Paarl is fortunate to have a number of animal sanctuaries that contributes to our area’s diverse and welcoming nature. The following three options must definitely be added to your bucket list when visiting the pearl of the Cape Winelands.
The Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop and Weaving Studio one of Paarl’s most popular destinations.
Breeding alpacas since 2004 their resident alpaca herd has now grown to over 300 animals. They breed alpacas of all colors mainly for their wool, but are also selling breeding stock, herd guards and pets as well as therapy animals.
Enjoy their decadent cakes and a cup of freshly brewed coffee at their coffee shop, while taking in the stunning views of the alpaca herd, the dromedaries and Table Mountain in the background. Interact with the alpacas in the petting zoo and have your kids use up all their pent-up energy on the jungle gym.
You can watch their weavers at their ancient craft and indulge in the finest alpaca products by choosing from a wide variety of woven scarves, shawls, ponchos and blankets woven by them from the wool of their own animals.
On the Alpaca Barn Tour you will meet their resident alpaca herd including their youngest crias and learn more about the alpaca and its fiber.
The Alpaca Walk is a guided walk accompanied by their woolly alpaca friends. Here you can explore the farm and surroundings while offering more insight into the fascinating world of alpacas.
At Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures you can get up close and personal with reptiles while enjoying a relaxing day (or weekend!) on their idyllic farm in the heart of the Winelands.
They offer reptile adventures like you have not experienced before. After enjoying their croc pond tour and snake exhibit (locals and exotics), spend the rest of the day enjoying their spacious kids’ play area, tranquil catch-and-release dam, and woodfired pizzas.
Depending on your adrenaline threshold, you can cage dive with a croc or rent their rowboat. Le Bonheur’s activities are open Tuesdays till Sundays and their restaurant is open Wednesdays till Sundays (9 am – 5 pm, closed Christmas Day).
They offer everything from serene waterside braai-places and not-so-serene kids’ parties, educational school tours, gorgeous self-catering accommodation and a unique shopping experience in their shop specialising in crocodile leather products and locally crafted items.
Your family reptile adventures start here!
Ashia Cheetah Sanctuary
Ashia is an African name meaning ‘hope and life”. As such the name reflects perfectly the two sides of the project – giving hope for the future of the cheetah earmarked for release through Ashia’s Wilding and Release Program and offering the best life to the animals in need of care at the Sanctuary in Paarl. Ashia’s world-class cheetah center, accredited by Fair Trade Tourism, lies at the foot of the dramatic Drakenstein mountains outside Paarl.
Founded in 2016 to help to prevent the further decline of the cheetah population and to increase the gene pool, Ashia is successfully returning captive born cheetahs into the protected wild of South African game reserves and national parks. The relatedness of the reserve cheetah populations is becoming an issue and preventing inbreeding by supplementation from outside is a promising way forward.
Ashia offers many opportunities for day visitors, volunteers and interns to learn more about the endangered status of the species or to support and actively contribute to conservation and research initiatives. The modern and beautifully designed volunteer house is situated within the sanctuary and can accommodate up to 12 volunteers at a time.
Visitor activities at the sanctuary
Ashia adheres to Fair Trade Tourism Safety Protocols and a No-Touch Policy with the cats on all activities.
No children under 16 years are allowed on tour.
- Sanctuary Tour
A 1-hour Sanctuary Tour to give you a first-hand peek into the program and their cheetah conservation efforts. Your tour guide will provide you with multiple interesting facts about the resident animals and the latest updates from their Wilding and Release Program.
PLEASE NOTE: For the safety of their animals and for you, this activity is dependent on seasonal weather and light conditions. Bookings are essential.
- Volunteer for a Day
Learn from their Animal Carers what it takes to look after their animals on a daily basis. Help prepare meals, assist them on feeding rounds, enrichment activities, daily cleaning activities and join staff and volunteers for a home-cooked lunch overlooking the Drakenstein mountains.
PLEASE NOTE: Bookings are essential. Days may vary depending on animal husbandry schedule
- Cheetah Run
Join the staff of Ashia for the cheetah’s exercise schedule. You will be taken to the running field where you can watch and photograph the world’s fastest land mammals. This activity is completely based on the cheetah’s schedule and willingness to run.
PLEASE NOTE: For the safety of their animals and you, this activity is dependent on seasonal weather and light conditions. Bookings are essential.