I have a few pictures for pic of the day. Well, we decided to do something fun and Alyssa-Mei was desperate to go to the Pretoria National Botanical Zoo. The last time she was here was last year with her school choir, Durbanville Primary Choir. They took a tour, did the whole school kid thing, had to wait too long for their food and basically had to run through the zoo (only on one side) for 20 minutes then run back to the meeting point to get back on the bus. Basically, she didn’t see much.
We arrived relatively early, early enough that it was mighty chilly. They have safe parking area but you have to pay R25 for it BUT the good news is that you can pay for it at the same time that you pay for admission to the Zoo. We paid, had our pictures taken then we entered the Zoo. Make a note of the time….it was 09h15.
The first thing we see is a riot of pink! Flamingos! They are extremely noisy. They have two kinds. Don’t ask me what that is. I loved the colors. Too beautiful…. We carried on and saw elephants but they looked older and were covered in dirt. I think the animals had just been let out so they were a tad slow out the doorways but it was cold so I don’t blame them at all. Our second animal we saw were the lemurs! Oh my gosh! They are so adorable. When they realized we were there, they made sure we could see them.
From lemurs, we meandered over to the alpacas. They were funny. Such an underbite and we kept thinking of Kuzco from the movie “The Emperor’s New Groove.” They were pretty comical looking but cute in their own way. From flamingos, to lemurs, to alpacas and on to striped hyenas! They have a longer coat and a bit prettier than the spotted hyena. I think the striped is actually prettier than the spotted hyena. That’s only my opinion. We crossed the river via suspension bridge (and not my favorite feeling by the way) to the huge bird aviary with many levels. It was great but if you are afraid of heights, it may be a “no go zone” for you.
It had already been an hour or so when we got to the hyenas. Yeah, the National Botanical Zoo of Pretoria is actually HUGE. Peter kept commenting on how much bigger it is than what he thought. He enjoyed himself. I’m so glad. We arrived at the white rhino enclosure. We were told by a friend that the white rhino was actually called the “wijd rhino” because of its wide mouth. The earlier white settlers misinterpreted the “wijd” to white. Interesting fun fact.
We were on the outer loop of the zoo and came across all the plains animals. zebras, impalas, etc. I’m not posting their pictures because I took so many in Kruger. Peter found a stunning tree and it was HUGE!
We saw a funny looking animal. The Okapi. It’s the sole animal related to the giraffe. It’s native to the central DRC.
We loved seeing the tigers and lions. Come on, who wouldn’t?
I almost forgot our story. We were almost finished with the zoo and came across a black rhino! You don’t find them easily in Kruger National Park so seeing one this way was pretty cool. He was lazing around in the middle of his enclosure then he heard a noise which startled him. He leapt up pretty quickly. He walked around then made a bee line to us!! He eventually had his backside against the wall and allowed us to give his hindquarters a good scratch. His hide is so tough. He was completely another highlight of the day. He had mud encrusted all over his side. Incredible animal.
We could go on and one. It has the 3rd largest collection of exotic trees in South Africa. The Zoo was established in 21 October 1899. It’s incredible. We finally left the zoo after 14h00. You do the math. Our feet were exhausted. The Zoo covers 85 hectares of ground in the middle of Pretoria!!! Wear really comfy walking shoes but if you can’t they do have golf carts that you can hire for the day.
If you are in Pretoria, do yourself a favor and spend a day at the Zoo. We did and we abso-freakin’ loved it!