Over the years Le Bonheur Crocodile park has become one of our favourite animal spaces to visit.
Hamish is a huge fan of reptiles and the crocodile farm is always on the list when we ask him what he wants to do.
About Le Bonheur Crocodile Park
Situated beyween Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschoek, Le Bonheur Crocodile Park is a great family outing offering :
- A crocodile farm with tours and opportunities to hold a baby crocodile
- Reptile show and exhibit
- Crocodile diving
- Catch and release dam
- Picnic baskets
- On site restaurant and curio shop
- Braai facilities
- Party venue
Le Bonheur Crocodile Park aim to provide an engaging experience that educates and nutures a respect for the African Nile crocodile and other reptiles.
To download times,rates or make a booking visit: https://lebonheuradventures.co.za/activities/
Our first visit
We first visited in 2019 and I had been wanting to visit the crocodile park for quite some time.
The drive into Paarl alone, was worth the visit as we enjoyed the iconic Pearl rock mountain views and open fields.Hamish had fun spotting the animals along the way and before we even reached the crocodile park we had seen horses, cows and springbok.
The view, as you enter this winelands farm, is breath taking and if I thought this was amazing, I was in for a much bigger treat when later we walked around and saw the view from the catch release dam …. I’m going to have to book a stay one day just to catch a sunrise and sunset from this idealic spot.
My first thoughts as we parked in the spacious parking spots was how calm and quiet it was.Lush green grass and beautiful flowers surrounded us.We had seen a field of cows driving in and as we parked we spotted some emu, whom we later went to feed.
The kids couldn’t wait to get out the car.
Hamish had been crocodile crazy for a few weeks before our visit so I just knew this outing was going to appeal to him.
We entered a large welcoming hall and proceed first to the little shop to buy our tickets.The shop was choc o bloc full with an assortment of items to buy to remember your visit. I was happy to see the pricing wasn’t over the top and we bought Hamish a little plastic crocodile and later a packet of dinosaurs.
You can also buy , among other things, t-shirts, crocodile teeth, leather items and handmade natural products.
We bought our tickets and then headed through to the crocodile tour.
The tour guide was really knowledgeable and friendly as he began to give a brief introduction to the life of a crocodile within the small room set up with an assortment of crocodile species pictures.
There were also real crocodile hides, skeletons, empty eggs and baby crocs in tanks.
I was rather sad that we wouldn’t be holding the crocs but very glad to see that the well being of the baby crocs came before a tourist ticket.The crocs were only a few weeks old and so not ready to be handled.
After our engaging talk we took a tour of the crocodile pens. There were 4 different environments for the crocs and they were divided by age to prevent the older crocs from attacking the younger ones.
The environments were clean and with 200 crocodiles it may have looked a little crowded but the crocs were clearly well fed and looked after by passionate, dedicated staff.
Hamish especially loved the green protein growing in the water and he was convinced it’s green mud.
We also spent some time just quietly observing the crocodile as Brent and Kerri listened to the guide discuss the crocodiles and their environment in great depths.
Hamish and I watched as the crocs quietly glided under the water only to surface with a great sploosh of bubbles from their nose.
I was really impressed with the guide. His passion and love for the crocodiles was very evident. He was knowledgeable, friendly and incredibly patient with the kids. In the hall he even took Hamish’s plastic crocodile and explained about how many toes the crocodiles have, engaging Hamish immediately. Outside, mid tour, he had stopped to show Hamish the crocodile life cycle pictures on a board, which prompted my little nature lover to try find the mommy and daddy crocodile. As a mom of a really enquiring toddler this made all the difference! Many tour guides could take a leaf out of this humble man’s book.
After a walk through crocodile tour we were led to a glass panel that showed us how the crocodile swims under water before we toured the area where you can dive with the crocodiles. Kerri and Brent are still super keen to return and do this. Me on the other hand …I’m not so sure about that. Maybe I’ll just buy a tooth souvenir.
When we were done we made a quick visit to the snakes. I’m not a snake fan at all but Brent and the kids are.There are some impressive snakes housed here and we had the option to attend the snake show and hold a snake but by that stage Hamish was exhausted so we headed to find food.
Service was a bit slow but the portions were quite big and nicely presented.
The view from the restaurant was spectacular and looks over the mountains and catch release dam.
The spacious children’s play area and picnic grounds are inviting and the picnic hampers sold are reasonable. A kiddy picnic of nuggets and chips, cold drink and toy will set you back R65 ( *pricing 2019). Not bad for a day out in nature.
It was the children’s area inside the restaurant that impressed me the most though. They had a some well used puzzles on a table and a row of books. Hamish was immediately attracted to the books and we were able to read about the reptiles he had just seen. He grabbed a book and went to lay on the soft crocodile play mat and read while waiting for his food.I would love to see this implemented in more restaurants that I take my child to.
On the floor was an animal skin rug that held a wooden barrels of natural blocks which were fantastic for open ended play and keeping busy toddlers still.
Overall, this was an incredibly child friendly affordable day out which appealed to each of us. I can’t wait for our next visit.