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22 Years of Conservation at Australia’s National Zoo and Aquarium

Imagine waking up at dawn to the roar of a pride of lions, bathing next to a Malayan sun bear, or seeing a giraffe wander leisurely past your window. But you’re not on an African safari, or deep in the wilds of Asia. You’re just ten minutes outside of the Canberra CBD.

Words: Claire Bradshaw & Jemma Walsh


Jamala Wildlife Lodge can be found nestled within the grounds of the National Zoo and Aquarium (NZA), a unique site featuring a combined aquarium, metropolitan zoo and an easily walked open-range area.

NZA is remembering 22 Years of Conservation, looking back on numerous successful breeding programs and contributions to conservation causes. It is one of only a few zoos found in a city environment to feature an open range area and boasts a range of exotic animals including tigers, lions, bears, giraffe, cheetah and more.

The NZA was purchased in 1998 by the Tindale family, who set about improving and expanding the venue with a key motto in mind: ‘To inspire and assist in the conservation of the natural world through innovative and exciting educational experiences’.

Now three times its former size, NZA decided back in 2014 to bolster its various programs with the opening of Jamala Wildlife Lodge – and the guests haven’t stopped pouring in since.

Jamala is the ultimate overnight safari and was awarded Australia’s No.1 Rated Deluxe Accommodation by the Australian Hotel Association at the 2017 Awards.

The luxurious accommodation comprises of 18 sumptuous suites - Giraffe Treehouses, Jungle Bungalows and the uber-plush uShaka Lodge, which blends the opulence of 5-star accommodation with the thrill of a wild African safari.

Guests are invited to immerse themselves in one of the most unique experiences in the world. Sleep next to a lion, bathe beside a Sun Bear, feed a giraffe from your balcony or relax above a 22,000-litre shark tank. Jamala creates genuinely unforgettable memories.

The 22-hour stay includes overnight accommodation, dinner (which features three courses of African inspired cuisine and top-class beverages including Moet) and an exclusive morning safari of the National Zoo & Aquarium. This extravagant experience is combined with unparalleled access to some of the world’s most dangerous and endangered animals.

“Jamala attracts visitors from all over Australia and the world,” said Renee Nasserpour, General Manager of Projects and Visitor Experiences.

“For many of our guests, it’s a chance to experience an African wildlife safari without leaving Australia.”

NZA maintains a clear focus on animal welfare, protection and conservation through all its operations. The majority of its animals are included in regional and international breeding programs, designed to assist in creating viable genetic populations of animals at risk of extinction in the wild. Funds from Jamala are intended to help the zoo expand its contributions to various organisations dedicated to preserving and protecting the future of the animal kingdom.

“Monies raised from animal encounters and Jamala Wildlife Lodge helps support several local and overseas conservation initiatives and charities,” said Renee.

“Last year alone, over $100,000 was donated to these funds.”

For more information or to book a stay at Jamala, visit, email, or call (02) 6287 8444.

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