Rumble in the Jungle

August 10, 2012

Posted by
donal

Having just recovered from last week’s adventures on the high seas, this week’s Thursday trip (it seems to be becoming a regular thing here for team ni2012) took us to one of Northern Ireland’s best loved family outdoor pursuits and adventure centres. The Jungle NI is located in Moneymore, less than a 1-hour drive from both Belfast & Derry-Londonderry. So when I heard that I would be taking part in Llama Trekking it is fair to say that I wasn’t totally sure what to expect.

 

On arrival we met with Jungle owner Bobby who took us on a quick tour of the centre’s latest feature, the very impressive home-built glamping pods. The insulated, wooden huts currently in place can sleep up to 8 people very comfortably and are proving very popular with families, youth groups and stag parties, with additional pods currently in the construction stages.

 

Who needs a tent when you can have one of these?

Who needs a tent when you can have one of these?

 

The Llamas didn’t look overly pleased to see us, but they’re still in training and are just getting used to wearing the packs that have been carefully prepared with a special picnic lunch. Once we became acquainted with the Llamas, who have been named after their owner and also television’s most famous duo, Ant & Dec, they were extremely well behaved and lead us through the 100 Acre site admirably.

 

The Jungle's very own Ant & Dec pose for their photograph

The Jungle’s very own Ant & Dec pose for their photograph

 

The Jungle NI is perhaps most famous for it’s Zorbing, and for anyone who is unfamiliar with the activity, involves big rubber balls and a very steep hill. So keen to try out the activity for reporting purposes of course, Kathryn Leech and I burrowed our way into the centre of the zorb and were carefully harnessed in for the 30-second adventure. The heat and tension inside the zorb was immense and all of a sudden we found ourselves tumbling head over heels, upside down, down a very steep hill and there was a distinct mash-up of my laughter and Kathryn’s screams as we reached the base. I would definitely try it again – but not sure if I can say the same for Kathryn.

 

Zorbs away!

Zorbs away!

 

The Jungle NI has two of these inflatable balls which stand at 3 metres in height, the harnessed one and a hydro zorb (which apparently those in the know prefer) – but that will be an adventure for another day. Once we found our feet again we continued our trek through the forested camp which is home to the amazing Tree Top Adventure Course, perfect for any Tarzan’s or Jane’s out there and the course comprises of more than 40 challenging elements, with a junior course currently in the construction stages. The adventure includes rope bridges, scramble nets, swings and a terrifying descent and 50ft free-fall drop (unfortunately we ran out of time and had to rush back to the office – but we’d enjoyed enough excitement for one day!)

 

Quite a treehouse, anyone fancy one of these for their garden?

Quite a treehouse, anyone fancy one of these for their garden?

 

We were also lucky enough to get an exclusive sneak peak at the Jungle’s newest paint-balling site which features deep trenches, watch towers and concrete pipe tunnels and is sure to be a real test of nerve and skill when it opens in the coming weeks. The Jungle was the first paint-balling site in Ireland in 2005 and it continues to be a very popular activity with the site catering for up to 150 players at any one time.

 

It will be a case of modern warfare in the specially dug trenches when this new paint-balling zone opens in the coming weeks

It will be a case of modern warfare in the specially dug trenches when this new paint-balling zone opens in the coming weeks

 

A youth group from Lurgan arrived while we were on our tour and they weren’t long getting stuck into the adventure. Zorbing and Llama trekking helps build quite a hunger and we finished off our visit with what was probably my first picnic in about 15 years. Special word of thanks to Sarah Louise for preparing the picnic and her hospitality throughout our visit.

 

King and Queens of the jungle, our team of intrepid adventurers

Our team of intrepid adventurers

 

The Jungle NI offers a wide range of events and has packages tailored to suit every budget. Each Sunday throughout August the centre holds a special family fun day suitable for children 6 years and over. A package of 6 activities costs just £15 per person. Refreshments including home-made stews, picnic hampers, barbecues are also available and for further information visit www.thejungleni.com

 

Northern Ireland has a wide range of activity and outdoor pursuit centres and more information on each of these can be found at www.discovernorthernireland.com/adventure/

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