To celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary this year, Mr D and I spent a night at the Jamala Wildlife Lodge which is located within Canberra’s National Zoo and Aquarium. It is expensive at $1300 (weeknight AUD) per night however it was worth every cent.
On arrival, and as part of the check in process, refreshments were served. It was obvious when you entered the uShaka lodge, which housed the reception area and some of the accommodation, that no expense has been spared. It was stunning!
After check in, we headed off on our first tour of the zoo with Ty, our tour guide. The tour was just shy of two hours, so comfy walking shoes were a must.
At around 4pm, after our visit to the Meerkats, we were escorted to our Giraffe Tree House. Something that Mr D pointed out that I hadn’t considered, is how unobtrusive the accommodation is as part of the zoo. Once you’re there however, you are blown away at the level of detail, style and comfort. You won’t want to leave.
The highlight of our adventure was feeding Humberkhali (Hummer), the resident Giraffe.
After feeding time, we were left to our own devices. We sat on the verandah and enjoyed the view over the Scrivener Dam. There were feed troughs attached to the building that had been filled with hay by the keepers. This ensured that Hummer continued to come and go until it was time to head to The Cave for dinner. You don’t have to hang in your room though, you have the option to continue exploring the zoo.
Canapés and drinks started at 6.30 pm in The Cave. We walked however you can catch the bus. Walking, of course, means you get to see some of the animals that didn’t come out earlier in the day….if you’re lucky.
I have to admit I didn’t take any photos of the food…whoops (well, just one of the bread and dukkah). When you’re sitting next to a Lion’s den, it’s easy to work out where the camera should be pointed. I can tell you, however, it was five courses of deliciousness and the staff were amazing!
We were lucky enough to help celebrate Jake, the white lion, and his sister Misha’s 9th birthday while we dined. My photos don’t properly represent the size of these animals however I can tell you they were huge. You can see that the Hyenas felt they were missing out and a birthday kiss from Misha had Jake cringing.
The next morning we walked up to The Cave for breakfast which was served at 7 am. There was plenty of choice, hot and cold, including gluten-free options. With half an hour still to kill before the 8 am tour, Mr D and I wanted to see some of the animals that we had missed the day before. Fortunately, the Sun Bear and Lions had decided to make an appearance.
At 8 am, we started the morning tour with Millie, our guide. Something that only the Jamala guests get to experience is the new part of the zoo which is still under construction. The highlight here was the White Rhinos. Three big boys weighing in at roughly 1.5 tonnes each. They reminded me of our piggies in that they enjoyed a scratch and tussling for our attention.
The morning tour concluded just before 10 am at which time we were taken back to our tree house by bus, packed up, waited for our bags to be collected and then walked to reception to check out.
Check out time is 11 am however your visit is not over if you don’t want it to be. You have the option to continue exploring the zoo at your leisure.
Jamala was a great experience and one I would highly recommend.
Mrs D x
If you arrive early, that is before the 1.30 pm check in time, the reception staff will give you a pass to enter the zoo.
There is a lot of walking so wear very comfy shoes.
Smart casual dress for dinner. Mr D and I dressed up a little more as we live in jeans and boots on the farm. I wore black pants and a nice blouse and didn’t feel over dressed. Everyone went to a bit of effort. When you’re drinking Moet and eating Canapés, you want to feel the part. Don’t panic though, some of the guests didn’t change for dinner.