Ultimate Wildlife Adventure at Camp Baboon

Have you ever fancied a lock in at a zoo? Exploring long after the gates close and spending a night with some amazing wildlife?

Disclaimer: We were gifted the Camp Baboon experience by Red Letter Days, however, all views, opinions and photos are my own and remain a copyright of the Curious Pixie.

Well Camp Baboon is part of the Wild Place Project in Bristol and allows you to play out your ranger dreams in a unique overnight opportunity with the ultimate wildlife adventure. Our stay was via Red Letter Days, well known for its gifts of unforgettable experiences. And this trip definitely ticked that box.

The Wild Place Project

Wild Place Project is owned by the British Zoological Society, who also operate Bristol Zoo. It opened to visitors in 2013 with an aim to create a sustainable future for wildlife and people through conservation and education work. The park comprises several large enclosures which house a variety of exotic and endangered species mostly from Africa.

Ultimate Wildlife Adventure at Camp Baboon

There is a real natural atmosphere and feeling as you wander around the enclosures. They’ve been built to resemble the animals’ natural habitats as closely as possible and it makes a real difference in terms of the mood and surroundings compared to a zoo.

Visitors can meet incredible animals from around the globe such as the cheetah, giraffe, gelada, zebra, eland, okapi and lemurs.

The project is constantly developing and there will soon be a new Bear Wood opening in summer 2019, creating a woodland of old inhabited by brown bears and grey wolves.

Take a look at the highlights video of our stay!

Where is Camp Baboon?

You’ll find Camp Baboon located just off the M5, not where you’d think you’d find you’re wildlife adventure, right?

Once you arrive at the 125 acre zoological conservation park Wild Place Project, skip the queues and head for Customer Services where you can store your luggage. You’re then free to explore the project until check in at 3 pm.

Wildlife glamping

The ten cosy, heated wooden glamping pods are found behind the gelada enclosure, laid out in a semi circle around a campfire. Each pod sleeps four and features a double bed, bunk beds, an ensuite, blackout blinds, a small dining space and outside deck.

Ultimate Wildlife Adventure at Camp Baboon

Bedding, towels, toiletries, biscuits, tea and coffee are all provided. Along with a rather tempting jar of marshmallows for toasting later – genius! Each pod is named after an indigenous creature, such as Fox, Squirrel and Hedgehog. Ours was Nuthatch.

This is my kind of camping: combining the best of both worlds together – outdoor camping with your creature comforts. All you need to bring is your clothes!

Food and drink

Food is served in the Courtyard Café, on the menu was beef or veggie lasagne with garlic bread, coleslaw and salad. Followed by a delicious sweet treat of chocolate profiteroles.

Lucky with a warmer evening, we enjoyed it on the tables outside. Wine and beer is on sale during dinner, although I’d suggest you bring your own if you fancy a tipple later in the evening around the campfire.

Breakfast is served in the same place with bacon or veggie sausage rolls and a selection of cereals, pastries, juices and hot drinks. You definitely won’t go hungry.

Our overnight itinerary at Camp Baboon

5 PM: The knowledgeable rangers will lead you into Blackhorse Woods for a taster of some basic survival skills. Under a huge parachute, you’re taken through some essential bushcraft techniques.

We tried our hand at being firestarters, by creating sparks from flint and various other materials.

Next up was water filtration using items at hand. We received top marks for using charcoal from the fire pit (just saying).

Followed by doing our best impression of a wild animal tracker, identifying animal prints through the woods. Safe to say the kids and adults were both suitably entertained and loved getting involved.

Ultimate Wildlife Adventure at Camp Baboon

6.30 PM: Rumbling tummies signalled dinner time, followed by the evening tour an hour later. It was wonderful to experience the grounds without the crowds with only the sounds being snapping twigs, the occasional babbling gelada or snorting red river hogs.

Pure magic to be able to get up close with the cheetahs, which just isn’t possible in the daytime. Obviously if you come later on in the year the tour takes a more eerie tone in the darkness but walking around with torches would be fun.

9 PM: Time to head back to our luxury wooden cabin following the lit lanterns to relax and indulge in toasted marshmallows around the campfire until bedtime.

6.45 AM: It’s an early wake up call to visit some more animals and help with their breakfast. We fed our perfectly preened neighbours the geladas also known as bleeding heart baboons due to the red patches on their chests.

These endangered primates from Ethiopia had me green with envy with their luxuriant locks. We did our rounds around the remaining enclosures and finally saw the wolves as they were hiding from us the night before.

Ultimate Wildlife Adventure at Camp Baboon

We fed the energetic meerkats, entered the playful lemurs enclosure whilst they were already tucking into breakfast and said hello to the intriguing grunting red river hogs.

Met the shy okapi, a zebra-like relative of the giraffe for the first time. It’s always an incredible feeling when you see a creature for you’ve never laid eyes on.

Only found in the Congo these beautiful solitary animals are still considered to be endangered even though they are protected by Congolese law.

9 AM: Before long it’s time for the humans to be fed their breakfast. I’d recommend you take something to snack on before the tour if travelling with little ones. After breakfast we take a tour of the peaceful giraffe house, enjoying their company along with the zebra and eland.

Whilst also learning about the sad silent extinction of these majestic animals. Most people, including myself don’t realise that there are fewer giraffes than there are African elephants. This giraffe house is part of an international breeding programme working on the ground in Cameroon to protect their last Kordofan giraffes.

10 AM: Sadly time to say goodbye to your wildlife adventure and check out of the lovely glamping pod, but you’re free to wander around Wild Place Project for the rest of the day at your leisure.

N.B. The smug factor is high as you watch the park fill up with visitors as you leave after your unique private animal encounters.

How much does Camp Baboon cost?

The Camp Baboon experience starts from £87pp and varies depending on the time of year. This includes an overnight stay in a luxury wooden cabin which sleeps four, bushcraft activities, morning and evening tours of the park, dinner and breakfast. Also part of the package is free entry to their sister attraction Bristol Zoo Gardens which is valid for year if don’t fancy visiting on the day of departure.

Is it worth it?

Three words – Book it now! We had an amazing time and made some truly fun memories. It’s a great insight into wildlife conservation and the mini safari with luxury lodgings comes with no jet lag. What’s not to like?!

This is not your traditional zoo with animals caged up, the emphasis here is conservation where rescued and endangered animals get to live in a natural environment.

For more information on Camp Baboon visit there website.

Have you ever had an incredible wildlife experience? Love to know in the comments box below.

sima

Camp Baboon | Wild Place Project | Blackhorse Hill | Bristol | BS10 7TP

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