At Night in the Jungle - Night Safari

Mr C, and friends explore the jungle after dark on NIGHT SAFARI.

There is nothing like the thrill of walking through the jungle looking for a tiger and knowing they could be watching you already. 

Ashlan Gorse Cousteau

One of the many smartly-dressed and friendly zoo operators, Damian, met us at the gate to give us a few tips and much information about the Night Safari. We were there on a media pass to explore the NIGHT SAFARI, one of Wildlife Reserve Singapore’s most popular offerings. From the entrance to the trails to the food outlets to the washrooms, safe-distancing is an integral part of the experience. It is meticulously carried out and organized in a non–intrusive manner giving Covid safety priority, but not at the expense of enjoyment.

Not sure how to go about our nocturnal adventure with so many zoological treasures to be seen, we sought Damien’s advice. His plan took into account the various walking abilities of our party – two septuagenarians, a three-year-old, and Queen of the Jungle, Janiqueel. It was a good route that left us feeling like we had really experienced what the NIGHT SAFARI had to offer while leaving time for a snack and a cool drink afterward. By just past ten o’clock, we were on the way home.

That efficiency contains some good news and some bad. The good news is that the zoo, at any time, is as accessible and easy to get around that ever. The bad news is that the heightened accessibility these days is because visitor numbers are down by a surprising 80% because of the Covid-related downturn in tourism. Let’s hope the crowds will soon be back. Until then, though, one might as well take advantage of the situation and find the zoo as easy to get around in like never before.

Following Damien’s advice, we waited for the next showing of the CREATURES OF THE NIGHT presentation in the amphitheatre by taking a moonlit walk on the Wallaby Trail. The moonlight, by the way, is artificially designed by the same lighting experts responsible for the stage production of “Phantom of the Opera”. Pretty good credentials, right? Quiet and mysterious, the trail wound its way through zones for possums, sugar gliders, owls, and, of course, wallabies to the waterfall splashing over the Naracoorte Cave. This was truly a safari! Our short trek climaxed at the expansive home of the Malayan Tiger who majestically stalked in the moonlight.

Having reached our turnaround goal, we scampered back to be in time for the 20:30 showing of Creatures of the Night. We made it! It’s wise to be there early as seats are at a premium in these socially-distanced days …er, nights. Well-rehearsed, the human presenters and their animal co-stars gave a show highlighting the antics of the creatures while providing fun and easy descriptions of the jungle by night. Kids were delighted; older audiences were informed without condescension. We saw otters use the correct recycling bins for their trash. We saw a serval cat leap two meters into the air for its nighttime snack.  We saw huge owls spread their wings as wide as the distance serval had just leaped. Fast-paced and fun, the Creatures of the Night show is NOT to be missed.

Just outside the amphitheatre, we boarded the tinder-striped tram for a smooth, quiet ride through the night with animals at every turn. Giving a sense of the exoticism and variety we saw on our ride, here’s a list more or less in the order of our sightings: HIMALAYAN TAHR, BHARAL, MARKHOR, FLAMINGO, BARESINGHA, HYENE, ASIATIC LION, SLOTH BEAR, CAPE BUFFALO, HIPPOPOTOMOUS, WALLABY, TAPIR, ASIAN ELEPHANT, and lastly, a MALAYAN TIGER (brother of the one we walked to earlier). 

Probably the only zoo in the world to offer a nighttime experience like the one that amazed us, the NIGHT SAFARI is NOT TO BE MISSED.

Writing and research help from JKJ

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