Apart from the Cango caves, Oudtshoorn offers a variety of fun activities for families. One place to visit for a fun family activity is the Cango Wildlife Ranch near Oudtshoorn. Here, we explore where the Cango Wildlife Ranch is, what you can see at the Ranch and what the experience is like.
Where Is the Cango Wildlife Ranch?
The Cango Wildlife Ranch is near Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo region of South Africa. Oudtshoorn is in South Africa’s Western Cape Province.
You can find the Cango Wildlife Ranch on the R62, the same road you’ll take to get to the Cango Caves. The Ranch is about 3 km outside Oudtshoorn. I highly recommend exploring both of these attractions on the same day.
The easiest way to get to the Ranch is by car. You can rent a car here!
Alternatively, if you don’t want to rent a car but still want to explore Oudtshoorn, here are some tours that include a visit to the Ranch:
- Garden Route – Sightseeing attractions (3 star)
- 7-Days Tour Package 3 Nights Cape Town and 3 Nights Garden Route
The Cango Wildlife Ranch is open all days of the year, including Christmas and New Year’s Day. Their opening hours are:
- 08:30 – 17:00 during the high season from December to March. The last guided tour departs at 16:45.
- 08:30 – 16:30 during the low season from April to November. The last tour leaves around 16:15.
The Ranch offers guided tours throughout the day. Although they don’t have fixed tour times, you will never wait longer than 30 minutes for a tour to start. Each tour takes about an hour, but don’t just do the tour when you visit the Ranch. Make sure the time of your visit allows you sufficient time to explore the Ranch; you need at least another hour to explore the Ranch’s offerings.
The Cango Wildlife Ranch is wheelchair friendly.
The entrance fees are R180 per adult and R135 for a child between the ages of 5 and 13. You pay a separate charge if you want to experience a natural encounter. They do not allow any pets at the Ranch. It is best to make a booking for groups of more than 10 people.
Address: 191 Baron Van Reede St, Oudtshoorn, 6620, South Africa. Contact them on telephone number: +27 44 272 5593. Email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
History of The Cango Wildlife Ranch
The Cango Crocodile Farm has existed for over 35 years and was established in 1977. It was a breeding farm, and they sold the crocodiles bred here. In 1986, Andre and Glenn Eriksen purchased the Cango Crocodile Farm.
Andrew and Glenn wanted to focus on additional conservation efforts and were particularly interested in protecting the endangered cheetah. In 1988, they started the Cheetah Conservation Program to contribute to the protection of cheetahs.
They expanded the animals at the facility over time and wanted to focus on endangered species. The Ranch now has a large crocodile population and several wild cat species, including white tigers, jaguars, cheetahs and white lions. There are currently more than 90 different species of animals and reptiles at the Ranch.
The Mission of The Cango Wildlife Ranch
Whenever I write about a zoo-like organisation, readers always want to know how the animals are treated at the facility. You can rest assured that the Cango Wildlife Ranch focuses on promoting and funding its efforts to conserve cheetahs and other endangered species through captive breeding, research and public awareness. They create public awareness about these animals by explaining the rights of the animals to their visitors.
The animals at the Ranch are from around the world. Many of them are rescues. Sometimes concerned people drop injured animals off at the Ranch, where they are nursed back to health and released into the wild, if possible.
The Ranch is involved in breeding exchange programs and swaps animals with other facilities regularly. The animals involved in these exchanges are cheetahs, Pygmy hippos and radiated tortoises. Some snakes and crocodiles stay at the Ranch for a short time only.
The Ranch breeds the endangered animals in captivity to improve the chances of the species’ survival. While staying at the Ranch, the public can learn about these animals.
The Cango Wildlife Ranch is the world’s oldest and biggest Cheetah contact centre!
What Is There to See and Do at The Cango Wildlife Ranch?
Despite the name, the Cango Wildlife Ranch is closer to a zoo than a nature reserve or Ranch. Their flagship focus is the Cheetah Conservation Program. Visitors can learn about these animals by doing an educational tour.
Click here to see a list of the animals at the Ranch. Some animals at the Ranch include crocodiles, cheetahs, lions and Bengal Tigers. They also have a snake park and a tropical house with giant fruit bats. There is also an enclosure with pygmy hippos.
Personal Encounters with The Animals
You can have a personal encounter with some animals at the Ranch. These experiences can be as simple as petting a cheetah, entering the snake enclosure and wrapping a snake around you, or visiting the lemurs in their enclosure. For those who are more adventurous, a crocodile cage diving experience may sound interesting! The croc cage dive involves entering a cage and being lowered into a clear-water crocodile pool to see these intimidating predators up close behind the protective cage.
Click here to see crocodiles near Johannesburg in South Africa’s Gauteng Province!
You walk on wooden walkways over the cheetah enclosures to get a good view of the cheetahs. You can view the cheetahs, the rare white lion, leopards and Bengal tigers from the treetop lookout.
You can visit the aviary to see beautiful rainbow-coloured lorikeets! You can purchase nectar to feed the lorikeets in the interactive lorikeet aviary. They may even sit on your head or shoulders! There are various exotic birds in the aviary.
