This, my friends, is the one. We have had long weekends away, walks and museums. We’ve even had the zoo. But this is, by far, the most exciting post I have ever written and you will ever, ever read. For this is my trip to the Night Safari. I have to warn you, before we start, that it was very dark at the Night Safari (being at night and all) and as such there aren’t that many photos, because not so many of them came out that well. The camera, like my eyes, doesn’t work well in low light. That will not stop me from going on about it, however! First, let’s begin the same way I began the blog about my trip to the regular zoo, with the journey there. I’m still mentally scarred from the horrific journey to the regular zoo and the idea of doing the MRT then bus thing again was slightly worrying to me. Luckily, there were quite a lot of us going and so we got a taxi. This was a good idea. Unlike the painfully long bus, which stopped every 500 yards all the way to the zoo, the taxi took a speedy 15 minutes and deposited us at our destination before we knew it.
I think I’m right in saying that the Singapore Night Safari is the first nighttime-only wildlife park in the world and floats pretty near the top of Trip Advisor’s ‘Things to do in Singapore’ list. It was, therefore, only right that I made a point of visiting, if only to see what all the fuss is about. Now, I love zoos, so I was pretty excited before we had even arrived. I was even more excited when we were eating dinner and got treated to one of the two nightly shows put on by the fire dancers. My excitement reached fever pitch when we were finally allowed to enter the zoo, at 9pm, and went straight to the Creatures of the Night show in the outdoor amphitheatre. This, however, was where I realised I would have a little problem in the Night Safari. As I’m sure a lot of you will know, my eyesight isn’t amazing. I’m fine in bright light but I’m almost useless in twilight when everything is a sort of beige-y grey. In the dark I’m slightly more capable but it’s still not amazing. I might have already mentioned that the Night Safari is a nighttime only zoo, inhabited almost entirely by nocturnal creatures, so it’s pretty dark. This means that I probably didn’t see half of the animals I was trying to see, even with my glasses, but I gave it a good go. The Creatures of the Night Show was ok, not amazing, but it gave us a chance to see hyena’s, wild cats, snakes and a bear cat thing sort-of up close, and they had otters recycling rubbish. Because Singapore is so futuristic that people don’t take out the bins, otters do.
There are walking trails and a tram in the Night Safari, but unlike the regular zoo the tram goes to parts of the park that people aren’t allowed to wander around. It also had a commentary by a very smooth voiced zoo keeper called Darren who could definitely make a career out of reading the shipping forecast. Not, I imagine, that he’d want to. The tram ride was 45 minutes that flew by, and I strained my eyes to see Asiatic and African lions, hyenas, a Malaysian tiger, elephants and about 500,000 types of deer. If there’s one thing I learned at the Night Safari, it’s that there are a hell of a lot of nocturnal species of deer. I’m not sure I managed to totally see everything, but I saw all the major things, including the incredibly majestic bull elephant and I was almost touched by a tapir, who just casually wandered past the tram like it was no big deal. Safe to say, we were pretty excited during the tram ride and spent the majority of it humming the Jurassic Park theme tune and hoping we wouldn’t suddenly be chased by a prehistoric creature.
After the tram we only had a few hours to whizz around the walking trails, and so we set off into the land of the wallaby’s, where they were just casually hopping about across the path, which was cool but also scary when it’s dark and you nearly trip over a wallaby. The elephants and lions were not on the walking trails, which was a shame as the tram didn’t stop to look at them properly, so I only got a fleeting glance, but we were scared to death by the lions on our way out as they were making a noise more appropriate to Jurassic Park that a South East Asian zoo, apparently their nightly protest at being put to bed. The walking trails did have some of the big animals, however. We missed the Malaysian tiger as he was hiding somewhere in the enclosure, but we did get a brief glimpse at some (very far away) lions, a sleeping clouded leopard and a giraffe and some zebras just hanging out together. Strangely, the zebra enclosure is opposite that of the African white lions, which seems a bit too much like the zoo are threatening the zebra in order to keep them in line. The giraffe also seemed convinced that the lamppost was actually a tree.
The Night Safari closes at midnight, so we didn’t have long to power around, but one final stop we managed to make was to the bat house which was very cool as the bats were all swooping about and eating fruit. I definitely prefer bats to flying foxes, they’re far less creepy. By this point we were practically being ushered out by the zoo keepers, but managed to stay in the zoo long enough to discover the Indian Gharial which kept appearing in its pool like a submarine and staring at us with its beady eyes. It was equal parts cool and terrifying, and I was just glad it couldn’t jump out of the river and eat me.
And, just like that, the Night Safari was over. It’s definitely a unique concept for a zoological park but is, of course, limited by the fact that it is very, very dark. Despite that I enjoyed my evening, and it’s a very different way to spend your Saturday night.
Leah Out X