Big cats treated with dignity and respect
Every now and then when you visit a country you happen upon a place that leaves you with lasting memories and warm fuzzies. The Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary was one such place for me.
We stopped off at Jukani on the way to Oudtshoorn. After our Addo Safari adventure we wanted to get a taste of more animals and really liked the sound of visiting a place that looks after the animals more than their bank accounts.
Jukani didn’t disappoint! Their sanctuary is home to big cats such as male lions, lionesses, cheetahs, tigers, leopard’s, jaguars, pumas, caracals, serval cats and other wildlife species such as zebra, wild dog, springbuck, zorilla (my favorite!), honey badgers, raccoons and various snake species (which I personally skipped for personal and obvious reasons!).
What truly sets it apart though is the fact that they focus on conservation education and specifically the plight of large predators in captivity, in South Africa and all over the world. Too often zoo’s, circuses and humans have these animals to show them off as attractions and unfortunately too often treated just as that, attractions, not living creatures with needs or rights.
That said, visiting Jukani is not just about viewing their amazing big cats. It’s also an educational experience with their guides who take you on an incredible tour of the sanctuary and introduce you to all the sanctuary inhabitants, tell you their histories and give you a greater appreciation of the animals plight.
Did I mention that Jukani is also the home of the viral social media sensation Spirit the black leopard?
I didn’t manage to take any photos of this gorgeous creature but here are the videos that made him famous.
And a follow up of how he’s doing
Why you should you add them to your Itinerary?
While traveling I try to visit as many sanctuaries as I can, sure doing all the touristy things is great but I like to walk away knowing that
A) I gave something back to the country/city I visited and
B) Sure the Disney’s of the world are great and definitely fun places to go for a day but when you walk away it’s just that, sanctuaries on the other hand have a way of staying with you, changing your perspective on the world one moment at a time.