The new Dubai Safari has been inundated with visitors in its first week. Over 100,000 people rushed to the unofficial opening of the Dh 1 billion wildlife attraction.

Dubai Safari had offered a free entry scheme in advance of its official opening and thousands of visitors jumped at the opportunity. Traffic was backed up outside the new attraction as guests queued to explore the new park.

The new wildlife attraction had previously planned to waive entry fees for the first fortnight as part of its soft opening. The idea was to iron out any potential problems before paid entry came into place. However the unforeseen rush has caused the safari to announce that it will introduce entry fees several days earlier than originally planned.

14,000 visitors rushed to visit in the first two days of its opening. The park tried introducing other restrictions to curb the flow. Initially it limited entrance to families alone. Then it tried closing the entrance gates early.

Dubai safari wildlife attraction

An overwhelming response to Dubai safari

“The response from the public was overwhelming,” said Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality. “During this testing phase, it gave us the opportunity to monitor and assess the overall operations of the park. We could also gather valuable feedback from visitors about their experience. This will contribute immensely towards further enhancing the overall offering of Dubai Safari.”

Visitors were inevitably disappointed at missing the chance for free entrance. “I was planning to spend the day here. But it sounds like it is impossible to enter,” Sachin Paul, who was queuing with his family, told The National. “Unfortunately, we will have to pay to enter the park when we visit it next week.”

An all-access pass is set to cost Dh85 for adults and Dh30 for children.

The park is home to the most diverse array of animals in Dubai. The first phase of the project includes 2,500 animals. These represent over 250 species including lions, tigers, gazelles, hippos, buffalo, hyena, flamingos, gorillas, and chimpanzees. Elephants, zebra and cheetahs are still awaited. Many animals have been transferred from the old Dubai Zoo, as blooloop recently reported.

There are four villages: African, Arabian, Asian and an Open Safari village (the Asian Village has not yet opened). Dubai Safari features the world’s first drive-through crocodile exhibit, and the UAE’s only drive-through hippo and tiger exhibits. It also possesses the UAE’s largest aviary.

The park plans a zoo keeping course for the future – a first for the UAE.

The attraction officially opens in January 2018.

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