It is with a sense of achievement that we publish our Responsible Tourism Report for 2018, highlighting the improvements and initiatives during the year, reflecting the continued commitment towards responsible tourism principles.

Our first year of Fair Trade Tourism accreditation has brought a renewed commitment towards responsible tourism principles. We have risen to the challenges faced, as only the Tenikwa team can, adapting to the changing tourism environment whilst maintaining continuity and business sustainability.

Fair Trade Tourism released their Captive Animal Guidelines and we were pleased to see that Tenikwa achieved a very high level of compliancy with only a few adjustments to make.

The idea to develop a replacement program for the Cheetah Walk was initiated in 2017 with our cheetahs entering a more sedentary phase of their life-age, and this together with industry pressure resulted in the conceptual design for the new program called “Wild Ways”. The logistics and tour content was formulated once we were satisfied that we had a program that would be enjoyable, educational and value for money for the guests, but also allow the cheetahs their time out and meet the expectations of the tourism industry for a responsible program.

It was important to incorporate local history, cultural and environmental principles into the program, and we achieved this with the concept and construction of the walkways, boma and lapa, and tour content, utilising the kraaling techniques of the Zulu tribes to keep their live stock safe from predators, and a nature walk showcasing the biodiversity of the Cape Floral Fynbos on the property.

The program is evidence of Tenikwa’s continual strive towards sustainability and our willingness to adapt to change without compromising our animal husbandry principles.

Our journey towards sustainability as an organisation:

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

In 2012, we formalised our journey towards sustainability by becoming an accredited and audited silver-level Greenline member of the HeritageSA program.

2013-2014 saw the consolidation our activities into core objectives as an organisation. Some ineffective programs were discontinued and we launched the successful EcoKidz Family Challenge, delivering a value-added product with specific conservation objectives.

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. Significant strides towards reducing our energy consumption were made and our overall conservation efforts and holistic approach to supporting biodiversity have been recognised in various spheres.

2016 saw a concerted effort to upgrade our rehabilitation facilities with the complete overhaul of our marine pool and adapting our facilities to the changing conservation needs of The Garden Route. Conventional lighting was fully converted to LED and we improved our rainwater holding capacity significantly.

In 2017, celebrating our 10th Anniversary in Conservation Awareness, our efforts were focussed to rapidly adapt to meet global animal welfare best practice and evolving trends in tourism in terms of captive wildlife. Faced with an increasing drought situation, water security was high priority.

Conservation awareness is one of the core pillars of the Tenikwa conservation philosophy and we have reached 22,184 guests in 2018 exposing them to responsible tourism practices as well as conservation issues in South Africa.


To thank the staff for their effort over the busy season, we held a “Celebrate your culture” braai for the staff. The organisation structure was changed in June to incorporate an experienced management couple based on the property. The mobile clinic from Kurland Village was made available to the staff periodically for primary health care needs. The employee numbers averaged 30 permanent staff members for the year. Tenikwa does not make use of volunteers to assist with animal husbandry or rehabilitation preferring to contribute towards employment in the area. In June, we assessed and adjusted staff salaries to be in line with the 2018 Minimum Wages agreement for the hospitality industry.

The Vet Skills Program saw several veterinary students stay at Tenikwa and become exposed to dealing with wildlife injuries and rehabilitation protocols, and we trust that these skills will be useful in their future veterinary careers.

Wildlife Rehabilitation

372 admissions were received in 2018. Tenikwa has developed a good working relationship with the various veterinary and conservation bodies that operate in The Garden Route, and work together to ensure that birds and animals in need are assessed, collected and transported.

Rehabilitation Services offered to the community



Animals/Birds admitted to our Rehabilitation Facilities



A breakdown of admissions reflect the biodiversity of the region:

African Penguins 67

Other marine birds 67

Marine Mammals 7

Marine Turtles 7

Raptors & Owls 3

Other terrestrial birds 147

Small Mammals 25

Large Mammals 8

Tortoises & Reptiles 39 * significant increase due to fires

Exotics 4

African Penguin Releases in conjunction with our conservation partners, provide a rare opportunity for us to involve the greater Plettenberg Bay community in our rehabilitation work. Not only does it serve as a reminder that African Penguins occur along our coastline and when they come ashore along The Garden Route, they are in need of assistance, it also provides an opportunity to expose the community to the work that Tenikwa does. In 2018, 8 African Penguin Release events were organised with a total of 40 penguins being released during the period. In total, 164 animals were released or held over for release in 2018.

