Here is a list of common questions which may help you with your decision making
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I stay at Tenikwa?
Yes! We have wonderful down-to-nature accommodation at Tenikwa! And we would love to host you! Have a look at our exciting new lion cabins for a romantic couples stay. Our Suites are ideal for families and an affordable Nature Break, and if you are looking for upmarket seclusion, find out more about the rooms in the Homestead which is the original home of the founders of Tenikwa
Do you offer dinner?
Yes, you can book dinner, either at reception before 12noon on the day or beforehand via emai when you do your booking.
What is check in time?
Check in is between 14h00 – 18h00. The access gate is closed thereafter. You will need to make arrangements beforehand if you expect to arrive after 18h00 so we can open the gate for you. No check ins after 22h00.
Can we leave the property at night?
Yes, each room has an access control token for the gate which you will receive when you check-in
Are there self-catering facilities?
The Lion Cabins have self-catering facilities and their own braai facilities. Rooms in the Homestead and the Suites units do not have self-catering facilities.
Are there braai facilities?
The Lion Cabins have their own braai facilities. We do have picnic braai stations in the gardens for overnight guests who stay in The Homestead or The Suites, but then you will need to bring your own equipment and utensils or hire them from us. We will do a braai dinner in the boma on request.
Are there bar facilities?
Can we pay by credit card?
Yep, Visa and MasterCards are accepted.
Can we get something to eat?
We have a coffee shop which offers refreshments and a selection of snacks and toasted sandwiches.
Do you cater for Vegetarians?
Yes. However, if you require a Vegan, Jain or other specific dietary requirement like glutose intolerant, please let us know and we will do every effort to accommodate your requirements. For overnight guests, please let us know special dietary requirements beforehand.
Are you open on Public Holidays?
Yes, we are open 365 days of the year
If I find an injured animal, can I bring it to Tenikwa?
Yes, we accept any injured or abandoned wildlife from the area
Why is there an age and height requirement on some of the Programs?
Why is there a height and age requirement on some of the programs?
Tenikwa continually reviews its safety policies in terms of the life-stage of the animals that are used for awareness programs. This is done to ensure that you have a safe experience and the animals are able to enjoy as much natural behaviour as possible in a captive environment. We also take into account, the natural instincts of the wild cats, and proactively seek to eliminate triggers which could lead to an unsafe situation. On some of our programs, we recommend a minimum age, like The Cats in Conservation program with a minimum age of 9 years, where we feel the maturity of the child plays a role in the opportunity to observe activities within the rehabilitation facilities which are in other circumstances off-limits to the public.
Is the Wild Cat Experience suitable for children?
Is the Wild Cat Experience suitable for children?
Yes. The Wild Cat Experience is suitable for children of all ages provided they are well behaved and kept under control by their parents. The content though is geared towards an adult/young adult audience. Although most of our enclosures have now been adapted to include walkways, we do enter the enclosures of one or two of the animals on the Wild Cat Experience. A minimum height requirement may be considered for safety reasons during this part of the program. If the child is small or restless, the guide may ask you to carry the child or remain outside the enclosure. Please respect the decision of the guide, it is for your family’s safety. Prams are allowed in walkways but not in enclosures and no toys are allowed to be carried by children into the enclosures. There is a height restriction on children entering the walkway within the cheetah enclosures, and your guide may ask one parent to remain in the fully enclosed safety walkway with young children during this part of the program.
If you are a family with children, we recommend you consider the EcoKidz Family Challenge which is also offered daily at regular intervals. This program is geared towards children with a specific focus on challenging the child’s mind to developing an awareness of several conservation themes and comes with educational material and a Pledge Certificate for the child and is ideal for families with children between the ages of 6-12 years.
What is the difference between The Wild Cat Experience and The EcoKidz Family Challenge
What is the difference between The Wild Cat Experience and The EcoKidz Family Challenge
The Wild Cat Experience is a group tour with conservation-based information provided on an adult level, whilst The EcoKidz Family Challenge is a private tour and the information is remodelled to specifically target the age-group 6-12 years. (The interactive nature of guiding by the Tenikwa guides during this program, makes it enjoyable for parents and grannies, too). Educational material is also included on The EcoKidz Family Challenge for each participating child (including the ones younger than 6years)
If you are a family with children under the age of 6 years, or with children over the age of 14 years, we recommend that you select The Wild Cat Experience.
