“Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba” If you have watched The Lion King before, then I’m sure you are familiar with this phrase from the Circle of Life soundtrack. This song wouldn’t stop playing in my head as I watched in awe all the magnificent creatures roaming freely around me, with nothing but thin steel bars standing between us.
Welcome to the African Safari Wildlife Park of Beppu in Oita Prefecture, where instead of the animals, the visitors are the ones who sit in a steel cage bus and have the chance to be up close and personal with the wild. The park can be accessed by a bus that runs from Beppu station, but before you hop on, be sure to visit the Beppu Tourist Information Center first, because they have SO MANY DISCOUNT TICKETS! There is even a full ticket set which includes the bus ride, and the entrance fee, but unfortunately it wasn’t available during Golden Week. Nonetheless, they still had other coupons which made my trip there much cheaper! It takes roughly one hour to reach the park from the station.
Upon arriving, I was ushered to the Jungle Bus ticket counter. Visitors have two options on how they wish to enter the park. They can either use their own car to drive into the compound, or take the Jungle Bus provided. Although it may seem exciting to drive in with your own car, visitors are strictly not allowed to leave their vehicle or even roll their windows down. These are REAL wild animals we are talking about, therefore for safety purposes we can understand why they are so strict! On the other hand, the ride on the Jungle Bus would be more thrilling because visitors will get the chance to feed the roaming animals!
The Jungle Bus was simply adorable. They were designed to look like an animal in the safari. There were tigers, zebras, I myself got to ride on the rhinoceros!
Visitors are given a plastic container with raw meat, orange slices as well as some food pellets when boarding the bus.
The ride took about 50 minutes and visitors were asked to go to the bathroom beforehand as there would not be any pit stops! The safari was divided into a few sections depending on the animals, the first being the Bear and Mountain Animals section. Here we had the chance to feed Barbary sheep, and American black bears! I had expected the bears to eat meat, but surprisingly we were told to feed them a brown cookie instead!
The next zone had lions!
The lionesses were pretty eager to get a treat from us, but the lions sat lazily under the trees instead!
Although we didn’t get to feed them, we also had a chance to see tigers and cheetahs too. After all the meat eaters, we continued on to the herbivores such as this beautiful giraffe which ate the oranges! Who knew?
As well as elephants, rhinoceros, and zebras too. The park also has a campground located within the compound for visitors who wish to spend the night. They can rent a teepee and REALLY experience the safari as an adventurer!
I have never been so eager to be chased by a wild animal before. The Jungle Bus ride was truly an amazing experience.
The park also features a petting zoo, with cat and dog salons, and pony rides for children. Visitors can also have a cuddle with Guinea pigs and hedgehogs as well! I was lucky to come during a Golden week limited time offer, and had a chance to take a picture with Shun, the park’s adorable lion cub.
Overall, this safari is enjoyable for both children and adults and is a must visit location for anyone in Beppu.
Website : http://www.africansafari.co.jp/