Big Cats After Hours
Discover what the animals are doing after sundown, only at Bali Safari & Marine Park...
Located on the outskirts of Denpasar, Bali Safari & Marine Park – which is relatively close to Gianyar and Sanur – is one of the must-see destinations when you are on the area, especially if you are looking for a break from visiting cultural sites in Ubud. For an ultimate unique experience, why don’t you come to the park after sunset and discover what the animals are up to when nighttime falls by taking the Bali Night Safari program? Being one of the signature activities at Bali Safari & Marine Park, the night safari has been running for more than two years, and has become one of the park’s leading programs along with the Safari Journey, Bali Agung Show, and Elephant Safari, as well as their dining venue and hotel; Tsavo Lion Restaurant and Mara River Safari Lodge.
The best time to come for the night safari is at 5.30 p.m. as you have to register first. The staff will then ask you to wait in the VIP lounge where you can enjoy a welcome drink while waiting for a shuttle bus. Or better yet, take photos with the iguanas next to the waiting room like I did during my visit since the waiting room was packed with adults and children already, all were buzzing with excitement.
When the shuttle bus arrives, it is time for you to embark on the first half of your Night Safari. Hop onto one of the buses that will take you straight to the first point of the walking safari. The walk around the small part of the park only takes 30 minutes. A guide will accompany you and explain all about the animals that live in that area. The walk starts at the komodo dragon exhibit, a lizard species that is indigenous to only a few islands in Eastern Indonesia, and is known for its ferocious reputation. However, komodos are ectothermic, meaning you will need a little bit of luck to see them during night time as most likely they will be hiding to retain their body warmth.
Another highlight of the walking safari is to see the white Bengal Tigers, one of the rarest animal species on earth, as you near to the end of the tour. Once the walking safari is done, the guide will take you to the second point of the Night Safari where you can see the big cats in action in the “wild”.
Rub the Belly
So, how do you do a night safari in the middle of a park that is designed resembling an African savannah with hungry tigers around? You will be put in a cage, of course! Yes, the Bali Night Safari is unique because visitors will have to get into an open truck that is especially designed with sturdy steel bars, making it more like a moving cage. This might make you feel as if you’re the one who is exhibited instead of a visitor who is about to tour the park, but this is probably the safest way to meet the lions and tigers.
Each truck can accommodate up to ten guests. You will also be accompanied by two or three staff member to explain all about the animals you encounter during the short trip in the “wild”. Bringing you right into the heart of African savannah exhibit, the moving cage will make you feel safe as you explore the nightlife of the animals. The staff also brings some small carrots for you to feed the herbivores like elephants and zebras while they are explaining the behavior of the animals.
As the truck moves closer to the Lion exhibit, the staff will remind you to keep your hands inside the cage (for obvious reasons). Once you are in the Lion’s nest and see the kings and queens of the jungle lying around, the staff will take out some slices of meat to feed them from inside the moving cage. It is snack time for the lions! Unfortunately, by the time I was in the lion’s exhibit area, the lioness seemed to be bored and was not really interested in the raw chicken meat. But it was still a great experience to see these lions up close and personal like that!
Moving on, the tiger exhibit offers the best experience during the night safari. Being active at night, the tigers happily ate their “snacks” – one of them even showed off a little bit by jumping onto the roof of the moving cage and walking around casually up there. The staff told us that we can rub the belly – and how could I resist it as tigers are basically adorable cats? My only concern was that if it took a leak while we were standing below it, but thankfully it didn’t – and I hope the tiger is trained enough to never do that so no one is unfortunate enough for that to happen.
After feeling the thrill of being up close and personal with the tigers and the lions and feeding all the animals, it is time for you to feed your own hungry belly. Just head to Nkuchiro Bar and enjoy an all-you-can- eat feast, which is included in the night safari package. Then continue the night by watching a fire dance and a puppet show titled “Afrika! Rhythm of Fire Show” for a superb ending to your night adventure in Bali Safari & Marine Park.
A little tip to keep you comfortable during your night safari; don’t forget to bring mosquito repellent. If you have not realized it yet, the night safari takes you to an open air space with a lot of trees and bushes – and mosquitos are inevitable. So, apply some mosquito repellent and enjoy discovering the animals’ nightlife at Bali Safari & Marine Park.
Bali Safari & Marine Park
Jalan Bypass Prof. Dr. Ida Bagus
Mantra Km. 19,8, Serongga, Gianyar
Contributor : Joseph Wang
Magazine issue > Action&Attraction