Imagine waking up on a beautiful sunny day and finding a bear outside your window. No, you’re not having a nightmare. Nor is it a scene from a horror movie.
What we’re picturing here is a typical vacation at the The Last Frontier, a resort nestled inside a wildlife park. This paradise for animal lovers just opened this year at Pairi Daiza, a 65-hectare zoo and botanical garden in the Belgian town of Brugelette.
The first of its kind in Belgium, The Last Frontier is a haven where guests can enjoy the unique experience of sleeping and living among wildlife and nature. Lodgings are built right into the animal neighborhood.
The resort offers various types of accommodations. You can book a room or a suite at The Paddling Bear Hotel and get a view of the sea lions swimming in the lake at the center of the resort.
Aside from the hotel, lodges and cabins are also available at the resort. If you want to watch the bears and the wolves, you can stay in one of the lodges. If you’d rather stay with the deer and observe the bears at the same time, you can go for one of the native houses.
Be not afraid of getting eaten for breakfast. The Pairi Daiza management assures that the lodgings are made of sturdy stuff and the windows are eight centimeters thick. Besides, the furry creatures will leave you alone if you don’t cause them any trouble. Keep in mind that you are a guest in their territory.
“The guest houses are made in such a way that the animals will not be bothered by people and vice versa,” says Mathieu Goedefroy, spokesperson of Pairi Daiza. “We have recreated the natural environments of these animals by incorporating a lot of trees, logs, rocks, and rivers.”
At Pairi Daiza, animals are given the space to hide themselves from time to time as they go about their natural business. “These are wild animals and they are not used to human context so we also need to leave them be once in a while. Of course it means that sometimes we won’t be able to see them. But we believe this is an important way of showing respect to animal life,” says Goedefroy.
The Last Frontier recreates the coastal beauty of the Canadian province of British Columbia and the fascinating culture of its indigenous communities. The resort is decorated with totem poles, canoes, and other representations of the life and culture of native Indian tribes.
“The founder and owner of Pairi Daiza, Eric Domb, created this zoo with the vision of recreating beautiful parts of the world here in Belgium. In this resort, everything is made with respect for the culture, architecture, animal and plant life, and the spirituality and traditions of the native Americans that lived in British Columbia,” says Goedefroy.
A vacation at the resort includes a breakfast buffet, dinner, and access to the animal park. Twice named the best zoo in Europe by the Diamond Theme Park Awards, Pairi Daiza is home to more than 4,000 animals and features eight different exotic kingdoms representing various cultures and traditions from all over the globe.
“All these areas are built out of authentic materials that come from these parts of the world,” says Goedefroy.
By the end of the year, Pairi Daiza plans to introduce another resort called The Land of the Cold where guests can have the pleasure of living beside penguins, polar bears, and Siberian tigers.