Knowsley Safari Park – September 2012

When Poppa Golp asked me what i would like for my 29th birthday present…. there was only 1 response…… Safari Park!
And Momma & Poppa Golp being the amazing parents that they are did just that. They got me the best birthday pressie ever, a Wild Arena photography course at Knowsley Safari Park.

It was 3 hours of heaven. We started at 9.30am so that once the course was over we were free to wonder around the park for the rest of the day as we pleased.
There were 8 photographers all together (It’s worth pointing out that the course caters for both point and soot and SLR cameras) 3 in with Dave from Wild Arena, and 5 of us in with Dave from Knowsley Safari.

I had invited my Uncle Stephen along for the trip too, he basically taught me everything I know about photography so knew he would be the best person to Geek it up with.

As soon as we were in the 4×4 I was transported back to Africa… not even joking here.
My preconseptions were that this day was going to be fantastic but that ultimately we were just outside Liverpool and it was going to make me want to go back to Kenya… big time.
I was totally wrong! Firstly because it was as good – if not in some parts better than Kenyan Safari (for variety and proximity). Secondly because it was way better than fantastic.

We started off with the Tigers who posed beautifully we couldn’t asked them to be in better positions then we moved over to the Lion enclosure, We followed the male lion Kenya with his current lady aound the enclusure until they settled on a spot. The female lion was enjoying teasing both us and Kenya….

In the gallery below there are images of the 9 month old cubs but unfortunately the 4 week old cubs were still in their smaller enclosure, Dave exaplained that they have to slowly introduce the cubs to the pack otherwise the older lions could attack the cubs!

From here we moved around the park seeing lots of deer and antelope breeds, it was amazing to see just how big the park is – Dave took us off road a couple of times to get us closer to the animals, I almost squealed with giddiness!

Then it was time for the baboons….. I don’t know what was funnier… seeing the baboons interacting… or seeing the desheveled cars come out of the enclosure. The baboons attacked everything – casually playing with windscreen wipers like it was christmas morning.
Luckily we shot from outside the fense, Dave threw fruit and veg in for the baboons so they came right up to us and Dave showed us how to shoot through the fense without it interfearing.

The baboons were fantastic, watching them interact with their human like qualities was fascinating. The little baboons sharing food, babies holding on under their mums as they walk around, hitching rides, at one point an older monkey gave a baby a push up onto its mothers back…. too cute!

Finally we got to see water buffalo, camels, more deer and antelope and rhinos.
I have to say i have a soft spot for rhinos because they were the missing piece in Kenya, they were the only animal on my “to do” list that we didnt get a look at. So seeing them upclose here was a dream.

Fascinating Rhino fact, courtesy of Dave…. Rhinos can only just about see the grass in front of them, nothing more, they are totally reliant on their hearing, their ears could almost do a 360 and if you watch they never stop moving… This is why if you ever see 2 rhinos lay together you will see them top and tail so they have all angles covered… After all why do they need sight? Who is gonna want to mess with them….

Once the drive was over we were dropped back off at the base, where we walked up to the giraffe and elephant enclosures. Although this felt like we were back in a safari park, with the clear lines of enclosure it was still great to get time to spend with these gorgeous creatures. The elephants were on full form playing with the hay… even getting it stuck on their heads…

Uncle Stephen loves Owls… so his ears started twitching when a bird of prey show was mentioned – while we waited for the show to start we headed to the restaurant for a well earned hot dog then spent sometime watching … and laughing at the meerkats and warthogs… if we had a pound for every day that walked passed embarrassingly singing “Hakuna Matata” we would be very rich now!

The bird of pray show was definitely worth the wait, the birds were awesome – the host encouraging them to fly right above our heads

To sum up…. a truly magical day

Gallery below… more images can be found on my facebook page