La Vanille

Zoo in South Coast

This busy zoo and reserve makes for a fantastic field trip with kids. The park has the greatest number of giant tortoises in captivity in the world (over 1000). It's worth coming to La Vanille just to check out the immense collection of mounted insects (over 23,000 species!). There's also a farm of Nile crocodiles (population 2000), which can grow up to 7m, and a dodo museum.

The tortoises are the undoubted highlight, the result of a wildly successful breeding program for the Aldabra and radiata species. Chances are that you'll see the former breeding in front of your eyes.

The on-site Hungry Crocodile Restaurant specialises in all things crocodilian – croc curry, croc burger, croc fried rice, croc cooked in a vanilla sauce… (It also does more conventional dishes such as spaghetti bolognese and beef burgers.) Don't forget your mozzie repellent – you won't be the only one feasting at the lunch table.

La Vanille is a few kilometres northwest of Souillac or 2km south of Rivière des Anguilles.