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“Everyone should Experience HESC!!”

Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre
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Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre Tour from Hazyview
Ranked #3 of 23 things to do in Hoedspruit
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: HESC focuses on the conservation of rare, vulnerable or endangered animals. Cheetah Conservation is one of the core disciplines. HESC has established itself as one of the leading private research and breeding facilities for endangered species in the country. Governed by a progressive and modern management approach, it concerns itself with the breeding and maintenance of several endangered indigenous wildlife species in southern Africa. The centre places particular emphasis on the breeding and maintenance of cheetah in captivity. The excellent condition of these animals and the premises on which they are maintained, reflect the attention to detail, which is the hallmark of this facility. STANDARD TOUR The duration of each tour is 2 hours. Enables the visitor to have sufficient time to ask questions to the guide and do an in-depth tour of the centre. Please note that our first tour can include the cheetah run, however bookings are essential. Prior reservations are essential.
Reviewed March 10, 2013

As Camp Jabulani guests, we were invited one morning to visit HESC, see the cheetahs and have our photo taken with a tame cheetah, as part of their cheetah conservation and education program. Because of my daughter's interest in animals, especially Cheetahs, and her desire to become a wildlife vet, we chose to go a step further and participated in what Camp Jabulani and HESC call their pioneer for change program. One afternoon we accompanied 2 of Hesc's animal specialists into the field to track 2 cheetahs that had recently been released in order to document their well-being, behavior etc. Two mornings later, we had the most amazing experience when we spotted one of these cheetahs we had tracked with her fresh impala kill. We took pictures and made video to share with HESC, so the vet and specialists could document her progress. One other morning we returned to HESC to help prepare the food for the cheetahs and afterwards, spent the morning making rounds feeding all of the cheetahs with the animal specialists. After their feeding was completed, we then assisted with feeding the other rescued animals (wild dog, lion, etc). Another morning, we spent with the HESC vet and 2 other specialists to take cheetah blood samples and learning about the what the vet does daily. We then had the wonderful opportunity to interact with a serval that had been rescued and a baby african wild cat. The HESC experience truly illustrated the challenges conservation centres face and here the challenges fo the cheetah. It is also possible to become a donor at various levels, as HESC is a non-profit conservation organization. The owner and founder, Lente Roode whose life passion is the cheetah and its conservation, introduced my daughter to the 10-day old cheetah she adopted. My daughter was beyond excited to not only be able to name her cheetah, but to also become part of the HESC conservation effort. We will receive regular updates about our adopted cheetah as she grows up at the centre, and all contributions go directly to the care of the animals at the centre. Every aspect of our interactive and volunteer activities was well coordinated by our Camp Jabulani guide and HESC. They work together seamlessly to ensure that you can learn as much as you would like about animal conservation. The entire experience was very educational and I highly recommend guests participate in the program.

1  Thank OTBPGourmet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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572 - 576 of 833 reviews

Reviewed March 3, 2013

Personally I was very disappointed when I came from a visit to the HESC. We ran a bit late for the tour, but it would only start after a 20min video, so it didn't matter. We watched the video, but it never said in the description that part of the tour that you pay quite a lot of money for, is watching a video :(. When we were finally taken on a drive, it was one great disappointment. We were driven by 2 guides who enjoyed their own laughs more than explaining things to the guests. They did explain things, but it was definitely rehearsed and told over and over again. We noticed when one of the guides repeated himself in the exact same wording as 10min before. When we drove towards HESC you drive past Kapama which is very big in land. We were very negatively surprised with how small the cages are and actually also that most of the animals are caged. Hardly any space to roam free and be a semi-wild animal, no interaction unless through a fence. The stories told were, like a said before, rattled of and we instantly continued. There was no time to ask questions or to enjoy the sighting. We had never seen wild dogs and were very looking forward to seeing those in "the wild" but were aghast that we sat for 3min with 5 of them next to the car and as soon as the guide was done talking we drove off. As the 4 of us were field guides in training at the time we received a very good example of what NOT to do when driving paying guests that are interested in wildlife! If you are interested in going to a wildlife rescue center and you are in the Hoedspruit area, please choose for Moholoholo, a place I visited a couple of months later which was much much better!!

5  Thank Karen Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2013

What a huge disappointment. The entrance fee to the centre is high, especially in light of what is offered once inside. Before the guided tour even starts, one is taken past a donations box. Then made to sit down and watch a 20 minute video with some interesting content, but lashings of repetition and once again, more subtle begging for funding. Onto a vehicle to drive around the centre and only cheetah, wild dog and vultures on display, despite the video claiming that myriad other animals on the programme. The guide rushed us through the tour and then declared that he was cutting it short because he had talked too much and had to get back in order to take the next group around. And on the vehicle? Another tip box.
Sadly wouldn't recommend this attraction easily.

1  Thank Karin P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2013

Fantastic visit. Saw vulture feeding, lots of endangered birds, cats, lots of baby cheetahs. This centre is doung great work and deserves to be supported.

Thank KerryandGary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 1, 2013

I visited the Center when it first opened and was a tiny place. You could walk right up to the fence at that time. Nowadays you are driven through the enclosures in an open-air safari-style vehicle which is very nice. The video before you go out is actually very informative and interesting. The giftshop is beautiful, has alot of different items, and if you are wondering...the prices are far more reasonable than in the kruger park.

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

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