In 1998, a local family set about building a major zoo that housed animals in as comfortable surroundings as possible. As such, most of the enclosure sizes are far larger than found in other urban zoos and the husbandry and welfare are aimed at achieving world’s best practices. The addition of Jamala Wildlife Lodge is a major step to bolster the programs that are run by the zoo. The aim is that the funds from Jamala will allow the zoo to continue to grow and support its breeding programs. Jamala and its programs have been designed to maximize the opportunity to subtly impress on its guests that everything possible should be done to ensure that these magnificent animals survive in the wild. Jamala Wildlife Lodge offers you the opportunity of experiencing the thrill of close encounters with some of the world’s most dangerous and endangered animals, as well as relaxing in the unique atmosphere of its three individually designed five star Accommodation hubs; Giraffe Treehouses, Jungle Bungalows and uShaka Lodge. The African inspired luxury suites lie in the heart of the National Zoo & Aquarium in Canberra and epitomize style and comfort. The combination of opulent surroundings, incredible animal encounters and gourmet cuisine alongside Jamala’s five star hospitality ensures that all guests share in a once in a lifetime experience during their stay.
Since opening in mid December 2014 we are proud to have been selected for the following awards and travel lists:
- AHA –ACT – Best Tourism Initiative 2015
- AHA-National– Best Tourism Initiative 2015
- Australian Traveller Magazine – People’s Choice Awards – Hotel that best caters to children
- Australian Traveller magazine – Canberra Bucket List
- findmyrice.com – 5 coolest hotels in the world
- Visit Canberra – Canberra’s Bucket list
- The Australian – Best Holiday Hideaways Across Australia
- WYZA – 5 Reasons to Visit Canberra
- The Telegraph – Best animal themed hotels around the world
- Style Magazine – Best Australian baths with a view
- Canberra Regional Tourism Awards – Unique Accommodation 2016
- AHA – ACT – Best Deluxe Accommodation 2016
- Travel Associates – Ten moments not to miss in Canberra
- AHA – ACT – Best Deluxe Accommodation 2017
- AHA – National – Best Deluxe Accommodation 2017
- AHA – ACT – Best Deluxe Accommodation 2018
- Tripadvisor – Certificate of Excellence 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
- AHA – ACT – Best Deluxe Accommodation 2019
- Holidays with Kids – Top 3 Family Resort 2019
Read what guests have to say about their experiences at Jamala on Tripadvisor
In 1998, Richard and Maureen Tindale purchased what was then an aquarium and small native wildlife park, after it had gone into liquidation for a second time. They set about building a major zoo that housed animals in as comfortable surroundings as possible. As such, most of the enclosure sizes at the zoo are far larger than found in other urban zoos and husbandry and welfare are aimed at achieving world’s best practices.
Their first objective was to take on a number of animals that had spent their life in circuses or inadequate private collections and give them a leisurely retirement home, where they could do as they pleased. Many of these animals had never experienced anything bigger than a circus trailer or circus ring and all quickly bonded with the keepers and the owners – some are still living out their retirement here.
Over the next 16 years the zoo has grown in size and reputation to be a leading facility in Australia, actively contributing to Breeding Programs and helping to educate our next generation to take better care of our wildlife than previous generations have done. The owners and staff decided that the best way to achieve this was to get the public as involved as possible with the animals, without unsettling them. The zoo now has what is widely regarded as some of the best animal interactions available and has been able to make major contributions towards helping animals survive in the wild. The zoo has also been able to actively support hundreds of local, national and international charities and causes.
Richard and Maureen have been joined at the zoo by two sons, three daughters, a son-in-law, daughter-in-law, a grandson and a granddaughter, most of who still work here full time. The zoo also takes great pride in the fact that most staff are locals who started here as volunteers and have been trained by experienced staff to become what we regard as the best and most dedicated team in the country.
Our aim is to have our guest appreciate the magnificent and importance of the animal kingdom and the most effective way for us to achieve this is to get them as close to animals as the animals feel comfortable with.