South Africa Animal Tourism

Those interested in big cats such as lions and tigers must be prepared to spend a night or two away from cities and sleep over in national parks that keep these animals.  If you want to see them but your schedule does not permit or your budget is having second thoughts, the zoo can be an alternative.  It will also be nice to be out in the open, walking about and enjoying the African sun.

Go on line and check if the city you’ll be visiting has a zoo.  Their website will give you a pretty good idea about what a zoo offers.  If you like running in the morning, consider joining a 10 km fun run organized by the zoo to raise funds for cancer and other causes.  The zoo’s website might even have dates for fun runs, usually twice a month.  Your heart will be very grateful and you’ll get a chance to meet people who call this country home. 

Most zoos have everything from lions and elephants to baboons and crawly creatures such as snakes.  They also offer guided tours in their in-house buses, but you must book in advance and secure your booking with a deposit.  These tours are usually used by schools, because the little ones get tired quickly from roaming about and shouting, “Bye bye elephant” or “Bye bye goat.”
Ask your favourite taxi/cab driver to drop you off at the zoo.  It would be a good idea for him to pick you up where he dropped you off.  Please make a note of the gate number.  Some zoos are massive so, you must know how you got in.  Once you are inside, just ask staff about the zoo’s layout.  They will tell you where to go if you want to start with either the big guys such as rhinoceros or the conceited flamingo.

I assume that you are all dressed for business, comfortable shoes, a hat, sun shades and some sun block if you are going to embark on a do-it-yourself zoo tour.  Some zoos even have streets named after animals in that section for example, Elephant Walk.  The zoo also has information plates that tell you the name of the animal and its lineage.

Going to the zoo and actually seeing the animals are two different things.  You can go there, and not see them because they might be sleeping in their enclosures.  It is therefore advisable to send an e-mail and find out about their feeding times, or the best time to find them outside, in what looks like a courtyard.  I don’t have to remind you but, DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. 
You might not see everything in one day.  It all depends on the size of the zoo, but what you could do is to have a picnic.  You can sit under a tree when you are tired and open the picnic basket the hotel prepared for you.  Alternatively, buy salads, cooked fish, roast chicken from the deli near the hotel.  You could borrow a cooler box from the hotel manager to keep your drinks nice and cold.  Spread the grass mat you bought from local South African women.  Enjoy the sunny skies!

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