South Australia’s Monarto Zoo will be converted into the largest safari experience outside of Africa, housing a new five-star resort and luxe-glamping facilities. The expansion sees the zoo rebranded as Monarto Safari Park, effective immediately, and will also include new experiences, a restaurant and function centres.
Forty million dollars will be ploughed into the new luxury hotel which is being bankrolled by Gerry Ryan, owner of the Jayco caravan company, along with the Federal and State governments backing the development of a new $15.8 million state-of-the-art Visitor Centre at Monarto Zoo.
Zoos South Australia Chief Executive Elaine Bensted said the funding injection by Ryan was an “exciting coup for Monarto Zoo and the broader tourism industry in the Murraylands”.
Bensted said new safari experiences in specially designed open-sided vehicles, and a 35,000-square-metre walk-through lemur experience would be introduced.
“Our new safari experience is set to be the closest visitors can get to an African safari, all within an hour’s drive of Adelaide,” Bensted added.
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said the funding committed by the state and federal governments has provided the foundations to attract and unlock this major investment.
“With nature and wildlife tourism growing by 10 per cent year-on-year over the past five years, this new experience will turn Monarto Zoo into one of Australia’s must-visit nature and wildlife destinations.
“I expect this world-class luxury experience to be a major tourism drawcard for our state and help lure thousands of extra international and domestic visitors to South Australia every year,” Birmingham said.
Premier Steven Marshall said the investment will bolster South Australia’s tourism economy.
“The resort at Monarto Zoo will form part of the largest tourism attraction in regional South Australia, and is therefore a crucial pillar of the state’s visitor economy,” said the Premier.
Gerry Ryan OAM said he was thrilled to be investing in this redevelopment.
“Monarto Safari Park is a standout tourism offering, and this expansion will provide visitors with an unsurpassable safari experience that will attract domestic and international visitation,” said Ryan.
“Tourism is a key growth sector which has a hugely positive impact on the local economy with the creation of jobs, and by attracting tourists to the region to stay in this unique accommodation.
“I believe Monarto is a jewel in South Australia’s crown and the aim of this development is to create a truly memorable safari experience second only to a safari in Africa,” added Ryan.
Construction of the five-star resort is slated to commence within the next 12 months, and open in late 2021.