A few days ago, on a dreary and grey Wednesday morning, we threw some sandwiches and soft drinks into our backpack and drove down South to go ‘on safari” in a place called Beekse Bergen—supposedly the largest wildlife zoo of the Benelux.
Well, I’m not sure you can call a handful of zebras, a sleepy leopard, a few lions behind bars, a bunch of drooling kangaroos and a whole lot of deer a safari, but it was a fun experience.
Must admit that I was duly unimpressed and honestly? I didn’t think it was worth all the money. But the kid had a blast, and that’s what matters, right?
Let me take you on a mini tour with us. Hold on to your seats, people, it will be a bumpy ride through the Dutch wildlife.
Things started out really well. I positively love zebras. They are the most beautiful creatures on earth to me.
Especially when you see these mini versions darting around your car.
We drove on expecting a wild trail with various animals. Some dangerous and others not so much.
In reality it turned out to be little more than a glorified deer park. Pretty to see, don’t get me wrong, but not all that exciting.
Some of them looked majestic, though 75% was too far away to see.
It didn’t take us long to figure out that this was about as close as we could get to something that resembled wildlife. And I was shooting with a 300mm tele lens, mind you.
“Where are all those lions they promised us?”, J-man openly wondered.
There were kangaroos.
A rhino, at safe distance.
These purty red heads happily munching hay.
A few camels that looked strangely out-of-place with not a desert in sight.
These giraffes were cute and we lingered around them for a while. The one on the left even came to the car but the safari bus snatched him away right before he could make it.
But then these two heroes saved the day.
They were so adorable I wanted to take home and keep them in my back yard. They were frolicking with each other. It was too cute.
We had no idea that right around the corner was the highlight of the safari waiting for us. Ambushing us.
The lion, in all its glory.
At this point we were laughing so hard we had tears rolling down our face. Even J-man laughed, while he was pretty disappointed and told us he would have gotten a better look had we gone to the ‘normal’ zoo.
That was the moment we decided to just ditch the car and continue the safari in the park, by foot. Maybe we’d see a few animals that way.
They could’ve been brothers, no?
As we gazed around we mainly found empty cages with notes outside explaining where these animals liked to hide. For all we knew it could have been an empty space with a few bushes to throw us off.
We did see a few birds of prey. And this pretty boy (or girl). Shot this one through the fence. Oh, how I love my camera.
The kid did everything he positively could to get a few glimpses of the elephant, who was also not on the island where he was supposed to be, but a mile down the road.
Later on we ran into a handful of elephants that were pounding their trunks upon a few unexpecting and overly brave monkey’s.
We saw a mini goat farm, where I bought him some of the dried peas they kept in an old candy machine, so he could go inside and feed them.
It didn’t take them long to figure out the kid had food and they went after him like lightning. Just as I knew they would. I also knew he’d run away screaming!
He’s such a hero. I cracked up. What can I say? I have a cruel streak and a camera. It justifies a lot.
Dad went in to save the day. Of course then they knew that he was just another sucker who fell for the 6 dried peas for 20 cents trap.
“Dude, where’s the food? I know you have it, man. Give it to me!“.
Right before we went home we spotted this beautiful animal sitting there taking sips of water, completely unfazed by all these humans standing there, watching him.
All in all we had a fun day. But the best part? Trying to find the countless cards explaining why animals wouldn’t be visible, why they were gone, or that the island was uninhabited at the moment, as we were standing before yet another empty place. Wish I would have taken more of these.