Our story

 

The addition of Jamala Wildlife Lodge to the National Zoo & Aquarium in 2014 was a major step to bolster the programs run by the zoo!

Jamala Wildlife Lodge and the National Zoo and Aquarium are owned and run by a local family that have seen five generations born in Canberra. Their aim is that the funds from Jamala allow the zoo and Jamala Wildlife Lodge to continue to grow and to subsidise the zoo’s support for:

  • the conservation of animals in the wild through direct cash donations
  • national and international breeding programs
  • educational programs for both adults and children

The entire Jamala experience has been designed to maximise the opportunity to subtly impress on its guests that everything possible should be done to ensure that these magnificent animals survive in the wild, whilst providing its guests with a combination of luxury and adventure. 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 precincts; uShaka Lodge, Giraffe Treehouses and the Jungle Bungalows. 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.

 

History

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 the 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, rather than as they were forced to do. 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.

Over the next two decades, 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 imposing on the animal’s well-being. The zoo now has what is widely regarded as some of the best animal interactions available in the world and it has been able to make major cash donations along with direct and indirect 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.

Over the years, Richard and Maureen have been joined at the zoo by two sons, four daughters, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, two grandsons and two granddaughters, many of whom still work there. 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.

 

Conservation

The National Zoo & Aquarium is contributing heavily to a large number of breeding programs that can help save a number of animals from extinction.

The staff themselves also raise money through our National Zoo & Aquarium Conservation Team (NZACT) to donate to a number of local and overseas conservation initiatives and charities.

Monies raised from animal encounters and Jamala Wildlife Lodge support The National Zoo & Aquarium’s regional breeding and educational programs, with cash donations given to animal conservation in the wild and to animal welfare programs.

For more information regarding our recent donations and how you can get involved, please visit the National Zoo & Aquarium website.

 

Awards

Since opening in December 2014, we are proud to have been selected for numerous awards – locally, nationally and internationally. Among many others, the following awards and travel recommendations have been bestowed on Jamala Wildlife Lodge:

 

  • Canberra Region Tourism Awards

    Canberra Region Tourism Awards

    Best Unique Accommodation 2019

  • AHA-ACT

    AHA-ACT

    Best Deluxe Accommodation 2019

  • Canberra Region Tourism Awards

    Canberra Region Tourism Awards

    Best Unique Accommodation 2018

  • AHA-ACT

    AHA-ACT

    Best Deluxe Accommodation 2018

  • AHA-National

    AHA-National

    Best Deluxe Accommodation 2017

  • AHA-ACT

    AHA-ACT

    Best Deluxe Accommodation 2017

  • Canberra Region Tourism Awards

    Canberra Region Tourism Awards

    Best Unique Accommodation 2017

  • AHA-ACT

    AHA-ACT

    Best Deluxe Accommodation 2016

  • Canberra Region Tourism Awards

    Canberra Region Tourism Awards

    Best Unique Accommodation 2016

  • Australian Traveller Magazine

    Australian Traveller Magazine

    Canberra Bucket List

  • Australian Traveller Magazine

    Australian Traveller Magazine

    People’s Choice Awards—Hotel that best caters to children

  • AHA-National

    AHA-National

    Best Tourism Initiative 2015

  • AHA-ACT

    AHA-ACT

    Best Tourism Initiative 2015