- On November 25, 2017
Dubai Safari countdown begins KhaleejTimes
Next month, residents will be able to step outdoors and come face-to-face with over 2,500 animals of 250 species from all over the world.
The Dh1 billion project will provide visitors and residents a close encounter with animals in an open exhibit through four villages – African, Asian, Arabian and Open Safari Village, besides a Children’s Farm for just Dh30 for children and Dh85 for adults.
Khalid Al Suwaidi, director of leisure facilities at the Dubai Municipality, told Khaleej Times that Dubai Safari aims to be home to 5,000 animals by 2020, preparing its facilities to accommodate over 10,000 visitors a day. More animals will be brought in over the years to continue providing visitors with a new and fresh experience.
Visitors who choose to visit the villages, without heading to the Open Safari Village, will pay Dh20 for children and Dh50 for adults. Children under three, elderly above 60 and people of determination are exempted from entry ticket charges.
“The park was built for people, and that’s why we made the prices affordable for everyone to see. We want to create a culture of animal welfare and bring children in touch with animals through a unique experience at a young age,” said Al Suwaidi.
Moving around in electric trains and vehicles, visitors will come face-to-face with rhinoceroses, bears, giraffes, chimpanzees, gorillas, lions, monkeys, cheetahs, elephants, birds, crocodiles and reptiles spread over 119 hectares.
Al Suwaidi said the park was designed in a way to provide the atmosphere and feel of a rainforest jungle, with proper climates and architectural designs that represent featured regions and grouping of animals that naturally live within the same environment.
African village will feature savannah and the rainforest where animals and plants are distributed, whereas the Arab Village will be distinguished by the Bedouin Oasis at its centre, introducing many traditional activities like falconry, camel and horsemanship, taking visitors to experiences from all over the world.
Six restaurants and kiosks will be available at the adventure valley for people to relax and watch various fish and birds along the 2-km water passage.
“People will be in a train, watching as crocodiles swim around them in a lake,” said Al Suwaidi.
Animals sheltered, though, will be provided with special care. While the safari will be open all year-round, animals will be housed indoors and allowed out in space when temperatures go down.
Al Suwaidi noted that different zones and customised temperatures are provided to suit different animals. Cooling systems and adjusted water temperatures house crocodiles and elephants.
Over 300 employees, security guards and tour guides will be deployed around the park to ensure safe experience for families. Al Suwaidi said the park will operate using minimum resources and costs in efforts to achieve the government’s vision in being smart and sustainable.
“The strategic goal of the park is to preserve endangered species and provide them home. Our plan is conservation, education and entertainment,” said Al Suwaidi. He added that the park’s future programmes will help support research in innovative ways to preserve wildlife and endangered species.
Al Suwaidi noted specialised programmes for doctors and vets will help develop a generation of young experts in the field of animal welfare.
Park to harness renewable energy
The safari park rises over a former construction waste landfill which was levelled and reclaimed to provide a suitable site. From one tree planted back in 1993 to celebrate World Plantation Day, over 12,000 trees now stand tall to mark the wildlife park and reduce carbon footprint.
Al Suwaidi said paper tickets through selling counters on the premises will be provided, with an app designed to get tickets online. The system will eventually turn smart.
“During the first phase, we will be providing paper tickets, besides the app, for residents and tourists coming from abroad who are not necessarily familiar with the smart system. Eventually, it’ll only be a smart system where your smartphone will be your ticket,” noted Al Suwaidi.
He noted that the counters will also be available inside the premises in case visitors decide to buy last-minute tickets to Open Safari Village.
The layout took into consideration the flexible movement of visitors, whether on foot or through the use of various environment-friendly means of transportation such as electric tram, cable cars, bicycles or e-vehicles that will carry people inside the park or from the facility’s solar-panelled 3,600 parking lots.
The park’s ideal location will be used to generate electricity to operate irrigation system and all modes of transportation, as well as the leisure and entertainment facilities.