Hoedspruitt Endangered Species Centre (HESC) houses some of Africa’s most rare and vulnerable species, including elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, and sable antelope. The center nurses injured animals back to health, breeds endangered species for release back into the wild, and provides educational programs for students and travelers.
At HESC you can tour the grounds in a safari vehicle, observe animals in semi-wild bush environments, and learn from resident experts exactly what it takes to prevent extinction of the Big Five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephant, and Cape buffalo). HESC tours are often combined with visits to nearby attractions such as Kruger National Park, Kapama Private Game Reserve, and Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The center’s on-site curio shop is stocked with locally made souvenirs, including clothing, toys, and other artifacts.
- The deli at HESC serves traditional South African dishes and sandwiches, plus hot and cold drinks.
- Children under 6 years old are free, while kids ages 6 through 11 can enter for a reduced rate.
How to Get There
HESC is located in South Africa’s Limpopo province, about 4.5 hours by road from Johannesburg. Most tours depart from Hazyview and include round-trip transportation from area hotels. Parking is also available on-site.
When to Get There
The center is open year-round with the exception of Christmas day, with additional hours during the holidays and peak season (December through January). If you plan to spot wildlife at Kruger National Park, the dry winter season (May through September) is the best time to visit, as animals tend to congregate around water sources.
Accommodations at HESC
There are several accommodation options for visitors who would like to stay overnight at the center. Both the Sebeka self-catering cottage and Khula's Cottage are available for overnight stays, putting you in the center of the action with just a fence to separate you from animals wandering by.