Africa Africa Home of the world-famous Fiona! Hippo Cove is designed to bring visitors #CloseEnoughToCare by inspiring them with wildlife! There is an underwater viewing area and an interactive play area for children young and old to learn and explore more about these giant, and amazing animals. Transport yourself to an African Safari, right here in Cincinnati! Experience face-to-face encounters with meerkats where a pop up bubble allows your child (or the child in you) to get an up close view of these charismatic creatures. Also, visit the open-vista hoof stock exhibit with ostrich, lesser kudu, pink-backed pelican, and Rüppell’s and lappet-faced vultures, to name a few! Or check out lions, giraffes painted dogs and hippos on your visit. Come back week after week to get to know all the faces at the Zoo. Africa is a very ambitious project that brings our guests closer to animals, allowing every visitor a glimpse into life on an African savannah. Exhibits featuring expansive views across open spaces combined with unique educational opportunities are bringing a slice of life in Africa right here to Cincinnati. A Walk through Africa When you enter Africa from the Zoo’s main path, you’ll have an immediate opportunity to visit the Base Camp Café – our African-themed main restaurant, renovated as part of Phase III in 2013. With more seating than ever before, and an expansive deck overlooking the exhibit, the café is a destination unto itself and the perfect spot to refuel before heading out on your own African safari. Renovated restrooms and a comfortable and private Nursing Nest are located below the café. Just past the Base Camp Café on your right is a lush green yard with waterfalls, where you can see cheetahs when they are not running as part of the Cheetah Encounter show, farther along the path and up the hill. More Information Next you’ll come to a fork in the path overlooking a wide open savannah area, and we’ll stay to the right for now. You’ll see a small “stone circle” area, Mahali, where you can encounter small African animals like Mambo and Tango the flamingos and Kaa the Angolan python and ask Zoo educators any and all questions about them. Keep on the path, and you’ll soon arrive at Pride Rock, home to our pride of African lions. The lion exhibit opened as part of Phase III in June 2013 with our young male John. By spring of 2014, as Phase IV was completed, John’s mate Imani was keeping him company, and by spring 2015, they and their three female cubs. Giraffe Feedings Presented by Chick-fil-a Directly behind you as you keep an eye on the lions is our herd of Maasai giraffe. Giraffes are the tallest animals in the world and one of the most popular at the Zoo, especially during feeding time. With its gazebo-style feeding tree house that reaches out into the giraffe yard, you can come eye to eye with these tall grazers and get a breathtaking view of the entire Africa vista. Continuing up the path, guests arrive at a lasting favorite – the Zoo’s Cheetah Encounter in the Cathryn Hilker Running Yard, where cheetahs can be seen racing at top speeds. In addition to cheetahs, visitors can also expect to see fishing cats, African servals, Anatolian shepherds, and even a red river hog! Cheetah Encounter is free with regular Zoo admission. Remember that fork in the path, down the hill from the Café? Let’s return there for a walk through the most recently added parts of Africa, built in Phase IV, and opening to the public in June 2014. First off, you can take in the expanse of savannah and water ways. While these physical features were built as part of Phase III, the animals now inhabiting it were added as part of Phase IV. And how diverse they are! You’ll see African ostrich and other birds including Ruppell’s and lappet-faced vultures, pink-backed pelicans, African crowned cranes, and crested guineafowl in the same open vista as hoofed animals like Lesser kudu. Our Zoo’s dynamic community conservation activities in the South Rift of Kenya operate out of a large open-air center called Lale’enok (Maasai for “gathering of resources and community information”). You will see our own Lale’enok, which opened as part of Phase IV, to your left as you travel down the path. Lale’enok is providing all our Zoo visitors, school children and educators an opportunity to learn about and become part of our African conservation efforts. Next you will come to one of the most beautiful habitats built anywhere at the Zoo in recent years, our painted dog exhibit, featuring waterfalls and a stream, rocky caves and open grass areas that provide plenty of space – and a glass viewing wall for close-up encounters. The final element of Phase IV is the Meerkat Exhibit, which opened in the summer of 2015. The area features a “bubble” that lets children get right into the middle of the exhibit. Curious meerkats can be seen digging and exploring throughout the day. Phase V, the final phase of Africa, features one of the most charismatic African wildlife species – Nile hippopotamus – in an exhibit that gives you the opportunity to see these enormous animals both above and under water.