Dubai Safari Park
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Dubai Safari Park (new Dubai Zoo)
Dubai Safari Park (DS, DSP) is a new (in 2017) animal park established in Al Warqa area to replace the old Dubai Zoo which was located in Jumeirah 1 on Jumeirah Beach Rd. DSP is still a zoo, albeit much larger than the old zoo, not a drive-through wildlife park into which you take your own car. There are drive-around sections but you are a passenger in one of the Dubai Safari driven vehicles.
The Safari Park closed on 15 May 2018, initially for a few months so the animals could go on their summer holidays, but the park has remained closed since then. In Oct 2018 there were reports of the park opening soon but it didn't. No information as of Oct 2019 about a new opening date. Their website has a signup section to be notified of "Exciting changes coming soon". We signed up in 2018 but haven't received any notification of anything.
- There are a number of online reviews of visits to the Safari Park dated from 2019 which conflicts with the "Park Closed" information. Possibly the review was written in 2019 for a 2018 visit date. Some reviews sound like they are referring to a different zoo in the UAE. There are also many reviews from disgruntled visitors who didn't discover that the park was closed until arriving there. Check the official website before planning a trip there.
- Reopening delay is presumably related to the management change of the park in 2018, from Dubai Municipality to Meraas. In Apr 2018 a contract was signed with Parques Reunidos from Spain to operate Dubai Safari. In May 2018 the park was expected to close for 5 or 6 months.
Information and guide to Dubai Safari Park
The zoo is divided into several areas, mostly outdoors, so expect to be hot in summer. Entry ticket covers all of them except the Safari Village, which requires a separate ticket for the bus tour (airconditioned) through that area.
The zoo opened in Dec 2017 with limited facilities open and not very many animals but tickets were free for a week with nearly all 2 million inhabitants of Dubai trying to visit the zoo, resulting in most of them stuck in traffic jams and long queues. For a better experience, wait another month or three before visiting. Best time of year to visit is Nov-Mar, although midday times can still be quite hot. From Apr-Oct expect it to be either very hot or unbearably hot walking around, and from Jul-Sep expect it to be intolerable during the day even with the misting fans throughout the park. Bring an umbrella for the sun.
Safari Village is bus drive only. Arabian Village is train ride only. African Village can be viewed from a tram ride, but to see all of this area you'll still need to walk a bit. Allow at least half a day if you want to see everything (assuming it's all open when you read this). DubaiSafari suggests 4 hrs (Jan 2018, previously suggested 8 hrs). Add 2-3 hours queuing time for entrance and bus trips if it's busy.
- Adventure Valley: things to climb on (for humans, not animals).
- African Village, 12 ha: African animals, aviary, monkeys, gorillas, indoor reptile house, lions, flamingos, etc.
- Arabian Village: Arabian wolf, gazelle, more gazelles, ibex, mouflon, oryx, more oryxes (oryxi?), ostrich, more ostriches, a few more ostriches, saiga antelope (the one with the big nose).
- Can only be visited by sitting on safari park tram, no walk around?
- Asian Village: Gibbon, Moon Bear, Komodo Dragon.
- Kids' Farm: birds, chickens, cows, ducks, goats, horses, rabbits, turtles. Interactive exhibits and play areas.
- Safari Village, 22 ha (bus tour, additional ticket needed if not purchased at entry): big cats and other jungle animals - elephants, hippos, lions, tigers, etc. It is not possible to view animals without going on the tour bus, the area is fenced off. Was previously referred to as "Open Safari Village". Area of about 22 hectares.
- Safari Theater: animal shows. One or two theatres?
- Wadi Area: water and grass parkland. Previously called Wadi Valley?
Dubai Safari ticket prices and visitor information (Dec 2017)
- Wednesday is family-only day. No entry for single men or women. During the opening period, couples were also denied entry unless accompanied by at least one child. Not clear if that policy will continue.
- Adult entry AED 50, child entry AED 20 (children aged 3-12 years).
- Adult combination ticket (entry + Safari Village drive) AED 85, child combo ticket AED 30.
- Adult Safari Village drive (if purchased after entering park) AED 50, child AED 20.
- Free entry for adults over 60 years old, children under 3 years old, and People of Determination (disabled, special needs).
- Free wheelchairs for People of Determination if needed.
- Pets not allowed (no information provided about guide dogs). Sorry Fido, you'll have to stay home and watch Discovery Channel.
Dubai Safari opening times
- Daily from 0900-1700, last ticket sale 1500 or earlier if park is full.
