Werribee Open Range Zoo’s summer concert series Rhythm of Africa is a great way to get a taste of some African culture as well as experience the animals as dusk approaches and they are in a more active phase of their day. With live African music being performed from 4.30 – 8.30pm, activities for the kids, the African BBQ and access to Safari Tours and the walking trails until late this is a fun and unique way to experience Werribee Zoo.
When: Saturdays during January and February, activities for kids begin from about 4pm onwards, last Safari Tour is at 6pm. For more information click here.
Where: Werribee Open Range Zoo, K Road WERRIBEE
Cost: Zoo Members FREE, otherwise included as part of general admission – adults $30, children under 16 FREE
With the sounds of African music floating throughout (depending on the direction of the breeze) as well as the smells of the BBQ, Rhythm of Africa definitely provides a different vibe to the every day visit to Werribee Zoo! We arrived just after 4pm and our first stop was a hair braid before heading off on the Pula Reserve Trail to see the lions, monkeys, wild dogs, hippos, the cheetah, gorillas and meerkats. Most (actually all except the lions) were active and providing us a wonderful opportunity to see them moving up close.
Once we finished the Pula Trail we jumped on a Safari Tour (by this stage it was 5.30pm) and spent 40 minutes winding our way through the plains of Africa.
Having recently done the Mini Zoo Keepers with Charlie (a fabulous program for pre-schoolers which I highly recommend!) I realised what a special experience we’d had in our mini open-air bus on that occasion when we’d torn around the savannah with the sole purpose of getting up close and not only learning about the animals but being able to ask questions.
The regular Safari Tour (in the mega sized open-air buses) is still fantastic, but you do stay on the road and of course being in such a huge vehicle there is no opportunity for questions as you travel along the Safari as the driver (who is also the compare) is hooked up to a microphone and can be a few ‘carriages’ away – I am sure you could save up your questions and ask them afterwards. That said the information our driver shared was specific to what we were witnessing at that particular moment and was on the whole very interesting and we still saw loads of animals up close and had a wonderful time.
After our Safari we returned to the Village Dance Party & Playground area for some BBQ dinner. Many people had packed picnics and were set up for a fun evening out with the kids. If you are packing a picnic and are worried about lugging it about the Zoo while you go on Safari and take a wander down the walking trails never mind – there is a complimentary hamper minding service provided by the Zoo.
Other fun activities include: drumming workshops, face painting, hair braiding, traditional African games and more.
If you haven’t been to Werribee Zoo for awhile – or you’re a member and looking for an excuse to go – the Rhythm of Africa is a great way to enjoy this amazing Open Range Zoo on a summer evening. Grab some friends, pack a picnic and stay late!
*thank you to Aaron Bickford for the use of his photography in this article.