Jambo Sambezi - Africa in Hanover!
Discover the most beautiful parts of Africa out of Africa - at the HANOVER ZOO.
In four construction phases, each to be opened separately, a unique African experience in Europe was created. Ever since the fourth construction phase has been finished in April 2000, the landscape has been rounded off. In the large African steppe, in the landscape of the Savannah and the desert as well as the hippo canyon, the lodge of the giraffes and the river banks filled with action, a merry village square with trading station and café, has come into being. The throb of the African heartbeat can be felt.
This is where the trading ships of Smith & Johnson Company start. Passengers are most welcome! Every boatside is an event in itself. 18 boats - and every single one handcrafted individually with great love for detail - carry passengers across the 418 metre long river Sambezi. The boats with their adventurous looks were made exclusively for the Hanover Zoo. A trip takes about twelve minutes and, incidentally, is for free. They are gently carried downriver, within reach of the hippo-herd. A roof of corrugated sheet iron protects the passengers against the rain and the sunshine, while nothing gets in the way of the amazing view of the colourful wildlife on the shores. A tree floats on the water, while impressive hippopotamus tusks are dug into the rind...Addax and Dorcas are feeding only a stone's throw away on the riverside mudbanks.
It is hard to believe that only a small bunch of boulders is keeping the heavyweight rhinoceros from stepping into the boat to join the passengers. Their new quarters are 1200 square meters all in all. Now the rhinoceros family need no longer stay in their cramped quarters. Before now, it was either only father or only mother with the youngsters who could go outside as the area was small, so that the other was confined to the interior quarters. A tiny, invisible 'trick' to fence the area enables all rhinoceros to frolick about at the same time.
The former entrance sector has now become the vast area, the steppe shared by zebras, gazelles, antilopes and rednecked ostriches. This "living group" discover their new habitat with curiosity and makes for a scenery which couldn't be more diversified and perfect in the wild. The ostriches will come up closely and scrutinise their visitors.
One surely can get caught in this eventful world for hours and take an imaginary trip to Africa - while the children have been discovering the adventure trail on their own and now walk ahead: across logs and suspended bridges and through sand pits. Here kids looking for adventures can really go for it!
Visiting the King of Animals
Only a couple of meters from here the African expedition is continued: a reedcovered round hut sets the mood for eager visitors to the African continent. Here is where the king reigns over the animals in his Kingdom, overseeing it from a red rock elevation! The three lion 'teenagers' over there observe the giraffes in the neighbourhood with keen expressions and watch every step of their 'potential lunch' with great interest. Still, the giraffes seem to know that they are indeed safe: they come up to a distance of several meters only and obviously enjoy pulling off fresh shoots from the high trees surrounding them!
Velvet-eyed giraffes and jumping beauties
The most impressive sight is certainly to be had from the Sambezi lodge; small kudus and springboks discover their area with wide leaps, as curious giraffes carefully approach the viewpoint. Here they are, eye to eye with the visitor, and enjoy being fed with fresh twigs.
The most beautiful hippopotamus home in all Europe
The third construction phase of the African Savannah landscape was started in the summer of 1999. Standing on the adventuresome suspended bridge you can catch a glimpse of the river banks. Only a few steps away a clamorous waterfall discharges into the Sambezi, where the flock of 99 flamingos and peculiar pelicans stand fishing.
Yet the real 'heavyweight excitement' awaits the guests in a sidebranch of the river where 650 m³ of clear water (cleared in the most modern way - 200 m³ of water are cleaned every hour) make hippo hearts rejoice. For this is the place where these thick-skinned vegetarians can revel in digestive walks. Best of all - the visitors can watch them while they're at it.
On those occasions where the 'African sun' is not scorching the earth, Zora & Co also enjoy walking about on the river banks while basking in the admiration for their well-rounded appearance.
A hefty under-water ballet troupe
In the cooler seasons the hippopotami will very likely prefer to spend more time in their cosy interior realms! Still, the visitors do not have to go without seeing the 'ladies': the heavyweights may be observed through huge glass panes while they go diving in the under-water cave - a spectacle unique in Europe.
In the African village is where the colourful boats moor. Just the right place to enjoy a steaming pot of coffee and to mentally reenact the dreamlike impressions one enjoyed. Café Kifaru seats 300 hungry people. Adventurers can pause right on the shore of the Sambezi river - with a view on rhinoceros and giraffes - before they continue their discovery of Africa by walking on the Livingstone trail, now on land.