Would you let a rather hairy pig sniff your hand?
PUBLISHED: 17:17 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:17 18 April 2019
Will you meet the meerkats, marvel at the lions and rhino or try an even more unusual animal encounter?
Perhaps it would tickle, perhaps it would feel wet...the only way is to try it out. It's one of the unique experiences on offer at Africa Alive!, where some rather cute new arrivals are trying to steal the show.
Hog Snorts is the new interactive habitat at the award winning wildlife park near Lowestoft, and it's home to the recently arrived red river hogs.
Named after their striking, vivid appearance, the hogs sound amazing too. They don't oink-oink like regular pigs, instead making a sound like a bassoon playing a single note. It has to be heard to be believed!
The new arrivals are part of a European breeding programme and it's hoped that it won't be too long before Africa Alive! is welcoming some stripy hoglets.
But before that, visitors can get extremely close to the hogs with snuffle plates allowing the hogs to sniff their hands while keeping fingers safe.
The hogs are sharing their new Hog Snorts home with sitatunga antelope; loved by visitors for their elegance and ability to live on both dry and waterlogged land.
There's plenty more to see at Africa Alive!, winner of the Best Large Visitor Attraction in the Norfolk and Suffolk Tourism Awards 2019.
The centrepiece of the zoo is “The Plains of Africa”, a huge, spacious habitat designed in an African savannah style, where visitors can discover animals from the African continent as they roam freely together across the Suffolk version of the African plains. It's home to zebra, antelope, giraffe, ostrich and the heavy-weight white rhino.
There are mammals, reptiles and birds to see and enjoy at every turn at Africa Alive! Look out for the bushbaby, meerkat, lemur, buffalo, mongoose and many, many more.
Explore the Kingdom of the Lion and watch the magnificent pride of lions from the Lookout Lodge, or gaze across the beautiful views and wildlife of the waters of Wader's Lake. There is always something happening in the Discovery Centre at Africa Alive! too, whether it's a chance to touch a tortoise, meet a minibeast or come face to face with a snake.
There are on the day animal experiences to make your trip to Africa Alive! extra special too. Why not meet the meerkats with a keeper, take a safari experience with a senior animal keeper, have an encounter with the elusive aardvarks, feed a giraffe or hand feed a ring-tailed lemur? All these experiences can be booked can be booked on the day of your visit.
The park is managed by the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), a charitable trust dedicated to conservation, animal welfare and education, with knowledgeable staff and information about the various animals and habitats easily available to visitors.
Most visitors find that one visit is not enough, especially when they see the park's busy programme of events. This year the schedule ranges from performances from the Mighty Zulu Nation Theatre Company to appearances from Peter Rabbit and many more children's favourite characters (see panel for more information).
An Annual Pass or Two Year Pass to Africa Alive! gives unlimited entry (during normal opening hours) plus unlimited free entry to its sister Park, Banham Zoo.
As part of the many benefits, Pass holders also get half price entry for a further ten attractions including Amazona Zoo, Jimmy's Farm, Linton Zoo, Sea Life Great Yarmouth, Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens, Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure and the Raptor Foundation.
Join in all the fun at Africa Alive! and be sure to give a special spring welcome to the red river hogs at Hog Snorts!
Africa Alive! is open daily from 9.30am
Africa Alive! is three miles south of Lowestoft on the A12 at Kessingland. Tel: 01502 740291. More information at www.africa-alive.co.uk
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