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Wednesday 20 June 2012

Sluttery Travels: Livingstone Safari Lodge, Kent

A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to win a safari trip to Kenya. It was easily the most magical week of my life, but then I returned to London and suddenly hedgehogs weren't all that interesting (and the foxes who live in my back garden need to keep the noise down while they're at it, jeez).

I've always enjoyed a zoo (basically, I've always enjoyed a day out where ice cream is a given and there's a crap gift shop). I recently went to play with tigers at Paradise Wildlife Park, and London Wetlands Centre can be quite fun if you don't get attacked by geese, but it's not in quite the same league as Kenya.

Livingstone Safari Lodge does a pretty good job of turning the English countryside into a safari.

Based at Port Lymnpe Wildlife Park in Kent, Livingstone Safari Lodge is basically a little slice of Africa in the south of England. 

You're in the middle of the park, with over 1000 animals roaming free. I've checked the website and it's not just hedgehogs. You'll see, giraffes, elephants, red lechwes (Wikipedia tells me this a bit like a bouncy gazelle), a black rhino, zebra and there's a separate enclosure for lions and cheetahs - they're not allowed to roam free and they would probably eat you.

These wildebeest are unlikely to get attacked by alligators as they have a drink of water.

He's cute! He looks quite at home in Kent, doesn't he?

The lodge itself is similar to those in Africa - you sleep in tents (with beds, not sleeping bags) and there's a massive communal area for everyone to have dinner and drinks in the evening - you get a five course meal with your stay. You won't be overrun with people as there are just ten tents and children under the age of nine aren't allowed.

I'd love to fly back to Kenya and play with the giraffes, but it's thousands of pounds (and a six hour transfer from the airport). A night in Livingstone Safari Lodge will cost you between £130 and £220 per person per night. It might just be one of the most special and unique places you can stay in England. None of the other hotels have giraffes in their back garden.


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