Esther Van Der Westhuizen Founder & Managing Director

About Us

A fun family day out, and so much more

Exotic Animal World is a sanctuary for a variety of exotic animals, such as spiders, snakes, monkeys, meerkats, scorpions, many species of bird and much more. All our animals were either donated by their previous owners, or were confiscated by local authorities and given into our care. Visitors to our sanctuary can see over 700 amazing creatures who are now all ambassadors for their species and carry the message: Appreciate, Don’t Keep.

Our History

Zoologist, Esther van der Westhuizen and her mom, Matty Pretorius, started Exotic Animal World under the name Butterfly World in November 1996. After purchasing an acre of marsh land, they started by planting a tropical garden and then building an enclosure around it. With the enclosed garden set up, they imported exotic butterfly pupae from all over the world and soon visitors were streaming in to enjoy the scores of free flying butterflies. Donations of exotic pets soon followed and Butterfly World became the sanctuary it is today; a safe place for unwanted and confiscated exotic animals. With the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020, it became impossible to continue importing butterfly pupae and so a name change was made to reflect the new focus of the sanctuary. Exotic Animal World, as it is today, is still family owned and continues to employ local people from the Klapmuts community. It is a trusted centre of education, not only hosting multiple school groups every year, but also aiming to teach and inspire every visitor that walks through the door.

Our Vision & Values

Exotic Animal World endeavors to be a facility of excellence.

We aim to;

  • be a trusted sanctuary with focus on the animal
  • strive for the best practice in animal keeping and husbandry
  • be a leading example for captive animal facilities in Africa and the world
  • offer the best speciality animal connective experience