Responsible Tourism and Annual Sustainable Report


Offering ethical conservation-based conservation programs, guests visiting Tenikwa have the chance to learn about South African Indigenous Wild Cats in an environment which emulates natural habitat. We use Tourism as a platform to raise awareness about the indigenous wildlife and factors causing their decline, utilising the funds for rehabilitating and returning animals to the wild where they belong.

In 2011, Tenikwa embarked on an informal program to “put into practice what it preached” through ensuring that the impact of the business on the environment was understood and measures taken to reduce the impact where possible.

In 2012, Tenikwa formalised its journey towards measurability of its sustainability by becoming members of HeritageSA, and through the Greenline Program, underwent a self-assessment and subsequent audit of its business processes, acquiring Silver-level accreditation status.

2013-2014 saw us consolidating our activities and taking stock of what our core objectives are and where we should be placing our focus. Some ineffective programs were discontinued and we launched the successful EcoKidz Family Challenge which has had great acceptance in the marketplace, delivering a value-added product with specific conservation objectives and geared towards the family with 7-12 age group children.

In 2015, we re-assessed the effectiveness of our community engagement to achieve our objectives of encouraging a behavioural change in lifestyle to a more environmentally-sensitive way of living. We made significant strides towards reducing our energy consumption and focused on integrating rehabilitation awareness into our general awareness programs. Our overall conservation efforts and holistic approach to supporting biodiversity have been recognised in various spheres.

2016 saw a concerted effort to upgrading our rehabilitation facilities with the complete overhaul of our marine pool and adapting our facilities to the changing conservation needs of The Garden Route. We completed the conversion of our lighting systems to LED throughout the property and we improved our rainwater holding capacity significantly. We also upgraded several enclosures to use the Awareness Centre more effectively to deliver messages of modern day use of technology in non-lethal methods of predator management. Working closely with other conservation stakeholders, we focused on increasing local awareness of our wildlife rehabilitation facilities to ensure that animals in need are brought to the centre as soon and as efficiently as possible to afford maximum chance of recovery and release.

Celebrating 10 years in Conservation Awareness, Tenikwa continues to Empower, Educate and Rehabilitate; and our activities of 2017 are evidence of our conservation philosophy in practice.

In 2017, our main focus revolved around the adaptation of our awareness programs to meet global animal welfare best practice and evolving trends in tourism in terms of captive wildlife. In terms of this, we took the decision to apply for Fair Trade Tourism Certification and were proud to achieve this in August. Faced with an increasing drought situation, it was imperative that we addressed water security and quality for the facility, and many of the interventions implemented during 2017 revolved around water management.

Energy Management 2017

Over the years a lot of changes were made to operations of both the Awareness and Rehabilitation Centre.

  • The project to switch over to LED lighting throughout Tenikwa was completed.

  • Room heaters in the hospital high care have been replaced by heating lamps where critical, and hot water bottles for less critical patients.

  • The Penguin Pool pump runs on solar which has reduced energy consumption

  • Laptops and electronic devices are switched off and unplugged when not in use.

  • Gas cooking is implemented for our Chesters Coffee Shop.

The increased admissions of turtles to our Rehabilitation Centre has increased energy consumption through the heating requirements, and this is an area that needs to be addressed in the future. Although significant changes to reduce cost and manage the use of energy has been introduced; our annual spend is still too high and this is as a result of the rising cost of electricity as well as an expanding facility



Electricity Consumption

29231 KwH

29381 KwH

Electricity Spend



Electricity Spend Per Guest Head



Alternative Energy Spend



Increase/Decrease Comments: 9.48% decrease in electricity spend

23.63% decrease in alternative energy spend

Waste Management

Throughout our years in operation, Tenikwa has always been waste conscious and we have separation bins throughout the facility to recover recyclable waste.

  • In the past years, we had an arrangement with Kurland Recycle Swop Shop where our recyclable waste was utilised to purchase commodity items for the community. This program closed down and we have subsequently made an arrangement with a local community business to collect recyclable waste for recovery.

  • Compass Medical Waste is responsible for the removal of all our biohazardous and medical waste and animal carcasses are incinerated.

  • Animal Waste (faeces) is collected on a daily basis from animal enclosures and the rehabilitation hospital; this is then put into our newly installed digester. Biological Enzymes are added on a weekly basis to break the matter down and eliminate odour.



