Thursday, 29 June 2017

Our cheetahs and wild dogs need your help!

Adopt a wild child today!

By adopting a wild furchild at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre you are contributing towards the veterinary expenses of 90 cheetahs, 50 wild dogs, 20 small mammals and around 30 endangered vultures. 

The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre does not receive any government funding and therefore depend heavily on public support to continue with the work that we do. You and your family can take a special interest in one of the centre's animals by adopting one or more of them.

Choose your favourite animal from the list of species and by sending your adopt and animal donation, you will be playing an important role in assisting us to maintain and care for these animals. All adoptions will be acknowledged on a special board at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre. You will recieve a certificate to acknowledge your adoption as well as a photograph via email of your adoptee.

In order to maintain the genetic integrity of these species, we need to have a large population of both cheetah and wild dog. Just as you would need to use external parasite control on your dogs and cats at home, we also need to make sure our wild furkids are tick and flee free. The only difference is these animals are a lot larger, therefor they require more of the products as it is calculated according to their weight

For more information on our adoptions program please email Lu-Mari on
or hop on to one of our JustGiving campaigns for easy donations

Click here for Adoptions or Donations for Parasite Control

Until next time, have a purrfect day.

Monday, 29 May 2017

The loss of a legendary cheetah - Byron the ambassador

Our team is posting this with a very heavy heart. On Thursday 25th May 2017 our beautiful first ambassador, Byron, passed away. This was just 5 days shy of his 15th birthday, which was a very good age for a cheetah. 

Byron and the education team have touched so many hearts from the inception of the education program in 2003. The education team was headed up by Marilyn Hull, who was also Byron's primary handler and trainer.
Marilyn and Byron at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre

From rural schools in Atherstone, underprivileged schools in Ga-Rankuwa, Soweto, Shoshanguve, Mabopane and Diepsloot, right through to beautiful hotels and elevators - Byron had seen it all. With a strong emphasis on encouraging the school kids and delegates to do their bit in ensuring a healthier environment for all species, Byron and the education team have visited about 90 000 people through the years. Many of the youngsters in rural communities would never have been exposed to wildlife without this opportunity, and the true success of the education program was evident when learners from these schools went on to study nature conservation and pursue a career in this field.
Kids in Ga-Rankuwa made it clear to education team how much they loved Byron

Burn victims, junior honorary rangers, children and adults with disabilities,celebrities, school children and delegates at specialised corporate talks were all privileged enough to meet this beautiful ambassador cheetah. They will all agree - when you have seen this phenomenal animal in person, heard him purr and looked into his large soulful eyes, you cannot ignore the plight of cheetahs or turn your back on your responsibility to be a custodian for the environment.

Junior honorary rangers with a young Byron 

Eco-Access meet Byron at the center's education facility - Reach for the Wild

Mr. South Africa meets Byron at the Ann van Dyk cheetah Centre

Byron not only touched the lives of the children and adults that have met him through the years, but also crept deep into the hearts of all the staff involved with the centre and particularly, the education team. 
Amos Letsoalo, Marilyn Hull and Byron at a school in Soweto
Amos, Marilyn and Byron in Ga-Rankuwa
Rita Groenewald, Marilyn Hull and Byron in Ga-Rankuwa

Gaby Carse with Byron on a sleep-over
When travelling far from the centre, Byron and the team would overnight in accommodation, and this handsome cheetah would make himself extremely comfortable in any situation.
Monique Burger with Byron on a sleep-over

Gaby, Byron and Bryan Habana
Through the years, many celebrities assisted the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre in creating awareness about the plight of the cheetah. Byron and the team featured in many newspaper articles and television shows. Byron even had his own episode on a show featured on Animal Planet titled "Byron the Cheetah Teacher" highlighting his work in rural schools.
Monique, Marilyn and Byron meet Clare Vale - a famous lady in the Motorsport industry who assists us with fundraising 

Ann van Dyk, Marilyn, Gaby and Byron meet well know environmental journalist Errol Felix

Gaby, Marilyn and Byron on the late night show
The entire team at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre already miss him immensely, but honor him by continuing the work that he and Marilyn started all those years ago. Yeats is our current school going ambassador who joins the team in making appearances at schools all around Gauteng and North-West.
Yeats and the team at a school in Attridgeville

The centre recently proudly made the decision to cease any wild animal interaction. This was a big decision for Management as we have offered this for a substantial period of time, but our conservation goals and efforts are the most important tasks we have. We have previously supported limited interaction under strict protocols as we believed that this interaction created an interest and awareness in cheetahs and conservation in general, however our current thinking that this interaction is not in the best interest of our cheetahs. The press has recently been full of harmful reports about sad, tragic and recently a fatal injury associated with wild animal interaction. We, as a Centre, always have and always will support what is in the best interest of the cheetahs. We still offer a cheetah appearance where our ambassador cheetah will visit your school, and learners will be able to view a cheetah, see many adaptations that allow them to run phenomenal speeds, hear him purr and see those large gorgeous eyes.

