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big cat sanctuary lionsrock 

A species-appropriate home for more than 100 rescued animals

Over 3,000 acres of beautiful grasslands, hills and plains, LIONSROCK is home to 102 rescued animals, most of which are big cats saved from war- ravaged zoos, circuses, private ownership and the canned hunting industry.

Aside from lions, tigers and leopards that reside there, the sanctuary has 1 cheetah (Sasha,) 1 caracal (Tom,) 1 African Wild Dog (Arielle,) and 1 spotted hyena (Phiri.)

Named after a prominent rock formation in the center of the sanctuary called “Lion's rock,” animal inhabitants at the sanctuary are provided with beautiful, species- appropriate enclosures where they'll live for the rest of their lives. In captivity, big cats have much longer lifespans than in the wild, some living as old as 25 years!

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Since 2006, FOUR PAWS has rescued more than 90 big cats from around the world

This includes 80 rescued lions (Panthera leo), 16 tigers (Panthera tigris), 3 leopards (Panthera pardus), 1 cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), 1 caracal (Felis caracal), 1 hyena (Crocuta crocuta) and 2 wild dogs (Lycaon pictus).

All these animals are provided with a lifelong home and species-appropriate habitat.

Learn About Enclosures and Enrichment

Enclosures at LIONSROCK are constructed in a circular shape that follows the natural shape of the land, eliminating corners and giving the animals the feeling there are no borders around them, that they are not trapped.

Each enclosure has plenty of vegetation and enrichment. Enrichment is built daily at the sanctuary so that each animal is provided with shade, climbing structures, play- toys or resting places!

Enrichment is an essential part of daily living for animals. It helps keep them stimulated and promotes intelligence. Based on the needs of each animal species, they may be given climbing structures, Boomer Balls, swimming pools, treats and even boxes to play in.

Additionally, animals can be socialized with other animals of the same species but only after veterinarians and big cat experts carefully evaluate each animal to determine if their personalities would be suitable for socialization.

Despite the considerable number of animals at the sanctuary, they are all monitored daily by a professional team on- site. Trained personnel observe the animals daily and react depending on the case and necessity. A few veterinary checks are typically organized throughout the year.

Humans and the animals are able to see one another through their enclosures, but there are NO opportunities for visitors or untrained staff to be able to pet, handle, or hold the animals.

Before LIONSROCK Existed...

Before FOUR PAWS took over the property of LIONSROCK in 2006, the facility used to be a breeding farm. By taking over, FOUR PAWS was able to put an end to the cruelty that took place there and provide positive, life- changing care and quality of life for rescued animals. 

LIONSROCK, under operation of FOUR PAWS, does not participate in the cruel practices of breeding, cub petting or canned hunting. The sanctuary is used as an opportunity to educate visitors about wild animal species and to highlight the importance of needing to preserve wild animal species. 

LIONSROCK Lodge

The Lodge itself offers a diversity of accommodations to suit the needs of visitors, ranging from luxury en-suite rooms to self-catering facilities for up to 70 guests. In 2018, the lodge won the Lilizela Tourism Award for Bet 3 Star Lodge in the Free State of South Africa.

A restaurant, bar and tea garden serve tempting treats and cater to all dietary requirements (by arrangement.) The atmosphere and staff are warm and friendly.

Guests have a range of activities to keep busy during the day and families will find the surroundings ideal. Opportunities to see and hear animals, a swimming pool, bird watching stations, and hiking trails all provide a unique, relaxing experience.

Looking to book an ethical, animal- friendly vacation?

Book your stay at the LIONSROCK Lodge!

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