Watatunga is pioneering a new approach to protecting the planet’s last populations of endangered deer and antelope. Situated in 170 acres of unused Norfolk wetland, our reserve is dedicated to the conservation of threatened ungulates and birds. At Watatunga, our deer and antelope species mix with rare pheasants, ducks and the majestic great bustard. We strive to inspire a new generation with the challenges of conservation in the 21st century by showcasing the majesty of these creatures while telling the story of their struggle to survive.
Step inside Wataunga and be part of conservation today for wildlife tomorrow.
Ungulates are really important to us at Watatunga. Rare deer and antelope are amongst the world’s forgotten endangered species but these magnificent herbivores have a rightful place in the world’s shrinking natural habitats. We seek to draw attention to their plight and introduce our visitors to their stories. Whilst more exotic creatures such as tigers, elephants and panda bears receive the most attention, many ungulate species are critically endangered but rarely make the headlines. Seven entire species have disappeared in one decade alone.
There is much that we can do to ensure that these creatures, fundamental to the ecosystems in which they have evolved over millennia, remain a part of this planet’s diverse and spectacular wildlife. Through the application of our pioneering breeding programmes, we explore every opportunity to create sustainable populations of these beautiful creatures in collaboration with universities and international research organisations. Working at the cutting edge of conservation, our team liaise with expert scientists to manage the genetic diversity, welfare and evolutionary potential of our stock and manage breeding programmes which have already broken new ground in re-establishing severely threatened populations. We are passionate about sharing the importance of this work and are working to develop an exciting education programme for schools and young people.
No two visits to Watatunga are ever the same – every season brings its own rituals from the first steps of a new-born fawn to the dramatic clashes of rutting stags. Our deer and antelope roam the reserve unrestricted by cages or pens. Visitors can observe them grazing on the rich grasslands, drinking at the lakeside or concealed amidst ferns and scrub on the woodland floor. With over twenty different ungulate species making Watatunga their home, our expert guides will keep you spell-bound with the stories of these animals, their habitats and their homelands. From the comfort of your own electric golf buggy, visitors can get up close and personal with some of west Norfolk’s most extraordinary inhabitants.
In addition to our deer and antelope, Watatunga is also home to many different bird species including the great bustard, extinct in the U.K. since 1832. Norfolk was the last stronghold of these extraordinary birds and, after a successful reintroduction programme on the Salisbury plains, Watatunga is proud to be a partner of The Great Bustard Group working on a captive breeding programme for these long forgotten birds.
As well as our more exotic birds and animals Watatunga prides itself in creating a protected habitat for native flora and fauna. Our barn owl nesting boxes, sand martin banks and oyster catcher islands provide seasonal abodes to many of the U.K.’s best loved bird life. We have also founded The Turtle Dove Trust and planted the perimeters of the park with a rich mixture of wildflowers and seed mixtures to encourage pollinators and song birds alike.
Watatunga offers a rare opportunity to hone your photography skills with exotic subject matter such as a bashful barasingha, swamp loving sitatunga or a wading water buffalo. With private tours available for special occasions, we can tailor your visit to suit your interests. Within easy reach of the beautiful Norfolk coast, Watatunga can be experienced as an adventurous Norfolk day excursion or a peaceful week long retreat.
We offer fully accessible self-catering accommodation overlooking our tranquil wildlife reserve where guests can relax while watching the water buffalo wallow in the lake or a herd of blackbuck graze in the grassland just metres away. Exclusive hire of our electric buggies is available for our residential guests at Major’s Lodge, permitting access to the reserve at their leisure and a truly varied immersion in all that Watatunga has to offer – perfect for a family holiday with a difference.
Every one of our birds and ungulates is part of the tapestry we weave at Watatunga and each wild soul represents a species fighting against the changes rapidly taking place across the planet. Hidden behind the beaks, feathers, hooves and antlers is our respect for the variety of life that makes our world so awe inspiring.