FORGET a walk on the wild side and take a nap there instead.
Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, in the rolling hills of the Kent countryside, recently opened its new Leopard Creek.
The accommodation is designed by conservationist and creative director Victoria Aspinall, with rustic wooden walls and dramatic skylight windows.
But don’t just come for that. Come for the neighbours too.
Milena and Sayan are Amur leopards, a critically endangered sub-species and among the rarest big cats in the world.
Each room here sits inside THEIR enclosure, offering a unique look at these majestic creatures.
Amur leopards teeter on the brink of extinction, ただで 70 left in the wild.
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Watching them from my balcony, flames spitting from the private fire-pit, was a mesmerising experience.
Our four-person wigwam was spectacular too, from the decor to unique little touches.
It even smelled great thanks to the eco-conscious Bamford toiletries and diffusers scattered about.
The two wigwams in this area, priced at £749pn, are equally special and come with their own golf buggy so you can roam the reserve at leisure, though there are some great rural walks too.
The interior has wooden beams, leather safari-style chairs and comfy furnishings.
The standout features are the panoramic windows and open viewing areas that look out over Milena and Sayan as they prowl the fields below.
There are cheaper options within Leopard Creek also with great views of the cats’ enclosure, including four-person cabins with a mezzanine bedroom and snug pods, or “cubs”, with log burners and shower rooms.
Outside the enclosure, the 600-acre animal park, famous for its conservation work, has loads to get stuck into for a weekend stay.
The leopards are just two of the rare animals visitors can encounter.
There are blue wildebeest, southern cheetahs, red pandas, howler monkeys and even Bactrian camels, the largest living camels, weighing up to a tonne.
Zipping around in your own golf buggy is great fun, especially through the Dinosaur Forest with 100-plus life-sized, anatomically correct models.
There are various experiences for those wanting one-on-one time with the wildlife.
GO: Port Lympne
そこにとどまる: Four-berth wigwams in Leopard Creek cost from £749 per night, including breakfast.
Cabins cost from £469pn and cubs from £349pn.
All accommodations include access to Port Lympne and sister park Howletts, parking, golf buggy (valid driving licence required), Safari Experience, 24-hour concierge and access to the park’s restaurants.
Teens will love the day-long Keeper Academy course on which they can observe the animals, learn how to clean their enclosures and prepare their dinner with lessons on nutrition and diet.
Anyone staying at the reserve gets a Safari Experience, ticking off Africa’s “Big Five” as they roll through the reserve’s wilds, where giraffes, zebras and endangered animals roam.
Walking the rural trails helped me work up quite an appetite.
So it’s a good job the food at the stunning Garden Room hits the spot, serving dishes such as chicken leg Milanese with parsley and caper butter, and pork T-bone steak with roasted apple.
Both used fresh ingredients sourced from the Port Lympne estate.
For something more casual, there is a pizza restaurant, a scenic terrace serving afternoon tea, and cafes.
Profits from the short breaks go back into Port Lympne’s animal conservation work, in collaboration with the Aspinall Foundation.
さらに良い, you need not shell out for a plane ticket to Africa to get up close with some of the world’s most amazing creatures.