Guest reviews on their experience at Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre in Plettenberg Bay

the guided tour was very enjoyable, we were a small group of seven people, the guide was knowledgeable and very friendly and we were able to see many African cats and other wildlife at close range. There is as well a nice little cafe and a shop on site.

wonderful experience to see African wild cats

We only had two days on the Garden Route between Port Elizabeth and Knysna and this was definitely a highlight.

Aware that so many “sanctuaries” are not true rescues or sanctuaries, we were wary going in. I am delighted to review that Tenikwa is truly legitimate and one of the most amazing animal sanctuaries I’ve ever been to. The sanctuary has two primary missions. The first is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release back into the wild wildlife ranging from birds and sea mammals to turtles, warthogs, meerkats, and wild cats. Human interaction is forbidden with these animals so that they can be released back into the wild. This part of the centre is not visible by visitors and I respect that immensely. One thing we’ve learned is that wildlife that is exposed to humans cannot be successfully released back into the wild so I was excited and encouraged that places like this truly exist.

The 2nd mission is to educate the public on threatened, endangered, and at-risk wildlife by exposing visitors to a wide-range of animals that permanently live at the centre and therefore exposure to humans does not put them at risk.

We chose the private guide for a more intimate tour. Our guide was Mthobisi and he was fantastic! The tour lasted about 2 hours and included a light lunch at the end. The tour started with meerkats and warthogs and progressed to African penguins and several large bird species before moving on to the cats, which are the highlight. It was a cool and cloudy day so we almost had the place to ourselves and because of the cool, cloudy weather, the animals were active and very visible, except for the African Cat, it was a bit more elusive a lot like a house cat. The caracals and servals were very active (about 6 each) and we actually entered the enclosure to the servals for a more up-close encounter (again, I must stress that touching is prohibited, which is actually a very good thing).

Up next was a leopard and he was stunning. The white lion and lioness were perched on the top of a knob, at first sleeping, and then attentive to our presence. Finally, the cheetah came running to the fence line, pacing and purring so loud it could be heard up to 25 feet away. She was within inches of us and an absolute gorgeous creature (again no touching!).

The centre is a true sanctuary that rescues and releases hundreds of wildlife each year back to the wild or permanently houses. Be aware that some “sanctuaries” are actually breeding centers for sale to private hunters so do your research whenever booking these. Also, touching encounters are generally bad and should not be supported but there are exceptions – again do your research to ensure support of ethical centers.

Tenikwa staff is very friendly and the guides are amazingly informed. Oh! and the pet cat in the reception is quite special and adorable. If you are looking for an intimate experience with African wildlife within an ethical and responsible rescue, then this is the place for you!

Absolutely recommend this place and I promise you will not be disappointed. Please support their awesome mission.

Date Experienced: May 2019

Initimate, Awesome and Ethical Wildlife Sanctuary

“Tenikwa Wildlife Reserve worth a visit”.

We only ever visit animals that are in danger and need a good home to be looked after. We have visited an elephant nature reserve in Thailand so thought we would do Tenikwa whilst on the Garden Route. It turned out to be well worth it.
Our guide “Ash” was excellent, very knowledgeable and helpful – thank you.
Ash took us on our private tour of the animals and explained the job of the reserve. We spent about 90 minutes there and thoroughly enjoyed it. You get really close to the animals to see them in their environment. There is no touching of the animals allowed.
Keep up the excellent work of informing people about endangered animals.

Visited February 2017
TripAdvisor February 2017

“The best Big Wild Cats Sanctuary in South Africa”

I am an avid wildlife photographer and I have visited Tenikwa many times to join the photographic tour. Tenikwa is in a class of its own. Great care is taken to ensure that the animals there are kept in enclosures which give them privacy, companionship and ample vegetation to create the feeling of “nature surrounding”. The first introduction to your tour is a short but entertaining video to give you some insight and history of the animals there. The photographic tour is wonderful. In some instances you are allowed into the enclosures (excluding the leopard and the lions) to take some more close-up shots. The guides are always good. They can tell you anything and everything about each different “big cat” you meet on your tour, be it about the species or one or two of the animals themselves. These animals are definitely not circus animals and are semi-wild. They are treated with great respect and visitors are expected to do so as well. There are also other tours such as walking with the cheetahs etc. For refreshment there is a coffee shop and for the shopper a curio shop with some wonderful items. The love and respect for the inhabitants of Tenikwa are well reflected in the manner in which they are treated, respected and revered. Many are rescue animals and all are ambassadors for their species. Wildlife awareness is emphasized and taught. Yet when leaving there one has the distinct feeling that you have really seen, and have lived an experience with the Big Cats of South Africa. I personally love Tenikwa!!!!

