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Posted on: Friday, 3 August 2012

The African Dawn Wildlife Sanctuary and Endangered Species Breeding Centre

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The Knysna Loerie

The Knysna Loerie

About 50 kilometres from Port Elizabeth and 30 kilometres from Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape is the African Dawn Wildlife Sanctuary. Nestled within a fertile valley, this provides a welcome escape for visitors, but an important rescue and protection initiative for a number of wildlife species. The beauty is awe-inspiring, making for a very special and memorable experience.

There are over 200 different animal species (including an array of birds) that currently reside in the spacious enclosures at African Dawn.

Some of these species include…

The Blue Crane

The Blue Crane

The vast majority of the birds here have been injured, orphaned, abused or abandoned. While tragic, they are being well cared for, and are not made available for resale or adoption by anyone else to prevent further trauma. As a result of this background, though, many of the animals are tame, and delight in engaging with visitors. A walk past any one of the parrot enclosures will prove this, as they squawk in unison and follow their visitors from one end of the aviary to the other.

Many of the wild species (such as the lynx) have been hand-reared. Watching them being fed by park personnel will likely show visitors the affection and trust that they have in these carers. However, staff members are careful not to abuse this luxury, since their ultimate goal is to rehabilitate wildlife and release them back into the freedom of their natural habitat.

The Crocodile

The Crocodile

There are a number of educational and rehabilitation programmes in place at African Dawn. These include adoption schemes (in which sponsors can choose to “adopt” and fund one particular animal), the Endangered Cat Breeding Programme and Rehabilitation Centre, and so on. African Dawn even visits local schools and communities and educates young and old about the fauna and flora around them and the importance of taking care of such priceless resources.

There are picnic and braai facilities available for visitors wanting to spend time at the sanctuary. In addition, the restaurant offers a variety of meals and snacks, and is licensed for those that feel like an ice-cold beer on a balmy South African summer’s day. No matter where you choose to relax and enjoy refreshments, you will be surrounded by animals, making this a fabulous memory to treasure.

Useful Jeffreys Bay Links:

Contact Details fore African Dawn Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Address: Just 20 minutes from Jeffreys bay and 30 minutes from Port Elizabeth, Take exit 702 off the N2 (near Thornhill) onto the R102.
  • Telephone: +27 (0)83 270-3397
  • Opening hours: Open daily from 09h00 to 17h00.


African Dawn


Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.

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