WORK has started on the second phase of luxury accommodation at the West Midlands Safari Park, which will allow overnight stays with giraffes and white rhinos.

The Park can now go ahead with building eight two-storey lodges after planning permission was granted last week by Wyre Forest District Council's planning committee.

These will be the latest addition to the growing collection of safari lodges, with eight elephant and cheetah lodges opening in April this year, followed by two red panda cottages in June.

The white rhino lodges will sleep four people and will be the only experience of its kind in the UK. 

Managing Director, Chris Kelly said: "We're thrilled that planning has been granted for the next stage of our development. This will see new habitats, housing and facilities being built for our giraffes and white rhinos, enabling our brilliant team of wildlife keepers to continue the high standard of care they provide for our animals.

"Alongside the new animal facilities, we will be installing eight new lodges, four of which will offer spectacular views of the white rhinos, with the other half bringing you face-to-face with our beautiful giraffes, from the second-storey balconies.

"We're hoping that we have the same guest reaction for the new lodges as we had for our elephant and cheetah lodges and our Red Panda Cottages, which has been outstanding. We look forward to releasing more information on booking and an opening date, later in the year."

The introduction of the new lodges will see the Park update and improve the habitats of the animals, giving them 24-hour access to both their indoor and outdoor environments.

Pathways will also be installed so that day guests can go to see the giraffes and African elephants on foot – a first for the Park in its 44-year history.