Lemur Falls is Africa’s only interactive lemur exhibit. There are three species of lemurs at the Cango Wildlife Ranch, including ring-tail lemur, brown lemurs and black and white ruff lemur. The lemur exhibit replicates a Madagascan forest. When you enter, you cross a large river teeming with various bird life, including spoonbills and whistling ducks. You’ll see an exotic island with waterfalls spilling over volcanic rock, providing a stunning backdrop to the indigenous Betselio Village on the edge of the primaeval forest.
Although most people don’t like snakes, we need them in our ecosystems. Walk through the snake park to learn more about snakes, what they are like and where they are from.
The Wallaby Walkabout
One of the unique types of animals at the Cango Wildlife Ranch is the wallabies. Take a walk through the Wallaby Walkabout to see these shy creatures. You can even feed them!
The Valley of Ancients
Imagine this…. It is 1835, and you are an explorer. You enter the Valley of Ancients, starting at the ruins of the Great Temple. An ancient tribe built the temple to protect the hidden Valley with its beautiful animals. They used to perform human sacrifices to the river god Nyami Nyami. The Valley contained trading stores. Explorers used crocodile-proofed cages to excavate diamonds from the river bed. The common belief is that the river god became furious about the removal of the diamonds and the wasted natural resources. Everyone in the Valley disappeared – no one knows when and how this happened.
In 2006, explorers rediscovered the Valley. Today, you can visit the Valley and see the statue of this river god in the Valley of Ancients.
The Cango Wildlife Ranch developed the Valley as an excellent place for the entire family. A visit to the Valley is an exciting experience for everyone!
The rest of the Valley of Ancients offers the following:
- A tropical house featuring giant flying foxes and the shy blue duiker. There is a large tank with an underwater view of Malawian cichlids.
- On Lemur Island, you can find the rare Madagascar Ring-tailed Lemurs in a setting that resembles Madagascar.
- The Croc-Cage diving encounter: You can see the feeding of the giant Nile crocodiles! These crocodiles take their food seriously.
- You can view the rare and elusive Pygmy Hippo here. The Pygmy Hipp was recognised as a separate species in 1911.
- See the resident Marabou stork sharing an enclosure with a few endangered Cape Vultures.
The Kids Zone
Another reason kids love visiting the Cango Wildlife Ranch is all the activities for them, including:
- A petting zoo where they can have close encounters with various farm animals, such as chickens, guinea pigs, bunnies and goats
- A jumping castle
- Water guns
- A playground with slides, a jungle gym and a see-saw
- A water park
Frequently Asked Questions About the Cango Wildlife Ranch
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Ranch.
What Attractions Are Near the Cango Wildlife Ranch?
Attractions nearby include:
- Wilgewandel Holiday Farm
- Cango Caves
- Oudtshoorn Ostrich Farm
- The Garden Route and several of South Africa’s National Parks.
Are There Any Restaurants in The Cango Wildlife Ranch?
Yes, there are several restaurants where you can buy delicious treats. These include:
- Turtles Restaurant: Here, you can try crocodile kebabs and ostrich steaks. You can also choose more traditional meals, including vegetarian meals. If you want to have a South African braai (barbecue), the Turtles Restaurant is the place to go.
- Rainforest Restaurant is the perfect place for seasonal forest-themed fast foods. Enjoy your meal while sitting on a deck overlooking the Amazonia Rainforest.
- The Wallow is a venue you can hire for group events. Bookings are essential!
How Can You Contribute to The Conservation Work of The Cango Wildlife Ranch?
You contribute to their work protecting endangered animals by visiting the Cango Wildlife Ranch. Should you want to do more, you can join the Ranch as a member and contribute to their conservation projects, including the Cheetah Preservation Foundation. You can also work as a volunteer at the Ranch to learn more about caring for the animals at the Ranch. Click here to find out about volunteer opportunities.
Is the Cango Wildlife Ranch’s Work Accredited?
Yes, the Ranch is accredited. It is one of a few animal facilities accredited by the world leader in the zoological industry, the Pan-African Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquaria (PAAZA).
The Ranch is also an invited World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) member. The WAZA’s principal aim is to provide guidance, encouragement and support to zoos, aquariums and other organisations involved in animal welfare, conservation activities and environmental education.
The Ranch is officially the first African member of the Madagascar Fauna & Flora Group (MFG). The MFG is a global consortium of zoos, aquariums and botanical gardens collaborating to protect endangered species and rainforest habitats in eastern Madagascar.
What Is a Visit to The Cango Wildlife Ranch Like?
We loved our visit to the Cango Wildlife Ranch. Seeing the white tiger was a first for me and definitely the highlight. The variety of animals at the Ranch is wonderful, especially animals you would not normally see in South Africa, such as the Wallabies. We enjoyed the tour and learned so much from our tour guide! We spent about 2 hours at the Ranch, which was worth the time and money!
Don’t just believe us; read other travellers’ reviews of the Ranch.
What to Wear when Visiting the Cango Wildlife Ranch?
The most important item you need for a visit to the Cango Wildlife Ranch is comfortable walking shoes. Remember to take sunscreen and your camera! With Oudshoorn’s location in the Karoo, it can become hot in Summer, and light clothing will make your visit more pleasant.
Where to Stay Near the Cango Wildlife Ranch?
Some of the best accommodation options near the Cango Wildlife Ranch include:
Search here for other accommodation options in Oudtshoorn: