A Taste of Africa in Palm Desert

The sounds, sights and wildlife of Africa come to Palm Desert, Calif., this week when the $3.6-million Village WaTuTu opens at Living Desert Wildlife Park and Botanical Garden.

The three-acre area of the 1,200-acre park is designed around a thatch-roofed mock village with an African-cuisine restaurant and a market of African masks, shields, fabrics and other goods. The local menagerie includes two camels, two hyenas, a herd of addax antelope and an African aviary; two leopards are to arrive later. There will be a petting zoo with Tunis and Jacob sheep, Nigerian dwarf goats, Ankole cattle and guinea fowl. Palm, ficus and a variety of African plants dot the lot.

On Friday, the opening day, there will be a ceremony at 10 a.m. and music all day by the rhythm ensemble Mystique d’Afrique. The park is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $7.50 adults, $6.50 seniors and $3.50 children 3-12. Information: telephone (760) 346-5694.