Groote Schuur Zoo

Cape Town, South Africa

Groote Schuur Zoo

The Groote Schuur Zoo was a 2-hectare (4.9-acre) zoo in Cape Town, South Africa. Established in 1931 at the request of deceased Cecil Rhodes, it was free of charge and a very popular attraction in Cape Town until its closure sometime between 1975 and 1985. The zoo shut down due to a combination of the financial burden that the Apartheid government faced and an increase in animal welfare standards. During its operation, it housed many animals including lions, emus, crocodiles and tahrs. The zoo can still be visited today, as it has been abandoned and left open to the public. The most prominent feature of the zoo is the Lion's Den, both when it was open and today where it still stands, full of overgrown vegetation.

In 1893, Cecil Rhodes purchased the Rhodes Estate (which comprises the University of Cape Town, the Rhodes Memorial and the zoo). He had a herbivorous menagerie on his estate and in 1896 he was gifted two lions and a leopard, for which he built an extension onto the menagerie to house the creatures. Originally he had elaborate designs for the house, but only a small house was built. Upon his death he bequeathed his estate to the state, and in 1930 the Lion house was torn down. The following year new enclosures were built to house the animals and the site became known as Groote Schuur Zoo.

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