CapeTownMagazine.com

Panthera Africa Big Cat and Lion Sanctuary in Cape Town ...

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.
 
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

Panthera Africa Big Cat and Lion Sanctuary in Cape Town (Stanford)

The Western Cape gears up to welcome a new safe haven for rescued feline friends

Safeguarding the wellbeing of big cats isn’t just a profession for Lizaene Cornwall and Cathrine Nyquist, the two ladies behind Stanford’s new Panthera Africa sanctuary; it’s a calling. Both founders were bumbling along in business roles when they met the first feline loves of their lives through volunteer programmes, and the connection was so powerful and the urge to help so strong that they could do nothing but begin the journey that’s led them to the launch of this wildlife safe haven.

“They say that the animals pick you,” explains Cathrine, who hails from Norway and, for obvious reasons, likes to be called ‘Cat’, “and for both of us, there were particular lions that chose us, captured our hearts and shifted our whole direction.”

Because the centre, which is set to open officially on Friday, 3 April 2015, was born from the flutterings of the heart, its intentions are pure and the health and happiness of the rescued creatures is held as the number one priority. For this reason, Panthera Africa (the name refers to a particular genus of big cat species) is not a commercial tourist destination; it’s a true sanctuary that aims to provide captive-born lions, Bengal tigers, leopards, caracals, black-backed jackals and more with the most fulfilling life possible, and thus no breeding or trading or petting will ever happen here.

Tiger at Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary Cape Town

To make sure that the predators are content in their new “retirement home”, Lizaene and Cathrine chose a quiet, picturesque piece of land just outside the Overberg town of Stanford (just under two hours from Cape Town) as the site for the sanctuary – it’s dotted with fynbos and trees, blessed with beautiful mountain views and washed with plenty of sun and fresh air. Not to mention, the owners have put a lot of emphasis on continuously stimulating and challenging the cats through an enrichment programme that encourages them to play with obstacles, climb raised structures, explore odd smells and even hunt for hidden food.

Aside from caring for the felines though, the retreat is also heavily focussed on raising awareness about the horrific conditions that captive cats often face in places like zoos and circuses in order to prevent other wild leos from ending up in similar situations. In line with this, the centre runs three guided educational tours a day, and during each trip, visitors walk around the sanctuary with a staff member, who’ll regale them with fun facts about every resident, from Pardus the black leopard to Neptune the white lion, and enlighten them about how these majestic creatures found themselves behind fences. Anyone looking to layer their big cat experience with another dimension can also pre-arrange a special enrichment or feeding visit, which follows a similar format to the educational tours but also includes the chance to view the animals playing, hunting, running and dining.

Leopard at Panthera Africa Lion Sanctuary Cape Town

Though, the education extends beyond merely receiving facts. Visitors will also benefit from hearing the touching personal story behind each Panthera Africa inhabitant and seeing the softer side of these often-misunderstood mammals.

As Cathrine says, “When you come close to animals that are usually considered dangerous and wild, you start to see that they are also beings who have feelings and a personality, just like humans.”

And once you’ve had that sort of personal connection with a big cat at this admirable new retreat, you’ll likely have a slightly clearer understanding of why people like Lizaene and Cathrine don’t think of their role in feline conservation as a job but rather as an honour.

White Lion at Panthera Africa Lion Sanctuary Stanford

NOTE: PANTHERA AFRICA ONLY OPENS ON FRIDAY, 3 APRIL 2015 AND FOR THE FIRST FEW MONTHS AFTER LAUNCH, PRE-BOOKING A VISIT WILL BE ESSENTIAL (THAT IS, NO WALK-INS WILL BE ALLOWED).

Tip: You can support Panthera Africa in a number of different ways:, you could make a donation via the sanctuary’s website (pantheraafrica.co.za); you could volunteer at the refuge for one day or longer; or you could even consider hosting your next corporate team-building event at the shelter (company events are not being run yet, but contact the sanctuary founders to find out when you can organise yours).