Till our next blog!

Education team
+12 504 9906

Thursday, 12 January 2017

2016 - An overview of the year

Helping learners from underprivileged communities understand conservation

Visits to the centre

Learners from an informal settlement viewing wild dogs 
All smiles after the tour 
 2016 was a great year for our education team, with learners from underprivileged communities and orphanages getting the opportunity to visit the centre. Children from an informal settlement near Hartbeespoortdam were treated to a day visit to the Ann van Dyk Cheetah centre as the CHEETA team took them on a fun tour. On the tour, they saw cheetahs, wild dogs, vultures, suricats, servals, caracals and even spotted hyenas. The highlight was meeting our ambassador cheetah named Yeats. We also hosted a group of partially sighted learners from a school from Limpopo province. A sensory trail offered the learners an opportunity to smell, taste and feel some of the beauty that we all take for granted as sighted individuals. Of course, meeting Yeats, feeling and hearing his magnificent purr, and even getting a sense of the size of a cheetah is something these teenagers will never forget. 

Offsight visits

Underprivileged school learners getting
information about endangered animals
Yeats and the CHEETA team also traveled     to an underprivileged school in the     community of Ga-Rankuwa. After an           extensive presentation about cheetahs social behaviour and anatomy, as well as information about various environmental concerns South Africa is facing, the learners got the opportunity to meet the gorgeous Yeats. Although they were a little apprehensive at first, after touching him, Yeats and the team won over a few classes of little conservationists. 
Learners meeting Yeats
These types of visits are only possible due to support from generous sponsors, and visitors to the centre, if you would like to assist in making any donations towards visits for underprivileged learners coming to the centre, or our team visiting a community, you can do so directly on GivenGain or JustGiving or contact us for more information.


Fun times at the Ester Stewart Tented Camp

The Ester Stewart Tented Camp is one of the most exciting offerings that CHEETA has at the moment. A 16 sleeper campsite, as well as a vehicle for transporting underprivileged learner was generously sponsored by the Ester Stewart Trust to ensure that our education team could allow children of all socio-economic situations to be able to experience the beauty that the Magaliesburg biosphere and the Ann van dyk Cheetah Centre offers. During 2016, we hosted 2 orphanages for weekend stays, as well as a fantastic opportunity to bring learners from Diepsloot, Lonehill and Orange Farm together to learn from each others cultural and home lives, while enjoying the enviromental education at the centre. These children were even fortunate enough to bump into our founder, Ann van Dyk, and were given words of encouragement to protect our wildlife heritage. 

We also hosted the wonderful team from the Wot-If? Trust for their year-end function, and the ladies enjoyed the rustic setting very much, with customised conferencing, meals as well as a private tour. Of course no stay at the camp would be complete without meeting Yeats, and he was a graceful as ever.

The tented camp is also a fantastic venue for leadership camps, Scout and Voortrekker groups, or even self catering getaways. Contact us for any booking enquiries. 

Children meeting our founder, Ann van Dyk

Tented camp Girls vs. Boys Potjiekos competition
 at the tented camp

 Holiday programme fun in December

Meeting Timone, our cutie pie meerkat
During December, we had a lovely group of youngsters that spent 3 days in our tented camp, and learning about conservation while having fun. Activities including tours of the centre, meeting our ambassador animals, learning about tracking and making spoor casts, and lots of fun in the swimming pool. The evenings were spent playing board games, learning about sounds of the bush and story telling around the campfire while toasting marshmallows. We are not sure who enjoyed it more - our education team or the youngsters. 
The stunning Egyptian Vulture, Sagira

The holiday programme is held every school holiday, provided we have enough participants. Book early to ensure a spot.
Fun times on the "prey-ground"
Time for cleaning up

School tours and offsite bookings

With so many choices, CHEETA has an offering for your school, eco-club, scouts and voortrekker meetings or just for fun. We can give talks at venues in Gauteng, North-West and Limpopo provinces on Cheetahs, Wild dogs, Vultures or even introduce learners to domestic animals. Our ambassador animals are always ready for some cuddles and an outing. Yeats the cheetah, Sagira the egyptian vulture and Jedi the anatolion dog are well trained and travel with our team.

