True sanctuaries

True Sanctuaries is a group of big cat sanctuaries in South Africa who have united to pave the way for animal welfare based, ethical big cat tourism. 


The focus is animal welfare, education and cooperation. The sanctuaries are opposed to any hands-on interaction, breeding and trading of big cats. There are currently five members in the group, and the aim is to continuously increase this number as more and more current facilities upgrade their standards and new true sanctuaries are created. The group works towards educating the public and creating awareness about the current situation where most facilities call themselves ‘sanctuaries’ while they exploit and use the animals in their care for financial gain with very little regard for the animals’ welfare.

We encourage you to join the movement to conserve wildlife by only visiting and promoting ethical sanctuaries. 


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LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary is a big cat sanctuary established by FOUR PAWS, an animal welfare organization dedicated to rescuing animals held in captivity. LIONSROCK is a true sanctuary - this means they allow no interaction with our animals, there is no petting, no breeding, no selling or trading of animals, and no hunting. 


At Jukani our mission is to maintain and manage a sustainable wildlife sanctuary, with the focus on creating widespread awareness about the plight of large predators in captivity, in South Africa and all over the world.


Drakenstein Lion Park was established in 1998 to provide lions in distress with sanctuary, where they could live in safety, free from abuse and persecution, and be treated with the compassion and respect they deserved. The Park is situated in the scenic Cape Winelands and comprises of 50 acres of sprawling lion habitat. The Park is actively involved in improving the quality of life of lions in captivity, locally as well as internationally, either by offering these animals a lifetime home or working in conjunction with other animal welfare organizations to secure a safe future for individual animals in dire need.


One of Panthera Africa's main purposes is to be an educational platform where we create awareness about conditions big cats face in captivity, and how animal welfare and enrichment play a vital role in giving them the best captive life possible. We are a true sanctuary where no hands-on interaction, breeding or trading takes place. We are a blue print of how a non-profit sanctuary, focusing on animal welfare, can become self-sufficient, and we aim to change breeding facilities into sustainable ethical projects.


In partnership with actress, author and wildlife campaigner, Virginia McKenna’s Born Free Foundation, Shamwari Private Game Reserve designed the Animal Rescue and Education Centres to incorporate the sanctuary and educational facility. Their goal is to create awareness of the horrific way in which wildlife is exploited in captivity around the world. The centres aim to draw attention to the plight of wild big cats, confined in impoverished, captive environments throughout the world.