I have a passion for all things good in life- be it travel, food, watching plays& films, photography, drinking champagne or just getting pampered in a Spa. Luckily being a Hotel Management graduate, an ex-chef, nutritionist and a journalist, I am eminently qualified to do my job of writing and sharing experiences. My blog is my world and my posts are my straightforward thoughts...come along with me on my culinary voyage!
has a dream holiday that comes rewardingly with a lot of energy and hard work,
but increasingly we are all seeking to bond with our children…! Bush camping in
the Toronto zoo with my daughter my dream easily transformed into holiday
daughter Akanksha (16) is really into wildlife and researching animals at the
moment and I like to experience different cultures and try different things- so
Toronto Zoo was perfect for us. When planning the itinerary I tried to mix up
activities to keep things interesting for both of us and gave my daughter
certain travel responsibilities along the way such as working out exchange
rates, learning new foreign words and being in charge of her own luggage.
suburban safari began when we pulled up in a cab to the Toronto Zoo’s
administration building sharp at 4:00pm as per the rules. My daughter and I
stowed our luggage at the rear of the zoo mobile, (a zebra striped trolley
which wound its way up and down carrying passengers), along with the school
group and teachers who were camping with us.
Vacation adventure began with a
guided tour of behind the scene activities. The best part was that these
animals didn’t seem to mind that one has invaded their habitat (as long as you
don't get too close though). You’d be glad to see them lie down, because this
means they are comfortable and not threatened. We passed the massive building
where thousands of custom meals are prepared daily for the hundreds of
different species of animals before zipping past the infirmary where animals
receive specialized care when not on exhibit.
we reached the bush tent ground; each was pitched atop a sturdy wooden deck.
Akanksha ran into our assigned tent to explore the interior. Clean and dry the
tent was spacious, with two comfortable cots. We soon
settled into our African-style canvas walled lodges, literally just a few steps
from a private viewing area overlooking the African Savannah where several
species of African animals roam freely.
introduced herself individually to around 20 students, promptly forgetting
everyone’s names, but was relieved by an honest warm welcome by all. I was glad
to see Akanksha making friends with the school group while I made friend with
We followed directions to hide our toiletries in the provided
baskets so as to discourage any wildlife from paying us a midnight visit. The
first order of business was a tour of the zoo’s African Savannah region. It was
awe-inspiring to meet the elephant keepers and going behind the exhibit into
the elephant’s night house as the giant pachyderms roamed the outdoor exhibit.
We also spotted some zebras, masi giraffe, warthogs, Kudu, marabou stork, olive
baboons, ostrich and sable antelope along the way. This was followed by a visit
with the giraffe keepers and capped off when the children got a chance to toss
apple chunks to the hyenas. Soon it was time for dinner at the Simba Safari
lodge, pasta, milk shake and ice-cream sandwiches!
A visit to the Kesho Park ranger
station (mock) was followed by a night-time scavenger hunt (water conservation
trivia game). We had to literally run around the zoo’s vast African
region, but truly enjoyed the unique opportunity of observing very different
animal behaviours at night. Being at the zoo in the night was an entirely novel
experience. We felt miles removed from the often pedestrian experience of
taking in the zoo during the daytime. The low rumble of the lions could be
heard long before their pen came into sight. It was amazing to watch the hippos
playfully splash each other in a deep pool of muddy water. Before signing off
to bed, we gathered around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and listened to
the story of why the giraffe has no voice.
Akanksha loved the unspoilt
close to nature feeling of the place. It sure was fun as I had the opportunity
to sit beside a singing wolf pack, to hear lions in the night, and to see my
daughter’s face light up.Overall, I do
think camping is safe if you abide by the rule of staying inside the tent at
the next morning, with the theme song from Disney’s The Lion King blaring, we
literally stumbled out of our tents and assembled at the Simba Safari lodge
again for a cup of coffee and croissants. Then we headed off for another hike
to the Canadian Domain. Here we saw lynx, arctic wolves, grizzly bears, moose,
elk, bison, mountain lion and lots more. After breakfast with the bees,
it was time to gather up our belongings and bid goodbye. “The zoo’s different
at night,” exclaimed Akanksha happily as we headed back to downtown Toronto.
Indeed it is!!
·Once you have
your tent up, sprinkle talcum powder around the perimeter of the tent to keep
the ants out.
·Camping is an
adventure and not a ‘bring my usual kitchen to a campsite’.
Cost for the Serengeti Bush Camp: The price per person for youth groups and adults is
$76 (taxes and day pass to the zoo included).
·BEST WAY TO REACH- Fly from Delhi to Toronto via Brussels with
Jet Airways. Most economical and the shortest route. You can carry 2 bags of 23
Kg each even in economy class.
·BEST PLACE TO STAY- The
Fairmont, Royal York, 100 Front Street W, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5J1E3. TEL (416) 368-2511.E-MAILroyalyorkhotel@fairmont.com
.It is close by financial and fashionable shopping districts, major
attractions, and world-class entertainment venues.