Situated between Hilvarenbeek and Tilburg is the surreal safari park and resort ‘Beekse Bergen’. The Netherlands isn’t probably where most people would think of when planning their next safari holiday but after reading all about this safari resort, I’m sure many will be booking up their next holiday!
On hearing about this safari resort, I was immediately intrigued by this safari park in the Netherlands as I haven’t seen anything quite like this in the U.K. I was delighted to see that you could book lodges at the resort, meaning that it would give you the time to see all of the resort as it’s huge and I’m quite sure it’s impossible to see in one day. However, this wasn’t the best part! The most unique part of these lodges is the fact that you are literally sleeping metres away from animals that you would hardly get to see so close in your lifetime. Elephants, rhinos, and giraffes are roaming freely close to the lodges with just a small ditch and wire between you and them. Not to mention, the choice of lodges themselves are so exciting as you can stay in a variety of different types of lodges from treehouses to safari tents. There really is something for everyone. These lodges also encompass beautiful African design and furnishings.
Beekse Bergen is also home to a holiday park where you can stay in a variety of accommodations from chalets and glamping tents, or you can even bring your own caravan. The holiday park is located in a different part to the safari resort but is surrounded by a beautiful lake and wooded area which makes for a great holiday location. Both the safari park and holiday park visitors have access to the playland or ‘speelland’ which is fitted with water slides, amusement games and cafes, not to mention the huge lake to swim in! This makes for a great afternoon out whilst staying at the resorts. When staying at either location you get an attraction pass which provides 6 free day passes to the attractions throughout Beekse Bergen and you also receive discounts to other excursions in the area. In my opinion the most exciting part of the day passes offered is the safari park and you will hear why in a minute!
I ended up staying in a Savanah lodge in the safari park and it is honestly one of the best places I have ever stayed. The lodges are available to access after checking in and receiving your hotel key, etc. There is ample parking outside of the lodge. The lodge is kitted out with high end products like a flat screen TV and coffee machine with specialty coffee pods. However, the most exciting and probably most surprising part of the lodge is the fact that inside the bathroom is a sauna! The bathroom contains a rain shower, a bath and a two-person sauna. Now, if this isn’t luxury, I don’t know what is. The lodge is compact but there definitely is enough space for 6 people to stay for a few nights, especially as the master room has an en-suite, so you are not all fighting over the bathroom! The only drawback for the lodge I would say is the fact that you get one double bed, 2 singles and one bunk bed—and when you travel with three couples it’s hard to decide who has to stay in bunk beds! However, the beds are beautifully comfy so what else can you ask for when you have completed a long day of walking at the safari?
The best part about staying in the lodges isn’t the sauna or huge flat screen tv, it’s the fact that when you look outside the doors or go and have a meal on the dining table outside you are literally looking at wild animals. Its surreal! The animals also move around so you may leave to go and get some breakfast and come back to find that giraffes have replaced the rhinos! The animals I spotted were giraffes, rhinos, elephants, bison, ostriches and dromedaries (a one hump camel).
During our stay at the Beekse Bergen, we visited the safari-resort, which is complete with a gift shop, bowling alley, kids play area, swimming pool and restaurant. All of the facilities are great as there is a lot to do in the evenings when you have left the zoo. The swimming pool was also great fun complete with mini sprinklers and swimming toys, even for a bunch of adults! We also went for a meal one of the nights in the African themed restaurant (‘Restaurant Motto’) which was lovely, if a little pricey! The menu contains a lot of meat-based dishes such as ‘Motto steak’ and ‘short rib’ but also has some lovely looking vegetarian options like ‘veggie burger’ and ‘vegetable curry’ so there is something for everyone. I had the Motto burger which I can confirm is a good choice! However, if you decide you want to get a takeout many restaurants will deliver directly to your lodge through apps like “thuisbezorgd.” So overall, the extra facilities at the safari resort are great and I couldn’t really fault them, especially for a short stay. The only down-side is that you do have to drive a while to a close shop outside the resort as you wouldn’t want to get everything from the gift shop due to the inflated prices you usually find.
Now, the part you have been waiting on the safari park itself! The safari park is just huge and offers five different safaris; bus, boat, car, walk and bird safari. I stayed 2 nights and. Therefore visited the zoo over three days, and I can say I still didn’t complete all of the safaris or see the whole zoo! However, the three I went on were the car, boat and walking safari and I enjoyed them all so much. Before this experience, I had never been on a car or boat safari, so I was very excited and they both delivered. The boat safari is accessed close to the entrance and you just queue until the next boat arrives. On the boat you get a tour guide who tells you all about the animals, these mainly being land mammals like bison which also feature in the car safari. I would love to review the tour guide, but I did not know Dutch too well at this time, but the people I went with were laughing so I can assume it was good!
The next day, I went on the auto (car) safari and this was insane! It’s rare to ever get close to animals who are not only dangerous but come from a whole other continent but with this safari, it’s reality! The car safari takes around 90 minutes to drive through, unless you get caught up with a giraffe eating the leaves off of your car. It really does happen here! There are two different safari routes with a café in between in case you want to stock up on some refreshments, which is a nice touch. We saw a range of animals from cheetahs, to deer, to ostriches. It was truly amazing and one of the highlights was to be just a piece of glass away from some of these incredible animals.
Lastly, the walking safari is just like a regular zoo, but at the Beekse Bergen it’s done 10x bigger! The zoo goes on for ages and I really do feel like it’s best to stay over so you can experience it all. The walking zoo had such a range of walks and routes with basically every animal you can think of! The walking safari also had lots of activities and games across the routes, so that is always good for families who visit. The only thing with the walking safari is because it is so big, you can miss out or even lose your way in certain parts, so I would keep your map close! However, overall it was fantastic, and you can do so much this way. You can do anything from watching live animal feedings and shows or walk through the park of lemurs where they are literally wandering around! You can even go to the petting zoo and feed goats, which is like my favourite thing ever. All of the safaris had their own individual highlights and fun parts so it is hard to pick a favourite, so I would say to do as many as you can.
All in all, though, this zoo is amazing. It also has great facilities like cafes dotted round the park which sometimes even over-look animals such as hippos! Combined with the facilities at the safari park resorts, this holiday is one of the best I have ever been on as there isn’t an experience quite like it so close to the U.K. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for an adventurous holiday or anyone who loves animals in general. There is something for everyone in this zoo and I think It would be a shame not to see it. So, what you waiting for? Book that 2021 break at the Beekse Bergen!