Port Lympne Wild Animal ParkView map
More than 1,000 animals roaming free
ell someone you’re going on a safari in Kent and chances are they’ll eye you suspiciously. “What do you expect to see?” They’ll guffaw. “Dogs and cats? The occasional urban fox?”
Let them laugh it up because Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near Ashford, is home to over 650 rare and endangered animals including; western lowland gorillas, tigers, lions, giraffe and black rhino.
A piece of Africa thrives in the home counties thanks to the vision of conservationist John Aspinall who used the 600-acre estate as a haven for endangered animals.
Spend the day snapping ostriches and giraffes from the comfort of a safari truck and pull your meanest face at the big cats and gorillas on the walking trail. Or, extend your trip with a glamping weekend or an overnight stay in a luxury lodge with the call of the wild all around you. Don’t worry, there’s a secure enclosure for the roaring carnivores!
For a romantic break with a wild streak, book a stay for two at Livingstone Lodge – the original overnight safari in the UK – and you’ll have a VIP safari around the park followed by an escort back to your chic South African safari tent with private veranda, overlooking the Kent countryside alive with zebras, black rhino, giraffes and wildebeest huddled around the watering hole. If you can pull yourself away from the views, or your partner for that matter, there’ll be a five-course meal waiting at the onsite restaurant.
And for bigger groups, the Elephant Lodge makes the perfect alternative hen do or birthday treat. A family of chic tents filled with wood-burning stoves and solid oak furnishings, you can relax on the porch with a glass of English sparkling wine after a Mongolian barbeque in the Laapa Restaurant and gaze out onto the elephant paddocks and hazy blue coastline in the distance. Now who’s laughing?