River Safari


The first ever river-themed park in the world! That title (and the lure of giant Pandas Kaikai and Jiajia) compelled me to take a little trip down to Mandai to visit River Safari.

Since it was in December and the safari was still kind of new, I supposed the place would be swarming with tourists and locals, so we reached there early (at around 10am) to “book” our complimentary ride for the Amazon River Quest. We managed to get the 1.30pm slot. (Later on at 12pm, we saw that the day’s slots for the Amazon River Quest was fully booked! It was indeed a wise move to arrive early.)

First up, Mississippi River (boy, I’m glad I spelled it right on the first go without using spellchecker or autocorrect). The beavers were rather elusive, hiding out in their dark cozy little corner. We managed to spot them but it was hard getting a good photo. The Mississippi paddlefish and alligator gar were quite intriguing. The alligator snapping turtle seemed like it stepped out of some Jurassic Park movie!

 The Congo River was kind of boring. Though they had colourful fishes and all, they didn’t really appeal to me much. The alligators looked lazy and immobile, and the pufferfish was just… like any other fish.

At the Nile River exhibit, the giraffe catfish was cool. Their barbels (whiskers) were rather cute-looking. Though it was said that this particular species of catfish is gentle, I most definitely wouldn’t want to try swimming in a tank of them.

The Ganges River proved to be quite exciting, for we saw the Indian gharials when 2 of the staff members entered the enclosure to test the water. It was freakishly scary watching one trying to distract the giants using a branch when the female staff squatted at the water’s edge with her instruments. Being old morbid me, I suddenly thought of all the documentaries featuring crocodile attacks.

We totally breezed past the Murray River exhibit (nothing much there anyway, besides the African lungfish…) and headed straight towards the Mekong River exhibit. The huge enclosure, with its floor-to-ceiling glass panels, reminded me of S.E.A. aquarium. It was amazing watching the stingrays glide effortlessly through the waters and the Mekong giant catfish awed me with its size. Sadly, t was too dark and reflective to take a decent photo though. The crab-eating macaques seemed really curious, with this particular one peering through the fence at us and attempting to grab at the leaves outside.

Yangtze River: I’ll let the pictures do the speaking for now.

The Chinese salamander looked like lumps of rock so it wasn’t really nice on photos. I’ll just skip it.
As we went further into the exhibits, we managed to see squirrel monkeys in the Squirrel Monkey Forest during their feeding time.

The jaguarundi looked like some domestic cat.

The anaconda just looks threatening and fat… And being such a hardcore Harry Potter fan, I couldn’t resist saying hi in Parseltongue, that is, gibberish hissing. haha.

The Giant Panda Forest was really cool! The Red Pandas were so hyperactive and kept running around the enclosure. This really intrepid fella even made its way up the branch above the visitors’ heads to peer at us inquisitively. TOO CUTE.

Sleepy panda Kaikai was just rolling about in his own bed of bamboos. Life must be pretty enjoyable as a panda there…

We went on to other smaller exhibits…

The red-bellied piranhas sure looked hungry to me.

Manatees in the Amazon Flooded Forest. We went there during the feeding session so the manatees were all crowded around the staff. Man, they were really huge. The largest weighed up to 1.2 tonnes, I think.

The highlight of the day must be the Amazon River Quest. It brought me up close to the animals in their enclosures, and it was really cool looking at spider monkeys, flamingos, and etc while on the mini boat ride. We failed to see the wolves and the anteater though. It kind of reminded me of the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios. The few slides and splashes added some thrill-factor to the ride. It was a pity we didn’t get to choose our seats for we were allocated them by the staff there. =(

Overall, it was a pretty good experience. =) I’d rate it a 4/5 and if I had to choose between S.E.A Aquarium and this, give me River Safari anytime!

River Safari
1. Arrive early to book slots for the Amazon River Quest ride. (As in, early in the morning, before lunch)
2. Lunch is expensive and it’s going to be really crowded. Even KFC outside the zoo costs much more than that in other areas in Singapore. Brace yourselves to burn a hole in your pockets.
3. Though it says head for the River Quest ride 15 minutes before your slot, go there half an hour earlier anyway since the queues will be hideously long and it’s going to take ages before it’s your turn. That’ll ensure you won’t miss out on your ride.
4. Bring along insect repellents. Shoo mosquitoes! >: (

Information on River SafariOpens from 9am to 6pm

80 Mandai LakeRoad Singapore 729826
(Located right beside Singapore Zoo)
Parking fees are capped at $8 per day.

TicketsDiscounted rate: S$25 (adult), S$16 (child between 3-12 years) and $12.50 (local senior citizens 60 years and above).

Normal: S$35 (adult), S$23 (child between 3-12 years), and $17.50 (local senior citizens 60 years and above).

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