Guest reviews on the Photographic Adventure program at Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre in Plettenberg Bay

We have been on many safaris (Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa) and we really enjoyed our experience at the Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Center. Our guide Las was amazing, we learned a lot from him about the life of the animals in general and especially at Tenikwa. We came so close to the lions, leopard and cheetahs and all the other animals. We booked the 3,5 hour photo tour and it was totally worth it. We were alone with our guide and Las was so patient and we had so much time for taking great pictures. We can truly recommend a visit, its so worth it. Thank you to everyone at Tenikwa‘s for making this a special day for us!

Date of Experience: October 2019

Amazing Experience

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

Restored our faith in the concept of ethical wildlife sanctuaries and their ability to be beneficial to wildlife and educational for people. Enjoyable and enriching experience!
We left feeling incredibly positive.
Special thank you to our guide Sizwe!

Date of Experience: June 2018

Photography tour

Rescued big cats and other animals location. Great photo opportunity and nice to know that you are helping the animals. Tour guide was excellent, we did the private photo tour for 2 hours and it was well worth it.

Date of experience: June 2018

Great photo opportunities

My husband is a keen photographer Mthobisi was our guide- he was truly excellent , patient & knowledgeable and returning to tease out the reluctant cheetah for my husband to photograph. It was a well paced tour & his skills enabled my husband to take photographs of all the big cats that we saw.
Everyone on site was helpful from the catering staff upwards. highly recommended trip
Do wear layers, it was cold first thing as mearly morning trip. Refreshments are available & easy, safe parking
Thank you Mthobisi

Date of experience: September 2017

Private photographic tour

“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

“Fantastic Place for Animal Lovers”

This Wildlife Awareness Centre is absolutely Brilliant. We spent three quarters of a day there and that was not long enough. The whole set up is amazing. We did a Photographic Tour for two hours. Our ranger was excellent. His knowledge of the animals and their backgrounds was first class. His obvious love for the animals was inspiring. We had been promised great photographic opportunities and we were not disappointed. Their work with injured and orphaned animals and birds is heart lifting and some of the injuries to these poor animals brought tears to my eyes. I strongly urge every animal lover to visit this centre to appreciate exactly what they are trying to achieve. It manages to be fun and informative at the same time, not always easy to accomplish

TripAdvisor 17 March

“Trip Highlight!”

Having read about the Tenikwa Wildlife Centre in the Lonely Planet Guide to South Africa, we had to visit, and were not disappointed; this is a MUST DO attraction. We booked onto a 2-hour photographic tour, with friendly and knowledgable guide Msizi, and had plenty of opportunity, 1:1, to view the big, and not so big, cats up close and personal, and to get some memorable photos to remember the trip with. A really good facility doing valuable work with rescued wildlife.

TripAdvisor 25 March

“Photographic Tour”

We did the photographic tour with Joel, I would recommend it as you go into the enclosures with a guide and are able to take great photos of the cats. Joel was very knowledgeable about the cats and made the tour very enjoyable.

TripAdvisor 23 April