Kerstin’s birthday present for this year was a daytrip to Burger’s Zoo in Arnhem. It was also a field test for my by then no longer brand new Toshiba PDR-M4. We went to Arnhem by train because what kind of present would it be to let her drive some 200km and arrive there completely stressed.
Note: I can definitely recommend going by train, the ride takes about 1½ hours, there a direct bus connection from the train station to the zoo, the zoo tickets can be purchased combined with the bus ticket. Have breakfast in the train restaurant, buy the tickets right in front of the train station and get dropped off at the main entrance of the zoo. That’s the best way to start an exiting day completely relaxed.
Moderator’s note: I’m going to use german names for the animals here, because I have no dictionary ailable where the more exotic animal names are translated.
The main area
Right after the entrance, I was immediately confronted with a completely unexpected concept. Penguins in the green? Penguins are those little swimming birds that get mostly eaten by ice bears, no? Nope, not really. Here, happily sitting between some bushes in the sun, I was introduced to south african penguins. I wonder what Tux would have to say about these guys?
The area here is some 20 meters wide, and about 5 meters deep, raising up from the path. There are lots of little cavities built into the slope where the penguins seem to hold siesta. A little stream creates the border to the path where the visitors walk along, where some of the penguins where swimming.
We took our first lunchbreak here, watching those guys and trying to figure out the map - here’s a link to an online version on the Burgers site - we received at the entrance. This would be a long day, but we had enough ham and egg sandwiches and the coffee was still hot…
Now this little guy is the cutest, ain’t he?!? He’s a Zwergnilpferd - remember above, no english translation for animal names available I don’t know if the proportions come out ok, he’s only about 5 feet long. The wall you see there barely reached over my hips. Lying there in the sun, he was completely unimpressed and just every once in a while opened an eye.
Completely in contrast to this crew. We had a great time, standing there for about 10 minutes watching them eat, run around and play with each other. There was so much traffic all around that food pot, with them running from one side to the other and back again…
A few corners further along the path we found our pretty friend here. He was quite open to photographs and had absolutely no problem posing for the camera. Now, the shot to the right needed some 4 or 5 tries since he moved quite eratically, but I think the outcome was worth it. Kerstin reminded me afterwards that he could have spit the hell out of me if he’d chosen to do so… Phew!
Besides the nice shot of this happy lady(?) eating fresh grass, I tried to capture the actual size of the elephant terrain with the shot to the right. As you can see from the size of the elephant in the far left, they have - for a zoo, that is - plenty of room to move around. Personally, I found the area pretty amazing, but the photo misses the feeling for the size of this site.
The shot to the left took some tries, since I’m not so experienced with taking photographs, but I’m quite happy with the result.
The jungle area can be seen from about the whole zoo. It’s a large complex in the center of the zoo, with entrances from all directions. Entering this building, the first thing one notices is the warm, damp climate. It’s more than 30 degrees - celsius that is - in there, and the humidity is just slightly under unbearable.
Pathes and single tracks lead through this inhouse forest, underneath gigangic palm trees. Everywhere are little streams and small rivers, and even a waterfall sits right in the center of the site.
Here’s a shot straight down from a bridge into the water. There were Seacows to be supposed unterneath the green plants that are swinning on most of the water surface, but none of them were visible.
As you can see here, and further down the page, I have a strong affinity to small compact furry animals that prefere to lie lazy in the warm. This is exactly what those folks are doing there, so I couldn’t go by without taking a shot. This beach builds the shore of one of the streams in the jungle building. On the other side of the bridge where I took that shot from, there’s a beaver dam, but the beaver was nowhere to be seen.
This palmtree was photographed from the same position as the first shot. If you take a close look at the center of the picture, and then a bit to the right, close to the border, you can see people through the leaves. These are small in contrast to the palm tree, so that should give you an impression for the size of this building.
From the jungle, you can pass right through into the Waterworld. This area is amazing, with gigantic aquariums that have real tiedes and waves. A path leads through and underneath these aquariums to a big hall which is about 10 meters wide and 6 meters high. The head side of this hall is completele made of glass and opens a view into the shark basin. The depth of the basin cannot be seen, but it must be immense, since the sharks swim actually out of site while cruising their territories.
