Over the school vacation in June, my sister and i brought the two monkeys out to River Safari; a promise i made to them eons ago that i can finally fulfill.
The word "almost" was due to the fact that i didn't manage to take the Amazon River Quest the last time as it was under maintenance! Given that the queue was surprisingly short at only five minutes; i took it upon myself to pay for the tickets of S$5 an adult and S$3 a child for the four of us.
Almost forgot - one must be above 1.06 meters tall to take the ride and i needed to measure the baby in our family. I know she's heavy but i honestly didn't know her height; she cleared the height restriction, thankfully.
Another likely dampener to the ride - weather and it wasn't assuring to note that there were black clouds looming in the sky above us.
Taking a long walk to the actual location where we can take the ride; even though i purposely planned for a weekday, i didn't expect the visitor number on a Friday to be so low.
It's called the River Quest for a reason; the original explorer's intention was to search for gold and cinnamon. For layman like us, our objective was just to catch sightings of the elusive creatures found along this 480-meter long tributary.
Interesting that the bull shark can also be found in the Amazon River and a pity that River Safari didn't keep one or two to pique our interest.
Over 200 tribes live at the Amazon Basin and there could be more that remains hidden as the basin is mind-blowing huge with dense forests that made exploration extremely challenging.
Five minutes' queue?! I think it's more a five minutes' walk as there's absolutely no one in the queue when we arrived and the staff members were just waiting for us.
The boat was for us only since there's no one immediately behind us. Excitedly, we had to sort out the seating arrangement as we couldn't let the kids be allocated a seat where there's no adult around.
Key information to remind the kids (and myself) again and again; remain seated at all times, keep my hands and legs within the boat and to supervise the kids. Honestly, i think i am the one who needs supervision. Haha.
Our journey begins.....
As the ride was a loop bringing us back eventually to the place where we embarked, the boat was given a lift to start on higher grounds and let gravity do the rest of the work.
The feeling i got was similar to that when i was taking the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure at Universal Studios Singapore (USS) and that's not good as i remember there's high chance of water damage for my camera!
Drop came and goes and it hardly caused any big wave and splash. The brats were however excited over the sudden downward tilt!
Meandering along the man-made tributary that's quiet on both ends on the hot afternoon despite the appearance of black clouds likely to derail our boat ride.
What the heck is a collared peccary? If not for the silhouette of a pig-like mammal, i am going to guess it's a bird species.
They are adorable! In spite of my love for pork, i do feel envious of those in other countries who can keep pigs as pets. Having said that, the collared peccary is no longer classified as suidae (the pig family).
Brown tufted capuchin that was too fast for my shutter.
You need a keen eye to spot the animals along the trail; a trait i would love to have yet am not blessed with. In the spider monkey enclosure, i didn't catch any sighting at all!
Occasional shelter from the sunlight.
I must be blind as i didn't spot any maned wolves as well! Okay, the weather was warm and they could have found a reclusive spot to hide from the sun.
Guanaco - looking more like a deer than a camel. Taking photographs was a real frustration as the boat simply cannot stop for me to compose the picture!
Second "waterfall" - the brats were not awfully thrilled by the animals and were happier with the drops we encountered along the quest.
Didn't spot the Brazilian tapir although there's the plain rhea standing right by the riverbank.
Main reason why i showed the above; because my eyesight was too bad to catch the sight of the cotton top tamarin! I can understand why some online reviews about the amazon river quest are negative but to put things in perspective, you wouldn't be guaranteed to see anything if you are in the wild.
Another cave with a sign partially hidden by the bush; "watch out for the jaguars". Please be assured that this was a safe ride and the only danger faced, aside from lightning strike in event of bad weather, is to get yourself wet.
Nothing so far.
I am getting bored; it must be a bad day as i can count, with one hand, the number of species we chanced upon in the quest. In the eyes of an explorer, i am a failure!
This was when i spotted the beautiful creature.
With a coat so shiny and stunning, i can understand the allure it has for some people. Did you manage to spot the second jaguar right behind?
One that resulted in shrieks and screams from the two monkey who were prepped to give their loudest; an action i frowned upon as we were in a zoo, not a theme park and i trust the animals would prefer to have their peace and quiet, where possible.
The above signage was placed at strategic locations throughout the ride and you would be blind not to spot it; i actually have a higher hit rate for the signs than the animals. If not for the discomfort of getting my feet wet, there's a risk i might venture out of the boat to take better pictures!
Flamingos on one side and capybara on the other. Those who read my post on Dusit Zoo in Bangkok would recollect the zen looking capybara.
World's largest rodents with an expression that's totally at peace.
Funny that this cave wasn't decorated to emulate the environment; it was just concrete walls with a CCTV to catch any visitors' misdeed.
Scarlet Ibis - fascinating that i managed to catch sightings of birds when they have the tendency to take flight much faster than a species without wings.
This bird appeared to be confused of its identity; hey you, you are not a flamingo!
Kissing iguanas - blurry picture thanks to the moving vessel and a lens that's not good enough. Okay, blame the photographer too for his lack of skill.
Coming to the end of our quest.
Throughout the ride, we felt that we were the only vessel given the absolute privilege of travelling along the "river" exclusively. Turned out there was a full boat right ahead of us!
"We are connected to the natural world. Caring for and protecting the natural world is the key to our survival" - words of wisdom that unfortunately don't sit in in many peoples' mind.
That's why the younger generation must be taught and educated from young to respect and care for the natural world; humans are the biggest destroyers but we can also be the strongest advocates.
Within River Safari
Map of the Ride
For the full blog post on River Safari,
please click here.