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TThe humans of this world can be safely divided into two camps - those who are intrigued by snakes and other reptiles, and those who will not knowingly go anywhere near them.
If you fall into the first category, Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park in Hazyview, just a short drive from the Kruger National Park, is a must-see.
Twice a day, at 11am and 3pm, there are 45-minute demonstrations with snakes.
This is where you get to see them close up, have all your questions answered, and if you’re fearless around snakes, to have your photograph taken with a handsome constrictor.
Once a week, at 2pm on a Sunday, you can also see the crocodiles and alligators being fed – always a memorable experience.
The enclosures mimic, to some extent, the usual habitat of snakes, with rocks, pieces of wood and plants. You’ll find 42 enclosures of indigenous and exotic snakes, including the deadly and well known green mamba, as well as less familiar specimens like the Cape file snake. Each display has information about where the snake is usually found, its diet, biology and habits.
Most people find the pythons, anacondas and constrictors particularly fascinating.
But this is a reptile park, not just a snake park. You’ll find all kinds of other cold-blooded creatures, including a frog exhibit where you can see intriguing amphibians from around the world, including the local painted reed frogs that glow like jewels.
There are tortoises and lizards, too. This is where you can see the green basilisk (a lizard that literally sprints over water), the massive Nile monitor and a singular iguana called John Malkovich.
And if you need a fix of something warm-blooded after all that, you can always tickle the very round tummies of the resident pot-bellied pigs or meet the dogs, cats, geese or peacocks.
Travel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park
Tel: +27 (0)13 737 7680
How to get here
Hazyview has its own airport. Others nearby include Nelspruit, less than an hour's drive. Perry's Bridge Reptile Park is easy to find at the junction between the Sabie Road (R536) and the R40.
Best time to visit
The park is open 6 days a week, closed on Fridays (except public holidays and during school holidays, when it is open 7 days a week). It's also on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day, and Good Friday. Opening hours 10am to 5pm.
If you'd like to have a close encounter of a serpent kind, come for the special shows at 11am and 3pm daily, or for crocodile and alligator feeding at 2pm on Sundays.
Things to do
Hazyview is very close to the Kruger National Park gates of Numbi and Phabeni. Paul Kruger Gate is slightly further (45km, as opposed to 15km).
What to pack
Comfortable walking shoes, a hat and sunblock, and don’t forget your camera!
Where to stay
Hazyview and Nelspruit have plenty of accommodation options.