Hill Country wildlife preserve lets you meet and greet giraffes and rhinos

Cheetahs are expected to join the preserve in 2022

FREDERICKSBURG, Texas – Did you know there’s a 140-acre wildlife conservation preserve in the Texas Hill Country?

Founder Rick Barongi, a zoologist, director and conservationist founded Longneck Manor as a way to share his love of animals and Africa with people who may not otherwise get to go.

“Nothing can duplicate a real African safari and watching large herds of animals roam past you on a seemingly endless savannah,” said Barongi. “However, only a fraction of 1% of the American public will ever go on an African safari.”

Tours are available at Longneck manor for $95 a person and are limited to ten people per tour. Each tour is roughly 90 minutes and provides close-up encounters and photo opportunities with the giraffes and rhinos that live on the property.

Guests on the tour will be able to feed the giraffes and rhinos while they learn ways they can help save them from extinction, according to the manor website.

“After participating in more than 50 trips to over 18 African countries I have an in-depth knowledge of the challenges of wildlife conservation in many parts of Africa,” said Barongi. “Guests can be sure that the resources are going where they can have the most impact.”

Another option, albeit a more costly one, is an opportunity to stay in the giraffe suite. It’s a minimum two-night stay starting at $750 a night and accommodates up to five guests.

Windows in the master bedroom, living room and kitchen of the giraffe suite overlook the family giraffe stall, putting guests nose to nose with the animals. (Don’t worry, the air system is completely separate so you won’t have to smell the animals while you sleep.)

“I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know these iconic animals of the African savannah intimately over the past 45 years through my work in some of the best zoos and safari parks in the country. Ever mindful of my deep admiration and respect for these endangered species and my fears for their survival, I now want others to share this emotional experience at Longneck Manor,” said Barongi.

He said he hopes everyone who visits will “leave with a renewed sense of purpose for saving animals in the wild and join in the fight to save our planet and all its inhabitants.”

For Barongi, he said it all comes down to one of his favorite quotes from Dr. Seuss — “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

Longneck Manor is located at 1749 Beyer Road in Fredericksburg. It opened in July 2021.

In addition to the giraffes and white rhinos, Barongi is currently working to introduce cheetahs to Longneck Manor sometime this year.

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About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.