Recyclable Waste : Tin/glass

667.38 kg

647.44 kg

Recyclable Waste : Paper/Cardboard

1044.73 kg

954.17 kg

Recyclable Waste : Plastic

775.95 kg

440.91 kg

Increase/Decrease Comment: 17.91% decrease in recyclable waste from 2016 to 2017

Water Management

One of the main focus areas in 2017 was water security, availability and quality. Tenikwa has no access to a municipal water supply system and is reliant on rain water storage, dams and furrow water.

  • Tenikwa has significantly increased its rainwater storage capacity and converted the Awareness Centre onto rainwater.

  • Several dams have also been cleared of papyrus which was choking the water systems.

  • The Marine Pool area has been completely overhauled with the re-lining of the penguin pool and upgrading of the areas surrounding the pool. This will allow more efficient water filtration and cleaning and reduce the need to change the water too often as well as excessive use of chemicals.

  • Following the devastating fires in June, the fire-readiness of the facility was evaluated, and additional fire-fighting equipment in terms of a Bakkie-Sakkie, Backpack Tanks, Protective Gear was purchased.

  • Extensive firebreaks were cleared around the perimeter fence and substantial amount of fire-loading dead vegetation was removed from the property.

  • The Alien Management Program remains active to reduce alien vegetation on the property.



Water Consumption (L)

1 855 585

1 919 196

Water Consumption per Guest Head (L)



Increase/Decrease Comment : 3.43% increase on water consumption, however there was a 6.49% increase in visitors to Tenikwa. Management of water resulted in a consumption per guest head reduction.

Community Engagement

Tenikwa provides a wildlife rehabilitation facility for res nullius animals and birds along The Garden Route who are abandoned, injured or in need of veterinary care. All admissions are treated free of charge. Assistance and advice is provided to the community who are dealing with damage causing animals. Our website has been redeveloped with the emphasis on providing information, guidance and direction for various human-wildlife conflict situations as well as advice for people encountering injured wildlife.

Rehabilitation Services offered to the community



Animals/Birds admitted to our Rehabilitation Facilities



Our long term affiliation with Natures Valley Trust, Cape Nature, South African National Parks and Birdlife South Africa delivered great success stories. Workshops hosted by Tenikwa for Wildlife First Responder Training was well supported by these organizations and the public.

Stakeholder Training 2017



First Responder Training (Wildlands)

4 May 2017


First Responder Training (CapeNature)

11 May 2017


First Responder Training (SANParks)

14 Nov 2017


The generous donation of clothes, shoes and games from one of our clients was the start of a very fruitful partnership between Tenikwa and the Kurland EduCare Centre. This centre is based in Kurland Village and accommodates on average 110 pupils from the disadvantaged community. The passion of staff is seen in their dedication by going the extra mile and buying supplies out of their own pocket at times so that the children can at least have one decent meal a day – for most, the only meal for the day.

Working with our suppliers, Tenikwa was able to assist the Centre with donations of food and beverage, cleaning materials, IT equipment and fundraising efforts.

The highlights for the Social Responsibility Department was working with the Kurland Edu Care on their annual Christmas pageant as well as the Bitou Family Care and CrossFitt Plett to make their “Blessing in a Box” campaign a success. This initiative aims to give kids from the Kurland Community a gift and something tasty to eat and drink on the day. The excitement on the faces of these kids when receiving gifts and singing along to Christmas Carols were overwhelming for Tenikwa. The event targeted 400 children and ended up catering for just short of 700.

Tenikwa has a purchasing policy which encourages the support of local businesses, environmentally responsible products and small entrepeneurs. We monitor our own purchases in an effort to make our own spend count in the right places.


Rand Value

Tenikwa spend invested in local businesses, environmentally responsible products and small entrepreneurship


R 2 311 350.00

Tenikwa believes that one of the core challenges facing conservation is overcoming the high levels of unemployment in South Africa. For this reason, Tenikwa does not offer a traditional volunteer program – preferring to employ permanent staff members to take care of the basic needs of the animals and skilled staff to work in the rehabilitation hospital. On our Vet Skills Program we consider requests for work experience for students studying towards a veterinary degree or diploma. Tenikwa provides a unique training ground for these students to gain experience not only in wildlife rehabilitation but also animal husbandry practices. Participants to the Vet Skills Program cover the basic costs of their upkeep and where possible donate a small amount of money per day towards the costs of the rehabilitation facility.

