La Bonheur Crocodile Farm Review

Last year November (yes I know my review is a little overdue) we went to La Bonheur Crocodile Farm with one of my besties and her daughter. My kids really wanted to see some real crocodiles and since we had heard of La Bonheur before we decided this was the place to go.

It is also a lovely area with lots of awesome attractions including Butterfly World, Drakenstein Lion Park and Chimp Haven (both of which we have been to a few times and I have yet to review).

La Bonheur Crocodile Farm Review

Crocodile Meat, Crocodile Leather, Crocodile Oil Beauty Products

Before arriving at Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm I never really thought about much except for the fact that it would be so amazing for my kids to see real crocodiles. I never thought past that to why there would be a crocodile farm. When we arrived we were told that there would be a tour starting soon so we lined up to go in.

It soon became very clear how the farm makes its money. The crocodiles are farmed for their meat, for their skins to make crocodile leather goods and for their oils to make beauty products. Apparently crocodile oil is amazing for your skin (shiver…no thanks).

** UPDATED – Please check the comments below – there are crocodile products sold here but not from the crocodiles on this farm** 

I have to be honest when I say that I suddenly felt a bit sick and stupid for not thinking this through.

And no I am not a vegetarian or vegan… yet… however lately I have started feeling very differently about the way things work and I am planning on going vegan. At this stage I have cut down on the meat and animal products I eat, and I am in the process of replacing a lot of the things I eat with healthier (and kinder) plant based options. But all of that is going to be coming up in another blog post when I have time.

The point here being if I had actually spent just two minutes thinking about this trip beforehand I would have realized very quickly that coming here would have been supporting and funding something that I am not comfortable with – something I am consciously trying to move away from.

Holding Crocodile

Crocodile Tour

Now that is out the way, I actually enjoyed the tour a lot (minus all the nasty bits of course). The tour guide was very knowledgeable about crocodiles and he was fun, friendly and likable.

We were shown a baby crocodile which we could touch which was quite the experience. My kids wouldn’t touch the crocodile or hold it but my friend’s daughter couldn’t wait to get the little guy in her hands and she couldn’t stop smiling.

My kids enjoyed hearing all about crocodiles and they loved watching them down below the walkway. The crocodiles were massive and very impressive.

Crocodile Cage Diving

Crocodile Cage Diving

After being taken to the main area where most of the crocodiles were we were taken to smaller section where crocodile cage diving is offered. None of us wanted to get in the water with crocodiles so we gave that a skip!  I’m not so fond of getting too close to animals that can eat me, plus the water is dirty and green. I wouldn’t want to get in that water anyway even if there were no dangerous creatures.

[Crocodiles at La Bonheurads2]

Snake Show

There was also a snake show that we could have watched but the kids were restless and hungry after the crocodile tour, so we decided to give that a skip. I have heard the snakes are very impressive and I quite like snakes.

Kids sitting on crocodile

Restaurant

There is a lovely restaurant inside the building, with a little shop off to the side where you can buy things, including crocodile leather products and beauty products made from oil from the crocodile. We gave the shop a skip!

There is outdoor seating in front of the restaurant and also to the side where there is a jungle gym and lots of lawn for kids to run and play. You can also order a picnic basket to take outside with you or you can order off their menu.

We decided to have our lunch at the tables next to the play area so our kids could have free run of the place. The food arrived in good time and we all had a really enjoyable meal. The kids all chose the frankfurter and chips kiddies meals plus chocolate milkshakes. All the adults ate pizza and it was really good pizza.

Fishing at La Bonheur Crocodile Farm

Fishing

In front of the restaurant is a big dam and you can fish in it (fish and throw back). You can bring your own fishing rod or you can hire one. It really is a pity that I never knew about the dam and the fishing beforehand.

It was really a really hot day and the kids didn’t have their swimming costumes and I didn’t have suntan lotion on me – a very unprepared mommy.

We hired a fishing rod for a while and we walked to the far side of the dam where there weren’t many people so our kids could strip off to their undies and splash around while learning to fish with my husband.

Just a note of caution there were some tiny leeches we found on our own legs on our kids. I just pulled them off. I’m not sure how you feel about leeches?

La Bonheur Crocodile Farm Waterside Accommodation

There is also accommodation available at la Bonheur but I couldn’t find out more at this stage since it appears their website is down and I never knew about the accommodation at the time we went there so I never inquired about it.

Crocodiles at La Bonheur

My Final Verdict For La Bonheur Crocodile Farm

If you have no problem supporting a company that breeds animals for their meat and skin, and harvests their oils for beauty products then you and your family will really love La Bonheur Crocodile Farm.

** UPDATED – Please check the comments below – there are crocodile products sold here but not from the crocodiles on this farm** 

When I pushed those facts out of my mind, overall we had an amazing time. It was great catching up with my friend and her daughter.

Me and Friend

Watching these magnificent creatures was incredible and it was lovely watching my kids experience the crocodiles and having so much fun in the playground and at the dam.

If you are planning to visit La Bonheur Crocodile Farm then I suggest you go a little more prepared than I was – make sure you and your kids have hats, suntan lotion, towels and swimming costumes! Also make sure to make a day of it, there is a lot to see and do, plus lovely places for your kids to have great free play outdoors.

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11 comments

  1. I prefer that companies are up front about the fact that they commercially breed animals rather than stripping natural resources and upsetting the ecological cycle in nature.

    Over the December holidays we visited a croc farm in Gauteng on a rainy day. We had the unfortunate experience of a huge croc jumping out of the water and snapping against the rails of a bridge over its enclosure. Having a nearly three year old witness such aggressive behavior resulted in him being terrified. But perhaps it was a good thing that he now realizes that these are wild animals and must be respected. I find that with the kiddy programs making all animals friendly, that toddlers have a misconception that all animals can be petted and played with.

