Sunday 6 March 2011

Longleat Safari Park

Last weekend Helen came over and we decided we should probably go out and do something, so we decided either Wookey Hole Caves or our usual yearly trip to Longleat. I don't know whether it was just because we were feeling lazy and Longleat isn't very far away, but we've also never been this early in the year so wondered what we'd find... :)

Admittedly the weather wasn't great and there were bursts of rain throughout the day and likewise the temperature didn't really get above 5-6 degrees, but it was still lots of fun! I did look a little out of place in just my shorts-shirt and probably should have wrapped up more, but for the most part I wasn't that cold.

As always we started with the Safari park (the plan is to get there for 9.30am to 9.45am so you're near the front when it opens at 10am), but this time they diverted us differently for the Safari entrance... turns out it was completely unneeded and just took us the long route avoiding a village, I'll be going the old way next time! :) We got up too late for breakfast so whilst waiting to go in I bought a flapjack at the shop on the site and felt a bit guilty because later I heard someone talking about how they'd had to get up at 3.30am to get there... ouch. So yeh time to start with some photos!

Wallabies - I think they've spotted us!

Because everyone loves a baby giraffe!

Normally I skip the monkey enclosure, but it's been many years since I went through it so I thought "it's probably not as bad as I remember" and "it's cold, they won't want to be running all over cars"... OH MY GOD I could not have been more wrong. Straight away one of them jumped on my car and then mere seconds later ran up to the roof and you could hear absolutely terrible scratching and tearing noises and I was like OMG what is he doing!?! This was quickly answered when part of the rubber roof/side trim dropped into view in front of my window!

All around us other cars were in similar situations with monkeys attacking windscreen wipers, side mirrors, roof trims were very popular (the road was covered with them) and yeh... I know they warn you about the monkeys, but there's no warning it'll be THIS bad!

So back on the story, the monkey then proceeded to sit on the back window and stared in us with what actually looked like a evil grin on his face! Well I'd had enough of this so pushed the rear wiper and because he was sat on it, he flew off :) Of course this didn't last long and he was straight back on the car staring in at us looking absolutely livid (hanging on from the roof this time, he wasn't going to fall for that again!), but by this point I was already moving and heading to the exit as fast as I can. I didn't want to slow down, but as Helen point out he wasn't going to jump off unless I did so sure enough as we came towards the end I slowed and he dropped off. Phew!

Unfortunately there were nowhere we were allowed to stop the car/get out for ages so I had to wonder what damage there was to my car, but when we got to the Lion enclosure a staff member ran over and said about my roof trimming was hanging off (to which I replied yes, it was the monkeys, but I've not been able to fix it yet as not allowed out the cars!). Thankfully he tucked it back up and said it looks fine now. Sure enough when we finally stopped the car at the end and I inspected the car, considering the noise it was amazing how little damage there actually was. I expected the roof to be scratched to bits, but there wasn't a mark on it. It turns out that the noise was literally him trying to get the roof trim off. Although he has scuffed the ends of both trims (sort of rubberer/plastic mix) this seems pretty minor and because it didn't come off completely it stuck straight back down without a problem either - Phew! I think I got away very lightly, but word of warning DON'T take your car through the monkeys unless you really don't mind any damage...

Thankfully the rest of the Safari was nice and quiet! :)

Monkey actually biting the car in front!

Because of the rain/mud/cold we didn't feed the deer this time, but later in the year we will!

We've NEVER seen the rhinos quite so close before!!

This sign made us laugh as we went into the tiger enclosure, there's a similar sign for the lions.

The tigers really couldn't be bothered with the cars at all.

After the safari park we went into the grounds and it was empty... there's a new "day pass" ticket so it's only valid for the one day, but you can go into each thing as many times as you want and we took advantage of this! The first time was when we went on the simulators (Slot Car Racing or Gorilla Expedition) because normally you have to pick which you want to go on as you're only allowed one and you have to queue up for ages... not this time... we went on both back to back and we were the ONLY PEOPLE in both machines! I couldn't stop laughing it was just crazy how quiet it was. The simulators themselves aren't that great because the screens are really low detail, but they're not very long and they gave us a few laughs! (The funniest bit is on the gorilla expedition one where we've already been "shouted at" by a massive gorilla for being on their territory so our guide then says "Let's see if we can get a little closer?" WTF DUDE?! LOL we'd done it before, but you just knew that wasn't going to end well!

After we "survived" the simulators, we went to the safari boats and this was the only place we had to queue at all day. Normally you have to wait to get to the front, we just had to wait for the BOAT to get back. LOL. When we got to the queue there were ~6 people ahead of us and even 10 minutes later when it arrived, there were still only ~12 people on the boat in total and it's designed for about 80-100!

Watching the meerkats getting a tan, whilst waiting for the boat to come in!

Because we come every year we're very used to the animals they have, so we were both rather shocked when we found there something completely new which neither of us had seen before: Anteaters! They're very strange looking creatures (I'm sure they'd say the same about me!) and were very interesting to watch!


I still think the train is the worst attraction, Helen loved it though! :)

Obligatory shot of the maze, I'm glad to say I can still remember the route
and we got to the centre in under 3 minutes! (walking, not running!)

The Parrot show has moved, but it's still the same and still fun to watch!

Finally another picture of the meerkats!


1 comment:

  1. Awesome!! It looks like a great place to take the kids, I'll have to Google map how far it is!
    Glad you had fun xx