How do I get to Watatunga?
It is possible to reach Watatunga by car, bicycle or on foot. The reserve is situated the outskirts of the village of Watlington near King’s Lynn in Norfolk, U.K. The entrance to Watatunga Wildlife Reserve is situated just off the A10/A134 Watlington Rd roundabout heading towards Watlington and is shared with the Mick George (previously Frimstone) quarry. The postcode is PE33 0RG but is unreliable in sat-nav. Please enter Watatunga Wildlife Reserve into Google Maps or our what3words.com location “contracts.recruited.resources” for an accurate location of the entrance and then follow the signs to reception. Watatunga is only open for pre-booked tours. For info on reaching us via public transport or by bicycle see further FAQs below.
What facilities do you have at reception?
Our reception site is only open for half an hour before and after each tour. We have accessible toilets, a small take-away coffee shop, a mini giftshop and picnic area. We very much hope to be able to provide visitors with more in the future – please bear with us and check back in as we grow and develop. There are plenty of excellent options for food locally which we will be happy to reccommend, in particular, The Angel in Watlington and Jack’s at Woodlakes.
How do your guided tours work and why do I need a driver's license?
At present, we welcome visitors on our guided buggy or trailer tours.
Our buggy tours consist of up to six buggies lead in convoy by a guide. Each tour is live and unscripted and the guide’s commentary is transmitted via a radio in each buggy. When you book a 4-seater or 6-seater buggy, you are booking it in its entirety – one member of your party will drive your buggy and you will not be asked to share your buggy with anyone outside your group. The order of the buggies is switched at some point during the tour to ensure that those at the back have a turn at the front. Our wheelchair accessible trailer can be booked on any of our tours and it is towed by the guide’s buggy.
On our trailer tours we welcome 10-12 people in our small trailer which is towed behind the guide’s buggy. Part of the tour is delivered by radio and at some points the guide will get out and address the tour directly.
The booking page says how many slots are left - is a slot a buggy or is it a space for one person?
A slot refers to a buggy – apologies, our booking system is a little clunky and there is some language we cannot change. To reiterate, when you book, you’re booking an entire buggy and the price is the same whether you are visiting as an individual or as a party of 4.
Is Watatunga suitable for children?
We love having children on tour and have welcomed hundreds of young people to the reserve. Visiting children receive an I-Spy card and pencil and we’ve worked closely with many inspiring youngsters who blog or create YouTube content about conservation.
‘There is no lower age limit on our tours but having said that, you know your children best. Please be aware that the tour is not interactive, the pace is leisurely, we are not a petting zoo and very young children (under-4) will likely struggle to stay engaged.
Babies and infants 2yrs old and under ride for free and must be seated on an adult’s lap (not the driver’s) in a sling or harness. Each child under 7 must have an accompanying adult sitting next to them.
Will I be able to drive my own buggy?
If you book a guided buggy tour, one of your party will need a valid driver’s license to drive the buggy. The buggies are extremely simple to use – they are automatic and electric and you will be fully briefed on how they work before departure.
The guide will lead up to 6 guest buggies in convoy. The buggies are speed restricted and the pace is leisurely. The guide carries a radio and describes the reserve live as you go – each guest buggy has a receiving radio to listen to the tour and each tour is different.
Half-way round the tour, the order of the buggies is reversed.
Is Watatunga wheelchair accessible?
We welcome visitors with disabilities along with helpers and carers. We have a wheelchair accessible small safari trailer, towed behind the guide’s buggy, which can cater to one wheelchair visitor and two additional guests per tour. Please note that the wheelchair is positioned behind the two companions.
We have accessible toilets at our reception building and, for visitors wishing to stay in our self-catering accommodation, Major’s Lodge is wheelchair accessible and fitted with a wet room. You can read our full Accessibility statement for Major’s Lodge here.
Are dogs allowed at Watatunga?
We have three kennel spaces available to hire at reception. We can only accept fully vaccinated dogs and the price per kennel is £10.00. Each kennel is 2m long, 1m high and 1m wide and so each should fit 2 large and one small dog easily. We disinfect kennels between use with a product called Safe4 and while we can provide water bowls, we prefer that you bring your own. Our reception building is approx 0.4 miles from the roadside entrance – it is not necessarily staffed all the time while you’re out on tour but each kennel is provided with a secure lock. Please use the contact form to book. Dogs at reception are left entirely at their owner’s risk – each kennel is locked while you are out on tour. Unfortunately, we cannot facilitate dogs other than guide dogs on tour. Any further queries or to book a kennel space, please fill in the contact form on our website.
Unfortunately dogs are not allowed in our accommodation.
Is it possible to walk inside the reserve?
What is Watatunga Wildlife Reserve?
Watatunga is a pioneering conservation site for ungulates – that’s deer and antelope – on 170 acres of West Norfolk meadow, lake and woodland. We provide a natural habitat for over 24 ungulate species, water buffalo, Great Bustard, various duck species as well as many native birds, animal and plants. Protecting the world’s last populations of the rarest deer and antelope is our first mission and primary goal. Sharing the rewards of our work with the public in order to inspire conservationists young and old comes a close second. Come and experience the magic of our magnificent animals on a guided tour or book our self-catering accommodation to see the wonder of Watatunga for yourself.
I’ve booked a guided tour, where do I park and meet my tour?
The entrance to Watatunga Wildlife Reserve is situated just off the A10/A134 Watlington Rd roundabout heading towards Watlington and is shared with the Mick George (previously Frimstone) quarry. The postcode is PE33 0RG but is unreliable in sat-nav. Please use our what3words.com location “contracts.recruited.resources” for an accurate location of the entrance and then follow the signs to reception. Please note our reception site is only staffed 30 mins before and after a tour.
What does Watatunga mean?
Our name, Watatunga, is a portmanteau of one of our more exotic African antelope, the Sitatunga, and the wonderful village of Watlington, where the reserve is based. The literal meaning in Swahili is ‘we compose’ – we think it’s a great word to roll around as it’s hard to say ‘Watatunga’ with a frown.
Can I visit Watatunga without a guided tour?
Not at present unless staying in our accommodation. Guests at the Stable Cottage and Major’s Lodge have access to our bird hide and exclusive use of electric buggies throughout your stay.
Why have you chosen to focus on deer and antelope?
The rare ungulates we have prioritised are among the world’s most forgotten species. While more exotic creatures like tigers, elephants and panda grab the media attention, many of the species we look after at Watatunga are at even greater risk of extinction. Each species plays a part in a greater ecosystem that must be preserved. We hope to shine a light on their stories and, in some cases, work to reintroduce them to the wild.
How can I get to Watatunga sustainably?
We welcome car-free visitors and offer 10% off entry if your whole party arrives car-free. Enjoy the views, fresh air and adventure and help cut carbon and traffic. Find out how to get here by train, bus, bike and foot at GoodJourney. The nearest train station is approximately 2 miles away in Watlington. The N37 Lynx bus service stops at Andel Lodge which is under half a mile from the entrance to Watatunga. Please note that there is no footpath between Andel Lodge and the entrance to the reserve.