Staff Welfare

We engaged with various other stakeholders and organisations on staff welfare projects such as the Western Cape Dept. Health (Mobile Clinic Division) and the South African National Blood Service. During the visit of the Mobile Clinic Division our staff was encourage to go for screening and were educated on the dangers and treatment for TB, Diabetes, HIV/AIDS and STD’s. In doing these sessions, we were able to facilitate help for staff and their families that needed counselling. As important as these sessions are for the welfare of staff, it also helps with productivity of staff whilst on duty.

The work we do at Tenikwa goes beyond the call of duty and we are a dedicated team that works tirelessly to make sure that every client coming through our doors receive an outstanding experience. An experience that is conservation based, educational and ethical; friendly and not harmful to any of our animals or visitors. For this reason “A Night with the Stars” in celebration of Tenikwa’s 10 Years in Conservation was held and having CapeNature staff in attendance made this a special celebration. We are also proud to have awarded our Founders with an award for their unwavering support and unapologetic involvement in wildlife conservation and awareness, during the celebration.

Wildlife Rehabilitation

Undoubtedly, the highlight of 2017 was the first release of African Penguins in Plettenberg Bay for more than 10 years. In partnership with Natures Valley Trust and Birdlife SA, five endangered African Penguins that had been rehabilitated at Tenikwa were released at Look Out Beach. A second release later in the year followed on November 11th 2017. This release was attended by more than 500 spectators and received international media attention when the video was featured on National Geographic’s Facebook page and shared with their 45 million fans.

Turtles admission over the last few years have increased and through the collaborative efforts of CemAir, Tenikwa has been able to speedily get hatchlings through to Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town.

The devastating fires that swept through Knysna and Plettenberg Bay in June had a profound impact on wildlife. As expected, the delayed effect that these fires had on wildlife was experienced after the disaster when we started seeing a sharp increase in juvenile bird admissions, likely to the impact of habitat loss and food availability. Among the admissions we had baby tortoises that will be released in 2018 onto reserves whose tortoise populations decimated.

In December 2017, we had, for the first time in 10 years of rehabilitation, admitted two large rock monitors. The first one was driven over deliberately by a taxi. This was witnesses by our vet, who stopped and rescued the lizard and administered life-saving intervention. A week later, another lizard was admitted with similar injuries from the Willowmore area. After weeks of care and being kept under close observation, both these two lizards were successfully released.

Rehabilitation Admissions



African Penguins



Other Marine Birds



Marine Mammals



Marine Turtles



Raptors and Owls



Other Terrestrial Birds



Small Mammals



Large Mammals



Tortoises and other reptiles



Exotic animals and birds



Conservation Awareness

Advocating conservation awareness has always been the core function of Tenikwa’s awareness programs and we are mindful of the increased contentiousness of wild animals in captive environments. In January 2017 we modified our facility to allow our cheetahs to walk harness-free during their daily enrichment program, and at the same time, took the opportunity to re-evaluate some of the remaining programs which allowed a small element of controlled animal contact. From January 2017, guests were no longer allowed contact with the cheetahs during the walks, and later in the year we completely eliminated guest contact with the cats and Hazard Category 1 animals according to the ABTA Animal Welfare Guidelines. We were honored to receive our Fair Trade Tourism certification after a comprehensive and in-depth audit during August 2017, which validated that we are aligned with more than just the minimum and ethical practices and strive towards best practice.

In order for Tenikwa to receive the Fair Trade Tourism certification, we had to comply with 100% of FTT’s mandatory certification criteria. This accreditation was not only a milestone for us, but, recognition of the work we do as a Non Profit Organisation with the community; in our rehabilitation facility and our demonstrated support and contribution to biodiversity.

Through Tourism and the Conservation based programs that we run at Tenikwa, we have reached 24534 people in 2017 exposing them to environmentally friendly practices and issues facing our wildlife in South Africa. This represents a 6.49% increase from 2016 to 2017 in visitors support.

2018 and the way forward

At the heart of Tenikwa’s philosophy lies a balance between providing a meaningful guest experience which imparts a conservation message whilst providing a sustainable form of funding for the rehabilitation associated activities of the organisation through tourism. The objectives of Tenikwa are carried out by a dedicated team of 31 permanent staff members. This inextricably ties us to the fluctuating and ever-changing demands in the tourism industry, with factors sometimes beyond our control which affect the flow of tourists into The Garden Route. We will need to become more buoyant in terms of cost management and more efficient in terms of our internal processes, and we expect 2018 to be a year of regrouping, assessing our tourist offering and ensuring that our focus remains on making a material difference to the wildlife along The Garden Route.