We visited the Reserve Zoologique de Calviac on a day trip visiting some of the attractions around Sarlat, in the Dordogne region of France. This lovely reserve is only 10 kms from Sarlat, on the road to Souillac. When you walk up the steep path to the reserve, you get the impression that the reserve is very natural, which it is. When you arrive at the entry, there is a sign advising that the reserve is not a place for "site consumers" i.e. it is not a zoo where animals are on display. This is a reserve giving sanctuary to endangered species of animals from around the world. They may or may not come out to see you when you are there. However, we saw all the animals at the sanctuary except the minks. In case there are any non-animal lovers reading this, there was some pretty strong security around the mink enclosure. The entry fees go to help preserve these species in their own environments. The reserve consists of a number of enclosures, all of which are very natural. The enclosure for the monkeys is fascinating. You walk into their enclosure and you are right there amongst them. To be honest, I was a bit frightened and left the area to photograph them from just outside the gate to their enclosure but my husband stayed in with them and got some amazing close up photos. Despite being curious about him, they did not reach out to touch him, and you were requested not to do the same, which we respected. This is a very natural and undeveloped reserve. It seems to fit right in with the amazing animals they have. There is ample off road parking at the Reserve, which is right on the main route between Sarlat and Souillac. The entry fee is 8.50 Euro for adults. They take Visa and Mastercard. There is a tiny cafe area (very basic, i.e. ice creams from the freezer, bottled water) and toilets. English is spoken and the labels on the animal's enclosures are also in English as well as French. It is open 10am - 7pm May, June and September and from 9.30am in July and August. Their latest brochure as of September 2011 states that they are open 10am - 6pm 1 Oct - 14 Nov and 1.30pm - 5.00pm from 15 Nov through to 1 April. We spent 90 minutes there, which seemed like a comfortable time to do this in.
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