How fit do you have to be to do the Wild Cat Experience?
Although this is a walking guided tour, the pace is slow and there are frequent stops and places where you can sit down. If you have a problem being on your feet for any length of time we are quite happy for you to split the tour in two and spend a bit of time inbetween relaxing at Chesters Coffee Shop. The Wild Cat Experience is wheelchair friendly.
How fit do you have to be to do the Forest and Fur Combo
The forest walk is more a stroll actually and is approximately 2 hours over relatively flat terrain, however there are some gradients. Anyone with an average fitness will be able to cope with the walk comfortably. We do recommend though that it is not suitable for children under 4 years, and the terrain is not suitable for wheelchairs.
When is the best time to do a tour?
Since most of the cats are nocturnal or crepuscular, they are more active in the early morning and late afternoon, preferring to take their quiet time during the heat of the day. So for a really interactive tour, come for the first tour at 09h00. We are normally quieter in the morning than the afternoon from a visitor perspective, so if you want to avoid the busy time, come for a morning tour. The animals are normally fed after 15h30, so if you particularly want to see their feeding, come in the late afternoon where you may get the opportunity, although they do tend to be quite distracted in anticipation for their food, which means that you will not get nice, quiet relaxed photographs of them in the natural vegetation.
Can we still do a tour if it is raining?
Yes, all our programs are all-weather programs. We provide rain jackets for our guests on tour.
Captive Wildlife Facility Questions
Can I touch the cats?
Tenikwa does not allow guests to touch our Wild Cats or other wildlife during any program. At Tenikwa we offer our visitors the opportunity to see our South African indigenous wild cats in large natural enclosures. On Tour with our trained guides, you will get reasonably close to the animals providing you with the opportunity to take excellent pictures of the cats, and if for some reason, they cannot be seen clearly, you always have the option to request to revisit the enclosure with the guide once the tour is finished. We also encourage you to take photo’s of the cats, not of you with the cats!!!
When Tenikwa first started many years ago, we did allow limited animal contact programs but as the cats got older, we constantly reviewed and withdrew the level of contact permitted. Several years ago, we made the decision to withdraw all animal contact programs from our offering.
Can I have a pictureof myself with one of the cats?
Tenikwa does not allow selfies with the animals during any of the programs. We do have a fantastic Instagram board on the grass outside Chesters Coffee Shop, where you can take pictures of your visit to Tenikwa and post it on Social Media.
Are we allowed to take photographs?
Yes, you are most welcome to take photographs of the cats and wildlife whilst you are at Tenikwa, but please respect and adhere to our Photographic Etiquette :
- Take photos of the cats not with the cats
- No flash photography is allowed.
- The animals will not be posed, restrained in any way, or forced to behave in an unnatural way for photographs.
- We ask that you do not take selfies during the program. You may not separate from the group for photos during the programs.
- The guide is there to provide knowledge and ensure your safety. He/She is not there to take photographs, and is not allowed to move back out of the picture frame as he will not be in a position to intervene if an unsafe situation presents itself.
- Camera straps must be held and not left dangling.
- Do not crouching down with your camera in the walkways. This may be seen as confrontational behaviour to the cats.
- Do not stray from the group whilst taking photographs on tour.
- It is not safe for very small infants to be in close proximity to wild animals, so parents, please do not place your child in a risk position just to get a photograph.
If your main purpose for visiting Tenikwa, is to get photographs, we recommend The Private Tour or The Cats In Conservation Program instead of the normal Wild Cat Experience, giving you ample and a private experience to take photographs at your leisure.
Do you still offer Cheetah Walks?
No, we no longer offer any programs that include walking with cheetahs.
In March 2019, we replaced all programs that incorporated walking with our cheetahs with a program called “Wild Ways”. This program allowed guests to observe the cheetahs during their daily walk from within the safety of a boma and extended walkway. Due to the impact of CoVid, this program was withdrawn in March 2020, and we no longer offer any form of program where the cheetahs walk outside their enclosure.
As an alternative, we recommend The Forest and Fur combo which is a guided forest walk, picnic and wildlife tour
Are the animals we see going to be released?
No. The animals that you will see on tour at Tenikwa are mainly captive-bred and not able to be released. Some were born in the wild and came to Tenikwa through the nature authorities but were not able to be released for various reasons but mostly were born in captivity, came to Tenikwa as juveniles and are not allowed to be released. We do have animals at Tenikwa which are undergoing rehabilitation with the intention of releasing them, but these you will not see during your program because they must stay wild for them to survive when they are released.
If your intention for visiting Tenikwa is to specifically learn more about our rehabilitation work, please consider The Cats in Conservation program which is an exclusive full day program with exposure to our rehabilitation work. This program must be pre-booked as we only allow one booking per day (two time slots are available for you to chose from)
Do you breed animals at Tenikwa?
No, we have no active breeding programs at Tenikwa. Our main purpose is to raise awareness of the issues surrounding animals in the wild, and to raise money to fund our rehabilitation program. The animals that are used in the awareness program are either sterilised, separated or kept in environments which are not conducive to breeding.
Is Tenikwa a Wildlife Sanctuary and/or a Rehabilitation Centre?
We don’t like to refer to ourselves as a Wildlife Sanctuary, but rather a Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre. There are several reasons for this, and this is just our opinion as the word sanctuary has become so muddled and used by everyone.
We are definitely a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre which accepts injured or abandoned wild animals into temporary captivity to treat and prepare for release back to the wild in conjunction with our nature authorities. We hold permits in order to be able to do this. But our Wildlife Rehabilitation facilities are not open to the public for visits because these animals must not become complacent to humans.
We are also an Awareness Centre because the animals you, as a guest will see, are not rehabilitation patients. Tenikwa has a separate permit to keep wild animals in captivity for educational purposes. These animals are mainly captive bred or reared in captivity, specifically sourced through surplus zoo stocks when Tenikwa started some 15 years, to be able to offer conservation-based wildlife tours and raise awareness about the issues facing our wild cats of South Africa and how to mitigate against human-wildlife conflict with our local wildlife. The tours are also the prime source of funding to be able to sustain Tenikwa as a non-profit organisation and to fund the free rehabilitation work we do. So our objective as an Awareness Centre is to raise conservation awareness (and also provide life-time care for the animals at Tenikwa), whilst the objective of a “true” sanctuary is to provide a safe haven for animals that have been compromised in the wild (like for example, a vervet sanctuary, or a sun-bear sanctuary)
Whilst the majority of the animals you will see on tour at Tenikwa are captive-bred wild cats of South Africa, we also have some local wildlife that were born in the wild but are also not releasable. These animals have been accepted at Tenikwa from our nature authorities, mostly where they have been confiscated from members of the public who have kept them illegally as pets. So, I guess, that makes us a sanctuary for these animals as well.
Where do the animals comes from that we will see on tour?
When the founders of Tenikwa wanted to set up a rehabilitation facility for wildlife of The Garden Route, they consulted with the nature authorities as to the best way to set up the facility. It was recommended to keep the rehabilitation side completely separately from the public-facing side which would provide the funding for the rehabilitation centre and two separate permits were issued – one to be able to rehabilitate animals for release and two) to acquire and keep animals in captivity for educational purposes. At that time (15 years ago), the policy in the Western Cape was that only regulated zoos or game reserves could obtain permits to keep wild animals, and since Tenikwa was not a game reserve where the animals would be free-roaming and able to find their own food, Tenikwa was required to join the Pan Africa Zoos, Aquariums and Botanical Gardens Association (PAAZAB). Through PAAZAB and associated breeding facilities, we were able to source surplus zoo stock which formed the original core 7 species of wild cats of South Africa that Tenikwa started our awareness programs with.
Our cats are now middle-age to entering their last years of life. They will remain at Tenikwa for their remaining days, and we will not be replacing them when it is time to say good-bye. Until then, we remain committed and dedicated to ensuring that they have a wonderful, quality of life and good health at Tenikwa that they know as their home.
Some of the animals you see on tour have been confiscated from members of the public who were holding these animals illegally. These animals come to us through the nature authorities.
If we haven’t been able to answer your question, please contact us via this form and we will get back to you with the answers