I know my blog has a tendency to rave about Portugal and perhaps my readers will wonder whether I exaggerate some of the posts… especially when they read titles about safaris in Portugal. But I couldn’t make this one up if I wanted to! You can actually go on a safari in the Alentejo region at a place called Badoca Safari Park. Excited yet? Read on.
I’m embarrassed that I only recently discovered Badoca Safari Park, even though it’s been around for 17 years and only a 1.5 hour drive from Lisbon. But what an incredible place to visit! Spread out over 90 hectares, this wildlife refuge is home to over 75 different species of animals. It’s a fun and educational day for humans of all ages.
The park was named after Badoca, the first giraffe to come to the park in 1999, and her tall skeleton welcomes you as you enter. Aside from the main safari attraction, there are lots of activities to enjoy at Badoca Park. There’s a Lemur Interaction show, Birds of Prey presentation, Feeding the Lemurs show, and even an “African river” rafting activity. (Obviously, you’re not in a real African river, although the temperatures in the Alentejo will certainly fool you!)
The Birds of Prey presentation is a really fun and exciting opportunity to get up close and personal with some amazing birds and to find out each species’ unique super power. The Feeding of the Lemurs is like watching those internet videos of lemurs eating grapes… only infinitely better, because it’s happening right in front of you and the presenter is telling you all about these beautiful creatures.
The safari itself is a wonderful opportunity to watch species behave the way they do in their natural habitat. Warthogs, zebras, ostriches, African buffalo, springbok, axis deer, antelope, wildebeest, oryx and even Bengal tigers are all residents of the park, which you can spot on the safari. You do get a little dusty on the ride, but it’s so worth it for the amazing wildlife you see. The guides are very friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to visit the Primate Islands or the Macaw Forest, but I plan to do that, along with the rafting, on my next visit.
So just when you thought Portugal was all castles, food, beaches and vineyards, you discover that you can also go on safari there. Pretty surprising, right? If you haven’t been to Badoca Safari Park yet, put it on your to-do list. If you have, please let me know what you liked best about it in the comments section below.