Akwaaba Lodge & Predator Park
Akwaaba Lodge & Predator Park was founded by Nazeer Ahmed Cajee, the only non-white predator breeder/canned hunter in SA, purchased lions from Lion Park in the past and admitted that the lions are hunted on his property. Akwaaba Lodge claims not to support canned lion hunting in any way.
We are NOT affiliated to any hunting parties that do canned lion hunting. Almost all of the cubs we house in the park belong to other predator breeders who are also NOT involved in hunting, from time to time we do hand rear cubs that were neglected by their mothers either because the mom does not have milk to feed them or the litter is too big for the mom to handle.
The 4 Star accommodation and Predator Park are situated on a 72-hectare farm, 19 km from Rustenburg. The farm also contains a wedding and function venue and spa facilities. They also offer to volunteer and to spend a working holiday at the park.
Akwaaba is listed as one of THE UGLY on the GOOD, BAD AND UGLY LISTS FOR VOLUNTEERING PLACES IN AFRICA maintained by Volunteers in Africa Beware. Despite their permanent affirmation, they would love and care for their animals, there is professional and constant marketing concentrating on one aspect, the interaction with animals. The volunteer program offers the possibility to care for its Lion cubs.
Interaction includes lemurs, primates non-native in South Africa
The pet of lemurs trade has a serious, negative impact on wild populations, through the smuggling and import of wild primates that ultimately end up in the pet trade. The predator centre thus only feeds the demand for such exotic pets. If a pet lemur or other pet primate injures someone, public health officials often require the animal to be euthanized. The ring-tailed lemur is one of 22 species of lemur found only on the island of Madagascar. All lemur species today are considered either threatened or endangered due to the rapid destruction of their forest habitat. Like always, the animal is the ultimate loser.
Marketing videos make sure that even during weddings at the lodge, animal interaction is taking place. According to Louise de Waal, author at the Conservation Action Trust “Cheetahs in captivity are extremely sensitive to stress and often display abnormal behaviour because their hunting and ranging instincts are denied. These cubs are used as photo props often for as long as six hours a day. Many captive wildlife facilities claim cubs and adults fulfil an educational role. However, the Endangered Wildlife Trust said such facilities at best offer edutainment with no real measurable change in behaviour that promotes conservation.” *
Akwaaba Lodge & Predator Park was hit hard in October 2018
Five lions were killed and mutilated by poachers. Poachers broke into the park and poisoned the animals, including one male lion named Mufasa. The poachers had attacked Mufasa and had chopped off his face and paws. They were disturbed as they mutilated the lions, but the manager arrived only to find one animal dead and cradled another in his arms as it passed away. A bag containing four lion paws was found in an area close to the park. A company called Special FX and Events donated R10,000.00 to Akwaaba’s R100,000.00 reward, totalling about $7,445, for any information that would lead to the successful capture and conviction of the poachers. The poachers could not be identified, despite the huge reward.
Breeding and rearing animals for the purpose of cub petting and interaction is undesirable not only from an animal welfare perspective. Lions held in captivity all over South Africa are more and more threatened due to poisoning, poaching and mutilating. Unfortunately, lion breeding projects in South Africa are purely money-driven and have very little to do with conservation. Notwithstanding Akwaaba’s claim not to breed they are not different from the breeders their lions are sourced from.
Uneducated and stupid visitors curb the demand
From Tripadvisor May 2016
Worst experience ever at the animal park
This is my second time in South Africa and last year we went to XYZ Park and I had such an amazing experience that I wanted to do it again. My fiance showed me an advertisement about Akwaaba and their strawberry leopard and we decided to go.
We looked at all the different packages and went for the most expensive one at R1,000 per person.
We started the interactions.
1st one: you get in the cheetah cage and a guy is there to hold the animal even tough it is sleeping. They put a harness around her and you are only allowed to go and touch this particular cheetah while the other ones are around you.
2nd interaction: it was with the teenager lion. I got in the cage and the guy was doing stupid noises and trying to excite the lion who was bumping into him. At no moment he would let the lion quiet down so that we could actually have an interaction with it. On the door it says 10 minutes maximum and we stayed a maximum of 5, not even.
3rd interaction: they had no lion cubs but a 5 week-old tiger. The poor animal was not used to visitors and it was heart breaking to see it growl. The handler said that they needed to teach them how to interact. So… we were once again not able to interact with the animal.
We were the only 2 people in the entire park and I really expected it to be a great experience since they would have time to look after us. IT WAS NOT and IT WAS THE WORST EVER.
You can see that the animals are not 100% happy and that the staff does not care about visitors. They are only there to make money on your back.