Africam Safari is a Mexican safari park that was established in 1972 by Captain Carlos Camacho Espíritu. It is about 17 kilometers from the city of Puebla, Mexico.
Africam Safari is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
History of the Africam Safari
Africam Safari started as a private animal collection owned by Carlos Camacho Espíritu, a veteran, pilot, radio host and businessman, who lived in Valsequillo, Puebla.
Camacho got the idea to create a park where animals could develop and reproduce their species in areas resembling their habitat in the wild. Camacho called this zoo prototype Africam, a portmanteau of Africa (continent where most of the species in the zoo come from), and his last name Camacho.
Africam Safari first opened to the public on April 2, 1972. Carlos Camacho died on October 28, 1976.
Visitors to the park become immersed in animal habitats, which very closely resemble the wild. The animals roam freely and the visitors can observe them from their own vehicles or the park’s guided buses. Africam Safari has several habitats, including African Savannah, American steppes, Tropical Jungle, Mexican Forest, Tiger Lake, Lion Territory, and walk-through adventure zone.
There are approximately 2500 animals of 350 species that roam freely in a habitat that is said to encourage animal development and reproduction. There are signals next to the way that prevents the visitor from animal attacks, advising the visitor to close the window and not to disturb the animals.
- Delta de Okavango: an area based on the Okavango Delta in Botswana, where most animals from the African steppes, savannah grasslands, Malagasy gallery forests, and Andean regions are found in the park. This section is home to reticulated giraffes, black-and-white ruffed lemurs, ring-tailed lemurs, African elephants, helmeted guineafowls, common elands, waterbucks, impalas, Egyptian geese, ostriches, nilgais, sable antelopes, llamas, mouflons, Barbary sheep, capibaras, Baird’s tapirs, and Asian elephants.
- Oasis: this section is not based on a specific area in the world, it resembles an oasis in American rainforests. This section is home to military and scarlet macaws.
- Desierto de Kalahari: an area based on the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa, where most animals from Central Africa, India, and the Caribbean are found. This section includes white rhinoceros, Grant’s zebras, blue wildebeests, lechwes, Cape buffalo, black-crowned cranes, sarus crane, dromedary, black rhinoceros, and flamingos.
- Serengeti: an area based on Serengeti in Tanzania, where only African lions are found.
- Bakuli: an area based on forests in Bhutan, Vietnam, and India. This section is home to chital, fallow deer, scimitar oryx, Nubian ibex, and sika deer.
- Huasteca: an area based on La Huasteca in San Luis Potosí, where animals from Mexican forests are found. This section is home to the American black bear, Coyote, white-tailed deer, collared peccary, and Canada goose.
- Chitwan: an area based in Chitwan District in Nepal, where Indian animals are found. This section is home to Bengal tigers, wild Asian water buffalo, gaur, blackbuck, and chital.
- Zona de Descanso (Rest Zone): an area where visitors are allowed to leave their vehicles to use the park services (restaurant, public toilets, gift shop, and snack bar). There are four exhibits where hippopotamus, chimpanzees, spectacled bears, and striped hyaenas can be found.
- Yellowstone: an area based on Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming where North American species can be found. This section is home to American bison and elk.
The Zona de Aventuras (Adventure Zone) is a section in the park where vehicles are not allowed and visitors must walk to get in different areas. This section includes a butterfly zoo, a bat exhibit, a herpetarium and insectarium, a kangaroo exhibit, and a botanical garden.
- X-Mahana: a garden and butterfly zoo inside a Maya-themed building where monarch butterflies are raised.
- Jardín Botánico Louise Wardle de Camacho: a botanical garden that shows Mexican plant species, mostly regional cactus, agaves and a holm oak forest. Louise Wardle de Camacho was Carlos Camacho’s wife.
- Tarántulas y Otros “Bichos” (Tarantulas and Other “Bugs”): is an herpetarium and insectarium that shows reptiles, amphibians and arthropods.
- Caverna de Murciélagos (Bat Cavern): an exhibit that shows Egyptian fruit bats.
- Canguros (Kangaroos): an exhibit that shows Australian species: red kangaroos, red-necked wallabies, and emus.
This section is home to giant anteaters, agouti, red pandas, Chilean flamingo peacocks, spider monkeys, Morelet’s crocodiles, prairie dogs, southern screamer, tufted capuchins, scarlet macaws, meerkats, African spurred tortoise, kinkajous, blue tegu, hamadryas baboons, trumpeter hornbills, highland guan, gray brocket, African porcupines, rhinoceros hornbills, gray Mexican wolf, Indian pythons, crocodile monitor, savannah monitor, squirrel monkeys, red-handed tamarin, horned guan, patas monkey, big hairy armadillo, great horned owl and black swans.
From December to January visitors can stay longer at the park, take a bus through the main sections at night, and watch the animals when they are more active. The lions, antelopes, hippopotamuses, buffalo, and tigers are much more active during this nocturnal tour. The Adventure Zone is also open during this time, with night activities.
Captain Carlos Camacho Espiritu created Africam with the purpose of creating a community conscience about the protection of animals. It is one of the few such establishments in Latin America which includes white tigers in its list of animals.
Africam Safari was the first institution in Mexico to successfully assist reproduction of the golden eagle, which is pictured on the Mexican flag. The Safari maintains a captive population of the Tuxtla quail-dove and has been very successful in breeding this endangered species.
Other conservation programs in the wild in which Africam Safari is involved: a jaguar in the northern Mexican mountains, humpback whales in the Pacific Ocean, flamingos in the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexican military macaw, sea lions off the Mexican Pacific Coast, a manatee in Quintana Roo, and many others.