatures! Stop at Lanwood Snake Sanctuary in the heart of The Garden Route for some interesting insights into our slithery friends. Live shows, tours, display boxes and even some interactions will bring you close to a wide variety of snakes while you learn the secrets to their daily lives.
10. Lion Walk
In Mossel Bay one will find Botlierskop Private GameReserve. Apart from their game drives and elephant experiences they also offer the lion walk activity on the farm next door – Zorgfontein. This activity is a highlight on many Garden Route tours but usually offered as an optional activity. Take an hour long stroll with a couple of hand-reared lions in a free-roaming area without cages or leashes.
So! There you have it! 10 Wildlife and Animal Centres along The Garden Route where you can get your dosage of wildlife found within The Garden Route and South Africa. If you would like to join us on one of our tours, or perhaps need assistance in building a customized tour which includes any of the above parks or centres, simply click and visit our website at The Cape Town Experience and get in contact!
The Cape Town Experience Crew