TripAdvisor January 2017

“Wonderful experience with wonderful guides”

Having visited Tenikwa on my first trip to South Africa 2 years ago, I was more than happy at the chance to visit a second time. This centre is perfect for big cat lovers and people who are conscious of the welfare of such animals, rather than only caring about getting that perfect selfie. Tenikwa really looks after their animals and the whole experience is very informative and designed to educate visitors as well as provide an enjoyable experience. We came by late afternoon for the general tour and then back the next morning for a sunrise walk with the cheetahs, which was a real highlight. Being able to walk alongside them, free of reigns or leads, and watch them behave and play as they would do, is a delight. Our guides, Mfundo, Cloud and Joel were excellent, very friendly, and knew everything there was to know about the animals. Mound in particular, as he also took us on the general tour the day before, was a truly wonderful guide.
I would highly recommend this centre for animal lovers on any visit to the Western Cape!

Visited March 2017
TripAdvisor March 2017

“Experience of a lifetime!!!”

I have loved big cats since I was little so I had high expectations of this place. My expectations were well surpassed. If you want to learn about animal conservation and support the amazing work they do here, you MUST go.
Our guide was Ash. He was so passionate about all the animals in the Sanctuary. Not just the cats. This is clearly not just a job for him.
We did the wild cat experience with the cheetah walk. It was unbelievable to be so close to these truly beautiful animals.
Was also had the privilege of chatting to Karen who provides direct support to the animals. We wish Thandi all the best in her recovery.
The restaurant also does great food!

Visited April 2017
TripAdvisor April 2017

“The Tenikwa Cat Awareness Centre is brilliant”

The chance to get up close with caracels, lions, servals, African wild cats, cheetahs and leopards is not to be missed. Our guides, Peter and Patrick gave us lots of really useful and interesting information. Thee Tenikwa Centre is a must-see location. Don’t miss it!

Visited May 2017
TripAdvisor May 2017

“Extraordinary Experience with Passionate Professionals”

First of all, Tenikwa and our tour deserves 10 points. The work being done here and what you learn is unbelievable and all the people are committed to its mission. We felt honored to be part a day at Tenikwa.

Now regarding our tour, the walk with the the cheetah, it was over the top! Our guide Ash was so knowledgeable and caring he thought ahead of everyone’s needs, ours and the cheetah. He started by first showing us a short film explaining a few safety precautions and information about the cheetah.

Our walk began along with his assistant Peter who worked with Ash in bringing the cheetah out in the specially enclosed area which was several acres in size. The pair worked in tandem, Peter typically ahead of the cheetah and Ash and ourselves just a few feet behind him. We walked for over an hour, sometimes we had to jog to keep up For short periods. Periodically the cheetah would just lay down and roll in the dirt to. mark his territory, or take a drink of water from a pond.

Peter was fabulous taking our cameras from us and getting incredible photos for us in addition to the ones we took ourselves.

There are barely any words to describe being so close to this magnificent cat.

Later in the morning, After complimentary tea/coffee and a muffin, we toured the other big cats of Africa with Ash’s other assistant Patrick,and saw two incredible white lions, a leopard that was above our heads resting, and more beauties!

We were very grateful to all the extpertise these gentleman shared with us during our visit. Our only regret was not having more time to have more experiences. They offer an array of great tours, all very educational. It was also good to hear the fee for the tours supports Tenikwa.

Visited May 2017
TripAdvisor May 2017


This was a highlight of our 3 weeks in southern Africa. Had a chance to walk with Cheetahs that are wild!! Mfundo Ash-Sizwe was a wonderful guide that made a terrifying experience a highlight. We were one if ,6 people that walk with Cheetahs 2 times per day to enhance their lives. The roam free we followed their lead. Amazing. Bravo to this center that rescues these animals.

Visited May 2017
TripAdvisor May 2017

“Inspirational Place!!”

Our sunset Cheetah Walk was one of the highlights of our visit to South Africa. To be up close to two majestic beautiful animals was a dream come true. The walk is all about the cheetahs as you are joining them on their walk and we felt very honoured to be part of it. There are no leads and you simply follow the cheetahs at their pace. At no time did we feel unsafe and had three wonderful guides with us – Msizi, Mfundo and Patrick, who are very knowledgable and passionate about the animals. There was plenty of photo opportunities on the walk. This is an amazing centre which is doing some much in raising awareness of conservation issues in South Africa and in rehabilitating animals. An amazing experience was had by everyone and fantastic memories were made. We hope to be back one day!!

TripAdvisor May 2017