A groundbreaking conservation project dedicated to preserving the critically endangered Bengal Tiger. Set against the unique backdrop of the Great Karoo in the Free State Province of South Africa, Tiger Canyon is home to a growing population of rewilded tigers.
In the late 1990s, renowned conservationist John Varty (JV) was concerned about the diminishing population of wild tigers in Asia. In 2000, JV bought two zoo-born tiger cubs and set in motion the ex-situ conservation project that is today Tiger Canyon.
Ron and Julie, the two founding cubs, were successfully rewilded by JV. With the later introduction of two new tigers, Shadow and Seatao, the first wild cubs were born at Tiger Canyon in 2008. The Tigers have adapted remarkably to the terrain, blending in seamlessly with the Karoo landscape. Camouflaging perfectly in the long grass and rocky outcrops, the Tigers have proven to be lethal predators.
Inspired by the project, Rodney and Lorna Drew purchased adjoining land in order to expand the reserve. In 2013, a cheetah territory was established and four cheetahs were introduced to Tiger Canyon, increasing the scope of the sanctuary to include this endangered South African big cat.
In 2014, two new tigers were introduced to ensuring a diverse and varied genetic line. Towards the end of 2017, wild-born cubs once again roamed the land.
Despite challenges, this conservation project continues to grow from strength to strength, providing a beacon of hope in the fight for the tiger’s survival in the wild.
Tiger Canyon arguably boasts the best photographic opportunity of wild tigers in the world. Complemented by a wild and bold landscape, the Tigers can be found in a number of striking natural settings ranging from grasslands to rocky crags to verdant reed dams. The cats are all habituated to our game viewing vehicles, allowing us to bring you close enough to feel their energy. There are some cats that remain exceptionally shy, and the process of scouting to find them is part of the photographic adventure.
Our highly trained guides are able to place photographers at the best vantage points to view the tigers while informing their guests about tiger behaviour. Our photographic safaris uniquely blend dedicated conservation with artistic passion — creating a space for photographers to come together and be inspired while capturing truly remarkable wildlife images.
A good zoom lens is essential for those magnificent close-ups, while a wide-angle lens will capture the limitless landscape. All our vehicles provide guests with bean bags to stabilise their cameras and ensure that every image is crystal clear. The vehicles are also equipped with spotlights to enable tiger viewing into the evenings.
The Karoo has some of the clearest night skies in South Africa, so bring along a tripod and intervalometer for starry panoramas.
Features & Facilities
- Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
- Fireplace in all rooms
- Fully Airconditioned
- Swimming Pool
- Secure Parking
- Viewing Deck
- Game Drives
- Tiger Education Centre
- Luxury Accommodation
- Lodge Host