The Drakenstein Lion Sanctuary

Drakenstein Lion Sanctuary was established in 1998 to provide lions in distress with a place, where they could live in safety. They could live free from abuse and persecution, and be treated with the compassion and respect they deserved. The Park is situated in the scenic Cape Winelands near Paarl and comprises 50 acres of sprawling lion habitat.

Park management is actively involved in improving the quality of life of lions in captivity, locally as well as internationally.  These animals are offered a lifetime home or the team works in conjunction with other animal welfare organizations to secure a safe future for individual animals in dire need.

The Park is not involved in commercial breeding or trade and offers lifetime care to all of its animals. All the animals brought to the Park are captive bred / hand reared and cannot be rehabilitated to the wild. The animals at the Park have assured a chance of living out their natural lives in an enriched and safe environment.

The Drakenstein Lion Park is one of only two Big Cat Sanctuaries in the Western Cape

Drakenstein Lion Sanctuary

The park has a large lion population, including rare white lions. As a genuine lion sanctuary, it is not involved in captive breeding and provides lifetime care to their resident animals. Genuine lion sanctuaries do not offer ‘petting’ opportunities.  The park is involved in the re-homing of lions in distress, both locally and overseas. 

Drakenstein Lioness at the Lion Sanctuary in Paarl
Lioness at the Lion Drakenstein Sanctuary near Paarl

Every year thousands of people visit facilities where they can interact with lion cubs. The truth is that these lions are the product of factory farming. Visitors can play with them for a fee. They are abused to take photographs with them. What happens to these human imprinted animals when they have outgrown their usefulness? Because they are human-imprinted, they cannot be rehabilitated. Because they have been deprived of growing up in a natural social group, they can not be given to game reserves. If you look for the right place to help, please contact the park and VOLUNTEER

Drakenstein Lion Sanctuary – a true Lion sanctuary

How else to connect with the Lions if one can’t play with them? 

  • VISIT the Lions – The Lion Sanctuary is open daily from 09h30 to 17h00 (closed 25th December). Lion Feeding Times are on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 16h00.
    Lions4Lions Project
  • SLEEP with the Lions –  at the Ingonyama Tented Camp – A once in a lifetime experience. Stay overnight in the well-appointed tented camp surrounded by lions!  Enjoy traditional South African cuisine and Boland hospitality, situated only 30 minutes from Cape Town.
    Lions4Lions Project
  • HEAR THE ROAR. Spend a night amongst the Lions of Drakenstein Lion Park. The specially designed safari tents sleep two and each has its own private bathroom. One tent caters for families and sleeps four. Dinner (a traditional South African braai) is served in the rustic Lapa, where you can also enjoy drinks as the sun sets over the majestic Drakenstein mountain range (breakfast not included).
Drakenstein Lion Park 2 beautiful Lion Males

Don’t play with Lions cubs – The Lion Park has collected some thoughts for you

  • Do bottle-fed and petted Lion cubs benefit from forced human interaction? How can they? What possible enjoyment can they derive from being pawed, picked up and being posed all day long?  Day after day, until they have grown too big?
  • Are these animals part of breeding programmes that will save lions from extinction? The short answer is No. Sadly they are inbred, human imprinted and psychologically damaged. Captive bred Lions have absolutely no conservation value. Captive lions definitely cannot be rehabilitated into the wild.
  • Can they be used to supplement dwindling wild populations? No, they can’t. The practice of using lion cubs for human playthings is cruelty. Lion cubs used for petting opportunities are trained not to scratch or bite. Or their claws are removed.

Every reputable animal welfare organization in the world considers the practice of using lion cubs for human playthings as cruelty

  • How do you think a naturally boisterous animal is trained not to behave naturally? Cubs are only used a short time for petting, bottle-feeding or photographing. When they are too big to be cuddled, they are brutally trained for walks. These Lions are sometimes even drugged. They will basically end up in a canned hunt and their bones sold to Asia
  • What about your own safety? Drakenstein Lion Park does not allow interactions between visitors and Lions. 



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