Chessington Safari

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This unusual project involves the creation of a new ‘safari’ area at the famous Chessington facility. The fist phase of this required a sizeable new animal house for zebra, antelope and oryx with associated paddocks and access routes. In parallel, the Client; Merlin Entertainments was committed to extend its gorilla compound to provide improved welfare for the growing gorilla population.

The latter phases of the project include an impressive ‘Zufari’ trail ride giving visitors a realistic taste of a real safari truck ride through the African savannah with rhinoceros, giraffe and other native African species roaming freely in the landscape and water splashes and other surprises arranged to enhance the experience.

Our brief was to get to grips with the complex existing drainage systems on the site and develop a strategy for new foul and storm run-off from the new facilities. Each element of the project is on a very fast track due to the need to minimise visitor disruption and to open the facilities in line with peak visitor demand periods.

Although there is no ‘rocket science’ in the project we have taken considerable care in developing a very simple layout that could be installed quickly and with minimum impact on the structural elements of the design.

Special ‘animal proof’ drainage fittings were designed to be safe for the animals whilst at the same time being convenient for washdown and maintenance of the drainage system bearing in mind the unusual residents!


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