Wanyama is Chessington’s African area in the form of a large animal reserve and Tribal Village. Opening in 2013 as part of the park’s 5-year modernisation plan. This began in 2009 and aimed to give the park a more wild image. As well as this, the park looked to add more to the park, with the construction of Zufari: Ride into Africa opening.
Zufari – Ride into Africa is the key attraction, a safari truck adventure through an undiscovered area of Africa. Making up part of the Zufari landscape is the Wanayama Village and Reserve, an African themed area of the zoo.
The Wanyama Reserve takes centre stage as the backdrop to Chessington’s Safari Hotel. With the Zufari trail sitting high up within the reserve, mostly hidden away from onlooking hotel guests. Because Zufari is 22 acres, it plays host to a wide array of animals from Africa. The land provides multiple opportunities to come close with animals naturally. This enables guests to observe behaviours perhaps not typically seen in a traditional zoo setting.
Split into two areas, the Village area is home to some of Chessington’s smaller African mammals. As well as this, the larger reserve at the top of the land features an assortment of larger species. Giraffe and even Rhino call the reserve home.
All buildings and themes in the area are themed after a traditional African tribal village. The walls are stylised to look like authentic dried mud huts. Timber frames and thatched roofs bring the details of the land to life. They are extensively used to help add authenticity.
In 2021 re-development took place to remove some older retired animal enclosures in the village with an adventure playground. It also saw upgrades to the Zufari ride finale with new lighting and effects.