8 October 2015

Where to Stay and Where to go in Jersey, inc. Durrell Wildlife Park.

durrell wildlife park and conservation centre, jersey, gorillas, orangutans,
See, stay with and support conservation of the gorillas at Durrell Wildlife Park, Jersey.
Durrell Wildlife Park and Conservation Trust.
This is the no.1 tourist attraction on the island and now it's possible to stay for a few nights, (almost!) among the wildlife in luxurious camping pods right in the heart of the Park or in a Hostel on the outskirts of it.
This is especially exciting because anything that contributes to their conservation work can only be a good thing,
Prices start at £480 per pod for three nights.  There are only twelve and each of them come equipped with their own individual kitchen, a separate shower room and WC pod with flush and hot running water.  
They're set on a wooden deck among wild flowers and fruit trees (foraging is encouraged) in 32 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and waking up with the sights and sounds of the Lemur Lake exhibit and views of their Critically Endangered Orangutan Island must be truly awesome.

durrell wildlife park and conservation centre, jersey, gorillas, orangutans,
Jambo, the famous gorilla who protected a 5yo boy, the luxury camping pods, the Hostel and waking up with views of, perhaps, some relatives of Clive's!
Seeing as we're now outgrowing being able to stay with our friends over there, it would be wonderful - and surely a unique experience - to combine doing something so fabulous with whizzing over on the Condor Liberation ferry and this is something we definitely hope to do next time.  

The Hostel is worth considering, too, at £30 per person per night and both facilities are served by a cafe and a restaurant on site if you don't fancy self-catering sometimes.  Each naturally includes automatic entrance to the actual park itself.

However, you don't have to be staying there to visit.

Durrell Wildlife Park is famous for a couple of reasons.  You may remember Jambo, the gorilla who was featured on the news worldwide when he protected a five year old boy that had fallen into the enclosure in Jersey.  He gently stroked the child's back and kept the other gorillas away from him until help came.  This is where it happened and he is now immortalized in a bronze statue (above), having sadly passed away in 1992.

But his granchildren - bred as part of Durrell's Wildlife Conservation Trust live on and it's incredible to come face to face with some of them during the Animal and Conservation Talks that are given around the park.  They combine them with feeding times so that it's possible to get as up close as personal as possible and it feels like an enormous privilege to do so.  One can't help but think of Clive in Clint Eastwood's Every Which Way But Loose when in with the Orangutans and the info regarding how nearly extinct some of these majestic creatures are is truly alarming. For some, it could be a mere 15 years, which is unthinkable, so to hear about and support these breeding programmes (by not buying anything that contains palm oil - or any of its derivatives - because this is the main reason they are losing their habitat, for example) is a way we can all make a start.

You can read more about their founder Gerald Durrell (OBE) and support their conservation work which is impacting around 130 other species inlcuding bats, birds, amphibians and monkeys too, HERE, or try to visit and enjoy:

durrell wildlife park and conservation centre, jersey, gorillas, orangutans, andean bears, flamingos, henry cavill,
Get up close and personal with Andean Bears and flamingos as well as gorillas and Sumatran Orangutans. Explore the Gerald Durrell Centre and you might just bump into Hollywood superhero Henry Cavill.  
Another reason Durrell's is well known is the Hollywood Superman superstar Henry Cavill is from the island and he works as an Ambassador for them, even to the degree he was inspired to launch his own conservation trust which further highlights the need for funds to support the animals in crisis.

Aside from this fantastic attraction, there is much to see and do in the Channel Islands and Visit Jersey is a good place to start.  We love driving around the whole 45 square miles in a day, popping down to the beautiful bays you might not otherwise know are there.  Most of the buildings are in a pretty pink granite so it's very pleasing on the eye and quite a soothing thing to do!  The roads are lined with palm trees and tropical plants, boats are moored all round and you can see over to France and the neighbouring isles easily on a clear day.  Plus, of course, it's essential to try a Jersey cream tea and bring home some Royal spuds.

jersey, channel islands,

The Channel Islands were Occupied by the Germans during World War II, so there are lots of castles and museums to visit (not for the very young or fainthearted) and a Jersey Heritage pass is a worthwhile investment.  It's the equivalent to our National Trust.

The beaches are the best in the UK, surfing lessons are given on the north of the island where the waves are bigger and the cuisine is French standard but not stuffy.  Long lunches are de rigeur, therefore.

There is no VAT, so the shopping is lush.  You can hop between Guernsey, Alderney and Sark too (without a passport), or over to France (with one) and, together with my post and video from last year, I hope we've given you enough inspiration to consider trying out these close and convenient shores some time soon!