Last Easter (2011) we did the overnight safari at Livingstone lodge at Port Lympne. Though the zoo may itself not get rave reviews, the overnight safari is an all together different story.
We arrived at Lympne slightly early and took a quick stroll through the park, before meeting up with the rest of the group and the safari ranger. We were around 8-9 couples. After a health and safety briefing we set off on our evening safari through the park in one of their open trucks. The safari lasted about hour and a half. We saw giraffes grazing in the open (one of them actually followed our truck for some time and poked his long neck inside!), zebras, wildebeest, deer etc. There were also rhinos, elephants grazing in their open paddocks.
While driving around the safari, our ranger, a very knowledgeable and passionate ranger from Zimbabwe, gave us a very informative commentary on various animals, their behavior in wild, his work in Africa and answered all our questions with a genuine interest.
We arrived at our tents just before sunset, welcomed by two ostriches sitting on the road outside, who refused to budge! The camp is strategically located on a hillock, overlooking the main watering hole. It is made up on around 9 pre pitched tents and one common lounge (Lappa) and a block of washing facilities; each tent has its own private veranda. The tent is furnished with beds, chairs and table, heaters, lamps etc. The camp is very clean and well organized.
This was the highlight of the stay – sipping wine sitting on the verandah, watching the rolling countryside and the exotic animals roaming freely.
The dinner was amazing; we were vegetarian and perfectly catered for with lots of delicious choices. After dinner, the ranger shared his experience and jokes with all of us, a very amiable and pleasant session!
Next day morning, while having breakfast, the staff scattered food just outside the lounge, and all sorts of animals flocked right below us, giving us some amazing photo and viewing opportunities.
We did a quick morning safari to see the big cats and were dropped to the main zoo area to spend the rest of the day. We also had an option to go to Howletts zoo in Canterbury, which we did go to. I have to say though there is not much to do on the following morning. And the pricing is slightly on the higher side.
All in all, the safari is really worth doing once, probably as good as it could get outside the Serengeti!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Voted the UK's best tourism experience in 2012, the Livingstone Lodge Safari Experience at Port Lympne, Kent, is the UK's only overnight safari lodge perfect for a romantic break, engagement, celebrations and Hen Parties and has to be the answer to those who would love to visit the wilds of Africa on safari. Enjoy a multi award winning safari experience and a totally magical night under the stars, first-class authentic African dining, dawn safari, full breakfast & more. ... more less