For my birthday yesterday we took a trip out to Longleat Safari Park near Bath, it was the first ever drive through safari park created outside of Africa, opened in 1966 it is situated within the grounds owned by the Marquess of Bath.
You can either drive your own car through the safari route, or pay for a guided tour in one of the safari cars on site.
The first section of the safari is just a drive through woods until you reach the “African Village” where you park and go to see the first animals on foot.
From here you can walk through a couple of enclosures with lemurs and wallabies (the wallabies were all taking a nap though ^_^;), and you can stand out on a viewing platform which overlooks a part of the zebra and giraffe area which is open on the opposite side as part of the drive along route.
We arrived in time to take part in feeding the giraffes by hand too ^^
The viewing platform is at giraffe head-height and you can hold out a branch of leaves for them to eat from….hold on tight though, because they pull pretty hard to get the leaves off ;P
Next was onto the main safari drive :D
The first section of the route takes you past the giraffes and different antelope, plus 2 caged areas housing flamingo and vultures…..vultures are surprisingly big actually >.>
The road is one way and has 2 lanes, so you can stop on the left to take photos and watch the animals, while other cars can pass you on the right :)
Next up is the well known “Monkey Drive Thru” which is an optional part of the route that can be skipped if you want to….while passing along the side of the enclosure before approaching the gate we had a good advert for skipping it this time though ^_^;
We saw an innocent looking little monkey walking along towards a car which was slowly driving towards it. The monkey jumped up onto the front of the still moving car, and ran up the bonnet and windscreen to get on the roof. It then proceeded to straight away rip up a piece of rubber trim from the edge of the car’s roof, and run along towards the back peeling the rubber off the car as it went ;>.>
The car behind that had a monkey yanking on the aerial >.>
So we skipped the voluntary monkey destruction :P
Next up was some pretty large and impressive animals….all of them within a few meters of our car ^^
It was really nice to just see the different animals getting on with their day out in the big open space, and to be able to see them up close with no fences separating us…..although we were in a car we had the windows open, so it felt like there’s nothing between us.
Next up we passed several signs stating that from this point it’s no longer safe to leave windows open, and you must keep them closed at all times…..we approached a big gate and I started thinking of Jurassic Park :P
The first part of the Big Cats area houses tigers, and we saw them from a little far away as they were relaxing near the fence.
Through the next set of double gates you enter the lion enclosure.
Most of the lions were laying about under the trees near the road, but a couple of them were right on the side of the road and we got a nice up close look at them :)
The last 2 areas on the safari drive were the cheetah and wolf enclosures….unfortunately we didn’t see any cheetahs at all, they were either hiding or inside their little house.
The wolves were also hard to spot, but at least we saw some :)
They were all sleeping, but pretty far from the road.
That’s the safari park at Longleat, and it’s well worth a visit for a really nice experience ;)
There’s a lot more to see at Longleat house and its attractions, which I’ll write about in the next part of this blog.