Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary
Part of the South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance (SAASA), Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary offers an award winning experience which has been heard of world wide.
Their programme mission is to help build awareness for the various cat species.
Over the years we had heard about the experience at Jukani but it had not tickled our fancy. I guess the fortunate, spoilt life we had lived with witnessing the beautiful animals in the wild we didn’t want to see them in a different environment.
However with the purchase of a ticket to experience the Birds Of Eden and Monkeyland, we thought why not?
To say it was was worth it does not even come close.
Not A Zoo
Our misconceptions of Jukani were embarrassing to say the least.
It is professional set up as a programme for rehabilitation alongside building awareness for the car species.
The variety of cats were impressive and understanding their stories in life and how some were being extinct so quickly was concerning.
There was a variety of cats at Jukani, including;
- Tigers (white, siberian, bengal)
- Lion (tawny and white)
This is just a small list of some of the animals available. There are various others as well and throughout the whole experience we gain more knowledge in an hours guided walk that you could learn in a week at school.
Animals From All Walks Of Life
Listening to the stories of some of the animals and how they had been brought up in a circus or other walks of life, it was such an emotional experience.
Standing there in front of them you received a greater understanding of how they were mistreated and some of the good that Jukani were doing.
If only others would visit Jukani to begin to understand these animals further.
We even managed to see one Lion who could not walk straight where the original owners had beat him on a regular basis.
As already mentioned the whole experience was very educational. We were fortunate enough to be led by an expert in the field who felt very strongly about the animals.
We learnt about their habitats, past, present and future restrictions for some of the animals.
Alongside this, we came away refreshed with further knowledge of how we can help.
Our Tour Guide
We were fortunate enough to be led by Bert a local who had been brought up on a Game Farm knowing just how special these cats were.
He offered a very knowledgeable insight to all the animals including an amazing experience watching him call the Caracal as it followed him.
Richard Branson Himself
Ironically I am currently reading Richard Branson’s Autobiography as we speak so hearing his name mentioned raised my ears as if I should have been in the Caracal enclosure.
From what was not mentioned in his book was his kindness in helping fly a plane out to George with an injured Lion that was found at tied up abroad. A kind lady purchased the Lion and with the help of Richard Branson they transferred it to Jukani.
The whole experience isn’t a long one and can be done in a morning. There are recommended times for feeding but check this before visiting.
For us the guided tour was the most highlighted factor of the trip. We learnt so much and came away with more knowledge for some of these amazing animals.
Lack Of Photography
Sadly due to the enclosures, photography was not the easiest, and on top of that we were in so much awe as we listened to the great tour guide.
So it is something we advise you see for yourselves rather than experience it through photos… They do not do it justice.
Situated in The Crags, Plettenberg Bay… Jukani is most certainly somewhere we would recommend visiting.
It isn’t your usual rehab facility, it is both informative, inspiring and interesting to say the least!