04 April, 2008

Longleat Safari Park

So, day 3 we decided to go and check out Longleat, got there rather early (although again the Sat-nav insisted on taking us down some rather unnecessarily small roads) so we ditched it and just started following the brown signs, which *also* took us down some silly little roads, so perhaps Somerset is just mostly made up of them...
Longleat Safari Park #1
Anyway, got there in the end (after several diversions), and even though the day was young there was already a queue for tickets -
Longleat Safari Park #3
- we had cunningly bought our tickets online (saving 10% in the process) but there was no fast-track bonus benefit to having done so...when we got to the front, the lady took our number issued our tickets and "Jurassic Park" style audio guide (had to hop out of the car and put it into the multi-changer in the boot), and then we were ready to enter!
Longleat Safari Park #5
They made it completely clear, the animals are wild, they do whatever they like and any damage to the vehicle is just "one of those things"...ulp...especially as we had watched this video on Youtube the evening before...Anyway, the first area you enter is a reasonably safe one, not only allowing you to keep the car windows open (much better for photography) -
Longleat Safari Park #6
Longleat Safari Park #7
- but also allowing you to get out of the car (in certain sections) to visit the shop (full of African tat art) -
Longleat Safari Park #9
Longleat Safari Park #8
- scare some Guinea Fowl -
Longleat Safari Park #12
- and take the "Wallaby walk" (very cute) -
Longleat Safari Park #10
- then it's back in the car, past other large and small herbivores -
Longleat Safari Park #13
Longleat Safari Park #14
Longleat Safari Park #15
- past some of the "worlds largest" aviaries (which didn't look as big as the one at London Zoo to me) -
Longleat Safari Park #20
Longleat Safari Park #21
- and thence to (what was actually probably the highlight of the visit) the "Monkey Jungle", past not one huge warning sign -
Longleat Safari Park #23
- but two "Monkeys will climb on your vehicle and will cause damage - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED" being the most fierce (no joke, we saw people turning their vehicles away when they saw that one) -
Longleat Safari Park #24
- and it was no exaggeration either, the little blighters were all over all the cars -
Longleat Safari Park #25
- including ours (I removed our aerial ball before we went in or we would have lost it, no question) -
Longleat Safari Park #28
Longleat Safari Park #29
- and the back windscreen wiper only just survived because a huge water buffalo scared the monkeys away at the critical moment -
Longleat Safari Park #33
Longleat Safari Park #34
- although some people weren't so lucky (zoom in to see this car in front of us lost their back wiper entirely) -
Longleat Safari Park #48
- the next (and much calmer) section was the large paddock where many more quadruped herbivores wander around in large groups, ruminating and posing -
Longleat Safari Park #37
Longleat Safari Park #38
- and then to another of the really good bits of the day, the deer feeding, you buy a cup of what look like rabbit pellets for a pound (which comes complete with an antibacterial wipe (for afterwards) -
Longleat Safari Park #39
- and then you spend the next ten minutes with your hand being completely swallowed by slathering beasts (and then discovering that the antibacterial wipe is sorely inadequate to the cleansing task at hand, so bring wet wipes with you if you are reading this in advance of your visit) -
Longleat Safari Park #42
- you then trundle past some sleepy Rhino and Pelican -
Longleat Safari Park #43
Longleat Safari Park #44
- and then you are warned, take your last breath of fresh air, it's windows closed for the rest of the visit, first past some extremely sleepy overfed tigers -
Longleat Safari Park #46
- then past some extremely sleepy overfed lions -
Longleat Safari Park #49
- then past some extremely playful wakeful lions, who were so hungry they were trying to sneak up on flocks of birds (and failing miserably) -
Longleat Safari Park #52
- (oh and at this point some *idiot* woman drove up with her young child hanging out of the passenger side window trying to take pictures, only to be yelled at extremely sternly by the game keeper in his van, she, obviously a little flustered, went to pull away and nearly crashed into a car coming up on the outside, can you imagine the insurance claim form?)...Anyway, then it was into the last area, to see some Timber Wolves busy dismembering a carcass -
Longleat Safari Park #53
Longleat Safari Park #54
- and then that was it, a small queue to exit the park itself, and then on to the other attractions -
Longleat Safari Park #56
- but more on that in another post... ;)

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