My childhood was full of books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Saturday movie matinees featuring Johnny Weissmuller in a loin cloth. Nothing quite beat a tussle between Tarzan and an anaconda.
Unfortunately, that 90’s Prime Minister with the viperish tongue who called Australia“the arse end of the world” was quite correct in that we are located a very long way from Africa. I never had an adventure of my own with a giant snake, though anything under 2 metres in my own garden is fair game with a garden hoe.
I did enjoy my safari moment recently at the Jamala Wildlife Lodge in Canberra. Only five minutes out of the CBD and attached to the National Zoo and Aquarium Jamala offers accomodation in Jungle Bungalows which allow you to get up close and personal to bears, lions and giraffes.
Booking in early afternoon the adventure starts with High Tea. Forget jam, cream and scones-this is the real deal-followed by an encounter with a cheetah and an introductory walk around the zoo with a Keeper.
Our bungalow meant that we had a giraffe at our balcony and we were able to feed him carrots by hand. OMG, aren’t they magnificent creatures with the most gorgeous eyelashes!
Meeting on a deck for Champagne and Canapés before dinner we were entertained by hyenas and lions enjoying their evening meal.
Dinner followed with more Moët and evening entertainment which included a pair of lions sleeping in an area separated from the table by thick glass. Did you know lions dream? It’s true.They wriggle around just like big pussycats.
An early Breakfast is necessary if you are interested in feeding the animals with the Keepers. Of course our hands went up though one couple begged off as they had been kept awake by the roar of lions since 1am. We slept through that, thank God, though didn’t need the alarm as we could hear the big cats calling to each other as the sun rose. Holy Guacamole, what a noise!
Our morning walk was brisk as one would expect on an almost winter morning in the ‘Berra though this seemed to make all the chimps, lemurs, and zebras frisky. We also fed the Elans, Llamas and Deers, and patted the “dopey Labradors of Africa”.
What’s that, you ask……
Rhinos. I patted a couple of Rhinos behind the ears. Just like you would pat a dog. How amazing is this?
The zoo is on 25 acres with enclosures which are kind to the animals and suitable for the breeding of critically endangered species. Much of the native vegetation is untouched which in itself encouraged indigenous bird life. Never before had I seen a flock of wild budgies – breath taking!
There is so much more to Jamala but you’ll have to see it for yourselves. It’s an awesome experience and you’ll require deep pockets. But you know what? Sure beats house maintenance and a long time dead.
The complimentary Moët went down quite well and if there is one thing I’ve taught the daughters it is to enjoy their Bubbles.
The Aquarium is tiny, only about 7 or 8 tanks. Can I tell you how spectacular it is to walk through this at night? Scary but spectacular.
No bloke in a loin cloth, but there was a truly massive snake that would have given Tarzan a run for his money.
Add to Bucket List.