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“Enjoyed our morning at the Ann Van Dyk Centre, wonderful cheetahs and other wildlife.”

Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre
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$214.77*
and up
Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre Half-Day Tour from Johannesburg
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$143.81*
and up
Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre Tour from Johannesburg or Pretoria
Ranked #1 of 119 things to do in Pretoria
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Cheetah Centre in South Africa was established in 1971, initially as a cheetah breeding project and the Centre has during the past 40 years bred over 800 cheetah cubs. Various conservation projects have been initiated since its inception which also inlcudes a successful African wild dog breeding programme. Known in the past as the De Wildt Cheetah Centre the name has recently been changed to the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre as a tribute to the woman who has devoted her life to the survival of the cheetahs as well as other rare and endangered species
Reviewed July 2, 2011

We went in June 2011 and joined the cheetah run and three-hour tour, which we thought was fun, interesting and quite informative.

Our guide, Amos, seemed passionate about his work in the centre, educating the public about the cheetahs’ and other animals’ struggles for survival in Africa.

The Animals all seemed well cared for, happy, healthy and energetic (could have been because it was winter and cooler outside). We particularly liked the cheetah run demonstrations. Seeing them sprint in front of you is just very special. Its so difficult to keep up with them with your video and/or camera so we advise you just to watch them the first time so you can get a real feel for their speed.

The free-range cheetah and wild dog areas almost had the feel of a real game safari, offering a simulation of how wild dogs hunt animals and yelp to communicate as they chased our jeep. This was unforgettable. Watching Amos feed the cheetahs and walk freely with them, but showing them respect as wild animals, was also very interesting.

The fee was not cheap - the cheetah run and morning tour was Rs345 per person and a picture with the cheetah was an additional Rs180. Hopefully, these large sums go to conservation and the proper upkeep of the center as this was a lot of money compared to other cheetah conservation centres we have visited in the past.

What we didn’t care for so much was the staged cheetah photo experience. This was understandably something they would be doing because so many people want to pet a live cheetah and this can serve as a quick, big money-maker, Rs180 for a few minutes stroking a tame cheetah’s back while its handler kept it lying on the table. We partly didn’t like this, as it seemed unnatural for the animal and almost exploitative. At least, the cheetah handler was very good and treated the animal with respect, it seemed unbothered by the requirement of having to rest on the table, unharmed and unaffected by the experience.

We also didn’t care for the large amounts of waiting time that we experienced due to the large groups they run through this popular centre. There were 25-30 visitors in our morning group, which meant that a majority of the first hour was spent just waiting for people to finish paying and taking their photo with the ambassador cheetah. Considering how much we paid, waiting around like this was a bit annoying. We also were unable to visit the honey-badgers which we really wanted to see, Amos told us this was because we wouldn’t have enough time, too large a group. That was too bad.

Overall, we enjoyed our visit at the Ann van Dyke Centre and felt their efforts at cheetah and other animal conservation were quite good, at least on the surface and from what we could tell. It was clear that some elements of commercialism have kept into their operation, as evidenced by the large fees, large groups and the unnatural cheetah photo service. We would probably visit again if we had extra time during a trip to J’burg or the eastern part of South Africa.

We do recommend a visit to the Ann Van Dyke centre based on our generally good experience there and for the opportunity to spend some time with the remarkable cheetahs, wild dogs and other threatened and endangered animals. Just be prepared for some waiting around/dead time and an awkward pitch for you to buy the expensive photo with a reclining cheetah.

3  Thank BradJill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 2, 2011

We went in June 2011 and joined the cheetah run and three-hour tour, which we thought was fun, interesting and quite informative.

Our guide, Amos, seemed passionate about his work in the centre, educating the public about the cheetahs’ and other animals’ struggles for survival in Africa.

The Animals all seemed well cared for, happy, healthy and energetic (could have been because it was winter and cooler outside). We particularly liked the cheetah run demonstrations. Seeing them sprint in front of you is just very special. Its so difficult to keep up with them with your video and/or camera so we advise you just to watch them the first time so you can get a real feel for their speed.

