Good evening to you! Did you have a fantastic Christmas?? I can’t believe it is over already, I’m so upset because I don’t feel like I got nearly Christmassy enough despite trying harder! Nevermind, fingers crossed next year will be entirely different! Not long left to go until 2017!!
Today I am going to share with you my experience at the famous UK safari park not too far from me, Longleat!!Longleat is considered the UK’s Number 1 safari park; it is located in Wiltshire, South-West England and covers roughly 10,000 acres of land – 1,000 for the large estate house, 4,000 of let farmland and 4,000 of woodland including the Center Parcs holiday village. It is the first safari park to open outside of Africa and the first stately home open to the public. Longleat also had its own television show called ‘Animal Park’ which was aired on BBC and hosted by Kate Humble and Ben Fogle!
Living in the South-West, Longleat is one of those places that everyone knows about and most people have been to. I had been a couple of times in my youth and for those like myself who have always lived this side of the UK, some may have even had a relative work there as it provided a vast amount of employment for people living in the local area! My dad used to work with the elephants and giraffes, occassionally helping out with the wolves; I know someone whose uncle worked on the trains and another whose uncle worked with the lions, back in the days when you didn’t need qualifications!However it had been approximately 20 years since I last visited and with the Festival of Lights celebrating Longleat’s 50th anniversary, it was about time I paid them another visit!We decided to do the drive-through safari park (yes you heard correct, DRIVE-THROUGH) because we knew it would be busy. Some of the animals have been put in nearby enclosures for winter, others in a large enclosure you view from a viewing platform and some you drive through; there are also two enclosures that you can walk through to get up-close and personal with the animals!Before doing any of the drive-through sections we parked up and stretched our legs. We went to Wallaby Walk where you could walk around in the same enclosure as the wallaby’s! They looked really fat and fluffy, all huddled together in the far corner of the enclosure. Thanks to my new camera lens that I got for my birthday, I was able to get some decent shots of the animals even though they were far away!Next we went into the Lemur Walk-Thru and got to see these adorable little fuzzy critters who were busy sunbathing without a care that we were so close, one even sat right next to our feet in the middle of the path!!It was then time for us to go through the drive-through enclosures which was very exciting! We passed the zebra, wildebeest, tapir and other ungulate-related animals, the Flamingo Valley and the Vulture Venue before finally reaching the most exciting enclosure…The monkeys!!! R was mega excited about this part because he was going to be driving through in the Land Rover but for those of you who have cars you don’t want picked at, you can give this section a miss.We had quite a few monkeys jump on the car and leaving little monkey prints behind but it was more entertaining watching the monkeys on other cars – one car had a family of 3 sitting on their roof including a baby!! They tend to just jump on at the beginning and sit on the car all the way round until they hop off before the gates!Once we had been checked to ensure we had no extra passengers on board, we were allowed to leave the monkey enclosure and continue on to the next sections. We passed Anne’s Haven (the asian elephant they recently took on) but she was no where to be seen; I think some of the animals such as the giraffe, scimitar-horned oryx and rhinos were kept in enclosures possibly because they can’t tolerate the UK winter weather like some of the other animals and therefore are kept close to inside enclosures, because I’m pretty sure in the summer they are out also, even the rhinos! But don’t worry, they usually have a tractor and vehicles around to help or shoo animals out of the road if need be (which in this case were the camels holding a massive hold up).
We went onto the Big Game Park and Deer Park before approaching my favourite part of the entire safari – the cats!The first of the big cats was Tiger Territory (yes you drive through right next to free-roaming tigers)! Sadly these bad boys were tucked neatly out of the way and took a long time to spot. I was only able to get these good shots thanks to my lens, not because I was close. One even got up and was walking but was too far away behind trees for me to get anything!This section was my favourite out of the entire park, and by God was it a fantastic experience – Lion Country!! These guys were much easier to spot being right on the side of the road. It was a long wait until we reached the area they were in but thanks to my new lens I was able to watch them from a distance easily. The park currently has 28 lions seperated into two prides, the second being the cubs who were due to leave the pride like they would naturally in the wild; the pride I photographed had the 2 large males. The best part was when a female got up and crossed the road, she crossed in front of the car in front of us but was still so close!!! You don’t realise how big a lion is until it walks past your car casually!!! It was amazing, something I’ll never ever forget and I hope to have more experience with this beautiful big cat in the future!! Can you tell lions are my favourite animal???Next up was Cheetah Kingdom. Cheetahs are relatively new to the park and this was the only cheetah we saw, I’m guessing the others were kept inside because I know that the female recently had two cubs whom they unfortunately named Winston and Poppy…wtf names are those for cheetahs!? ¬_¬Last but not least is Wolf Wood where they have a collection of grey and timber wolves. These are again difficult to spot being nocturnal animals with dens in the area, and we only managed to spot two of them, one being the gorgeous white one. I have seen more once before and even witnessed them howling, an experience for the lucky!
So I’m going to end this post here as there are lots more photos to come as we move onto a different area of the park! Overall the safari was my favourite part, especially the lions!! R really loved the monkeys, he couldn’t get over how funny they were. Have you ever been to Longleat or a similar safari experience??? If you’re in the area then I’d highly recommend it, especially if you have young ones!! I’ll be posting part 2 very soon but right now it is 10:57 and I gotta stay up until 12:00 for New Year lol.
Until next time, thanks again to all of you who continued to support my blog throughout 2016 and I hope you will continue to stick with my through the next year!! HAPPY NEW YEAR AND MAY YOUR YEAR BE FILLED WITH HEALTH, WEALTH AND HAPPINESS!! THANK YOU ♥♥♥