Rescue donkeys offered hope

Big ears: Pictured, a commissioned portrait of a donkey, sketched by Somerset West artist Lisa-Marie Myburgh.

Donkeys are often the forgotten species in animal welfare, accorded inferior status by the public and many welfare organisations.

Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary in McGregor stands as a beacon of hope for better lives for these humble animals, promoting their welfare and status through a number of different avenues.

At the sanctuary, rescued donkeys live out their lives in a peaceful setting, receiving best quality daily care. The sanctuary promotes the welfare and status of donkeys through a culture of caring, and provides permanent refuge for abused, neglected and elderly donkeys. 

Here they are given the opportunity to live out their lives with respect and dignity, surrounded by their own kind, in a protective and natural environment.

They no longer work for people, they now work with people, intuitively recognising humans in need. Under the watchful eyes of trained guides, visitors meet the donkeys, and leave as a “Donkey Ambassador”, sensitised and better informed.

At the same time the sanctuary offers a pocket of peace, an escape from the fragmented, restless world we live in.

However, we can never take in every donkey in need, and further effectiveness clearly lies in outreach work. We offer advice and guidance to owners, and present regular workshops related to donkey welfare.

We have established a communication platform Donkeys for Africa, for organisations throughout Africa working towards improved donkey welfare, with a bi-monthly newsletter carrying information about shared problems, solutions, projects and challenges

A critical factor in the success of the sanctuary is the support of the public, and there will be a talk on the work done to promote welfare for all donkeys, at Kilberry Terrace, Helderberg Village, Somerset West, on Friday May 11, at 10am.

Entry is free, all are welcome and refreshments will be served. For more information about the talk, contact Gillian Lay at 021 855 5102.

For more information about Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary, visit

Annemarie van Zijl is the manager of Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary