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$40 million Monarto Zoo development to provide ‘biggest safari experience outside of Africa’

$40 million Monarto Zoo development to provide ‘biggest safari experience outside of Africa’
September 23, 2019

The South Australian Government and Zoos South Australia have announced their approval of a $40 million plan to transform the Monarto Zoo into the world’s largest safari experience outside of Africa.

The expansion will include a luxury resort with hotel rooms, a restaurant, function centres and glamping facilities along with a new visitor centre. It will also see the attraction rebranded as the ‘Monarto Safari Park’.

Gerry Ryan, owner and founder of Jayco Australia and one of the investors in Victoria’s Gumbaya World, is making the investment having secured $15.8 million in funding from the Federal and South Australian Governments.

Announcing the development, Zoos SA Chief Executive Elaine Bensted stated “we’re thrilled to formalise our partnership with Gerry Ryan which will see him build and operate a state-of-the-art safari resort at Monarto, allowing us to expand our fabulous safari experiences and tourism offering.

“$40 million in investment and the construction of a luxury resort and glamping facilities is an exciting coup for Monarto Zoo and the broader tourism industry in the Murraylands.

“Mr Ryan is a highly successful business leader and has extensive experience when it comes to developments in the tourism, hospitality and entertainment sectors.”

Bensted said the development - which is expected to be completed in 2022 - will be accompanied by new tours and offerings, including safari experiences with specially designed open-sided vehicles, and a 35,000 metre² walk-though lemur experience, will position Monarto Safari Park as an international tourism drawcard.

She added “the addition of accommodation and new experiences will also help us generate more funds to support our critical conservation work and continually improve our facilities at both of our sites.

“We’re staying true to our core business which is providing our visitors with incredible opportunities to connect with nature, learn about conservation and discover the benefits of getting off the beaten track.

“Our new safari experience is set to be the closest visitors can get to an African safari, all within an hour’s drive of Adelaide.”

Ryan said he was thrilled to be investing in this redevelopment, noting “Monarto Safari Park is a standout tourism offering, and this expansion will provide visitors with an unsurpassable safari experience that will attract domestic and international visitation.

“Tourism is a key growth sector which has a hugely positive impact on the local economy with the creation of jobs, and by attracting tourists to the region to stay in this unique accommodation.

“I believe Monarto is a jewel in South Australia’s crown and the aim of this development is to create a truly memorable safari experience second only to a safari in Africa.”

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said the funding committed by the Australian and South Australian Governments has provided the foundations to attract and unlock this major investment.

He advised “with nature and wildlife tourism growing by 10% year-on-year over the past five years, this new experience will turn Monarto Zoo into one of Australia’s must-visit nature and wildlife destinations.

“I expect this world-class luxury experience to be a major tourism drawcard for our state and help lure thousands of extra international and domestic visitors to South Australia every year.”

Last Thursday saw the Zoo welcome the newest member of its ever expanding giraffe herd with three-time mother Korongo gave birth to the calf, the 47th born at the attraction.

The calf has joined other babies born at the Zoo in the last two weeks, including a zebra foal and a new addition to the chimpanzee family.

Images: An artist’s impression of the Monarto Safari Park Wild Africa Resort (top, courtesy of Zoos SA) and some of the Zoo's current animals (middle and below).

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6th June 2019 - South Australian Government makes parks and nature-based tourism a priority

23rd May 2019 - Attendance at the world’s themed attractions exceeds half a billion visits for the first time in history

26th April 2019 - Tourism group says South Australia needs $50 million for international marketing

11th March 2019 - New Sydney Zoo begins recruitment of more than 150 staff

25th February 2019 - Gumbuya World expands to include new gigantic slides and family wave pool

14th February 2019 - Zoos SA look to keep giant pandas in Adelaide

28th May 2018 - Zoos and aquariums look to reduce plastic waste

13th November 2017 - Monarto Zoo opens new Lions 360 experience

25th September 2015 - Wildlife Tourism as a force for biodiversity conservation and local economies

20th February 2015 - Zoos SA releases plans for new wildlife experiences at Adelaide and Monarto Zoos

17th October 2011 - Zoos SA halts plans for African safari experience

4th November 2009 - Safari Resort Plans for Monarto Zoo

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