Former farmer Karl-Åke Karlsson has been in the moose safari drive-thru business ever since he sold his domestic animals in the 1990s and got a moose. All tourists are requested to stay in the car. This rule does not apply to Karl-Åke. He is very much at one with the herd, and unlike you, he’s allowed to go up to them and pet them whenever he likes.
Karl-Åke has given most of his moose old-fashioned Swedish female names such as Marie-Louise, Hedvig, and Kerstin. “They accept me,” Karl-Åke says, “but it depends on their mood. If they turn their ears back and roll their eyes I know I should stay away.” Sounds wise. You don’t want to get on the grumpy side of these ginormous prehistoric-looking animals.
Welcome to the moose safari! Every year more than 20,000 visitors come to Markaryd to visit and steal the moose signs along the way. Hardly any of them are Swedish though. That would be silly since most of Sweden is a virtual moose safari anyway.
If you come to Markaryd, Karl-Åke will give you a 100% guarantee of seeing moose. It is impossible to go through the 15-hectare park without spotting at least one lovable, slightly aggressive, huge, gray mutt. Sometimes the moose will simply walk up to the vehicles and, if the window is open, stick their head in and look for food.
This is Karl the moose, the father of all the other moose in the park. His horns are short right now, because he just shed them. Since March they’ve been growing about one centimeter a day. They’ll be fully-grown come fall, and then he’ll shed them again next spring.