Air travel may have ground to a halt, but the new African Savannah precinct at Taronga Zoo Sydney allows visitors to go on safari, learning about giraffes, lions and meerkats, without even needing to whip out a passport.
AFRICAN SAVANNAH TARONGA ZOO, SYDNEY
When BJ and AJ were little we visited Taronga Zoo every school holidays. Staff would greet BJ like an old friend and he loved it. We still manage to visit the zoo every year and we always look forward to seeing what’s new, so we were keen to check out the African Savannah which opened in late June.
The African Savannah precinct has been designed to take visitors on a journey to Africa while educating kids and adults alike about the conservation challenges facing the iconic species. Taronga Zoo is also committed to sharing the solutions that are supporting communities and wildlife in Northern Kenya.
I’m particularly fond of giraffes so I was thrilled to see Jimiyu, Zarafa and new arrivals Kito and Ebo have a beautiful large enclosure within the African Savannah precinct, known as the Waterhole. They still have enviable views of Sydney Harbour and are now sharing their space with zebras Kaya and Bwana and some particularly vocal guinea fowl. Let’s just say, I’m glad guinea fowl are not a domestic pet because they are noisy!
The enclosure offers multiple opportunities to get a good view of the giraffes.
I even spotted a new lift which looks to have been installed for wheelchair access to the giraffe feeding encounters, when they return.
Did you know a group of giraffes is called a tower? Fairly appropriate given their height.
Lions are back at Taronga Zoo with Lwazi and Ato (two male Lions) now calling the African Savannah home. While they’ll be welcomed by visitors wanting to see a big cat, they will also enable crucial breeding programs to support insurance populations for Lions, which are sadly now extinct in 27 African countries.
Large glass floor to ceiling windows provide a good opportunity to see the Lions.
Meerkats are always a crowd favourite so it’s timely there is now more than one Meerkat enclosure which ensures there’s plenty of space for visitors to watch these busy guys go about their day.
Glass panelling ensures little ones in a pram and those in a wheelchair get a clear view of the Meerkat’s antics.
My Dad often says to me “you have big ears” because I’m always listening in on family conversations and keeping on top of news, but I’ve got nothing on the Fennec Foxes.
Fennec Foxes may be the smallest of the world’s foxes but they have enormous bat like ears that can grow to more than 15 centimetres in length. Their ears help the foxes to keep cool in the desert sun of Northern Africa. We visited Taronga Zoo on a sunny winter’s day and found one of the Fennec Foxes sun worshipping on a rock.
CHANGING PLACES BATHROOM AT TARONGA ZOO
While we were wowed by the new African Savannah precinct, one of the most exciting additions for many visitors with a disability will be the Changing Places bathroom facility.
Being MLAK key locked means the facility is more likely to remain clean and available for those who need it. The spacious Changing Places bathroom is located just behind the African Savannah precinct beside the lifts which take visitors down to the food hall.
As always the Changing Places bathroom has plenty of circulation space, is fitted with a height adjustable adult-size change table, hoist and lever taps. Grab rails are beside the toilet but swing out of the way for transferring and there’s a privacy curtain for the toilet area.
Remember you need to have your own MLAK key to access this bathroom. You can read about the Master Locksmith Key and how you can get one here.
TARONGA ZOO’S COVID CHANGES
In response to the current Coronavirus pandemic, Taronga Zoo has implemented changes to keep everyone safe. Reduced numbers means bookings are essential, even for Zoo friends. Hygiene stations are dotted around the zoo and some experiences have been altered. For example, instead of taking a virtual flight in an enclosed space to experience Tiger Trek, you now enter via the walkway. The Skyrail is also currently closed.
We’ve become used to seeing signs reminding us to social distance but the best we’ve seen are the ones at Taronga. They certainly gave me cause to smile. Each one had a fun fact about an animal while spreading awareness about keeping your distance. I’m sure I’m the only person visiting the zoo that took a photo of each and every one. I’m sure kids are far more engaged by this method than the usual signs which are becoming part of our society.
We were guests of Taronga Zoo to review the African Savannah precinct and bring you the news of the fabulous Changing Places bathroom facility. As always our opinions are our own and we are regular visitors so you know we love it!
You may also like to read about our glamping experience at Taronga Zoo and Roar and Snore here.