We recently did an overnight lodge stay at WHF and what an experience. The staff looked after us so well and the keepers - Freddie looked after us throughout - really knew their stuff and care about the animals they tend to. We were made so welcome from the time we arrived - afternoon tea with a really good Prosecco - and then unpack in your lodge before a two hour tour. We covered half of the park - mostly smaller cats but still beautiful. We'd never heard of, let alone seen, Asian fishing cats, rusty spotted (small but so powerful), cloudy leopard (really amazing features and snake-like!) plus a little time with the snow leopards - my favourites - and Poona and the tigers. Then back to the lodge to change. The lodges were fabulous (I'd love one in our garden if it were big enough!) We were in Lion lodge which overlooked the platform and enclosure the 'boys' were sleeping on. Good size lounge area, lovely bathroom and bed soooo comfortable you thought twice about the tour! Well-stocked with tea/coffee, soft drinks, beers, wine and toiletries. unpack, a quick relax and change and back over for pre-dinner drinks. Again, nothing too much trouble for the team at WHF. Dinner was pre-ordered and was ok - we didn't go hungry and you don't go for the food.
We stayed in the bar after dinner with three of the other couple and again, nothing was too much trouble for the staff, even through they needed to be back on duty early next morning. slept very soundly and woke to the roar of the lions - unbelievable! back over at 8am for tea and pastries then off for the highlight - feeling the big cats. We visited cheetahs, pumas, black jaguars, a white lion pride and fed the snow leopards (Layla was so gentle!), the jaguar, tigers and Manzi, WHF's version of Mustafa! we went in with the servals and fed them and the Mia the cheetah (scary but brilliant!). such an amazing experience. we got much closer than I'd imagined and it was a fab experience. we've looked at safaris and will do one but I don't believe we'll ever get as close to the cats as we did here. the team at WHF do an absolutely brilliant job - mostly with volunteers - and deserve our support and fundraising. i'd like to see bigger enclosures but appreciate the financial situation. keep up the good work guys!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The overnight big cat safari experience - a hidden gem in the village of Smarden in Kent, UK. The Big Cat Sanctuary is a 34 acre peaceful conservation site whose primary objective is conservation and offering sanctuary to homeless or rescued cats. On our big cat safari experience you will get up close and personal seeing our amazing and diverse collection of cats from the world's smallest Rusty Spotted cat to the world's most endangered Amur leopard and also learn about the conservation work we do both at the centre and overseas. We operate by way of personal experiences only, this is an incredible experience in which you will encounter all we have to offer at our at the sanctuary with an overnight stay. The agenda for guests to the overnight big cat safari experience is below: You will arrive early afternoon for afternoon tea with a glass of bubbly on our terrace over-looking one of our lion enclosures, after this you will enjoy a 2 hour VIP tour in which you will learn about the various species of Big Cats at the sanctuary. During the tour you will get the opportunity to get up close and personal with the cats, you may go in with our African Servals,these activities vary depending on what is happening with our cats at the time of your visit. In the evening, you will firstly be greeted with pre-dinner drinks and enjoy a sumptuous 3 course meal cooked by our resident chef which you will enjoy in our conservatory which adjoins our African lion enclosure, they are curious and regularly check out what you are eating for dinner! Once the evening meal is over you will retire to the comfort of your luxury lodge accommodation, most likely to the roar of our lions! The next morning you will have a choice of full english breakfast or continental style. Your morning will continue with the target training of one of our cheetahs and also an opportunity to hand feed one of the Big Cats which for most people is most memorable. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Big Cat Sanctuary's Overnight Lodge Experience Smarden, Kent