It is no secret that I love being outside. I love sitting out on the decking to eat my dinner, I love lying on the grass while I work and there is nothing I love more than going for a long horse ride across the countryside. Although, having said that there may be one thing I love on par with riding and that is exploring on safari. I stayed on one in South Africa several years ago and I spent the entire time with a smile on my face. The week was spent spotting hippos in the wild, catching a glimpse of a pride of lions and listening to the howls of the monkeys at night. It was incredible and it is definitely an experience that I want to relive one day.
Unfortunately though, living in the UK means that going on a safari trip isn’t something that comes about all that often. Luckily, however, just down the road from me there are two safari zoos. And while they aren’t quite the same as a trip to South Africa, they are a good enough substitute.
But despite ZSL Whipsnade Zoo being right on my doorstep, I still don’t get to visit quite as often as I would like that. That’s why, when my friend Emma revealed that she had bought us both tickets for the Sunset Safari at Whipsnade Zoo for my birthday I was beyond ecstatic.
The Sunset Safari is a one-off event that takes place at the zoo each year and I’ve now been twice, with full intentions of going back again next time it is on. With a whole range of animal talks and feeds going on through the night, a number of food stalls and a fire display to finish the night, it makes for a pretty perfect evening. Plus, being there after dark makes the usual zoo experience 100 times more exciting (no, I didn’t know that was possible either).
To say I enjoyed myself was an understatement and my biggest struggle of the night was deciding which part had been my favourite. What with the little (not so little) elephant Elizabeth who insisted on playing with her football even while she was being fed, the enrichment talk with the African Hunting Dogs, spotting (
no slight pun intended) the cheetahs lounging around in the evening sun, watching the playful giraffes running around in what appeared to be slow-motion and getting to watch the sun begin to set across the backdrop of the Dunstable Downs – it was (and still is) simply impossible to pick an overarching highlight!
It is safe to say that my recent trip to Whipsnade Zoo has reignited my love for safari zoos, which is why I’m so happy that I chose to adopt a sloth from the ZSL a few months back. Since spotting one on a trip to the Living Rainforest last year, I’ve become somewhat fascinated by them (and it helps that one of my closest friends is completely obsessed with them too). After parting with just over £30 I’m now not only able to rest easy knowing that I was helping in some small way towards the ZSL conservation efforts but I also became the proud recipient of an adoption pack containing a small cuddly sloth, an adoption certificate, an information booklet, a notebook and pencil, two postcards, stickers, badges and a bookmark – all of which was beautiful presented in a storybook style gift box!
And so, while my bank balance is quivering, not only am I dreaming of a safari trip in Southern Africa again, I’m also planning another day out at the zoo AND I’m officially hooked on the idea of adopting another animal… It’s safe to say that I’m hooked, isn’t it?