Surpassing its futuristic architecture and dip into innovation, Dubai is a city that knows how to pluck out global experiences and have them make a grand appearance in its city. Taking inspiration from the African animal safari, Dubai re-created that experience by opening up its own Safari Park at Al Warqa 5.
Divided into different zones, each with its own geographical theme, the park boasts the African village, the Asian village, and Al Wadi. It was an unmissable opportunity, so during our visit to Dubai, we decided to drop it a visit and see if it was actually worth the hype.
Through our experience, we were able to create a guide that includes everything, from prices to dos and don’ts.
Arriving At The Entrance
Knowing that it’s a massive park of 119 hectares, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you have to get up early and arrive at 10 a.m. to visit the entire area, especially knowing that the park closes at 5 p.m.
On visiting the park, we found out that even if you arrive at 1 p.m., you’ll be able to visit the entire park before the clock strikes 5. Arriving at the entrance, we headed to the ticket counter, where a large glass-paneled display showcased four different packages to choose from.
We went for the 90-Dirham Safari Journey Package, which is probably the best option to truly experience the entire park. It has the actual replicated 35-minute safari bus tour as well as a 10-minute open bus Arabian desert safari experience. Along with that, you get free bus transportation to the entire park and its zones instead of having to walk.
The Must Go-Tos
Home to more than 3,000 animals, Dubai Safari Park is the perfect way to meet all the animals and learn new information about each one.
Across the park, the African village is a must-go-to, as it’s the biggest and has lots of animals, from lions to hippos, elephants, and giraffes.
At a typical zoo, there are square plaques in front of each cage with dense and boring information about the animals inside. Dubai Safari Park takes that boring technique and throws it out the window. Instead, you’ll find cool, interactive displays throughout the park.
For example, at the Chimpanzee House, they have a cool display of life-sized replicas of the hands of each type of ape, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans.
Guests get to place their hands on the replicated counterparts to compare their size to that of the monkeys. Turns out, the hands of the chimpanzee are very similar to our own.
Now, let’s take a journey to our next stop: Explorer Village, home to the safari journey experience.
Unlike animal safaris in Africa, where the tour is usually done in an open-aired jeep, in Dubai, you get the safari experience in the comfort of a bus with expansive glass windows for a full view of the animals.
This wasn’t just any bus, as throughout the 35-minute trip, it was close to the animals to the point where a tiger was right below us, and we could see the minute details of each of its large black stripes.
In addition to being so close to animals, such as getting an up-close look at a lion’s gaping mouth and teeth as he took a massive yawn while perched on a rock, we got to learn cool nuggets of information from the guide sitting at the front of the bus.
She taught us about animals as we passed through more than 25 zones and got to see everything from crocodiles, buffalos, lions, tigers, and hippos to rhinos, zebras, baboons, antelopes, hyenas, and giraffes.
After the safari tour, you’ll find yourself back at Explorer Village. For the adventurous souls, the giraffe feeding zone at the village is a must-do.
Bear in mind you’ll have to pay 15 Dirhams for a pack of 5 peeled carrots to feed the giraffe. Feeding them is quite the experience, as they have elongated purple tongues akin to octopus tentacles that wiggle and move at rapid speeds.
We decided to have fun with the experience by wafting the carrot left and right to tease the giraffe. It was fun seeing it swoop in with its tongue and slurp the entire carrot into its throat in a rapid motion.
For anyone who loves farm animals, this is the place to go since you’ll get to touch and play with cows, donkeys, goats, and chickens. We got to pat a baby cow that had these deep, large black coal eyes, which is an experience we always wanted to try.
Besides the farm, there’s a caged space that’s home to the green parakeet. On entering, you’re given sunflower seeds to feed the green parakeets.
It’s super fun, as you merely reach out to them with an open-faced palm full of seeds, and you’ll find them either plucking them out of your hand or jumping onto your wrist and nibbling on their favorite meal. If you’re lucky, you might find one on top of your head or on your shoulder if they’re feeling extra friendly.
The “Not Worth It” Experiences
The park is a great experience, and what’s indicative of that is there was only one zone that we felt wasn’t worth the visit: the Asian village. It’s not only small in size, but it also houses 4 animals, all of which you could barely see as they’re pretty inactive, especially the black bear, which was hiding and sleeping behind a massive bridge.
All in all, visiting Dubai Safari Park is a fun, unique, and out-of-the-box experience that can be enjoyed in the city. It’s also a great and interactive way to learn about several animals in a way that’s not boring and overtly educational.