For a Scandinavian, this is a very rare sight - an African savannah, full of indigenous wildlife. Zebras and elegant antelopes play among the ostriches and long-necked giraffes. In a water hole beneath a cliff, a pygmy hippopotamus frolics in his natural element. The ostriches, which can grow 3 meters tall, prance proudly about and keep a watchful eye. In a little hut by the water, you can experience the animals of the savannah at close range when they approach the water to drink, or when the pygmy hippo takes a refreshing bath.
All in all, this setting was taken right “Out of Africa” - a book which, incidentally, was written by a Dane. Yet, the address is Aalborg Zoo, Mølleparkvej 63, 9000 Aalborg.
For the equivalent of about EUR 5.5 million, the Zoo has managed to recreate a slice of Africa that is now home to various species of African origin.
Some of the savannah’s inhabitants can be seen in a circular “barn” of 700 sq. metres, with a 15 metre-high ceiling. This led to the acquisition of a new species for the zoo - the wart hog. The village also has a tropical habitat with water holes for the pygmy hippos, and an area for the ostriches. A baobab tree almost 15 metres tall and a primitive school with classroom at one end and goats in the other, help complete the impression of a piece of Africa transplanted into North Jutland. All the buildings in the African village are inspired by traditional African design and architecture.
Aalborg Zoo - and its guests - are the main sponsor behind something truly unique: BLACK MAMBA, which is the name of a group of just 36 local women in Balule, South Africa. Balule is a 400 km2 part of the world-famous Kruger National Park. The women are an effective counter-measure against poaching.
It is Aalborg Zoo's belief that the war on poaching cannot be won with fire and gunpowder, but rather through education of the local community. This is where the women make a difference: Culturally speaking, they have a higher credibility than the men, and they would never take bribes.
All over the Zoo there are signs, brochures and monitors with information about the animals and their natural habitats.
The visitors are, of course, more than welcome to contact the zookeepers for any kind of information about the animals, so please feel free to ask.