One of the top ten zoos in the world, The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa offers animal lovers a staggering 9 500 animals to view. Situated on 85 hectares in the heart of ‘Jacaranda City’, it’s the largest zoo in the country and is home to mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians alike. The spacious grounds house some rare species of antelope, white rhino, elephant, hippos, lions, cheetah, gorillas and even bats!Over 600 000 people visit the zoo every year, and there’s so much to see. It’s worth enquiring about what tours are on offer. You can hire a golf cart or take the Zoo Choo-Choo Tractor Train if you’re not up for the six kilometres of walkways. For a birds-eye view, take the cableway and ride above the zoo and on both sides of the Apies River.The largest inland marine aquarium in the country, The Aquarium and Reptile Park, also form part of the zoo facility. Kids will love watching the endangered Komodo dragon, ragged-tooth sharks and other weird and highly poisonous beasties.Dotted around the zoo are a number of picnic spots where you can relax under giant shade trees. Braai facilities are available at the picnic area on the banks of the Apies River. You can also opt for a sit down meal at the restaurant.Visiting hours:Open seven days a week, 365 days a year. Tickets are sold from 8:30 to 16:30 daily and the zoo closes at 17:30.