Drakenstein Lion Park (Between Paarl & Stellenbosch)
The Drakenstein Lion Park, started in 1995 and only 30 minutes from Cape Town, is a lifetime home offered by Paul Hart and his team to abused lions from all over the world. Usually victims to ill treatment in Eastern European Circuses or horrific conditions in the pet trade, these lions are given a chance to live out their lives on 50 acres in the Cape Winelands.
Usually two or three lions share a large enclosure, and there are plaques on the fences with the lions’ names and how they ended up in Drakenstein.
One can stay overnight in the park, in a well-appointed tented camp, have dinner under the African stars and enjoy a continental breakfast the next morning. Enjoy the lions at sunset, hear them roar at night and see the early morning antics without disturbance from day visitors.
It is not possible to pet the lion cubs, as this only happens when the cubs have been taken away from their mothers and is not how Drakenstein operates, where the lion welfare comes first. The park is not involved in commercial breeding or trade, and only works with animals that cannot be rehabilitated to the wild.
Feeding times are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 4pm, and you can see them getting restless as soon as they hear the quadbike with a cart full of chicken carcasses approaching. There’s great excitement then as the food is thrown over the fence, until each lion wanders off with their quarry to munch their way through their chicken dinner.
Some visitor comments
“I will never forget the lion’s roars vibrating through my body as we slept in the Ingonyama Tented Camp at the Drakenstein Lion Park. Paul Hart has achieved wonders at this sanctuary for rescued lions. It is truly a place of peace and safety for the King of the beasts. The integrity and honesty found there, I have never felt in any other place of its kind” – Wynter Worsthorne, AnimalTalk, UK.
“In a climate where South Africa’s lions and other rare animals are exploited mercilessly in captive conditions for commercial gain, genuine places of sanctuary are hard to find. We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to Drakenstein Lion Park for providing a safe-haven for lions rescued from canned hunting conditions, and we appeal for public support for this operation” – the Global White Lion Protection Trust.
“What a fantastic visit this was. How wonderful to see the obviously contented and well cared for lions” – Moira & Nicci Dennis, Cape Town.
“Excellent place. Lions are very lucky to have such good people looking out for them” – Anne Canavan, Wales.
“It’s so wonderful to see a place where these creatures may spend their days in safety and away from the public eye if they choose” – Penelope Rogers, Australia.
The Park is open daily from 09h30 to 17h00: (closed 25th December): Feeding Times are on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 16h00. Group Rates are available on request for pre-booked groups.
Address: Drakenstein Lion Park, Old Paarl Road (5km off the R44 on the way to Stellenbosch), Cape Winelands.
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