The Bill: To embark on an educational tour at Panthera Africa, adults are required to pay R190p/p and children younger than 13 years of age have to pay R120p/p. On the other hand, the entrance fee for an enrichment or feeding visit is R290p/p (no kids under 16 years of age are allowed on this tour).

Opening Hours: Educational Visits: Wednesday – Monday: 10am – 12pm; 12pm – 2pm; 2pm – 4pm; Enrichment/Feeding Visits: By special arrangement only.

Stanford | Western Cape | +27 (0)76 974 3088/ +27 (0)84 866 2665 (visit Panthera Africa’s website for directions)

---

If this article appealed, you might also like: our guide to the best Cape Town safari adventures and game drives.

---

Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smartphone, add m.capetownmagazine.com to your home screen for quick access on the go!

Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn, check out our photos on Instagram and follow our Pinterest boards for updates on what’s happening in and around the Mother City!

Cape Town Events Calendar
January 2018
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31

A Touch Of Madness Burgers and Beers 5Saturdays are for Sunny Daytime Parties at A Touch of Madness

Touchdown Saturdays’ DJ, drink specials and sunny courtyard are ideal for summer afternoons

gallery one 11Gallery One 11 Summer Exhibition

Catch these local and international artists showcasing their work at this Loop Street studio

Transformers ExhibitionCheck out Transformers in their Animatronics Glory at Grand West

The Autobots and Decepticons Collide on Earth for the Magnificent Animatronic Exhibition of Transformers

Roast and Co 22-for-1 Drink Specials at Roast & Co

Every day “on your way” at Roast & Co. - enjoy 2-for-1 drink specials and discover the coolest mugs

Shimmy Beach ClubSol Sundowner Sessions at Shimmy Beach Club

Summer sunshine + Shimmy Beach Club + Sol Beer = one wacky Wednesday

Oude 2Enjoy a night of entertainment with the family under the stars at Oude Libertas Amphitheatre

Picturesque views form the backdrop to this open-air Oude Libertas theatre. It’s just waiting to host you and your family for a night of delight

Jou Ma Se Comedy Club JMSCC Pumphouse Cape TownJoin the Cape Town Comedy Club Revolution

The weekend starts on Thursday at Cape Town Comedy Club, the city’s best stand-up spot

Predator End of Year FunctionMake Memorable Moments at Cape Town’s Only Aquarium

Throw a party unlike any other at the Mother City’s underwater wonderland

King Kong MusicalKing Kong is back in Cape Town for its Final Run

Celebrate the comeback of this historic musical. WATCH: Video footage of the original King Kong Musical

Galileo - KirstenboschA New Schedule of Movies at Kirstenbosch This Season

Great films, delicious food, comfy seats and a starry sky; what a movie experience!

Galileo - BlaauwklippenA Weekend Spent with The Galileo Open Air Cinema

Start your weekend with a little inner-city or wineland movie screening

Queen in Exile 2Athi-Patra Ruga's Queens in Exile at WHATIFTHEWORLD

The renowned artist’s latest body of work is about telling better stories, ultimately creating a world where the exiled can reign again (watch trailer)

SwordferSwordfern Hair Emporium’s Bring A Bro Hair Special

Bring your bro and get a haircut on the house from Swordfern

thali thaliArchery Lessons at Thali Thali Game Lodge

Practise your bow and arrow skills under the guidance of one of the best archers in the world at this pretty West Coast wildlife reserve

The Backyard Grill Lounge RibsBBQ Ribs Special at The Backyard Grill Lounge

Savour succulent, sticky ribs for just R150 per kilogram on Wed, Sat and Sun

Sotano Lamb Burger SpecialBest Burger Special at Sotano every Wednesday

Tuck into two lamb burgers and fries for the price of one every Wednesday

SUPing with High Five Cape TownStand Up Paddle Board Group Lesson Special

Learn to SUP for less thanks to High Five Kite, SUP and Surf School

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.