Visit Selwo Aventura at Estepona for just a taste of the Serengeti
Place your bush hat on your head, slip into your safari shirt and boots, pack plenty of water and prepare to take a trip through the Serengeti. The Serengeti is a 30,000 square kilometre area of northern Tanzania. It is renowned for its zebra and wildebeest migration, abundant large predators and vast herds of grazers. One of the ten natural travel wonders of the world it is attainable by only a few. An alternative is to visit Selwo Aventura at Estepona for just a taste of the Serengeti. Selwo occupies an area of 50,000 square metres, 0.05 square kilometres, so is a shade smaller than the real thing. Despite the considerable difference in scale, a full day at Selwo will leave you hot and dusty, with that unique aroma of Africa clinging to your clothing. There are three ways to experience Selwo.
The first is on foot. As you enter the park, you are greeted by lush tropical and subtropical vegetation and well-metalled paths. The paths meander around palms and shrubs and large compounds holding various animals that fall under the general heading of cute and cuddly, including the mammal said to be the most beautiful on earth, the red panda. There is a children’s petting zoo that has species native to Spain such as the merino sheep of Grazalema, Iberian pigs and Payoya goats. Nearby are large cages with numerous species of monkeys showing off their trapezial skills to the onlookers. Besides the monkey area is a huge aviary, entered through sealed doors.
The path continues alongside the lake and you pass through the Madagascar territory, home to troops of lemurs. These curious creatures often escape their official residence and you will find them sat on benches or perched on the handrails as you pass by.
From there you enter the Bird Canyon. The natural valley, some hundreds of metres in length has been netted and encloses a natural area containing many bird species such as sacred ibis, yellow-billed storks and cranes. The valley is cool and shaded, so the sudden emergence into the Serengeti at the head of the valley is unexpected and a shock to the system. A strategically placed ice cream stall is popular.
The Serengeti is the geographical centre of Selwo, a wide depression, exposed to the full sun with sparse vegetation. Here is where the grazing animals, the gazelles, giraffes, elephants and zebras live. A wooden bridge takes you across the depression, offering a good vantage point from which to see the animals below. The second way to see Selwo is to take the Serengeti Safari. Open-topped all-terrain trucks take you through separate enclosures. You will find yourself rubbing shoulders with giraffes, zebra and antelopes.
Finally, to experience the African savannah at night, complete with the roaring of lions, mewling of cheetahs and the histrionic laughing of hyenas, you can stay at the exclusive Selwo Lodge in traditionally constructed beehive huts grouped into two villages, one representing a village of the Watu tribe, the other the Masai tribe.
To cater for the hungry, thirsty visitor, there are two restaurants where you can enjoy barbeques, fast food, fish, paellas and more whilst enjoying the views over the park.
For those with energy to spare you will find zip lines, trampolines, archery and three hanging bridges from which you have panoramic views of the animals in the lakes and canyons they span. At different times of the day, you can see birds of prey displays and get up close to snakes. During the bird of prey display a Griffon Vulture, a massive creature with a two-metre wingspan is sent to soar over the 'Serengeti plain' much to the dismay of the smaller birds that frequent the area that fly off in a panic to find shelter.
Take exit 162.5 off the A7 coastal highway (just east of Espepona). Head inland and follow the brown signs for Selwo Aventura