Situated near Taman Melawati in north-east Kuala Lumpur, the expansive National Zoo of Malaysia is home to over 5,000 animals and attracts thousands of visitors every year. The zoo endorses open-concept enclosures and exhibits that are specifically designed to closely emulate the natural habitat of each different species. With 18 exhibits, visitors will need to spend the best part of a day here in order to see everything – but it will be worth it!
First port of call has got to be the magnificent Savannah Walk. Home to a mix of native African animals such as antelope, giraffes, zebras and rhinoceroses, this is a rare opportunity to get close to these stately beasts. The enormous space offers an exact replica of the animals' natural environment and that, in itself, is great to experience.
At the lush Ape Centre, Bornean and Sumatran orangutans take centre stage while chimpanzees jostle for attention. Katy and Manja are two delightful female apes who will pose for photos – but only if they are in the mood!
From here, make a beeline for the Mammal Kingdom. This exhibit primarily houses nocturnal animals including slow loris, pumas and striped hyenas but the main attraction is definitely the South American capybara – the world’s largest rodent.
A real highlight is the Cat Walk which, as the name suggests, features a selection of big cats, including majestic African lions and stealthy Bengal and Malaysian tigers. You will know you are close when you hear the mighty roar of the lions. It can get quite crowded around this exhibit but it’s worth the effort to see these sleek felines as they laze around the pool and cast a hungry eye over the onlookers.
Next, take a trip down under at the Australian Plains where visitors can get a real flavour of Australian wildlife. Kangaroos, wallabies and emus are all present and correct here, but keep a special eye out for the tiny pademelons – the smallest marsupial in the zoo.
The adjacent Bird Aviary is a real treat for ornithologists and casual visitors alike. Containing one of the largest collections of bird species in Malaysia, this noisy and colourful aviary is a joy to wander through.
It’s worth noting that the zoo is also home to a fantastic reptile house, bear complex and one of the oldest public aquariums in the country. There is an enormous amount to see across this 45-hectare site so put on a pair of comfy shoes, take a deep breath and off you go!