Just before the children went back to school last week, we decided to visit Kent’s safari park – Port Lympne. It’s somewhere I visited as a child and I couldn’t wait to share with my own children. So we took advantage of the kids go free offer which was running over the summer holidays and got there as it opened at 9.30am.
We headed straight for the safari truck. Having seen the queues for it later in the day, I’m glad we did. The trucks leave from ‘base camp’ every 15 minutes from 10am. We got there just before 10am and one truck was already leaving and a second had arrived, which we were quickly ushered onto. And off we set.
We’d been through a few sections without having seen many animals. The bears, for example, are renowned for being elusive. But by the time we got to the African part of the park there were animals everywhere. So much so, the 5 year old didn’t quite know where to look first!
I can’t tell you how weird it is seeing a giraffe pop out from behind a tree in the middle of Kent! And once we neared the watering hole we were greeted by the most awesome, yet hair-raising sight. A huge rhino stomping rather purposefully towards us along the safari truck track. The truck was brought to a halt and we were told to be as quiet as possible. Queue much screaming from bored babies and toddlers. The rhino walked right up to the front of the truck. Then decided to take a wander down our side of it. It was so close to the truck we could have touched it and far too close to attempt to take a photo of it. Never did we imagine we’d be getting so close to any of the animals during our safari, that’s for sure!
We continued on the safari truck back to base camp, past the gorillas and baboons and more rhinos.
This is exactly what I look like when I’m woken up by my alarm on a school day!
And we spotted lots of babies, including this gorgeous little one and a tiny Przewalski’s horse foal.
Once we returned to base camp we took a wander around the beautiful grounds of the house, which is now a hotel. Years ago you used to be able to wander inside and marvel at the stunning painted rooms. I’m not sure if you still can, but I’d imagine the hotel guests wake every morning in the most wonderful surroundings. There’s pretty terraces and tree lined walks. And the most stunning views across the marshes, out to sea and the beautiful Kent countryside.
Once I’d indulged my love of the house, we wandered down to see the monkeys. Then into carnivore territory to see the cats. And the little one had an absolute ball exploring the Dinosaur Forest. More on that in my next post about Port Lympne.
Lastly, we went to see the tiger and the wolves, which are on the way out. The teen is obsessed with wolves and she got some amazing snaps even through their cage.
Directly opposite the wolf enclosure is one of the glamping sites. The teen has nagged me for ages to take her to stay there and now I know why. You couldn’t get any closer to the wolves if you were in their cage with them. I feel a birthday present coming on!
We all had a fabulous day at Port Lympne. Had we not been rained on, or the queues been quite as large, we would have jumped on the safari truck for a second time. We’re lucky to live nearby, so we’ll definitely be returning again. That and the fact I quite honestly can’t put up with the 5 year old asking to go again on a daily basis.