Overseas safari trips might be looking a bit unlikely this summer, but you don’t have to travel to Africa or South America for a chance to glimpse rare wild animals frolicking about in nature.
Just pay a visit to the Port Lympne Nature Reserve in Kent. Set over 600 acres of countryside, the site is run by animal conservation charity The Aspinall Foundation and features more than 900 animals. These include 75 rare and endangered species like gorillas, camels, big cats, zebras and bears.
With plenty of onsite accommodation ranging – from a giant transparent bubble offering 360-degree views to a self-catered treehouse overlooking the Kent Downs – visitors have already been able to get up close and personal with lions, rhinos, giraffes, tigers and wolves on overnight stays. And now there are two luxurious new offerings for those looking for a truly one-of-a-kind staycation.
Opened in late spring, Leopard Creek features fourteen cabins set within the habitat of Milena and Sayan: two critically endangered Amur leopards. Guests can choose from elegant cabins for young families, sea-view huts for couples or the seriously cool luxury wigwams sleeping up to four adults – all of which offer the chance to glimpse the beautiful animals playing, hunting and running around at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour.
And next year will also see Giraffe Hall open to visitors. The first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, the new attraction is a ten-bedroom hotel housed in a Grade II-listed fifteenth-century property. Visitors might even get to pet and feed the resident herd of giraffes, who will be able to peer through the huge windows that open into the Hall’s drawing room (where guests can enjoy afternoon tea). Or maybe that should be giraffe-ternoon tea. Let’s hope they don’t steal all the scones!
What’s more, all the profits made from all the cool new accommodation will go straight back into Port Lympne’s conservation work, so guests can enjoy watching the beautiful wild animals knowing that they’re helping to protect them too.
Keen to have a lie-in with the lions? Learn more about Leopard Creek, Giraffe Hall and the rest of Port Lympne’s amazing properties here.
Or if you’d prefer to sleep next to cheetahs and elephants? Check out these new lodges at West Midlands Safari Park.
Plus: did you see Scotland is getting its own incredibly extra version of the Eden Project?