An unexpected visit to Pairi Daiza

Sep 17th, 2021 | By | Category: Zoos in Belgium

17.9.2021 by Patricia Roberts

On August 25, I received an email from Ludmila informing me that she and Uwe planned to visit Pairi Daiza on September 2 and 3 and asked whether there was an opportunity to meet there. After a brief check with Karin, it was decided that September 2 was the most convenient day and good luck for us, nice weather was predicted.

And so, shortly before noon time, Karin, Vince (her grandson) and I were on our way to Pairi Daiza. When we arrived there, the parking lot was already a dream for Vince. This little fellow is just crazy about all kind of vehicles. And if ever we would have decided to stay there all afternoon, he would definitely not complained. But tja, our plans were a little different (poor boy).

As soon as we entered, I called Ludmila and Uwe and when they told me that they were waiting at the polar bears enclosure, Karin burst out laughing: “Of course, where else would they be? See you later alligator!” OEI, that happens when certain people know you too well!



Photos above by Ludmila and Uwe

I must confess one thing in advance: at that moment, I was barely able to walk without painkillers every three hours and unfortunately, I forgot to take them with me. So, when I arrived at the polar bears enclosure and after finding Ludmila and Uwe, I was not having the force to take a pic of the baby walrus or the polar bears. I just could look, but I saw the lovely baby swimming next to his mother, who made a very loud “SNORT”.




Photos above by Ludmila and Uwe

And I was very relieved when Ludmila and Uwe said that they had no special plans for that day and that they would only walk around with me. In other words, there was no obligation for us and we just could enjoy each other company and Pairi Daiza. This is also the reason why I did not take many photos. For the first time, I decided to just look at the animals.

And so, we started walking. At the elephant corridor, Uwe told a funny story. They did not know what it was and wanted to have a closer look. But it is the way for the elephants to their show bath and most probably, if ever they would have entered it, they might either been locked up for quite some time (for not saying all night) or punished or something like that.

In Pairi Daiza, there are two groups of Sumatran Orang-Utans. Both do have an external and internal enclosure and for both groups these enclosures are really beautiful. For the first group, we only found one inside trying to get some goodies out of an enrichment tool and the animal was very skilled. In the inside enclosure of the second group, we could see little Berani but also his mother with baby.


She was holding her little baby very close to her while feeding it. I was really amazed to notice how small such baby is (I always had the feeling that they were bigger). While I looked at the mother and noticed her little eye movements, I realized that – even though when she was not making any eye contact with any of the visitors – she was well aware of our presence.

aren't they just lovely?

And at that moment, I had to think of the words of Raimon Opitz: “I am glad that my apes do not speak my language, otherwise, they would ask me why I do lock them up and then I would feel very sad”. Luckily, when it became too much for her, I found that the inner enclosure is also offering “private rooms” where they can retreat out of sight of visitors.

Berani is a little clown and is always in the center of the attention, whether inside or outside.


But there was one sad experience. Even though visitors are – in three languages – requested to not knock on the windows or to use flash lights, there was a lady who did it three times in an effort to get the attention of Berani. At the third time, I stepped next to her and say in a soft way “GODVERDOMME!”. And she got the message. Even if her knocking was rather gentle (and truth obliges to say me it was very soft), she should not have done so because it could invite other visitors to do the same and then without a burden. Na ja, she is having one big excuse: she was BLONDE.

Most of the other animals were enjoying the lovely sunny weather, like the marabous and hippos. The rhino babies are very grown by now and almost as big as their mammies, but they still need a bit to reach the size of their daddy.

The cattas are now free to walk in and out their enclosure and they spend their time amongst the visitors. Karin told me that when she arrived there with Vince, one of them jumped in the kids caddy, much to the surprise of Vince who was luckily not sitting in it (actually, he was just shocked when seeing it and didn’t like it) and she was fast enough to close her bag before these little thieves could take something away.



Then, it was time for a little coffee break and a good chat and after this, Ludmila and Uwe had to go to their hotel. They asked me to come with, but at that moment, I already felt the end of my forces and decided to have a little walk. It brought me to the aviaries of the birds of prey where I would admire the condors (also sunbathing).

At a certain moment, I saw a young couple of which the man was making funny noises and there was a reply. I was so curious and wondered whether Pairi Daiza had housed parrots amongst the birds of prey. But no, not at all, the reply came from a bald eagle and I must say, he/she made a perfect imitation of the man’s sound. I could barely believe my own ears. But nevertheless, they are such beautiful creatures.


bald eagles

And then, I went to the exit, bought the ticket for the parking and called Karin and shortly thereafter, we went home.

