Travel: Sleep in Bristol’s wildest place: Camp Baboon
Kati Harris, August 25, 2017
Fancy a weekend retreat with a difference but can’t quite muster the energy to pack up the car and exit the city? Camp Baboon could be just the place for you. With the ever-increasing search for that new experience, weekend breaks are now a far cry from the traditional Butlins holidays of yonder years.
Tucked away to the north of Bristol, next to The Mall Cribbs Causeway and close to the M4/M5 interchange, Camp Baboon at Wild Place Project offers a unique, overnight wildlife experience. Tramping through the woodland amidst the excited squeals of young people who’ve come out for a day to see some of the exotic animals, you hang a left at the shaggy, long-haired gelada baboons and walk down a path through a lovely meadow that is suddenly very peaceful.
Rounding the corner, you come across the gathering of ten bespoke, fully heated wooden cabins for that special glamping experience. In the centre of the semi-circle is a big fire pit, perfect to gather around of an evening. Each cabin, named after a native species of animal, offers an en-suite shower room, double bed and bunk beds so you can enjoy a family get away or a romantic retreat. Inside, the cabins are surprisingly bright and spacious, with plenty of floor space and a table and chairs for reading a book or having a cup of tea. Outside, each cabin has its own private terrace.
Along with a stay in the bespoke cabins, visits are fully supervised with a carefully crafted line-up of activities focussing on fun and education. Knowledgeable hosts reveal interesting facts about the animals and local wildlife is spotted on guided walks, including a twilight tour of the park after all the other visitors go home.
There are also range of bushcraft activities put on for guests, and in the morning, if they’re not feeling too grumpy, you’ll get to eat breakfast with three giraffes in their £1m house. Food is provided throughout, including dinner in the café, prepared by in-house chefs, and as part of the experience you’ll get free admission to both Wild Place Project and sister site Bristol Zoo Gardens.
“Overnight accommodation allows guests to experience Wild Place Project at an exclusive time of day. Some of the things they’ll experience are only avail for Camp Baboon guests who will be here on site in the evening and early morning. It’s a great opportunity for our guests,” said Nigel Simpson, head of operations at Wild Place Project.
“The cabins were finished in July and are currently open at the weekends and one night in the week. It’s gone brilliantly so far, and we’ve had lots of feedback that it’s a unique experience that you just couldn’t do anywhere else.
“Guests get to see the baboons get fed in the evening and then sit around the fire toasting marshmallows and enjoying the noises of the zoo at night before settling down into their cabin. The baboons are just behind the camp, and you can hear them at certain times. They make unique noises, almost like a group of people chatting, once it gets light. Depending on which cabin you’re in, can even see them from the bedroom window!”
A stay at Camp Baboon costs from £87 per person. For more information or to book, visit www.wildplace.org.uk
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