If you thought that taking a tram ride and watching the Creatures of the Night Show is all you can do at the Night Safari, think again.
The Night Safari, a park managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, is larger in size than the Singapore Zoo and is home to more than 2,500 animals, all of which are nocturnal or cathemeral (active both night and day).
Information panels and brochures at the Night Safari don’t tell you everything there is to see and can be difficult to make out in the darkness. If you want a more in-depth experience of the Night Safari, you might want a private guide with a zoology or naturalist background – and the Night Safari offers just that when you sign up for the award-winning Safari Adventurer Tour at $132 per adult. For an additional $60, you’ll get a buffet dinner and a chance to feed the elephants! (See details below.)
Alvin, Asher and I had the chance to try out the Classic Safari Adventurer Tour on a rainy Sunday evening with our guide Walter, who is a veterinarian by profession. Only three guides are available for booking – the other two guides work in the day zoo’s education department.
Walter explains that the tour is highly customised according to the customers’ requests and the weather. Usually, he would bring his group (no more than seven as that’s the maximum capacity of the buggy) to watch the earliest Creatures of the Night Show to get it out of the way. Then, he would bring them on a tour of the park. He may start with a walking trail – the Fishing Cat Trail is nearest to the entrance and brings one to native animals such as the civet cat and otters. Or he may herd the group onto his buggy and take them on the tram route to the East Lodge Trail, where all will disembark and walk to see the leopards and servals. Many animal enclosures are only accessible on foot and not by tram. The whole excursion will take about four hours.
That night, as the earliest timing of the Creatures of the Night Show was disrupted due to rain, we trundled off in the buggy to tour the park first. The perks of such an exclusive tour became apparent once Walter started sharing his intimate knowledge of animal behaviour with us. We got to stop at every animal exhibit to observe what the animals were doing, and even listen to the sounds they made.
Some interesting facts we learned during Walter’s tour:
- There are two different breeds of lions at the Night Safari: the Asian Lion and the White Lion. We were told that the White Lions were a gift from China, to commemorate the park’s 20th anniversary this year. Both are endangered. The male white lion has a fuller, shaggier mane than its Asian counterpart.
- Chawang, the older of two male elephants at the Night Safari, can be rather temperamental. He’s probably got a trick or two up his sleeve if you see him flapping his ears and swaying side to side.
What are the differences between touring the Night Safari on your own and participating in the Safari Adventurer Tour?
Mainly, the Safari Adventurer Tour allowed a personalised narrative and intimate sharing of animal and zoo trivia. Our guide Walter’s passion for animals was evident as he pointed out to us details about the enclosures and the animals’ behaviour, even faint sounds we would usually dismiss as natural background noise. The calling of the spotted hyena, the soft growl of the lions and the grunting of the babirusa would all have been lost to us if not for Walter. He also explained how the animals’ qualities and habits helped them survive in their natural habitats.
Other advantages include:
- Being able to skip the queue for the 35-minute tram ride and go on a private buggy tour lasting more than an hour
- The buggy can stop at every animal exhibit and for any duration while the tram ride only stops at certain stations for fixed durations
- If you take the Premium Safari Adventure Tour package, you will even get up close to feed the elephants!
Last year, the Night Safari was also a finalist of the “Best Learning & Travel Experience” at the Singapore Experience Awards for their Safari Adventurer Tour. The Awards honour outstanding experiences offered by individuals and organisations that have demonstrated the delivery of an exceptional customer experience in Singapore’s dynamic tourism sector.
So the next time you need to entertain an animal lover in town, please consider bringing him or her on this award-winning travel experience.
Here are details of the two Safari Adventurer Tour packages.
Classic Safari Adventurer Tour
|7.00pm – 10.00pm (Daily)||$132.00 (Adult)
$90.00 (Child 3 – 12 years old)*
Premium Safari Adventurer Tour
|6.30pm -10.30pm (Daily)||$192.00 (Adult)
$130.00 (Child 3 – 12 years old)*
To make reservations:
Call (65) 6269 3411 or
Email [email protected]
Reservations have to be made at least 1 week before the event. More details.