It was again a wonderful visit, albeit that there was a little discord this time. When we arrived at the checking point, Karin was asked whether she was having kind of an ID card of Vince to prove his age (for children younger than 3 years, the entrance is free and this little boy is not even 2,5 years). On the reservation ticket, she filled in his date of birth, but apparently, it was not sufficient and so, she had to pay EUR 33 (oh yes, after submission of proof of evidence, the sum will be paid back). I can fully understand that Pairi Daiza has lost a lot of income due to the entire corona situation and that they are trying to do their best to “save the furniture” for this year. But their basic philosophy of being a family park available and accessible to all will go forlorn with this attitude.

Nevertheless, I am already looking forward to my next visit.

And here is the album (a small one).

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  1. Dear Patricia,
    it was great to meet you again. You wrote an interesting report.
    I can understand that Vince would like to watch the cars. The boys like the cars 🙂
    It was an interesting sign at the birds of prey enclosure. It says that there are the cats sometimes in the enclosure. The visitors do not need to be afraid, the cats and the birds tolerate each other. We saw later a cat, who cared a pice of food of the birds 🙂

  2. Thank you very much dear Patricia.
    Best wishes to all the animals in Pairi Daiza.

  3. Dear Patricia!
    Thank you for the lively and beautiful report of your visit to Pairy Daiza! You have described your experiences and observations in great detail and colour. I love that.

    I am sorry that your health is not up to scratch and that you need painkillers. But you made the best of it and I was happy to go along with you (virtually).

    The polar bears got a good home and look healthy and fluffy.
    The baby walrus is adorable and it would be hard to get me away from the facility….
    Orangutan mothers with their babies and children are always a touching sight. The babies are just sugar!

    As for the banging on the windows, which is a nuisance in every zoo and with many animals, once again the sentence: “Two things are infinite, stupidity and the universe” applies here… It’s good that the animals have places to retreat to when things get too stupid for them!

    I once heard about cattas that they are not the brightest candles on the cake…

    All the best

  4. Dear Mamselleken Patricia,

    How wonderful you could visit Pairi Daiza again even though it was a very exhausting trip for you. However, I’m sure you enjoyed your time in the park.

    Meeting polar bears is always a wonderful experience and I can imagine your heart melted when you saw the baby walrus. The same goes for a sweet orang baby and Berani was as ‘clownish’ as usual. 🙂

    Unfortunately stupid visitors always make us sad by ignoring the signs. Even without signs it should be evident that the animals mustn’t be disturbed in any way! I would like to knock out the idiots.

    All in all – you had a great visit and I hope you can meet your animal friends in Pairi Daiza soon again. Thank you so much for this very well written and entertaining report!

    Hugs from Mervi

  5. Dear Patricia and Mervi
    I wonder if the two Polar Bear photos are Nuka
    and Qillak. It is now two years since I saw them in
    The Orang group reminds me of the similar family
    in Zoom Gelsenkirchen. The baby in particular.

  6. Liebe Patricia,

    vielen Dank für deinen zauberhaften und ausführlichen Zoobericht mit den vielen Informationen!
    Der Ausspruch von Raimond Opitz war mir nicht bekannt, aber er sagt alles über sein inniges Verhältnis zu den Affen aus.
    Trotz deiner Schmerzen hast du dich bei dem langen Besuch wacker gehalten und das Verhalten des Kontrolleurs war schon sehr sonderbar, selbst unter dem Aspekt der Geldnot unter der ja leider alle Tierparks duch Corona gelitten haben….
    Über deine Rüge der blonden Dame gegenüber musste ich ein bisschen schmunzeln – blond zu sein scheint weltweit mit Dummheit verbunden zu sein und Ankes Zitat stimmt zu 100%
    Ich weiß nicht, ob Cattas dumm sind, aber in der Entdeckung neuer Futterquellen sind sie sehr clever.

    Herzliche Grüße und gute Besserung!

  7. Da hättet ihr ja einen wunderbaren Tag. Danke euch für euren lieben Bericht.

    Liebe Grüße, Erika

  8. Dear Patricia
    It is a pity when the visit to the zoo started so negatively. I find it very irritating that a woman has to prove that her child is not yet 3 years old.
    However, I also know that in Hellabrunn, people don’t come to the zoo without an online ticket. Even annual ticket holders have to buy an online ticket in advance for O euros. Yes, Corona, the world has gone crazy.
    I think it’s great that you were at the zoo for so long despite your pain.
    I really enjoyed your report. It was fun to walk through Pari Daiza with you. Your descriptions are nicely worded and you are very attentive on your way through the zoo.

    Thank you!
    Thanks also for Ludmila and Uwe for the nice and fitting pictures.
    You have done a great job working together!!!


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