Jamala Wildlife Lodge
It’s not every day that you wake up, pull open your curtains and see three cheeky ring-tailed lemurs bounding around. But that’s definitely the case this morning as I wake up at Jamala Wildlife Lodge, located within the grounds of Canberra’s National Zoo and Aquarium.
After an easy three-hour drive from Sydney, I arrived yesterday afternoon, not quite sure what to expect from a place claiming to offer a unique ‘safari’-style accommodation experience in the middle of a capital city. But once I step inside uShaka Lodge, Jamala’s main hub, I am instantly impressed by the stylish interiors and genuine collection of African artworks beautifully displayed throughout the lodge.
I enjoy a tasty spread with the other guests before setting off on our ‘safari’ experience, touring through the zoo with a knowledgeable guide, learning about the animals we encounter on the way. Being an avid animal lover, I am especially pleased to learn about the incredible conservation efforts of this privately owned zoo and lodge, with many of the animals coming here through rescue operations.
Back at uShaka, a refreshing dip in the plunge pool cools me down before I go back to my room, Lemur 2. Stylishly appointed, it features a four-poster canopy king bed, spacious ensuite with walk-in shower and a terrace and windows overlooking the lion enclosures.
There’s polished hardwood floors, African artwork and interiors, and tribal music playing softly in the background, enhancing the ambience. Another great feature about this room is its location within uShaka Lodge, making it super convenient to access all the main areas, including the Rainforest Cave Restaurant and main terrace.
The window in my suite looks directly into the lemur enclosure and while I could watch the entertaining antics of my neighbours Dodi, Zandry and Zeni all day, the sun is setting and there’s Champagne and canapés to be had downstairs with white lions.
We watch the lion feeding in awe before the human feeding commences in the dining room, consisting of an incredible four-course dinner that exceeds expectations on all levels. Belly and heart full, I stroll back upstairs to my room and check on my lemur friends. Their enclosure is dark and still, not a flash of white in sight.
I retire to my plush bed and drift off to the sound of nocturnal life and, for a moment, I feel like I’m in some exotic land, somewhere far, far away.