Since its establishment in 1990 as the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project, HESC has played a role in the conservation of specific endangered species, particularly cheetahs and rhinos. They focus on the survival of endangered species through the breeding and maintenance of diverse bloodlines of cheetahs, and the rehabilitation of rhinos that have become victims of poaching.
They also operate as an ecotourism destination with tours and excursions, overnight accommodation, and conservation experience programmes. The centre offers a standard guided tour on an open safari vehicle. It’s two-hour excursion that gives an overview of their programmes and a close-up of the species in their care. Seeing the cheetahs and rhinos is a highlight, as is a
Vulture Restaurant where vultures descend in their hundreds when food is put out for them.
Feeding of the birds takes place only during a Cheetah Focus Tour. On the standard tours you’ll also see lions, leopard, various smaller cat species, sable antelope and ground hornbills.
Cheetah Focus Tours are only available on request, so prior booking is required. It follows the same route as a Standard Tour, but includes a drive through the cheetah enclosure to experience the cheetah run. It includes a feeding session at the Vulture Restaurant.
The centre also has a deli and curio shop stocked with paintings, hand-sculpted ceramics, jewelry, hand-embroidered textile products, beadwork and wildlife books.