I am on the exceedingly comfortable day bed in my treehouse trying to read my book, but a giraffe keeps striding up to my verandah to snack on the hay conveniently placed there. It is quite something, and I put the book down to really soak up the experience.
Earlier, we had hand-fed carrots to our tall friend Hummer on our verandah, under the watchful eye of a guide. Giraffes really do have long tongues and beautiful eyes that make you melt.
Heading down the freeway from Sydney to Canberra I had high expectations of Jamala Wildlife Lodge but they were blown out of the water when we walked into the magnificent uShaka Lodge for a delicious high tea before our afternoon guided tour.
The lodge boasts fantastic artworks, carvings and African-centric everything. While sipping on my (very good) coffee, I saw sharks swimming in the part of the aquarium that I can see, and also marvel at the long tails of the Colobus monkeys just outside.
There are seven rooms in the lodge, five jungle bungalows with glass walls that separate you from a pride of lions, brown bears, sun bears, tigers or cheetahs, and six giraffe treehouses centred around our friend Hummer.
The way the rooms have been incorporated into the habitat of the animals is so, so clever, and when we come back to the lodge for what turns out to be an exceptional dinner at The Cave restaurant, we can watch the white lions and a pair of hyenas (they are bigger than expected up close!) as they come and go from their dens.
We thoroughly enjoy our afternoon and morning tours of the zoo, with the otters, meerkats and lemurs just some of my standouts among many. The whole experience was incredible. Giraffe tongue and all.