The River Safari is a park designed to show the exuberance and diversity of the world’s largest rivers and the ecosystems around it. Everything presented in a way that gets fun, enchant, inform and awaken in the visitor the need to conserve those biomes.
The park, built on an area of about 12,000 square meters bordering one of Singapore’s largest drinking water reserves, contains about 6,000 animals, including land and water, of about 200 different species, of which 40 are in danger of extinction. It also has about 400 species of plants that help shape the ecosystem of each of the exhibits.
The exhibits are spatially U-shaped. At the base of the U is the entrance to the park. A footbridge joins the ends of the U over the lake. One of the legs of the U contains the attractions that form the Rivers of The World complex, and the other leg holds the attractions of the Wild Amazon complex.
The attractions are presented in the shape of aquariums, terrariums and large nurseries, always trying to mimic the environment of origin of animals and plants exposed. All done with exquisite taste.
Rivers of the World!
The walk begins on the Mississippi River, the longest river in North America. In it, you can see beavers and three animals that seem pre historic: The alligator snapping turtle. The Atractosteus Spatula, fish with a history of more than 100 million years and with a long and full of sharp teeth that resemble an alligator mouth. And the paddlefish, which has an elongated, spatula-shaped nose (its huge mouth is the beginning of the nose and is open to trying to capture as many zooplanktons as possible).
It then touches the Congo River, the deepest river in Africa, which has its main attractions the dwarf crocodile. This does not exceed 1.6 meters in front of the almost 5 meters of the Nile crocodile, The Tetraodon Miurus (Congo Puffer) and a series of very colourful fish (such as Tetra or Jewel Cichlid)
The next stop is the Nile River, the longest river in the world. In it, you can see the African Tiger Fish, a relative of the piranhas, but much older, and that has great sharp teeth that gave him fame to be a fluvial monster and the Auchenoglanis Occidental (Giraffe Catfish). That when it is young presents a type of decoration of the skin similar to the one of a giraffe, in addition to other autochthonous species.
Further along is the sacred Ganges River, a center of a religious and social tradition in India. From there comes a crocodile long narrow nose (Indian Gharial) and the largest species of carnivore catfish, which reaches 1.6m and is known to attack humans. Today is in danger of extinction.
The next river is the Australian representative, the Murray River, where you can see the lungfish, Barramundi Australian, the largest freshwater fish in the continent. Can reach 1.8 meters and weigh 100kg and is in danger of extinction.
The Mekong River is the next stop, and what a stop! In addition to being able to watch crab-eating macaques (Snooker Crabs), which dive to get their food, you’ll be amazed by the large fishes that inhabit a 3-meter high tank and 540 cubic meters. Several Mekong giant catfish and giant freshwater mantas swim from one side of the aquarium to the other, doing justice to the name “giant.” It is a good time to rest during the visit to the River Safari and take advantage to contemplate these wonders of nature. It is one of the most beautiful points of the tour.
Further on is the Yangtze River, where the Chinese Alligator, whose species survive only 200 copies because of the destruction of their natural habitat, and the amphibian world’s largest, the Giant Salamander.
Along the Yangtze, the display is the Giant Panda Forest, another highlight of the visit to River Park. It is a biodome of about 1,500 square meters, with controlled temperature (from 18 to 22 degrees, an escape from the overwhelming heat of Singapore). In it lives a pair of giant pandas (Kai Kai and Jia Jia), a pair of red pandas and golden pheasants.
The visit is made using a raised walkway that crosses the great hall that mimics the panda’s forest. The great attractions of the place, which have brought many visits even before the opening of the River Safari, are the giant pandas but do not miss the equally lovely red pandas.
At the end of the visit to this biodome, you will pass by a store where you can buy souvenirs associated with pandas. At Mama Panda Kitchen, a restaurant attached to Szechuan-inspired Chinese food (spicier), you can eat stuffed Chinese bread (with the face of pandas); bamboo rice or shrimp dim sums.
The Wild Amazon is a sector dedicated entirely to the Amazon River Basin, whose strength and diversity are presented in three broad sections: Amazon River Quest, Squirrel Monkey Forest, and Amazon Flooded Forest.
The Amazon River Quest is a 10-minute stroll in a small boat by a water circuit of about 500 meters in length. It is the only attraction of the River Safari that is paid separately.
The attraction could be described as a walk through a zoo mounted on a small boat that follows the stream of flow. After boarding the ship, it is traced to a high point of the park to start down the artificial river through animal nurseries such as the jaguar, tapir, capybara, giant anteater, macaws, flamingos and iguanas.
It has everything to be a great attraction, but your experience will depend very much on the desire that the animals have to appear during the walk along the river, since the boat advances continuously, without stops on the way for a closer contemplation and some Animals hide among the vegetation.
A few steps further on is the Squirrel Monkey Forest, a large nursery where squirrel monkeys live side-by-side and approach visitors – neither physical contact with the monkeys nor feeding them is permitted.
The last, and in the opinion of the Guide, the best attraction of the entire River Safari is the Amazon Flooded Forest. In this area the idea is to show how the animals live in the flooded areas of the Amazon forest, going from the bottom of the river to its surface.
During the walk through the sector, which has an ascending route to reach the surface of the aquarium, you can also see other species of fish ubiquitous in the Amazon basin, such as piranhas, as well as eels and a couple of Amazon otters.
For those who were interested in Night Safari, the combination of River Safari in the middle of the afternoon and Night Safari at the beginning of the night is not only possible but highly recommended.