“ Address: 37012 Bussolegno / Verona / Italy „
Parco Natura Viva Safari Park is a short drive from Verona. It is located between Bussolegno and Pastrengo. You can only buy tickets for both the safari and the animal park rather than either or.
Upon arrival, we parked in the very large and spacious car park and walked the short distance up the slope to buy our tickets. The staff at the ticket booth were very friendly, polite and helpful and they spoke staggered English. After buying our tickets we went straight to the safari as we had booked a safari car, the safari entrance was a 5 minute walk from the park entrance.
As I just mentioned it is possible to hire a car from the park to go through the safari in. This is 18 Euros and although we were told it would seat up to 5 people we actually got a 7 seater jeep. In order to book the car you need to contact the park first and provide a telephone number. They will then give you a slot in which you can use the car. Upon arrival at the safari entrance you must show your driving licence which they keep until your return and pay the 18 Euros.
The safari park is very large and it is apparent that the animals live a very contented life with a lot of room to roam. First of all we could see the ostrich which were hiding behind a tree but as there is plenty of room all the way through the safari to pull over and watch we did this and they soon came out and we got a better view. Next there were buffalo and a number of members of the deer family. These were all very beautiful and easy to see.
Next you pass 2 zebras who were grazing right next to the road when we visited, these were brilliant to see and my niece was fascinated by their stripes! Then came the giraffes, which was personally one of my favourite parts of the whole day. There were about 5 giraffes and it was obvious they were a family. You were able to get very close to them and watch them feed which was very enjoyable.
You then pass a number of species of bird including vultures and storks whose habitat is next to the small stream running through the safari. This was very interesting as a number of the birds I had never seen before. You then pass more members of the deer family.
Next you reach the lion enclosure which is fenced off from the rest of the safari. First we could see a male lion but he was led down asleep so we didnt get a very good view of him. This was slightly dissapointing but as we drove on we saw some lionesses and one of them was a white lion. This was a truly fabulous experience, although she was led down she had her head up and was looking at us which meant we got a very good view.
As you drove on you could see a leopard, sadly on our visit he was hidden at the back next to the fence so we couldnt see him very well. Next, was some hippos which were hidden in the water although you could clearly see their backs. Then you came to the meerkats which always fascinate me. This was good as you could park up right next to their enclosure and have a fantastic view in, there was also a baby one when we visited (late July 09) so that was lovely to see!
We then passed more amazing and wonderful looking birds until we reached the rhinos. This was a great experience as they were right next to the car and we were really close to them. It was great to see them up close to look at their leathery skin and their horn.
We then left the safari, took the car back and progressed on into the animal park.
At the entrance there are a number of parrots roaming around free, you then progress on to see the flamingos, next to these there is a wallaby. We got there just after the wallaby had been fed and it was good fun to watch it feeding as it was sat right next to the fence. Opposite these were the giant tortoise who were absolutely huge! Unfortunately they were asleep on our visit but I imagine they would be fantastic to see moving about. Next to these are llamas and there was a peacock walking about who was very friendly and happily posed for pictures.
You can then progress into what seems to be a sort of farm area although this only contains goats and guinea pigs! The goats were all different colours and sizes and you can buy feed to feed them with. Please do be aware though that the goats were quite aggressive so I wouldn't recommend allowing very young children to feed them. The goats then began to fight which upset my niece so we promptly left.
After walking around some birds, including an owl we came across the camels who I thought were fantastic! Their pen is very open so it was very easy to view them despite it being feeding time on the other side of the pen. Close to these is the red panda who we looked for for over half an hour but in the end it was certainly worth it!
Near this is the tiger who we could see slightly but did not get a good view of despite returning later on aswell. Although there are 2 viewing points it would be worth putting in another because the tiger always seemed to be at the back!
We then reached a variety of different primates before going into the Tropical Greenhouse. This was a home to a huge number of different species including aligators, turtles, frogs, snakes, fish and lizards. The heat was unbearable in here so we quickly went through without looking at everything properly.
We then went on to see the snow leopard but sadly, like the tiger we couldn't see it. My niece then had a quick play in the park before we went off to Verona.
There are a number of places around the park where you can buy snacks and drinks but only one main place where hot food and meals can be purchased which is right next to the main entrance. This is reasonably priced with a pasta dish costing around 5 euros, they also sell chips and snacks.
Toilets are placed throughout the animal park but I would recommend using the ones near the entrance if possible as the others were not very clean.
The gift shop upon leaving was more like a shed but nevertheless stocked a good variety of things. Prices varied, for example you could get a large poster for 1 euro which I thought was good value or a medium sized soft toy for 18 euros which I believed to be slightly over priced.
At peak time, the park and safari costs 19 euros for adults and 16 euros for children which I believe to be quite good value. Opening and closing times vary with season but are usually 9am until 6pm.
I really enjoyed my day here although it was very which is why we decided to leave so early and miss some of the park. There are a huge amount of species here which everyone will enjoy as a number of them I had never seen before. There are a number of animals which were of great interest such as the lions, hippos, rhinos and tigers. I would certainly recommend this to anyone visiting the Verona area as we all had a great day out.