During the holidays we decided to take all the kids to Werribee Open Range Zoo. This is not the city zoo but further out and more widespread so that the animals have more of their natural habitat to roam in than your typical zoo. This zoo is also mostly designed to give an African experience although there are other animals too such as Bison and Mongolian ponies. Obviously the bigger cats are contained otherwise they would have a problem but the other African wildlife (like giraffes,zebras, rhinos etc) are out in what they have made a savannah land. We had such a great day – the weather was amazing for a winters day – sunny and warm. The park is designed with reeds and walkways that have African style huts and bridges in various places and there are even bush noises that play through speakers as you walk down the paths so the kids enjoyed hearing warthog noises or crickets.
The two year old we are fostering (Jay – *not his real name) was so excited at hearing all the noises. He is so curious that he wanted to take off into the bush all the time. He loved the old Landrover at the lion pen and spent more time climbing in and out of it than actually looking at the lions. The lions were very lazy (as lions are when they aren’t hunting and so we didn’t get a close up look at them) but the cheetahs were very co-operative and walked up to the glass right in front of us.
We all climbed on a safari bus and did the drive around the park – it was lovely seeing giraffes, zebras, rhinos and ostriches again. The most exciting thing for Hubby and I though was seeing the Guinea Fowl roaming around the park – that really made it feel more African. Michaela loved the Meerkats and Jay loved the two baby crocs they had in a big tank.
This little outing reminded me of our trip to the Kruger National Park in 2007. Aaron was just 18 months old then but he already enjoyed looking at the animals then. I dug out some of my old photos of that trip for memories sake.
We stayed at Lower Sabie camping – it was lovely.
The kids and Hubby loved the park – Hubby had never visited it in all his years of living in South Africa so it was a real treat, Even Aaron enjoyed “game spotting” through the binoculars.
We saw some amazing animals – glad to see lion and elephants and buffalo.
We stopped some mornings at the picnic area for a delicious breakfast cooked by Mom and Dad. The kids loved looking at the insects as there are very few insects in New Zealand where we were living at the time. The kids even saw a couple of snakes.
The only member of our family to see a hyena was Michaela – she came face to face with one at the one lookout spot – boy did she run fast when it growled at her – she still talks about it to this day.
This was a memorable time for us a s a family and one day I would love to do it again. Going to Weribee Zoo was a reminder of life back in South Africa and of the things that make it such a unique place. I honestly can say that I feel I have been so blessed to have been able to live in three very different but very beautiful countries.