Parc Zoologique d’Aïn Sebaâ
My girlfriend and I have visited the Casablanca Zoo on May 28, 2011. I am not from Morocco but I have stayed in Morocco on holiday for the entire month May. We spent an early afternoon at the zoo and have written about our experience and posted pictures for you.
You can not expect much from a zoo in Morocco. And with an entrance fee of only 2 dirham ($0,25) you can imagine this might not be happiest place on earth. Not only because how they treat animals is different but also because Moroccans in general do not like to spend money on going out to zoos and amusement parks. They rather spend their hard earned money on big parties like weddings and the Sugar Feast.
We arrived by train at station (Gare Ain Sebaa). From here it was only about 5 minutes walk to the zoo. At some parts of the road there is no side walk and it’s a busy industrial area so it’s not a very pleasant road to walk. If you do not want to walk there is always a taxi nearby which will drive you there for about 20 dirham ($2,50). When we got to the main gate it didn’t look so bad at all. The entrance fee was 1 dirham for children and 2 dirham for adults. But on a Saturday afternoon I counted only 30 people in the entire zoo and 20 of those were a class of school children. The zoo is located right next to a railway. But besides the trains passing by every 15 minutes it had a very peaceful and relaxed atmosphere.
First we came to a part of the zoo where they had many kinds exotic and also more common birds. Their habitats were not even that bad. Compared to European and American standards they are worse. But I expected much worse. Of course I had not seen the rest of the zoo at this point. Then we arrived at the part where they had hoofed animals and monkey. Still not very bad however some monkeys did look kinda sad. We were still enjoying our afternoon at the zoo.
Then we came tot he part where they had bears and lions and this immediately changed my mood. I have to say on forehand I again expected worse because of the stories I heard. After seeing the rest of the zoo I thought maybe there was hope for the lions and bears after all. I was wrong. There was a super small cage with dirty water with 4 bears in it eating carrots. With a 2 dirham entrance fee I doubt they get a lot of meat to eat. I made a few pictures but could not stand there to long because it made me very sad. Then we noticed a big vulture in a super small cage. It has probably not spread its wings for many many years. Then the lion cages. There were lions in 3 different cages with nothing on the floor but sand a few tree trunks an dirty water. One of the lions was performing serious stereotypical behaviors.
The Casablanca Zoo could definitely use improvement. I think their biggest problem is the management and marketing. They do not promote or advertise, there is no website and you can not buy any souvenirs besides cheap children toys. Also the entrance fee of 2 Dirham is even for the locals very cheap. I see many opportunities for this zoo but if nothing changes this zoo will soon run out of animals and close.
About 1 to 2 hours should be enough time for your visit.
How to get to Zoo Ain Sebaa
Ain Sebaa is a suburb of Casablanca and is easy to reach by train or taxi. The train station in Ain Sebaa (Gare Ain Sebaa) is only 5 minutes walk from the zoo. When you walk out of the train station and get to the big read head right. Keep walking until you see the big roundabout and keep going straight. You will notice many people selling kids toys on the ground and small market stands. The zoo is located on the right side of the street. First you see the entrance to a big playground and then the entrance to the zoo. These are two separate parks so don’t make the mistake of going to the first entrance you see because you won’t find any animals there.
If you don’t like to walk to the zoo you can just take a petite taxi. These drive around in all big cities in Morocco and are usually very cheap if you do not get swindled. In Casablanca they tend to charge tourists to much so make sure you agree on a price before you get in. The trip from the train station to the zoo should not cost you more then 15 dirham. Finding a taxi back to the train station should also be no problem.
Shopping & Restaurants
Forget about having lunch or dinner or even a nice souvenir at the Ain Sebaa Zoo. You can buy an ice cream or have a soda. There is also lot of candy and toys for the kids.
Oh and also beware of the restroom. It might be the worst we have seen ever. If you think the ones in the trains in Morocco are bad you have seen nothing yet.