Dubai Municipality’s director-general Hussai Nasser Lootah told Gulf News:
“Our vision for this project, which is more than just a wildlife park, is to offer a highly engaging edutainment experience that fosters education on animal welfare, inspires a sense of learning about wildlife diversity and raises awareness on what makes wildlife protection a top priority.”
Various animals including white lions from Timbavati in South Africa, orange and white Siberian tigers, giraffes, chimpanzees, hippos, peacocks, ostriches, antelopes, crocodiles and even hyenas can already be seen at the park.
The park also features a drive-through 'waterbody experience', showing crocodiles and tigers. There is also water enclosure offering underwater views of a pygmy hippo.
Dubai Safari is also home to the UAE’s largest walk-through aviary, and its largest troop of baboons.
Tim Husband, technical director of Dubai Safari, said elephants and other animals would soon join. He said with more than 2,500 animals representing 250 species, Dubai Safari is home to the most diverse array of animal species in the UAE.
The first phase of the Dh1-billion project sprawling over 119 hectares in Al Warqa’a 5 includes Asian, African and Arabian villages and an open Safari Village that offers a guided safari drive.
The Asian, African and Arabian villages housing zoo enclosures of animals will be open from 9am to 9pm from Wednesday. However, the Safari Village where visitors can go for an open Safari drive will be open from 9am to 6pm, with tickets being issued only till 4pm.
The park replaces the 50-year-old Dubai Zoo which housed around 1,000 animals, birds and reptiles in Jumeirah 1. They were moved to Dubai Safari last month.