"The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Breeding Station" Top 5 Page for this destination Hartbeespoort Things to Do Tip by CatherineReichardt
Hartbeespoort Things to Do: 40 reviews and 82 photos
Of all the wildlife-related activities in the Hartbeespoort area (and there are several), I believe that the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Breeding station - also known as De Wildt - is by far the most worthwhile. It is located about an hour's drive from Johannesburg and slightly less from Pretoria - it is also probably just over an hour from Rustenburg and Sun City if you're staying there (which might be relevant for World Cup visitors).
De Wildt is a genuine conservation project (rather than just a wildlife tourist attraction such as the predator centre at Sun City) and Ann has established an extremely successful captive breeding programme for cheetahs with the intention of reintroducing cheetah into the wild and diversifying the gene pool: cheetah populations are usually chronically in-bred, which makes them particularly vulnerable. De Wildt also proved that the king cheetah - which has much darker markings - was the result of a recessive gene, rather than a separate sub species.
In addition to cheetah, the centre has also got a very successful wild dog breeding programme which gives you a chance to experience this wonderful pack animal with a fascinating social structure (see my travel tip on Victoria Falls - it took me 24 years to see wild dog in their natural habitat - and it was worth the wait!). In the past they have also set up breeding programme for other endangered species - some of which have now been handed over to other organisations to run: the one that sticks in my mind is the hapless riverine rabbit, whose endangered status is partly due to habitat destruction but also owes much to the fact that it only has one young at a time (making something of a mockery of the phrase, "to breed like a rabbit"!).
Opening hours are very limited, but there are a couple of different tour options, detailed below (prices valid from 1 May 2010):
Cheetah Run and 3 hour guided tour
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday mornings;
R345.00 per person, irrespective of age (regrettably no children under 6);
Cheetah run starts at 08h00
3 hour guided tour
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 13h30; Wednesdays at 08h30 and 13h30
R245 per person, irrespective of age (regrettably no children under 6)
Booking is essential for both tours - this is enforced and I've seen them turn people away.
There are also corporate and family tour options available. The family tour is expensive, but is probably worth considering if you are travelling with children under 6 who are interested in animals. The reason for the age restriction that I have heard is that the conventional tours take place in an open vehicle, and both the wild dog and the cheetah consider small children to be snack-sized: I'm not sure if this is an urban legend or not, but the website certainly suggests that the family tours take place in a kombi (minibus)!
Directions: There is an excellent sketch map on the website - I find that it is easy to get lost in the Hartbeespoort area, so I strongly suggest that you use this
Read more: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/136668/21eac9/4/?o=1&i=1#ixzz1OCdVIRgq
Phone: 012 504 9906
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