By Rachel Ducker
Nestled in the heart of West Norfolk, the Watatunga Wildlife Reserve offers a unique and unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts, families, and friends alike.
During a recent visit, we had the pleasure of staying at Stable Cottage, and it’s safe to say that it exceeded all our expectations, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the beauty of this unique wildlife sanctuary. From electric buggies to woodfire hot tubs and thrilling safari tours, Watatunga has it all.
Staying on Site: A Nature Lover’s Dream
One of the most remarkable aspects of our stay at Watatunga was the opportunity to reside on-site accommodation at Stable Cottage.
This charming stay is approached through the old stable archway and seamlessly blends modern comfort with rustic charm. The real magic, however, lay in its surroundings. Situated within the reserve, we found ourselves fully immersed in nature’s embrace, providing an authentic escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
As an added bonus, we were granted our own electric buggies to explore the park throughout our stay. This allowed us to roam freely, discovering the park’s hidden surprises and encountering its remarkable wildlife up close and personal.
Whilst residing at Stable Cottage, we were more than just guests; we became part of the natural tapestry of Watatunga. The converted stable house itself exuded rustic charm, making it the perfect base for our adventure. There was also a newly resurfaced tennis court so plenty of fun to be had when you are not in exploring mode.
Check out Stable Cottage below:
Highlights of Stable Cottage: Where Luxury Meets Nature
While every moment at Stable Cottage felt like a cherished memory, one particular highlight stole our hearts. The woodfire hot tub offered an unrivalled experience.
Tucked away at the end of the walled garden, it offered a secluded and serene spot to unwind while being treated to the stunning sight of various deer species gracefully roaming in the distance.
As we soaked in its soothing waters, it was an enchanting moment that perfectly encapsulated the essence of Watatunga – a luxury in harmony with nature.
The Passion Behind Watatunga: Ed, Anna, and Their Remarkable Vision
Watatunga spans 170 acres and serves as the habitat for more than 25 species of deer, antelope, and exotic birds. Amid the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, this enterprise commenced its operations in August 2020. It is under the stewardship of the Pope family, who have been guardians of the broader estate for multiple generations.
Ed and Anna, the passionate owners of Watatunga, are the driving force behind this incredible wildlife reserve. Their commitment to conservation and their genuine love for the park were palpable during our stay. Their hands-on involvement and dedication to the well-being of the animals and the environment were truly inspiring.
A Safari Tour to Remember
During our visit, we had the privilege of joining a safari tour led by the knowledgeable and enthusiastic Julian. His extensive knowledge of the reserve’s wildlife and conservation efforts added depth to our experience. His genuine passion for the project was infectious, and we left the tour with a newfound appreciation for the work being done at Watatunga.
The Diverse Wildlife
Although every animal at Watatunga deserves recognition, it was the Eland, the largest African antelope, that truly stole the show for us. Watching this majestic creature roam freely in its natural habitat was a sight to behold.
In addition to Eland, the park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including Buffalo, Chinese Water Deer, Blesbok, Black Buck, and many more. Each encounter felt like a step closer to the heart of the reserve.
In alignment with its commitment to sustainability, the reserve maintains a harmonious stocking density that coexists seamlessly with nature. This approach entails minimising the use of supplementary feed, particularly those containing soy products, and ensuring that the population of animals corresponds to the capacity of the reserve’s trees, grasses, and available browsing material.
Whether you’re an aspiring photographer, a seasoned professional, or simply an enthusiastic wildlife enthusiast, the photography experience offers an unparalleled opportunity to capture breathtaking images of the animal kingdom. It’s a chance to intimately connect with nature, enhance your photography skills, and gain deeper insights into their conservation efforts. During our photography experience, you’ll get up close and personal with amazing birds, deer, and antelope, departing with images you’ll be proud to call your own. The 3-hour photography sessions grant you the unique freedom to leave the trailer and approach your subjects on foot under the expert guidance of the naturalist guides, allowing you to craft your perfect shot.
Enhancing offerings, celebrating events in a stretch tent around the BBQ area, and enjoying a private tour followed by a BBQ experience overlooking the picturesque lake. This setting allows you to unwind and immerse yourself in the tranquil ambience of the wildlife reserve as you savour your BBQ feast.
The Verdict: Why You Should Visit Watatunga Wildlife Reserve
Watatunga Wildlife Reserve is not just a retreat; it’s a transformative experience. Whether you seek a peaceful escape into nature, a memorable family adventure, or an educational journey in conservation, this Norfolk gem has it all. Ed and Anna’s dedication to preserving this unique ecosystem is commendable, and their warm hospitality makes you feel like you’re part of the Watatunga family.
Watatunga is a treasure waiting to be explored, offering a glimpse into the wild wonders of Norfolk. Don’t miss the chance to experience its magic for yourself.
Address: Watatunga Wildlife Reserve, Watlington Rd, King’s Lynn PE33 0RG
Phone: 01553 396007
Web : www.watatunga.co.uk