Thursday, January 20, 2011

Travel Thursdays - Taman Safari - Jakarta, Indonesia

Taman safari in Jakarta is the most unique experience I have had – my heart went Yippee and I was 5 years old all over again during the course of the safari. 
Tam Safari is about 2 hours drive from Jakarta. It is part drive-through safari, part zoo, part children park. As we reached the gates of the safari, we saw young children with small carts of fresh young carrots (with the dirt still on them) standing on the sides of the road. ;Our driver finally stopped near one cute little boy and we bought the carrots from him. Beautiful and colorful animal sculptures on and around the gate greeted us with a big sign that said (guess what!) – “Taman Safari” obviously! We stopped at the gate to buy our tickets; we were handed our tickets and a park map and brochure after the park attendant asked us what language we needed the map/park guide in. The entrance fees are very reasonable (about $15).
We were then off for what proved to be an exciting adventure. Gates reminiscent of Jurassic Park opened up before us to reveal the first section which was filled with giraffes, camels, deer of all types and sizes, hippos and other herbivores. There were buffaloes with huge horns and astonishingly long tongues – we learned this by experience when one of these long tongues shot out of the mouth to grab the carrot that was still held in our hand inside the car (a little too close for comfort). And there were so many of them.There were waterfalls and little streams along our path and our car had to drive through these streams at various places making the experience of driving through a jungle safari more real along with the greenery all around there. We then reached the end of this section and the gates again opened ahead of us to reveal another set of closed gates. Now we were between two closed gates for a fraction of a minute. The second set of gates then opened to take us to the land of the cats – lions, tigers and more... and again we were awed by the sheer number of these animals here. One tiger apparently took a particular dislike to our car and walked slowly by our car along the side all the while baring its teeth at us and snarling while we were slowed down by other tigers strolling across the path in front of us. This tiger then stopped right behind our car and watched us for a long while still snarling. We don’t know what we did wrong. The lions were a little more laid back and were generally getting ready for their nap time as we saw them lounging on beds of grass like royalty (the kings and queens they are called).  We reached the end of the cat kingdom. Again the gates opened and closed and we reached the last section of the safari where more deer, impalas greeted us. Our driver parked the car finally near the bird park and we got off to see an elephant show that was in progress – the final 10 minutes of a 45 minute show – superb performance by the elephants included a fun patient and doctor skit where both actors were elephants. The elephants painted t-shirts and a few children in the audience were garlanded by the elephants with flower necklaces.
After this ended, we walked over to the bird safari where we strolled leisurely through lush tropics and saw and heard a huge colorful variety of birds. Lots of toucans and lots of parrots of before unseen colors. Beautiful sounds greeted us everywhere. Bats too!- in dark caves along our path.
We ended the bird safari and then went to the 'Take-photos-with-us' section where you can take photos with baby orangutans, tigers, lions and leopards. We took photos with the baby lion (not very small actually) and the leopard - it was a little scary -but the thrill was worth it. The baby orangutan was on a break. There was one enormous adult white tiger too waiting for a photo opp with us but I drew the line at this when DH wanted to go hug the white tiger too. We decided to take the mini-train ride through the park and zoo sections of Taman Safari (not the drive thru sections) before we left and there was a wonderful surprise in store for my son as part of the ride went through a long tunnel filled with life size roaring t-rexes and raptors and swaying brontosaurs and flying pteranodons! He was in dinoparadise. This ended our visit to the best safari in the world – Taman Safari.
Like I told one of my friends, “if you go to Jakarta this is a must see. In retrospect, Jakarta itself should be added to the list of must see places because of Taman Safari”

For more information on Taman Safari, you can visit http://www.tamansafari.com/
Note: This trip was done January 2008 on our way to India from the US.

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Love to hear from you! I do read all your comments and do reply whenever I can.. but I will definitely hop on over to visit you...