25 September 2018

Do: Roar and Snore at Monarto Zoo

Back in April, I booked up two spots for the Spring Roar and Snore event at Monarto Zoo.

Monarto Zoo is the biggest open-range zoo in Australia, home to more than fifty species of exotic and native mammals, reptiles and birds. The animals roam freely in a natural safari-style setting. As well as being open every day for general admission, various events are held throughout the year that offer special experiences and behind the scenes viewing of the animals and grounds. Keep an eye on the events page for what’s coming up.

The Roar and Snore event was advertised as a chance to camp out under the stars while enjoying drinks, dinner and breakfast with a Keeper and learning more about the zoo. The whole event is expertly run by a group of passionate and knowledgeable volunteers.
Alan and I arrived on Saturday afternoon and received instructions to meet back at the visitors’ centre at 2:45pm. We had a little bit of time to explore so we visited the chimpanzees and familiarised ourselves with a map of the zoo. Back at the centre we met with volunteer guides Edna and Graham. It wasn’t long before we made our way to the Indaba camp site. We set up camp and enjoyed some afternoon tea before getting the full run down of events.
Our twilight experience was a behind the scenes look at the cheetahs. Bus driver Lynton collected us from the camp site and drove us towards the enclosure. We met up with Keeper Michelle who then guided us around the enclosure. It was a truly fantastic experience seeing the animals being fed and learning about the history of cheetahs at Monarto and the fantastic work that is happening around the world to hopefully ensure these beautiful animals remain in the wild.

As the sun set it was time to head back to camp for refreshments and the evening meal. The volunteers in the kitchen ensured nobody was going to bed hungry!

Between dinner and dessert courses we heard a presentation from Paris, a MATZ (Mentors at the Zoo) partner, who shared her experience of travelling to the village of Mfuwe in Zambia as part of the Tisamale Global Exchange program.
It was then time for dessert and a move to the campfire for final drinks before heading to bed.

In the morning we awoke to the sounds of local (and not so local) wildlife. After a cuppa, we were back on the bus for the ‘Roar’ part of the event.
We watched as the male lions were called back into their dens from the larger enclosure and then helped to give them their breakfast! Information about the animals and their enclosure was provided by Keeper Jamie, while Keeper Tim set up the food and enrichment stations for the female lions. It was incredible to be up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. We then made our way back to camp, via a quick hello to the rhinos, for a full breakfast spread.

After filling our bellies, we said our goodbyes and headed back into the main car park to further explore the main exhibits.

The whole event was an amazing opportunity to learn, observe and feel part of the zoo family. I would highly recommend this experience to everyone. A huge thank you to the volunteers and the zoo staff who all took their time to make it a truly memorable weekend.