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“Brilliant african experience with plenty of animal interaction”

Harnas Wildlife Foundation
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Gobabis
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Wildlife sanctuary offering eco-tourism.
Outaouais Aussie
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Brilliant african experience with plenty of animal interaction”
Reviewed 6 August 2011

Wow, what can I say: This is my fifth trip to Namibia and definitely a newly discovered gem.

Visitors can expect an unmoderated, experience where one is free to interact with many animals and also to encounter knowledgable guides such as 'Tomasz' who did an excellent safari tour for feeding lions, cheetahs, baboons etc.

You get to drive in to some enclosures for up front encounters without the fence separating you from the animals.

All wildlife was in excellent condition and the volunteers really do care about their charges.

Make sure to visit and pat Fatty the bat eared fox, try to sneak some peanuts and raisins in with the dwarf mongooses and you'll have new friends for life.

The lodge cats are great and we let one sleep with us overnight. Two of the baboons are partial to Windhoek lager, just dont give them more than a sip.

Highly recommend this place to anyone visiting Namibia if you love rather than hunt animals.

6 Thank lamarmotte71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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55 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
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English first
Windhoek, Namibia
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 May 2011

As a class,the matrics went to Harnas from 13-15 May.We got to walk in a area with cheetas,playd with wild cats,got the opertunity to learn about tourism...Ther is just no words to explain the experiens we had to be between al of these animals.At the camp in the night,you could hear the lions and see the baboons...Some of us got the opertunity to feed them...I recommend this to any one...And I wil defenitley volenteur to work for longer!!!
The staff are kind and they knou wahat theyr doing...Take a chance and experiens it for yourself!!!

Visited May 2011
4 Thank annoumis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“a great refuge for so many types of animals”
Reviewed 10 June 2010

I thought it was great. The combination of compassion and the wisdom of discretion. Taking care of the animals and then working with them to be released back into the wild. Someone who has very little concept of big 10,000 hectares actually is wrote a mediocre review of harnas and there statements about the place being a glorified zoo actually reveals either how negatively prejudiced they were towards the refuge, or how ignorant they are of what a zoo is. It provoked me to respond here.
I went to Gobabis to speak in school assemblies and preach, and hadn't planned on visiting Harnas, but was invited by a local lady pastor. I'm so glad I was invited, because it was one of the most wonderful experiences I've ever had with animals and to hear those lions roar from only about 30 meters away was an unforgettable experience!

4 Thank pastormarkinswakop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Experience of a lifetime...”
Reviewed 6 December 2009

I spent four weeks at Harnas during July and August 2009 as a volunteer and had the best experiences that you could wish for. Spending days playing with, walking and caring for cheetahs and lion cubs amongst numerous other species is something that I know I will never forget. The bond and attachment that you create with these animals is incredible - and surprising at times (I fell in love with an African Grey parrot that is there). Opportunities such as being able to sleep out under the Namibian skyline, cuddled up to purring cheetahs are just unbelievable.

The people that run Harnas are so friendly and so accommodating. If you decide to go to Harnas, you really will have the time of your life.

One extra point, as a reply to the other review below, the animals are released into the Lifeline project to keep them safe from poachers and farmers. Once there, they live for themselves, hunting and breeding as naturally as possible, whilst being kept safe, as I mentioned, from poachers and adjoining farms. Those kept on the farm are those with problems that mean they cannot be released, such as illness or animals that were kept as pets by other people, so cannot be freed. I certainly wouldn't suggest that Harnas is a glorified zoo. They do everything they can to try and release the animals that they look after into the Lifeline Project.

7 Thank Harriers88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 November 2008

We just returned today from an overnight stay at Harnas Wildlife Santuary outside Gobabis, Namibia. Harnas had been highly recommended by several friends, whose kids all loved petting the baby lions, seeing the wild dogs, cheetahs, leopards and other cats as well as the resident tortoises and giraffe. Our kids loved experiencing these things too.

Then why the mediocre rating? We "grownups" were disturbed to learn that while Harnas advertises itself as a rehabilitation facility for wild animals, none of the animals are actually released into the bush. Instead, the aim of the owners seems to be to release some of the animals into a larger 10,000 hectare enclosure on their property. Yet, lions and I believe cheetahs are allowed to breed at Harnas, and the cubs are destined to remain in captivity for their entire lives. In sharp contrast to, say, the Cheetah Conservation Fund, Harnas seems meant to keep these beautiful animals mostly to generate tourist and paid volunteer traffic to the farm. Now, in Namibia, leopards, lions and cheetahs are not rare at all, and it is entirely possible to develop conservation plans for these animals but Harnas does not seem to be focussed on this at all. Harnas, as far as I could tell, is simply a glorified zoo.

We talked to a few of the volunteers, who pay their own fare to come from EU or USA for 2 to 6 weeks or even longer. One young woman told me she would be at Harnas for 6 weeks, and would not go anywhere else in Namibia before her long and expensive flight home. How sad, I thought, that this young woman, so devoted to the wild animals in Harnas' care, would never actually see a leopard, cheetah, or lion in the wild, where their behavior is almost entirely different than in the smallish enclosures at Harnas where they are tossed pieces of horse, donkey or other meat every few days as we tourists watch.

In short, Harnas is what it is, and there are many such places in Namibia that keep large cats on premises to attract tourists. Granted, Harnas DOES save individual animals that are injured etc. Yet what was disturbing was that it bills itself as something far more, perhaps in order to glean traffic and contributions.

32 Thank Ice_Tres
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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