Ever imagine yourself walking amongst the jungle at night while stumbling upon lions, hyenas, and asian elephants, whom are highlighted under a moonlit sky – but without the threat of being eaten?
Thats what the Singapore night safari is like. Situated right next to the famous Singapore Zoo, it makes for a great stop after a day at the zoo, although you better have a ton of energy left over. I prefer one day for each. I’ll admit I was pretty hesitant at first when choosing the night safari as one of our adventures in the great Asian city…err country. I’m not big on zoos as I prefer to see them in the wild and I figured there wasn’t much to see in a “night” zoo since it would be dark.
Boy was I wrong. We stumbled across golden cats, hippos, oryxes, barking deer, bantengs, gaurs, pelicans, tapirs, bharals, Himalayan tahrs, Marsh birds, mouse deer, babirusa, red river hogs, bongos, markhors, servals, rats, lions, tigers, and bears; OH MY!
My personal favorites included the bat cage where we were free to roam in a free-flying bat house. We were able to see huge flying foxes within inches of our faces, and had the opportunity to look at them closely as they hung upside down, cloaked in their vampire capes. We also loved the giraffes, the hyenas, and the fishing cats, who kept us in anticipation without any climax. This is because the cats just stare at the water for what seems like hours and just when it looks like they are gonna pounce on an unsuspecting fish…they don’t. However, the fishing cat trail doesn’t just bring you to these amazing creatures but will also introduce you to the Binturongs, whose natural scent smells like popcorn.
The Leopard trail on the other hand will bring you past Sri Lanken and clouded Leopards, malaysian civet cats, and even the Slow Loris; the only venomous primate in the world. You’ll also be rewarded with magical views of zebras and giraffes, whose hide tends to shine under the special lighting conditions.
All the animals are displayed under a calming moonlit effect, which adds a perfect romantic atmosphere to the place. The walking trails were the best part, allowing you to occasionally feel secluded in the “jungle”, while bumping into majestic wildlife at every corner. The tram ride is also a great experience as it brings you around to see animals you can’t see on the walking trails, such as my all-time favourite – the white-tusked asian elephant who looked like a true king as he stood high under a starry sky. His white tusks glowed like something out of a fairytale. The greater asian rhinoceros was also amazing to see and I somewhat confused it for a dinosaur crossed with a robot.
Some people told us that 2-3 hours were enough to explore the surroundings but for us, we could easily spend 5 hours without including the show, which is geared heavily towards young kids anyways. My suggestion (unless you’re with kids) is to skip the show and focus on walking the trails at a slow pace, taking in the peaceful ambience when you find yourself alone.
If you’re not one who will venture out into the wild jungles of Asia and Africa during the night to spot these amazing creatures, the night safari is practically your only chance to see these wonderful nocturnal animals up close, considering it’s the only night safari in the world.
Credits: All photos above are courtesy of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.