Bringing a taste of Africa to the Surrey landscape, a beautiful new experience has opened at Chessington. Animals such as Grevy’s Zebra and Scimitar Horned Oryx roam peacefully as adventurers can admire them from a raised walkway and viewing tower. With regular animal talks and feeding sessions, the Wanyama Village & Reserve is bound to be a hit for guests throughout the resort.
In this area of our zoo you will find the following…
Grevy’s Zebra: The largest out of all zebra species in the world, Grevy’s Zebra are distinctive for their long ears and white bellies. Every zebra has their own unique black and white stripe patterned fur, similar to how each human has their own individual set of fingerprints. Our father and son team, Chifu and Orion, are very friendly and like nothing more than to spend their day grazing.
FUN FACT: Zebras can spend up to three-quarters of their day eating!
Scimitar Horned Oryx: Distinctive for their long, thin curved horns and white and red-brown fur, Scimitar Horned Oryx make a striking sight in our African Reserve. Sadly, Scimitar Horned Oryx were classified as extinct in the wild by IUCN in 2007, so conservation programmes are very important in sustaining the global genetic gene pool.
FUN FACT: To help cope with a lack of water, Scimitar Horned Oryx raise their body temperature up to 46°C to help conserve water by avoiding sweating.
Meerkats: Originally from South Africa, meerkats live in dry areas, feed during the day on insects and other small animals and to keep warm and safe at night they live in burrows underground. Meerkats are sociable animals and can live in groups of up to 20, which plays a key part in their survival.
FUN FACT: Meerkats have dark patches around their eyes that act a little bit like sunglasses, they cut down glare from the sun and help them to see far in the distance.
Dwarf Mongoose: As their name suggests, Dwarf Mongoose are the smallest mongoose species found throughout Africa. With speckled reddish-brown fur, a short nose and long fluffy tail they are known for their inquisitive nature. Dwarf Mongooses usually live in groups of 12-15 individuals with a dominant male and female leading the pack.
FUN FACT: Only the dominant pair are allowed to breed, on average having three litters a year, with two to four babies each time.
Crested Porcupine: Even though they may look scary with their pointy black and white quills covering their neck and back, Crested Porcupines only use them to defend themselves from predators. They are nocturnal animals who actually spend most of their time looking for food such as insects and fruit.
FUN FACT: Crested Porcupines have been known to travel up to 15km per night in the hunt for something tasty to eat.
Agouti: Agouti are a member of the rodent family, related to guinea pigs and capybara. They live in savannah and rainforest areas in Central and South America, and they like to eat leaves, roots and fruit.
FUN FACT: Agouti have 5 toes on their front legs and 3 on their hind legs. This makes them good swimmers.
Sitatunga: Sitatunga are one of the smallest species of antelope, standing on average at 1.5 metres tall. They are very shy animals and like to spend most of their time by themselves. See if you can spot one hiding in the trees or by their watering hole.
FUN FACT: Sitatunga are amphibious! They have long hooves which help them to swim long distances at a time and they can hold their breath underwater if in danger.