Sadly, taking pictures of these aquariums was beyond my photographing skills. Using the flashlight resulted in completely white pictures due to the flashlight being reflected from the glass - even from different angles - and leaving the flashlight off pushed the time to take a picture up, so that the images got blurry.
From the seaworld you go go back into the jungle, and from there on you can walk through a mine and some caves into the desert area. The change of the climate is immediately noticable. The air is dry and warm, not damp as in the jungle. This building has a transparent glass roof and the sunny day we had on that visit made the desert illusion quite perfect.
From the entrance, one can overlook this gigantic hall with little streams, much vegetation and some 2 floor high boulders. Note the free flying vulture in the image to the right.
Now, here we’re back with my above mentioned addiction. These wild hogs were all sleeping, lying there mostly in little groups of two or three, all over their area.
Since I have to write some to make up for the many pictures i took of this small wild hogs, take note of the boulders and their arrangement. It must have been an enormouse task to set up and design this whole area. This valley mixes with the above seen prairie area, which is then devided by some interconnected pools.
The prairie parts are full of cactuses weeds and also colourful flowers. Take a look to this slope on the right, for example. You have a huge variety of different cactuses in the front, bushes in the back, and if you take a close look at the small green surface a bit right to the center of the image, that’s water, covert by waterplants.
Finally, these two shots again try to catch the impression for the size of the site. Again, you can see the two vultures on top of the massive boulder in the image on the right. To the left you have again, different cactuses flourishing on that sandy slope.
Walking along the pathes of the desert area, you will see a curtain on the side. Passing through that curtain will lead you to this bird of prey. Obviously, since there are small birds flying around in the main area, this guy has to be kept separated from them. Once you passed the courtain, there’s only a small balustrade between you and this bird.
Nevertheless, his closure is big enough to let him fly around and hunt his food between the boulders that are arranged in there.
In another corner of the hall, you’ll find the capricorns. They’re living there in a group of about half a dozen, with room to climb around the artificial mountainside.
If you look closely at the horizontal cracks in the back wall, you can see other visitors looking through these windows from the other side of the enclosure.
Now, here we have somebody who, I’m pretty darn sure, ‘d like to have access to that capricorn enclosure
The lynx in there is hard to make out, so I’ll tell you he’s exactly in the center of the images to the left and right. You can see him better in the image to the right, since he rose a bit, yawning into our faces.
His enclosure offers a lot places for him to hide and climb around, and of course also hiding places for his food to make life more challenging.
Finally, here’s a shot to show again all the detail that was put into the desert area. It’s a little waterfall creating a brook which finally ends in the bigger pools. You have all different plants along there, and moss is growing down the boulders where the water flows.
The Safari Park
Following the most outside path of the zoo leads to the safari park. It’s a huge open area where giraffes, zebras and gnus run around free.
Alongside this complete area, a roofed bridge was constructed in some 5 meters high, so that visitors can look at the whole park. Nearing the end of that bridge, it’s obvious that the zoo is still expanding, since there’s construction work happening. It looks as if there’s going to be a lake area, but I’m not sure about this.
There’s also a seperate large enclosure for a group of lions, but sadly, they were too far away to take pictures. Well, maybe next time…
Taking the shot to the right, I found it pretty amusing how these two zebras where standing in front of each other, with the tree exactly dividing the two like a mirror, but I guess I’d have needed a zoom to get the result I intendet.
Finally, we went to take a look at the apes. They live in 2 large areas, one for the chimpanses and the gorillas, and another one for some other kind of monkeys - hey, I’m no expert
Sadly, that’s exactly the point where the battery of the camera decided that this day lasted long enough. So here’s the final shot of that long day.
All the sandwiches were eaten, we were out of coffee and it was late afternoon. Our feet were hurting, but we had a great day!
Finally, getting home was exactly as relaxing as coming here, so let me again recommend to not visit the zoo by car, but definitely do visit the zoo!