I knew that I was in for a wild adventure when I accepted Wildlife Reserves Singapore invitation to River Safari, the newest addition to their portfolio of award-winning parks. Hailed as Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park, it occupied 12 hectares and houses one of the world’s largest collections of freshwater animals. River Safari is home to over 150 plant species and 5,000 animal specimens representing 300 animal species. To view the map of the entire park, click here.
According to the map, we will be travelling through eight of the world’s most iconic rivers ranging from the Mississippi, Nile, Mekong, Yangtze to the Amazon rivers. It’s a pity that the park’s boat rides will not be available until later this year as they are undergoing technical adjustments. Sounds like one hell of a journey, let’s take in the calm and scenic greenery of the park from its entrance before putting our first foot in.
We soon found ourselves at the Mississippi River where we came face to face with the unusual spatula-snouted Mississippi Paddlefish. Its snout does resembles those dragonboat paddles that are so commonly seen at our own local rivers.
Alligator Gars are prehistoric river monsters that survived since 100 millions years ago. They didn’t look that ancient and I was rather surprise that they react instinctively to hand movements – just like the Luo Hans that my mom used to rear at home!
According to the keepers, these predatory fishes are highly aggressive and snaps up their prey within split seconds in the wild. Looks like they have been having it all too easy here….
Next, we ventured up the Congo River where an African Dwarf Crocodile was happily bathing under the noon sun.
We walked right up to the Giant Puffer Fish at The Nile River. Don’t be fooled by its cute & innocent appearance. Till date, there is no available antidote for puffer fish’s toxin and just a single puffer fish can kill up to 30 adult human beings! Doesn’t look that yummy now right?
Indian Gharials are getting their daily morsels at the Ganges River!
If I were one of these monsters, I might seriously toy with the idea of giving the guy a bite for some entertainment.
The Giant Catfishes are the highlights of Mekong River. They are one of the world’s largest freshwater fish with potential to grow up to 3 meters in length and 295 kg in weight.
I deliberately included Shaiful, our guide from Wildlife Reserves Singapore in the photo to show the size of these humongous fishes!
The Lesser Adjutant Stork perched high up in its enclosure which was located just a few steps away from these catfishes. I almost walked past without noticing its presence.
We chanced upon the Crab Eating Macaque along the way to the Yangtze River. Small and agile, it was quite a challenge to catch a glimpse of these skilled primates. We do have something in common though… we both love crabs.
Before you head for the Giant Pandas, sit down and enjoy the creative performances by River Safari staffs and their animal friends. It’s an absolute hit with children.
Yangtze River houses one of the highlights of the River Safari. The 1,500 square meters Giant Panda Forest at the Yangtze River is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. This S$8.6 million exhibit simulates our lovely Pandas Kai Kai & Jia Jia natural habitat with lush plants, boulders and water features. The temperature is kept between 18 – 22 degrees Celsius year-round to ensure their comfort. That’s Kai Kai taking a lazy afternoon nap. Jia Jia on the other hand has retreated back to her private room. Not the most active guys around….
Spotted! Other than our Panda stars, 2 of our adorable Red Pandas who lived alongside with the colourful golden pheasant.
There was also a display of Kai Kai & Jia Jia daily menu for our reference. Very nutritious indeed.
We had our own quick lunch at Mama Panda Kitchen, a fast food concept restaurant that serves these super cute Giant Panda Buns! Taste wise, it just normal red bean paste buns. 2 can share a bun just for fun.
The main fillers comprising of bamboo rice and noodles sets that comes with fried lotus roots, puddings and a really adorable Panda cup with purchase of any soft drinks!
After our hearty lunch, we crossed the bridge over to our Amazon River Quest! This picturesque setting is so not Singapore!
We paid homage to the infamous Squirrel Monkey Forest where visitors were pre-warned to keep their personal belongings safely out of the reach from its mischievous residents. Even our guide decided he will wait for us outside for this attraction.
They are literally jumping about everywhere and are hardly afraid of humans. The raw upfront encounter with these energetic Squirrel Monkeys was an awesome experience.
The Giant Rivers Otters guards the entrance to our final stop – The Amazon Flooded Forest.
They are the world’s largest otter and can grow up to 1.8 meters in length and 34 kg in weight. Despite its size, they were swimming gracefully around and over our heads as we pass the tunnel.
Some of nature’s horrors greeted us as we walked to the manatees enclosure.
Red-bellied Piranhas were really focused when they stare at you. You will probably be their next meal if not for the glass.
Will you have been able to spot this creature in the wild?
The Amazon Flooded Forest houses the world’s largest freshwater aquarium with a volume of 2,000 cubic meters. It has the world’s largest viewing panel for a freshwater aquarium measuring 22 metres (length) by 4 metres (height), providing visitors with an immersive Amazonian underwater forest experience.
Over 18 animal species, including the Manatee and Arapaima, are featured in this aquatic display. The view was simply breathtaking.
As you sit back to take in the graceful interaction of the manatees, remember to look up for the Freshwater Stingrays hovering above you.
Help, we have been swallowed whole by an giant stingray!
The Amazon River Quest, a boat ride which meanders through a 483 meters man-made river will brings visitors up-close to over 30 animal species that live along the edges of the Amazon River including the Jaguar, Brazilian Tapir, Capybara and Giant Anteater. Unfortunately, the park’s boat rides will not be available until later in 2013 as they are still undergoing technical adjustments.
If you are keen to discover the exotic wildlife found in these eight iconic river habitats, here are the full details for your visit:
River Safari Singapore
Address: 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore 729826
Operating Hours: 9am to 6pm Daily
Official Tickets Prices: S$35 (Adult), S$23 (Child between 3-12 years) & $17.50 (Senior citizen above 60 years).
Soft Launch Ticket Prices: S$25 (Adult), S$16 (Child between 3-12 years) and $12.50 (Senior citizen above 60 years).
Visitors can purchase tickets at Singapore Zoo and River Safari’s ticket booth. River Safari extends free admission to beneficiaries of selected programmes by Voluntary Welfare Organisations. For details, please visit River Safari website .
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here.