News about what’s coming soon…
PLANNING SUBMITTED FOR NEXT WILD NEW LODGES…
West Midland Safari Park has submitted planning for the next stage of their long-term development strategy, which includes luxury lodges overlooking new hippo and African wild dog environments.
Four lodges will offer incredible views of African wild dogs – the first of their kind in Europe, whereas two more lodges will be the only place in the UK where you can stay overlooking hippopotamus.
Also unique to the Park and a first for its accommodation offering, will be two dual-aspect lodges, which will be situated between both new environments, overlooking the wild dogs on one side and hippos on the other.
One of these incredible lodges will have a ‘turret’, complete with panoramic views of both habitats, comfortable seating area and mood lighting, whilst two of the Hippo Lodges will be accessible for wheelchair users.
The introduction of the eight new lodges also enables the Park to update and improve the habitats of the animals, giving them 24-hour access to both their indoor and extended outdoor environments.
Head of Creative, Dave Powner, said, “We’re excited to have submitted planning for the next stages of our wildlife development. This will see new animal housing facilities along with stimulating environments for both our hippos and African wild dogs. Fully immersed in these new areas will be eight luxury lodges, with the four wild dog lodges offering unprecedented views of Africa’s most efficient carnivore, from the comfort of the lounge and bedrooms.
“We are proposing to also redevelop our hippopotamus facility by extending their current exhibit with an additional 3000m² grazing area, with continued access to the lake areas and access to evening pools in front of the Hippo Lodges. The redevelopment of the existing hippo habitat, with a new housing facility, will not only allow for more modern management of the species and enhanced animal welfare, but will also allow for a novel overnight lodge experience with a large, charismatic species.”
The new hippo house will be suitable for future breeding programmes, with an indoor pool, mud wallows and evening pools which offer close-access viewing for guests from their lodge balconies.
West Midland Safari Park has the largest pod of hippos in the UK and the new habitat will encourage these semi-aquatic mammals to spend time grazing on land as well as hydrating in their pools.
The wild dogs’ habitat will be around 2,750m², offering an expansive area for the dogs to explore, essential for their well-being and to stimulate natural behaviours.
Both habitats integrate into the Park’s recently opened ‘African Walking Trail’ and allow day guests to view the wild dogs from a split-level viewing point, with additional viewing along the trail for the hippopotamus.
African wild dogs are classified as ‘endangered’ and common hippos ‘vulnerable’, by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), with both species facing threats in the wild such as poaching and habitat loss.
Both species are part of an EEP (European Endangered Species Programme), a breeding programme supporting the conservation of their wild counterparts by creating a reserve population. The new facilities will enable the Park to continue their important work with the EEP.
Safari Lodges short breaks include breakfast and dinner, spectacular views of the animals, admission to the Park for two days and Theme Park wristbands, during the summer season.
The current accommodation offering gives guests immersive overnight experiences with elephants, cheetahs, red pandas, giraffe, white rhinos, tigers and lions.
If planning is granted, the new lodges will open next year, but guests can book for the current lodge offering now.