- "Our operating hours are from 9am-5pm. Tickets sale stop at 3pm or when we reach the park's capacity" - DubaiSafari tweet on 08 Jan 2018.
- Daily from 0900-2100 according to Dubai Safari map and brochure, including all public holidays and weekends.
- Safari Village Trip 0900-1800 (brochure).
- Timings apply from Jan 2018?
- Daily from 0900-1700 according to Dubai Safari website. Was timings for the free entry period and soft opening in Dec 2017. Not updated? Website says last updated 11 December 2017.
- Ramadan hours not provided yet but they are likely to be different.
- Summer hours might be different, park open evenings only to avoid daytime heat?
Dubai Safari opening date and free entry period
- Soft-opening date Tue 12 Dec 2017. Official opening date planned for Jan 2018, but exact date not announced yet.
- Not all animals have arrived, or many of them are hiding from the crowds.
- Not all areas open, or unfinished, or not open every day. Some closures posted on the DubaiSafari Twitter account (e.g. Aviary closed 07-08 Jan 2018).
- Not all restaurants open?
- Long queues for Safari Village drive (expect to wait 1 hour or more), and combo tickets usually sold out by mid morning, possibly due partly to zoo opening date just before start of Christmas holidays. Weekdays in January 2018 after end of holiday period might be less busy. DubaiSafari Twitter account posts an update when combo tickets are sold out for the day.
- Display areas do not (yet) show animal names.
- Previous announced opening dates:
- 2017 Dec 02: "The opening date for Dubai Safari is scheduled for December 2 ..." in GN report 26 Oct 2017.
- 2017 Sep
- 2017 Apr - completion date and possible soft launch reported Jan 2017, but not open to public until Sep 2017.
- 2017 Jan
- 2016 year end (news reports Mar 2016 and Oct 2016).
- 2014 year end (news reports Apr 2013).
Dubai Safari free entry in Dec 2017
- Free entry for everyone from opening day on 12 Dec 2017 until 20 Dec 2017 ... except that most days were family only days.
- Initially the free entry period was announced as two weeks from 12-26 Dec 2017 but due to the large number of visitors, the final free day was changed to 20 Dec 2017, and from 16-20 Dec 2017 entry was restricted to families only (couples without children excluded).
- "... effective Thursday, 21 December, entrance to Dubai Safari will be ticketed." - DubaiSafari Twitter announcement 19 Dec 2017.
- DubaiSafari response to the many complaints about changing the final free entry date was "It will be ticketed starting Thursday to provide visitors of all ages a seamless and unique experience during their visit."
- The zoo closed early most days due to capacity limits reached. Parking difficult and long walk from entrance. Heavy traffic jams at entrances and nearby roads due to crowds. Long queues to enter and to board bus and tram tours inside the park.
Dubai Safari facilities
- Free wifi.
- Prayer rooms.
- Restaurants and cafes.
- Souvenir and gift shop.
- Toilets and baby changing facilities (for changing diapers, not trying to swap your sprog for a cute baby meerkat).
- Paid parking close to the main entrance. Free (?) parking further away with shuttle bus to entrance).
- Veterinary hospital with research centre and laboratory (not for public visitors).
Dubai Safari other information
- Size: Area is 119 hectares (some reports said 120 hectares). Al Ain Zoo is almost four times larger at 400 ha. The old Jumeirah Zoo size was about 1.5 hectare. Some news reports in 2013 said Dubai Safari size was planned as 400 ha.
- Contents include about 2500 animals from 250 different species (Dubai Safari information). Other reports gave figures of 2000, 3500, or 5000 animals at various times. GN report Jan 2017 said number was reduced from 5000 to 3500, and in Dec 2017 said 2500-3000 animals. Other reports say number will increase to 5000 on completion of Phase II or by 2020.
- Capacity about 10,000 visitors (human) daily.
- Total of 100,000 visitors in the first week of opening (12-19 Dec 2017).
- Project cost $1 billion (AED 3.7 billion) or AED 1 billion (conflicting press reports), or AED 150 million according to older press releases from 2013. AED 1 billion is probably the correct figure and was the most commonly reported figure in 2017. AED 3.7 billion sounds too high.
- Highlights or firsts or records include:
- First drive-through hippopotamus and tiger enclosure in the UAE.
- First drive-through crocodile enclosure in the world.
- Largest walk-in aviary in the UAE.
- First zoo in the UAE offering a zoo-keeping course.
Dubai Safari Park transport
- 4WD safari jeep or car for Open Safari Village. Dubai Municipality press release Mon 10 Oct 2016.