  2. Thank you for a very true and honest review.

    Me and my boy met up with a friend and her new baby. It was an incredible hot day and we were a little bit unprepared. I did not pack in a hat for either ones of us.

    I must be honest…I did not expect to see so many crocodiles in such a small space. They were all over each other and it fell like they do not even have space to move around other than to jump for food.

    My son was a bit scared of touching the baby crocodile so I was happy with that.

    The restaurant on the other had is lovely. Lots of flies but the food was delicious.

    Not entirely convinced that I will go again anytime soon.

    xx

  3. Looks like you guys had a ball @lynne! Your little ones have grown so much! Absolutely adorable!

  4. @lynne thank you for the review on the croc farm. I’m not a big fan of crocodiles, I’m petrified of those big jaws and massive teeth.

    I hate that people use them for their skin and oils I don’t think that is what nature intended for them. I think the crocodile farm is one I will definitely give a skip.

  5. @lynne this was a truly realistic article. I have not visiting this Crocodile Farm but I have visited Phezulu Safari Park (situated in 1000 hills area in Durban) which is similar to the farm in your article.

    On arrival we were welcomed with such great hospitality. We were informed on all the activities that were set up for that day.

    We started by attending the snake show, my little one is a huge reptile farm. He was thrilled to be in direct contact with these creatures.

    Before we could attend the crocodile show, we decided to have lunch at one of the resturants that was part of the park facility. On the menu was majority crocodile meat meals. My son insisted to order “pops”, even after we informed him its not chicken. He really enjoyed it.
    This was certainly not my type of resturant.

    The crocodile show was exciting and definately the centre of attraction.

    The toilets were in a disgusting condition, not suited for adults let alone any children.

    Overall the park was exciting for my little one. This certainly is not a place we will visit again.

  6. @lynne this was a truly realistic article. I have not visited this Crocodile Farm but I have visited Phezulu Safari Park (situated in 1000 hills area in Durban) which is similar to the farm in your article.

    On arrival we were welcomed with such great hospitality. We were informed on all the activities that were set up for that day.

    We started by attending the snake show, my little one is a huge reptile farm. He was thrilled to be in direct contact with these creatures.

    Before we could attend the crocodile show, we decided to have lunch at one of the resturants that was part of the park facility. On the menu was majority crocodile meat meals. My son insisted to order “pops”, even after we informed him its not chicken. He really enjoyed it.
    This was certainly not my type of resturant.

    The crocodile show was exciting and definately the centre of attraction.

    The toilets were in a disgusting condition, not suited for adults let alone any children.

    Overall the park was exciting for my little one. This certainly is not a place we will visit again.

  7. Thanks for sharing Lynne, it sounds like something my kids would enjoy! It’s a pity how they sustain the business. You really want to question the fact if they are doing it for the love of these animals or is it just about the business and money. Quite disappointing if you think about it! I was actually looking forward to going there but now i really want to think about it first. Everything else sounds great. The fact that you can stay over is also amazing. Leeches just freaks me out but i won’t tell the kids lol. They need to experience all these things. Can’t always protect them from everything. If it was a shark infested pool then yes , we won’t go near lol. Anyways, this place sounds like a nice day trip and it is something we will definitely consider.
    Ps: thanks for the lovely pics!

  8. Thank you for taking the time to review our reptile centre and all the activities that can be enjoyed here. We respect your views, but need to rectify some facts about our focus and aim:

    Le Bonheur certainly no longer breeds the African crocodile for commercial reasons and we deeply regret that you reached this conclusion. Even though the crocs on view emanated from a captive bred environment of what was meant to be (35 years ago), a commercial entity, Le Bonheur reptile centre have come full circle on our approach and intent. Our revenue stems purely from viewing fees, and peripheral activities. We aim to educate and create an awareness of the African nile crocodile and other reptiles, whilst providing a home here for the animals that arrived here from commercial entities years ago. We don’t encourage breeding, and hatch less than 10 eggs per annum. We work very hard to relocate full grown crocs annually as we respect their needs and aim to provide an acceptable space per croc in our ponds (the exact opposite aim are often true of some commercial entities).

    The carefully selected leather products available on site are sourced from sustainable, licensed culling programs elsewhere in South Africa that focusses on producing smaller quantities of high quality tanned skins, crafted by local leather workers into unique items that will last well beyond the average imported faux leather accessory, and we are proud to feature the skills of these leatherworkers in our establishment. The meat and oil are obvious byproducts of these programs.

    My ancestors had strong roots in farming. But on Le Bonheur today we aim to provide a balance – I hope we will continue to offer a value experience, and that our ethos will continue to be informed by the needs of the animals so much as the needs of our visitors.

    Ample Media (Social Media: Le Bonheur Croc Farm) on behalf of Alzette – Manager/Co owner.

    • Thank you so much for making that clear and I am so happy to hear that. Perhaps the guide explained that in the tour but then I missed that part due to trying to keep my young kids under control – kinda hard to concentrate with a 4 year old and a 6 year old surrounded by crocodiles! I will update my blog as soon as I can to be correct – I am so sorry for the misunderstanding!

      We did have an amazing time at Le Bonheur – you have an amazing set up there. Absolutely perfect.

  9. My 3-year old LOVED holding the baby crocodile, and told everyone about it – even strangers in the mall! We had a great time at Le Bonheur. The ply area is lovely, the scenery is beautiful, the food was delicious, and the pina coladas are a-MA-zing!!!

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