Approaching the gates of the brightly lit sanctuary, dazzling characters in an array of colors surrounded us in a warm welcome to the fourth annual Night Safari Mystica.
Held at the start of the school holidays, it wasn’t surprising to see a huge turnout of pre-schoolers, all prepared to sacrifice sleep to play with giraffes and forest fairies.
The all-new Mystica Quest is a series of 4 tasks that awards finishers with a glittering tumbler. The first station involved taking a selfie with the charming ‘raven’ at the front gates in order to obtain a blue wristband.
The 4 challenges might seem like child’s play but don’t be fooled, as the older crowd were no match for the little ones barely out of their diapers who shouted the answers so loud it might have awoken the sleeping beasts a few feet away.
We went past winding queues to get on a fully packed tram that brought us deeper into the wildlife reserve, passing many exotic nocturnals like the striped hyena and Indian wolf. Trail guardians were also ‘planted’ along the trail. This involved another facet of the Mystica quest, where you had to spot the color of the guardians’ twirling lights to obtain 1 of the 4 wristbands.
Part of the guided tour was a walk on the leopard trail that was full of cobwebs (arachnophobes beware), but it was worth the suffering when we saw 3 leopard siblings toying with each other during their feeding time. The majestic cats were the highlight of the night, as evident by the gawking visitors and their squeals of delight.
Venturing further down the main trail, it was evident that there was some miscommunication. We were supposed to have collected 4 wristbands but had only 3 on our wrists, with the elusive red wristband only available at a task held on the wallaby trail. But judging by the unoccupied trail guardians’ station, it seemed unlikely there would be anyone manning the wallaby route.
To add further insult to injury, the bulk of us who embarked on the leopard trail were more or less left alone afterwards, with no redemption options offered to us at the counter.
Feeling neglected and confused, we soon left the park, strangely missing any mosquito bites and a glittering tumbler. Meanwhile, we’ll make do with our triple-leopard sighting.
- Transport by car would be ideal, as the Night Safari is located pretty far away from civilization, and public transport takes about an hour from the nearest interchange (Choa Chu Kang Bus/MRT).
- Bring mosquito repellent. Prevention is better than a thousand bites.
- Pack light. As for cameras, your phone will suffice. You don’t want to be lugging extra lens and heavy DSLR around when no flash photography is allowed.
- Drink up. The Mystica trail and quest takes up at least 2 hours, and it’s good to keep hydrated.
- Be prepared for inclement weather and bring an umbrella. You won’t want to be caught in the rain surrounded by animals, trees, and creepy crawlies.
Venue: Night Safari
When: Every Friday and Saturday starting Nov 21 Nov to Dec 20 from 5.30 pm to 10 pm
Pricing: Tickets at $39 for adults and $25 for children (3-12 years old). Tertiary students age 17 and above enjoy 4 adult admission tickets at the price of 3
Photographs courtesy of Wildlife Reserves Singapore