Pretoria National Zoo

My Favorite Zoo
- 21 April 2013 -

It has been a long time since I visited the Pretoria Zoo in the city centre. I have only fond memories of the destination. I decided I would return to see if much has changed and if I still like the place.

Last time I went to the zoo I remember we hired a golf cart per hour and drove all the way through to the back. The zoo is massive and I can remember the days when we didn't have golf carts. Most of the time we just wondered around in the front and never really made it all the way to the back. With the golf cart, it is easy to get through the entire zoo in half a day.

I arrived early which made it possible to get into the zoo and get a golf cart without all queues. I was the second person to get a cart and soon I was exploring all the different routes I could take. Although there are numerous animals to see I firstly focused my attention on a domestic cat wondering the grounds and capturing the essence of this time of year... Autumn.

The initial route I took paid off well and soon I was at my favourite cat... the cheetah.

They seemed just as interested in me as I was them them. They are such elegant creatures.

But all good things end, although I could spend the entire day watching them, the cheetah camp is relatively close to the entrance and I had already paid for 3 hours with the golf cart, so sitting there the whole day just didn't make sense, so I moved on to bigger things, namely the lion camp. Here I observed a beautiful lioness and some other interesting creatures nearby.

Moving away from this corner of the zoo towards the centre again, I realized what a beautiful place this is.

For the lazy that can't afford a golf cart, you can take the cable car to the top and walk down.

Back to the animals.

As I crossed the bridge over the Apies River, I took the first right turn and headed straight into a dead-end which ended at a door to which looked like a massive cage. I can't remember ever seeing this when I was younger. It could be that this new, or we never made it here before, or I just wasn't interested (bigger better things to see). I parked the cart and entered the doors. There wasn't another person in sight, it seemed that others didn't really know about this either.

Turns out it was a massive bird cage, with 3 different viewing levels accessible via stairs. The best part of this place for me was how peaceful it was, which could explain why I never noticed it when I was a kid... kids don't really appreciate peaceful things!

I spent a reasonable amount of time here, but eventually it was time to move on. So I explored some other corners of the zoo.

I then came across a scene which I consider quite surreal... wild animals with the backdrop of the Pretoria city centre... but I can imagine this is quite common in zoo's across the world.

I continued further to explore the zoo.

When I looked again, my 3 hours golf cart rental time was up, and had actually used the cart a hour longer than I had paid for, but they allow that, I would just have to pay the difference in.

If you are ever in Pretoria make a turn at the zoo, it is definitely worth it.

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