The free-range cheetah and wild dog areas almost had the feel of a real game safari, offering a simulation of how wild dogs hunt animals and yelp to communicate as they chased our jeep. This was unforgettable. Watching Amos feed the cheetahs and walk freely with them, but showing them respect as wild animals, was also very interesting.

The fee was not cheap - the cheetah run and morning tour was Rs345 per person and a picture with the cheetah was an additional Rs180. Hopefully, these large sums go to conservation and the proper upkeep of the center as this was a lot of money compared to other cheetah conservation centres we have visited in the past.

What we didn’t care for so much was the staged cheetah photo experience. This was understandably something they would be doing because so many people want to pet a live cheetah and this can serve as a quick, big money-maker, Rs180 for a few minutes stroking a tame cheetah’s back while its handler kept it lying on the table. We partly didn’t like this, as it seemed unnatural for the animal and almost exploitative. At least, the cheetah handler was very good and treated the animal with respect, it seemed unbothered by the requirement of having to rest on the table, unharmed and unaffected by the experience.

We also didn’t care for the large amounts of waiting time that we experienced due to the large groups they run through this popular centre. There were 25-30 visitors in our morning group, which meant that a majority of the first hour was spent just waiting for people to finish paying and taking their photo with the ambassador cheetah. Considering how much we paid, waiting around like this was a bit annoying. We also were unable to visit the honey-badgers which we really wanted to see, Amos told us this was because we wouldn’t have enough time, too large a group. That was too bad.

Overall, we enjoyed our visit at the Ann van Dyke Centre and felt their efforts at cheetah and other animal conservation were quite good, at least on the surface and from what we could tell. It was clear that some elements of commercialism have kept into their operation, as evidenced by the large fees, large groups and the unnatural cheetah photo service. We would probably visit again if we had extra time during a trip to J’burg or the eastern part of South Africa.

We do recommend a visit to the Ann Van Dyke centre based on our generally good experience there and for the opportunity to spend some time with the remarkable cheetahs, wild dogs and other threatened and endangered animals. Just be prepared for some waiting around/dead time and an awkward pitch for you to buy the expensive photo with a reclining cheetah.

8  Thank BradJill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2011

I did the Cheetah Tour and Run tour and it was excellent. The Cheetah run was great, although it was over very quickly. The centre is very focussed on conservation, and our guide taught us just how badly man has affected some of the amazing creatures in Africa.
Not only, cheetahs, the centre houses African wild dogs, vultures, honey badgers, and more! The highlight is around 2 hours in a truck going around the grounds. The guide stops regularly outside several cages, then we went through an enclosure with wild dogs, and then cheetahs, without cages between you and the animals – brilliant!
If you cannot get out to a game reserve, then definitely see the Cheetah Sanctuary. It’s a great opportunity to get up close to some beautiful animals, and the work they are doing at the sanctuary is vital for the future of some of Africa’s endangered animals. Very highly recommended!

1  Thank Fiver75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2011

We chose to attend the cheetah run, tour, and the petting experience. The Run & Tour are advertised on the website, but the petting experience is not advertised as an additional fee. In total in cost around 900 Rand. Or about $130 US. Was disappointed in the petting "fee" not be advertised on the website, but gladly paid it for the experience.

The tour guide was very excited and knowledgeable. The tour was scheduled with plenty of time to get pictures of all the animals we experienced and there were several experiences we were able to have with wild dogs, cheetahs, ostrich, and impala which were fence free from the safari vehicle. In all highly recommended for adults, for children the experience is perhaps a bit long, but there is a family tour that is available.

1  Thank Brewer2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2010

Small tours, very informative guides, not just wild dogs and cheetahs but all sorts of other wildlife like vultures. We really thought it was worth the drive to Pretoria.

Recently re- named the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre after the founder.

1  Thank DurbanGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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