Located next to Singapore Zoo, River Safari is Asia’s first and only river-themed wildlife park and the world’s largest freshwater aquarium. It was an eye-opening experience to visit the world’s most iconic rivers, with over 5,000 aquatic and land animals representing 300 species all in one place.
I arrived about at 9.30AM on a Monday, as I expected weekends would be crowded so I visited the River Safari on a weekday. This gives me plenty of time minus the crowd to explore the 8 iconic rivers around the world.
Started my journey at Mississippi River, it was feeding session at 10am, interesting to spot animals waiting to be fed, some very adorable while some rather cool and perhaps shy. It would require a little patience to snap amazing photos of them, here’s a recap of all the rivers with some facts I got from the website.
The Mississippi River is one of the largest river systems in North America, which flows through 10 states and is the world’s fourth longest river. Look out for the Beaver, Alligator Snapping Turtle and Mississippi Paddlefish.
Move on to The Congo River the deepest river in the world, going beyond 220 metres. Right here at River Safari The Congo River is a playground for some of the world’s most colourful fish. Spot the Congo Tetra, Giant Freshwater Puffer and Jewel Cichlid.
River Nile, world’s longest river at 6,650 kilometres, the Nile has brought life and wealth into Egypt since the Stone Age. Inspired by the lost world of ancient Egypt, this ‘River of Life’ at River Safari features creatures both spectacular and savage.
As you observe the submerged ruins, be on the alert for the fearsome tigerish and the curious looking giraffe catfish.
Ganges River, flowing through India and Bangladesh, with over 2,500 kilometres in length. The Ganges is most revered by followers of Hinduism, worshipped as a goddess known as Mother Ganga.
Inspired by the temples along Mother Ganga, this exhibit features Indian gharials, a myriad of colourful fishes and other aquatic life, including the intriguing goonch catfish.
Murray River, referred to as the “Food Bowl of Australia” with over 2,300 kilometre long. Murray River continues to cover one-seventh of the earth’s driest continent, flowing through lakes of varying salinity and contrasting landscapes before ending its journey at the Murray Mouth. At this exhibit, meet the majestic Murray cod, the largest freshwater fish in the continent, as well as the Australian lungfish which belongs to an ancient group of fishes.
The majestic Mekong River is certainly the “Mother of all Rivers”, as the Thais and Laotians call it, with at least 60 million people in Asia depending on it for fish and other resources.
Experience the charm of the Mekong at River Safari and get up close to some of the world’s largest freshwater animal species – the Mekong giant catfish and the giant freshwater stingray.
The Yangtze River, is Asia’s longest river and the world’s third longest. Yangtze is also known as Chang Jiang meaning Long River. Like the Mekong River, it gets its flow from the glaciers of the Tibetan plateau. At 6,300 kilometres long, it holds 40% of China’s freshwater resources and one-third of China’s population lives around the river. Admire some of the world’s most critically endangered wildlife that live within the Yangtze basin – the rare Chinese alligator and the prehistoric looking sturgeon.
Next exhibit, I believe is everyone’s favourite.
Giant Panda Forest, right here in River Safari is the largest panda exhibit in Southeast Asia. Spot giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia, both equally adorable. Spot giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia, both equally adorable.
Kai Kai above is constantly sleeping, so you just have to try your luck.
While Jia Jia is rather active. Walking around and kept posing.
While walking around the exhibit, look up and say hi to Red Panda as they curiously observe you from the branches on top.
Take a break, and enjoy a Panda bao!
After relaxing and a quick 15 minutes break, I went over the bridge to Amazon Flood Forest as I have another 30 minutes to spare before my Amazon River Quest boat ride.
For six months every year, seasonal rains sweep across the South American rainforest, resulting in an enormous rise in the water level of the Amazon basin. The water overflows, flooding the land and creating a water wonderland where the forest is submerged in over 10 metres of water. In this beautiful and mysterious underwater ecosystem, aquatic animals swim and live amidst the trees and plants until the waters recede.
A breathtaking moment to see this actual flood forest, I think the Singapore Wildlife Reserve did a great job in creating the atmosphere from being at underwater viewing galleries that will take you from the very bottom of the forest floor up to the water’s surface.
Spot the Giant River Otter.
Spotted rather cute looking Piranha, which didn’t looks fierce at all. No more than 30 centimetres long, it is known for its sharp, razor-like teeth that shreds its prey to pieces in seconds when it feeds in a large school. Its jaws are so tough that it can even bite through steel fishing hooks!
While exploring, there are some sections uncovered and are open, so be sure not to put your hands into the water…
And finally, the most anticipated part, Amazon River Quest for my boat ride. But we’ll pass through some Squirrel Monkey.
Enjoy up close and personal company from the friendly Squirrel Monkey in Squirrel Monkey Forest.
They are not shy at all and would look at you curiously, while hanging around with their friends.
The Amazon River is the second longest river in the world and the world’s largest river by volume of waterflow. Subject to extreme seasonal changes throughout the year, the width of this South American river can be as short as 4 kilometres in the dry season, and yet, it can swell up to a whopping 190 kilometres during the wet season! With dimensions so vast, this intriguing river is also known as the River Sea.
Embark on a boat adventure of the amazing Amazon River, let this ride take you down the South American wonder and into the mysterious Amazon wilderness.
Be sure to keep a sharp eye, spot the at close range of over 30 wildlife species that hail from one of the most diverse rainforest habitats of the world.
This unforgettable wet and wild journey will give you a truly unique perspective on life along the mighty river. You are adviced to keep all your digital devices such as mobile and cameras in your bag as at the start point you may get slightly wet, especially on the first row. Ride duration is 10 minutes, overall I find it to be interesting although the sun could be rather hot. Take note that Amazon River Quest boat ride is weather permitting, if it rains most likely the ride will be canceled.
Admission Fee: SGD $25 (Adult), $16 (child; 3-12 years old), $12 (Senior Citizen)
Amazon River Quest boat ride: SGD $5 (Adult), $3 (min 1.06m of height; 3-12 years old)
River Safari Operating Hours: 9AM till 6PM (last ticket sale at 5PM)
If you’re a wildlife adventure seeker, purchase the Park Hopper Specials pass to enjoy great savings and hop over to other parks such as Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari. For more information on Park Hopper Specials, click HERE.
Getting there: I was staying in W Hotel Singapore (Sentosa Cove) in Feb 2014 and it took me an estimated of 35 minutes with the Monday morning traffic by Cab, which cost me around SGD $30 but it was very convenient. For full detail on getting to River Safari, click HERE and depends on timing, there’s Singapore Attractions Express (SAEx®) which will have a few pick up site.
In addition, Singapore Zoo has a new app, download and stand to win exciting prizes from Singapore Zoo and Discovery Networks! Get it from Apple App Store.
Enjoy 5% off your tickets when you buy online, for full details on the various parks visit www.riversafari.com.sg. For updates and promotions on the various parks follow Wildlife Reserves Singapore on Facebook and Twitter @tweetWRS.