Some animal encounter destinations in Paarl in the Western Cape have gone virtual to support themselves as they are currently closed due to lockdown restrictions.

The animal sanctuaries and farms had to close to tourists due to COVID-19 and consequently lost out on vital income that typically goes toward feeding and caring for the animals.

Here are some ways that tourists and animal lovers can support these businesses during lockdown.

Tune in to the Ashia Cheetah Sanctuary’s Instagram page for its virtual tours of the sanctuary, raising awareness of its conservation project. Support can also be shown through its adoption programme or by purchasing vouchers for guest activities at the sanctuary that can be redeemed at a later stage.

Visit Paarl has shown its support by adopting a baby alpaca. Rona was born at The Alpaca Loom coffee shop and weaving studio, where they have been breeding alpacas since 2004. Members of the public can show their support by visiting the online shop, where they can donate bales of hay or adopt an alpaca. Adoptive parents can name their alpaca and visit them during a barn tour once travel restrictions are lifted.

The reptiles at Le Bonheur Reptile Adventures also need food and care and on May 16, the centre hosted ‘Africa’s Deadliest Reptile’ event – a 40-minute, live-streamed show where expert handlers showcased Africa’s most fierce reptiles. Visitors can pre-book a reptile tour for after lockdown and receive a 50% discount. All proceeds go toward feeding and caring the reptiles.

Butterfly World Animal Sanctuary is offering great discount prices for online vouchers, which can be redeemed after lockdown. The vouchers will be valid for a year.