Casela Nature & Leisure Park
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Lonely Planet review
This 14-hectare nature park is on the main road 1km south of the turn to Flic en Flac. When you arrive at the entrance gate you are greeted with a bewildering range of options – in addition to being a zoo, the beautifully landscaped reserve offers a variety of heart-pumping 'rando fun' like ziplines, suspension bridges, hiking, swimming spots hidden in canyons and quad-bike 'safaris' around the neighbouring 45-sq-km Yemen Reserve which is home to deer, wild pigs, fruit bats and monkeys. Children are well catered for with a petting zoo, a playground, giant tortoises, fishing and minigolf. Check out the website for a full list of prices or spend some time at the information desk before the main entrance to get a handle on how to spend your day.
If you simply pay the admission fee, you'll be free to wander the grounds, where you'll see tortoises, a huge range of exotic birds and a few primate species in cages. And make sure you pass by the Mirador restaurant which has fabulous sweeping views of the coastal plain. If you pay an extra Rs 100, you'll be taken in a safari vehicle where you get out and look at lions, tigers and cheetahs from viewpoints overlooking large, grassy enclosures. If you pay an extra Rs 250, you board another safari vehicle to drive through a much larger area roamed by lions, zebra etc.
The park is famous for offering 15-minute 'interactions' (Rs 500) with the big cats, which means you're actually in the enclosure with them armed with nothing more than a large stick, and the hour-long 'walking with lions' experience (Rs 3000). We don't recommend either of these two options. These are wild animals, despite having been bred in captivity. Incidents in which visitors have been mauled by big cats in similar places in Africa aren't common but they do occur and participants are asked to sign an indemnity form before they draw near to the animals.