At the centre, we have game drives, walking tours, education games and much more. 

Please contact Rita on for equiries.

We wish all our supporters and followers a fantastic 2017.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Win a Skype Chat with a cheetah and an education officer

Like the page Community Help Enviro Education Through Animals to stand a chance to have a skype experience with a cheetah and an education officer 

By liking "CHEETA's " page on facebook you could stand a chance to win a Skype chat with a cheetah and an education officer. This entails an education officer being in a camp with a cheetah, and getting close enough to hear the cheetah purring. If learners have questions, the education officer will be able to answer these questions, and provide information about 

Even if you don't win, you can still make a donation to have this experience. It is a great cause to support and a fun way for learners from anywhere in the world to meet an ambassador cheetah in their classroom, or an office full of staff to have a fun meeting.

Please contact me if you have any further questions.

Cheetah Greetings,
Rita Groenewald
+27 12 504 9907

Monday, 12 January 2015

Education programme has tented camp for learners visiting centre!

Thanks to the generosity of the Trustees of the Ester Steward Trust, CHEETA will be opening a tented camp to bring learners from rural and inner city communities to experience the beauty of the centre. We are thrilled to have this opportunity, and are watching with great excitement as the tented camp takes shape.

The education team can't wait to have learners visiting the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre on holiday programmes and educational visits stay over in the beautiful tents. 

Imagine waking up in a tent at the foothills of the Magaliesburg mountain, spending a day learning about cheetahs, wild dogs, vultures and so much more about conservation as well as being spoilt to delicious food and amazing scenery.

Watch this space for more details, or contact Rita .

+ 27 12 504 9906/7/8

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Video of Yeats the Cheetah Visiting School

Check out this cool video of Yeats, the ambassador cheetah from the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, visiting a rural community in Johannesburg. 

This is a series of visits, based on a holistic environmental theme. From learning about domestic animals, recycling and up-cycling, to where we all fit into the environment, ending off with an ambassador cheetah visit, the learners in the community are getting exposed to a whole new world. Thank you Loreal Kiehl's for making this happen! We believe this has been very memorable for the 150 odd vulnerable children that have benefited from these visits.

If you would like to support our education programme please visit the following pages to donate any amount - remember every little bit helps.

Chat soon,

Rita Groenewald
Community Help Enviro Education Through Animals
In association with The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre of Dewildt

Friday, 31 October 2014

Celebrate International Cheetah Day 2014

International Cheetah Day - 4 December 2014

Cheetahs are a flagship species, well known for being the world's fastest land mammal. What many people might not know about this spotted beauty, is that they have declined drastically in the last 100 years world-wide from approximately 100 000 individuals throughout Africa, Middle-East and Asia, to an estimated 
10 000 at the moment. At the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre of Dewildt, our team, under the leadership of the legendary Ann van Dyk, is passionate about educating the public about the plight of the cheetah. Although the Centre is well know for breeding cheetah, wild dog and many other endangered species throughout the years, our main focus remains education.
Mime - a beautiful 2 year old cheetah following the lure at the cheetah run at The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre

Graca was an amazing athlete that is best known for her race against the South African rugby player Bryan Habana

Yeats, a school going ambassador cheetah at the young age of 4 weeks.
To ensure as many people as possible are able to learn about conservation, our environment, and the reality of losing many precious species, our education team has to venture off the farm into various communities with the message of environmental awareness. The most important staff members of the education team include an ambassador Anatolian Dog named Jedi, and Egyptian vulture named Sagira, and our ambassador cheetah - Yeats. During school holidays, our team also organises visits to the Centre for underprivileged learners. To celebrate International Cheetah Day on 4th December this year, our team urges cheetah supporters from around the world to donate money to this amazing cause, and help rural learners experience time on our farm, and learn about the animals at the Centre. The education programme is called "Community Help Enviro Education Through Animals" or "CHEETA" for short.
Yeats at a rural school in Alexandra (Johannesburg)

Learners upcycling
Any donation is welcome, and "CHEETA" has a GivenGain account for secure donations, or you can visit Justgiving where Yeats Cheetah has a fundraiser page to bring the learners our to the centre. Please visit our websites to learn more about the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, as well as CHEETA and

Chat soon,

Rita Groenewald
Education Manager - CHEETA
Tel. +27 12 504 9906
An orphanage at the Centre 

The learners from the orphanage playing in the veld.