It was a milestone birthday for my Mother this year, I would tell you which one, but I doubt I would survive the wrath that would soon follow. Myself and my sister decided that this year we would do something a bit special for her.
My mum, myself and my sister were all born and raised in Kenya, so all our childhood was spent on safari, driving for hours through the savannah looking for animals. We decided if we could not get Stephanie to the savannah, we would bring the Savannah to Stephanie.
That was when we came across Howletts, and the Aspinall Foundation. Their commitment to conservation, captive breeding, education and reintroduction into the wild was amazing to learn about and values like that are exactly what three Kenyan born and bred ladies like to hear.
As we walked around the 90-acres of park we found out that there are over 400 animals that are homed at Howletts. Some of the rarest and most endangered species in the world. 30 years later their mission is still the same, to help conserve, breed and reintroduce these animals.
The park also offers animal experiences, this is when you can be brought face to face to some of the most endangered species on the planet. At Howletts, this is a way to educate people on the struggles of these animals and is not about getting the animals to perform and take a good profile picture for you. It is a chance to interact with the animals as they would in their natural habitat, whilst learning what we can do to help them.
My sister and I arranged for my Mum to have an experience with the lemurs, within the park there is a section where you can walk through the enclosure with them however they tend to stay up in the trees and are pretty unfazed by the general public below.
Georgie was our park ranger who got a bowl of fruit and veg for Mum to feed them and slowly but confidently the lemurs began to emerge out of the leaves. Georgie told us that this was a family of crowned lemurs. The park is also home to ringtail and red-bellied lemurs. As Mum hand fed the lemurs, Georgie was very informative about the different species they have within the park as well as telling us about all the work that goes into maintaining the welfare of all the animals within the park.
After an incredible morning we headed to The Pavilion for lunch, we sat out on the outdoor decking, all of us commented on how much it reminded us of Africa, after a delicious and reasonably priced jacket potato and salad we had another little wander around the park and saw an array of animals, all in good sized enclosures.
Howletts are also the sister company of Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, and I am already thinking about the next occasion where I can experience what they have to offer. It really was a brilliant day and there really is something for the whole family. Please do get online to see how you too can have a great day out whilst helping conserve some of the worlds most beautiful animals.
Help ensure that our world does not become one where the only animals seen are in captivity.