Tenikwa hosted Two Oceans Aquarium’s turtle stranding workshop for authorities and NGO’s involved in conservation. The training session exposed attendees to stranding protocols and dealing effectively with strandings. Beside Tenikwa staff, 35 people attended the workshop, including staff from CapeNature, SANParks, Natures Valley Trust and Orca Foundation.

Energy Management

Improvements made during the year included the extension of our Leopard enclosure, the electrification of which is run by solar. The lion enclosure was also converted to solar. This, together with a concerted effort to reduce mainstream electricity demand on the property, resulted in a significant improvement in electricity costs.



Electricity consumption



Electricity spend



Electricity spend per guest head



Alternative energy spend



Waste Management

The arrangement we have with the a local company to collect our recyclable waste for recovery is working well. This year has seen a slight decrease in our recyclable waste. Staff are allowed to take recyclable waste for recycle recovery community projects:



Tin / Glass



Paper / Cardboard








Responsible Spend

Because we believe in supporting local, small and environmentally friendly businesses, we made extra effort this year to buy responsibly. Analysing our purchases, Tenikwa’s responsible spending equated to 38% of all spend.



Local/SMME/Environmentally friendly/Fair Trade spend



Water Management

Our investment in water catchment made in 2017 was put to good use in 2018, and we will continue to increase our storage capacity. There was an increase in rainwater usage in the marine pool, as african penguins now stay longer whilst they are being prepared for release, and water quality during this period had to be maintained.



Water Consumption in Litres



Water Consumption per guest head



Social Responsibility

Most of our social responsibility efforts were focused in developing a relationship with the Kurland Edu-Center in Kurland Village. In discussion with the principal on their needs, we arranged for our maintenance team to cut the grass in the play area on a regular basis. We also discussed the revitalising of their vegetable patch for the school to be self-sufficient and grow their own veggies, so the little ones can have a wholesome meal every day. We reached out to our suppliers, schools and guests, and through them were able to supply the following items to the creche:

100 puzzles and 30 story books

Soft toys and Toy sets

6kg crayons, 50 colouring pens, 50 kokis, 2 boxes of stationary

30 story books

R1500 worth of Educational supplies

Sweets and noodles

Gently used childrens clothing


Financial Management

It is important that Tenikwa operates with a conservative financial approach. Not only are we operating in a changing global and local environment with a tight economy, we have to ensure, as a registered rehabilitation centre, that there are contingency funds available to cover ecological disasters , such as oil spills, fires, etc.

Allocation of Expenses

2019 and the way forward

As South Africa struggles to remain competitive as a global and attractive tourist destination of choice, Tenikwa has had to deal with several hard-hitting challenges simultaneously. Not only has the impact of Day Zero in Cape Town had a ripple effect on tourism numbers along The Garden Route, Tenikwa has had to deal with the consequences of tour operators removing captive wildlife activities from scheduled tours until the industry produces self-regulation guidelines which have taken far too long to develop. As a non-profit organisation operating in a competitive tourism environment, Tenikwa continually has to balance a meaningful guest experience which imparts a conservation message whilst providing a sustainable form of funding for the rehabilitation associated activities of the organisation. The cost of constantly having to adapt and change our tourism offering has significantly increased our operating costs and this has to be dealt with in 2019 where tourism arrival projections are showing decline in most target markets. To this end, we foresee that 2019 will be a year in which we streamline high fixed costs and look for opportunities where we can develop longer-term income streams which will allow us to continue to be a meaningful and mindful employer in the area and carry out the conservation activities to meet the objectives of the organisation.


Each year, Tenikwa publishes our responsible tourism and annual sustainability report.  You can read all the reports from prior years by clicking on the link below