JAMALA WILDLIFE LODGE

Vacations & Travel - - Tried & Tested - By Lana Bo­gunovich ja­malaw­ildlifelodge.com.au

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.

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