Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary


While we were staying in Plettenberg Bay we visited the Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary. The sanctuary is located on the N2 between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.  I didn't think there were wolves in South Africa so I was a surprised when I first spotted the wolf sanctuary as we were driving on our way to Plett. All of the wolves in the sanctuary were captive bred and rescued from different parts of South Africa. 

A little bit about the sanctuary as stated on their Facebook page:

"This unique park began approximately 13 years ago as a sanctuary for a group of wolves rescued from various parts of SA. We are not sure of the origins of the wolves found in South Africa, but there have been imports (until around 2004/5) from Europe, the U.S and Canada over the years, by zoos/collectors and private individuals. Wolves are usually surrendered/re-homed when people realise that they may look like dogs but they are definitely wild animals and have the high drive, superior intelligence and survival instincts of a wild predator."

I've got to really agree with that last sentence. As we walked up to the first pack of timber wolves we were a bit bummed as they were all sleeping. To our surprise, as we approached the fence the wolves one by one began to stretch and awaken, as if they were excited to see us. As the wolves began to interact with each other we definitely saw their aggressive side come out. Although they were just playing, seeing them bare their teeth and fight with each other reminded us that they are indeed animals with very wild instincts and should be respected as so. 

Visitors can choose to go on a self guided tour around the sanctuary or there is also an interactive "Walking With Wolves" tour offered twice a day. We decided to go on the self guided tour as it was a bit cheaper and felt like exploring the sanctuary on our own time. 

The sanctuary is home to two packs of Timber Wolves, Black Backed Jackals, African Wild Dogs, and Wolf Dogs.  The wild dogs and jackals were busy napping during our visit, but the wolves and wolf dogs were very active running around their large enclosures and brushing up against the fence to say hi to us. 

Watching the wolves interact with each other you could see that they had a distinct hierarchy that they followed

The sanctuary also has a petting farm with tons of friendly animals including angora sheep, goats, emu, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, and more. A large bag of food pellets to give to the friendly critters is included with the entrance fee. I can imagine the petting farm would be a huge hit if you had little ones traveling with you. 

"Can I haz more food pellets pleez?" 
Nice hair-do bro
If you are visiting Knysna or Plett and want something animal related to do that is less of a tourist trap than some of the other attractions in the area I would definitely recommend stopping by the Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary for a relaxing and educational afternoon. 

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