- [?] Bicycle, probably not for public visitors.
- Bus - minibus for Safari Village.
- Cars and trucks - maintenance vehicles for park use, not public use.
- Electric vehicles. About half the park vehicles will be EVs.
- Minibus - 4WD (?) for Safari Village tour.
- [?] Minivan.
- Train - air-conditioned version of the tram. Used for Safari Village tour?
- Tram - with road wheels and tyres, not on tracks. No a/c.
- 10 Apr 2017 GN report: "The movement of visitors will be through electric vehicles," said Khalid Al Suwaidi, director of the [Dubai] municipality’s leisure facilities department. ... Under the plans, electric cars, buses and a train will transport tourists between the different sections of the park.
Dubai Safari random information incorrect, odd, unconfirmed
- Airconditioned rocks?
- Butterfly dome or garden (2013 reports)?
- Dubai Safari Hotel?
- Golf course (2013 reports)? DM has a Safari Park Golf Course (18 holes with African themed clubhouse and restaurant) in their list of planned projects with 2019 expected completion date. Location off Tripoli Rd in Al Warqaa 5 behind Dubai Safari Park, total area given as about 1 million sq meters (about 100 ha or 250 acres).
- Phase II or later, American Village? Australian Village?
Visiting Dubai Safari Park in summer
Dubai Safari Park jobs and careers
- www.dubaisafari.ae/en/careers redirects you to www.dubaicareers.ae, the Dubai Government careers portal, priority given to UAE citizens for most jobs.
- portal.dm.gov.ae/RS/Career.jsp - Dubai Municipality jobs portal, lists a few Dubai Safari related jobs. Specialist positions or restricted to UAE nationals or both.
Dubai Safari personnel, contact and location details
- Location: corner of Ras Al Khor Rd (Hatta Rd) and Academic City St, opposite Dubai Desert Resort and Polo Club, Al Warqaa 5 area (Al Warquaa, Al Warqa'a). If driving out of Dubai, aim for Dragonmart and continue to the next large roundabout. Do a U-turn at the roundabout to come back towards Dubai, safari park entrance will be on your right.
- The new Dubai Zoo location was originally planned in Dubailand area but obviously plans change, and the project was shifted to the Al Warqaa location.
- Public transport:
- Nearest RTA bus route is E16 Dubai to Hatta bus, starting from Al Sabkha bus station. But the nearest bus stop is still a long walk (Awir Sewage Treatment Plant 1 & 2), and crossing the Ras Al Khor highway is difficult, dangerous, impossible, and/or illegal. Take a taxi.
- Or take one of the RTA bus routes to Dragonmart and then take a taxi from there to Dubai Safari Park.
- Contact number: tel Dubai Municipality 800-900 (toll-free in UAE).
- Makani reference: 43579 85527.
- Director or manager or technical director: Timothy Husband.
- Principal wildlife specialist: Dr Reza Khan.
- Director-general of Dubai Municipality (DM): Hussain Nasser Lootah.
- Director of DM Leisure Facilities Department: Khaled Al Suwaidi.
- Veterinary Director: Dr Steve Unwin.
- Parent category: attractions in Dubai, parks in Dubai, tourism in Dubai, theme parks in Dubai, things to do in Dubai.
- Child pages: none.
- Related pages: Al Ain Zoo, Dubai Aquarium, Dubai Dolphinarium, Dubai Zoo, Emirates Zoo, Sharjah Discovery Centre.
- Unrelated pages: Dubai Desert Safari (no page), Safari Kid Nursery.
Last update Tuesday 22-Oct-2019.
- www.dubaisafari.ae - Dubai Safari official website, in Arabic and English. Information all removed after park closed, only a "Coming Soon" page left.
- www.facebook.com/DubaiSafariOfficial/ - Dubai Safari FB page.
- www.instagram.com/dubaisafari/ - Dubai Safari Instagram page.
- www.twitter.com/DubaiSafari - Dubai Safari twittering.
- www.dubaisafaripark.ae - invalid domain or not available.
- www.dubaisafari.com - invalid or spam, not an official DSP domain.
- www.dubaisafaripark.com - invalid or spam, not an official DSP domain.
- www.instagram.com/dubaisafariofficial/ - Dubai Safari Instagram page not used or deleted.
- www.instagram.com/dubaisafaripark/ - not a Dubai Safari Park account?
- www.twitter.com/dubaisafariae - Dubai Safari tweetfeed account not used or deleted.
- www.youtube.com/user/DubaiSafariOfficial - Dubai Safari YT account not used or deleted.
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