Shropshire Star

West Midland Safari Park announces plans for luxury hippo and African wild dog lodges

West Midland Safari Park has become renowned over the last few years for its animal lodges, with guests granted close access to some of the park's most breathtaking animals.

West Midland Safari Park has submitted planning for new hippo and African wild dog lodges.

Guests can currently wake up to the sight of lions, tigers, red pandas, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, and white rhinos.

Now, the Bewdley attraction has announced that it has submitted plans for new luxury lodges which would give visitors spectacular views of two other species.

Planning has been submitted for eight new lodges, two of which will overlook the new hippo enclosure, and four will offer views of the African wild dog enclosure.

The final two will be dual-aspect lodges, which are unique to the safari park and a first for its accommodation offering, which will be situated between both new environments, overlooking the wild dogs on one side and hippos on the other.

The African wild dog lodges will be the first of their kind in Europe, whereas the hippo lodges will be the only place in the UK where you can stay overlooking hippopotamus.

One of the unique dual-aspect lodges will have a ‘turret’, complete with panoramic views of both habitats, comfortable seating area and mood lighting, whilst two of the Hippo Lodges will be accessible for wheelchair users.

A 3D concept render of the master bedroom for Hippo Lodges.
A 3D concept render of the second bedroom for Hippo Lodges.
A 3D concept render of living space for Hippo Lodges.

The introduction of the eight new lodges also enables the Park to update and improve the habitats of the animals, giving them 24-hour access to both their indoor and extended outdoor environments.

Head of creative at the safari park, Dave Powner, said: "We're excited to have submitted planning for the next stages of our wildlife development.

"This will see new animal housing facilities along with stimulating environments for both our hippos and African wild dogs.

"Fully immersed in these new areas will be eight luxury lodges, with the four wild dog lodges offering unprecedented views of Africa’s most efficient carnivore, from the comfort of the lounge and bedrooms.

"We are proposing to also redevelop our hippopotamus facility by extending their current exhibit with an additional 3000m² grazing area, with continued access to the lake areas and access to evening pools in front of the Hippo Lodges.

"The redevelopment of the existing hippo habitat, with a new housing facility, will not only allow for more modern management of the species and enhanced animal welfare, but will also allow for a novel overnight lodge experience with a large, charismatic species."

A 3D concept render of the master bedroom for the African Wild Dog Lodges.
A 3D concept render of the living space for the African Wild Dog Lodges.
A 3D concept render of the second bedroom for the African Wild Dog Lodges.

The new hippo house will be suitable for future breeding programmes, with an indoor pool, mud wallows and evening pools which offer close-access viewing for guests from their lodge balconies.

West Midland Safari Park has the largest pod of hippos in the UK and the new habitat will encourage these semi-aquatic mammals to spend time grazing on land as well as hydrating in their pools.

The wild dogs’ habitat will be around 2,750m², offering an expansive area for the dogs to explore, essential for their well-being and to stimulate natural behaviours.

Both habitats integrate into the Park’s recently opened African Walking Trail and allow day guests to view the wild dogs from a split-level viewing point, with additional viewing along the trail for the hippopotamus.

The artist’s impression of the new wildlife and lodge development at West Midland Safari Park.
The artist’s impression of the exterior space of the Hippo Lodges.

African wild dogs are classified as ‘endangered’ and common hippos ‘vulnerable’, by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), with both species facing threats in the wild such as poaching and habitat loss.

Both species are part of an EEP (European Endangered Species Programme), a breeding programme supporting the conservation of their wild counterparts by creating a reserve population. The new facilities will enable the Park to continue their important work with the EEP.

Safari Lodges short breaks include breakfast and dinner, up-close views of the animals, admission to the Park for two days, and Theme Park wristbands, during the summer season.

If planning is granted, the new lodges will open next year, but guests can book for the current lodge offering and find further information on the Safari Lodges website: