Friguia Animal Park, Dinner and Show at Bouficha, Tunisia
A showcase of African animals
This is the entrance to Friguia Animal Park, a colourful, inviting entrance leads to intricate wood carved seats and all the African animals you would expect.
We visited this park as an arranged excursion by our holiday rep during our one week stay in Tunisia. This is Tunisia's only wildlife park and is situated between Hammamet and Sousse.
After spending almost three hours going round the park, we were treated to show of traditional music from Tunisia and the South of Africa as well as and dances by the Shaka Troup and North African dances. All of this was done whilst we were being served Tunisian cuisine under a large thatched African hut.
This park has been open to the public since November 2000 and they state, "the purpose of the park is to preserve the species by looking after the development of the most threatened ones".
This is not a safari park, but is a larger and more open type of zoo than those you would usually find in the city. You are still able to get up close to some of the animals whilst viewing them in a natural environment.
A park with perks
The park of 36 hectares has been well laid out. There are ample rest stops, snack bars and souvenir shops in all the right places. Shady areas and seating allow visitors to take their time out of the sun and appreciate the animals and the picturesque views that the park present.
There are over 400 animals and more than 60 species living in Friguia all free to move in large enclosures. At every animal type there is a detailed board with information of the animal in both English and Arabic.
Keeping small change with you is handy as for a dinar or two, you can get the keepers to get some close ups of the animals. We had a keeper that let us feed some leaves to a giraffe that came right up to us! Use that change too for a short camel, donkey or pony ride - great for the kids and adults alike!
As you go along the paths, keep a look out for the park photographer. You will get to see all the prints at the end of your journey round the park and can purchase your photos for 5 dinars each. This is the booth with pictures displayed though you will have to find your own picture. The photos may be taken without you noticing so if you want a great photo, make sure you smile and pose for the camera!
Check out these books for children from Amazon - African Animals Tales
A great collection of picture books with colourful illustrations.
These books show how the African animals acquired their colour, furs, spots, stripes and horns etc.
The following are actual pictures of the animals we saw at Friguia Park
Sadly, we did not see any flamingos but this is an example of what the park information board looks like. I liked that it gave a brief description on their life and habitat and that there was information on the animal's reproduction, predators and food.
Check out these African Animal related DVDs on Amazon
If you hadn't yet taken the opportunity to go camel riding via an excursion provided by the hotel, you have the chance to go camel riding at Friguia.
I paid a small amount of 3 dinars for my son and I for roughly 10 minutes of camel riding around the compound. This was ample time to enjoy the ride, take pictures and to admire the views of the surroundings.
Wooden carved seats
All around the park you'd find these exquisite chairs. You would not find no two chairs the same. You can tell that they were hand made and have been done with special care and attention.
These were not just for show - they were actually for sitting on and were quite comfortable!
African Shaka Night
The entertainment that followed after the park closed
After going round the park and appreciating the animals and scenery, we had time to rest as we waited to be seated for the dinner and show.
This picture shows the interior of the tent.
The entertainment was well performed and varied. There was an announcer throughout the evening informing everyone what was being shown and was food was being served.
The evening started off with an African group playing instruments and several songs. It really brought the tent alive and made you feel that you were actually in Africa. There was even a chance at the end to perform and dance with the troup.
As well as various South of Africa music anddance displays, there were belly dances, Morrocan dances and wooden instrument routines.
The performers all looked like they were enjoying themselves and looked like they were out to give us a really good show.
My son was a little intimidated by some performers who had their face painted but he enjoyed the music particularly the drum playing at the end of the night. If you have kids, I highly recommend this trip to be done if you are visiting the area.
Again, there was a photographer going around everyone at every table taking your picture with a man dressed up in Tribal African costume. These were being displayed at the entrance and sold for 5 Dinars each. There was also an opportunity to buy a DVD of the whole performance.
Dinner is served!
The following pictures show the food that was served during the entertainment.
I was happy to find that the food was traditional Tunisian cuisine and it came with Tunisian red wine. The portions were reasonable and were served up in platters to be shared amongst the table.
This picture shows a Tunisian prepared salad.
This was of chopped lettuce, tomato and cucumber, boiled egg, olives, tuna and chopped chillies.
Brik Ã l'oeuf
This shows 'brik Ã l'oeuf' which is common in Tunisia as a starter or a savoury snack.
It is made with egg and potato in a crispy pastry.
It can also be modified to be made with other ingredients such as tuna and capers.
This is a picture of cous cous served with roasted vegetables.
The perfect accompaniment to the main dish.
This was the main meat dish - chicken hotpot.
We were told it had been marinated for a few days before grilled and seasoned before serving.
This tasted very good!
Dessert was a selection of fruits and ice cream sorbet.
All in all, a very good meal.
If we had seats closer to the centre, our evening would have been perfect!
Friguia Animal Park
Winter: 9am - 4pm
Summer holiday Mondays : Closed
Bank holiday Mondays: Open
TEL: +216 73 252 723
FAX: +216 73 252 715