Cambron-L'Abbaye, Pairi Daiza's first World, eases you gently into your visit with some lovely surprises. No-one is left behind on a journey that invites your senses to be on constant alert. The focus is on learning while having fun. The petting zoo allows the park’s youngest visitors and their parents to get up close to the farmyard animals and other residents of this mini-paradise in the courtyard of the former farm of Cambron Abbey. They can even stroke and feed the animals! This says a great deal about the aims of the creators of Pairi Daiza. Visitors are not just passing spectators but a vital part of the life of the park.
As you wander around the various Worlds, you are constantly reminded that the project relies on your active participation. You’ll be enchanted by the exquisite scents wafting from the Rose Garden and Andalusian Garden. Ancient varieties of climbing roses claw their way up the white columns, you hear the soft tinkle of fountains and walk through a grove of centuries-old olive trees – everything exudes the atmosphere of Andalusia and its delightfully shady gardens. This first stop on our tour really brings home the wonders of nature.
But even the most beautiful gardens in the world would be sadly lacking if there were no birds. The park boasts a vast array of these elegant messengers of the sky from every part of the globe. Indeed, you’re spoilt for choice thanks to the huge Cathédrale aviary, Tropicalia, the Birds of Prey Village and The Crypt, the realm of the bats.
Then there is L'Oasis, the restaurant in the heart of a giant greenhouse, with all the atmosphere and colours of the rainforest. It’s an opportunity to get up close and personal with mynah birds, toucans, white-cheeked touracos and the Andean cock-of-the-rock, to name just a few of the colourful, chirping, clucking and cooing wonders of nature that live in the park.
New discoveries and fresh surprises await you around every corner – fascination guaranteed! But of course there’s more to see than just the creatures of the skies. You’ll bump into other species, other families – such as the mischievous meerkats who are always on the lookout, the Sulawesi bear cuscus (a tree marsupial), and the cotton-top tamarin (a small Colombian monkey). The exoticism of their names is only rivalled by their unusual appearance.
There’s still so much to see, but we are already beginning to understand the incredible diversity of the Worlds at Pairi Daiza. They offer a rare, perhaps unique, opportunity to live at the heart of creation, in all its beauty and richness.