Sharjah Safari opens: Embark on an African wildlife adventure with over 50,000 animals

The destination is located in the Al Bardi Reserve in Al Dhaid.



Supplied photos
Supplied photos

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Thu 17 Feb 2022, 9:04 PM

Last updated: Fri 18 Feb 2022, 5:07 PM

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to visit the king of the jungle right at his home in the wild? Get your boots and binoculars ready — as you can now experience an African safari adventure in Sharjah.

Sharjah Safari opened on Thursday, welcoming visitors to a wildlife sanctuary that is bigger than nearly 1,000 football pitches. Amid its jungle of 100,000 African acacia trees, hills and ponds, more than 50,000 animals reside — from lions to elephants, giraffes, crocodiles, you name it.

Herds and flocks of over 120 species call it home. The black rhino is one of the most critical and rarest animals in the safari.

In a span of five years, the world’s largest safari outside Africa was built in the oasis town of Al Dhaid. It was a mega project that cost nearly Dh1 billion, but Sharjah Safari is not like any other man-made animal habitat.

As he inaugurated the park, His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, stressed that the safari is a distinctive environment- friendly haven where animals can freely live and reproduce.

It has also provided at least 300 jobs for young men and women in the region, who can all help visitors enjoy the adventure and learn more about wild animals.

The eight-square-kilometre park is divided into 12 different environments which were all in- spired by different parts of Africa. They represent life and terrain in the continent and all the animals and birds that live in it.

The safari adventure — which may take two to six hours — starts with a unique walking experience to explore the wildlife endemic to the islands and archipelagos scattered along the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean.

Depending on the tickets visitors hold, which can be gold, silver or bronze, they are ushered into a truck, a minivan or a four-wheeler to enter the camp.

The second region, the Sahel, is represented by deserts, grass- lands and diverse wildlife. And once explorers reach the Savannah region, they can meet Scimitar oryxes and Dorcas gazelles, among other herds.

Luxury ticket holders get to continue the journey to the next village, the Serengeti — a place that is not for the faint of heart. Here, the brave ones can take selfies with the king of the jungle, who will be behind a glass panel.

A special camp is also available for visitors who would like to spend a little extra time in the wild.

Those who are lucky will be able to hear the loud thuds produced by the giant white rhinos as they walk around in the Kalahari village. And at Ngorongoro, visitors can see antelopes grazing around freely.

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Before exiting the safari camp, visitors are taken to Moremi village, where they can get up close and personal with some friendly giraffes under the shades of trees that are nearly 250 years old.

Moremi was inspired by the canyons and valleys of south- west Africa that were formed over centuries by the heavy monsoon rains.

Besides the huge, roaring animals, the sanctuary is also home to the feathery kind. Explorers will find flamingoes and other birds, as well as tortoises.

Entry tickets are divided into gold, silver, and bronze categories. The safari is open seven days a week, from 8.30am to 6.30pm.

Gold and silver ticket holders can enjoy a five to six-hour journey, while those with bronze passes can explore the place for two to three hours.

ayaz@khaleejtimes.com


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