29 November 2014


The sun is already high. The Jakarta heat is menacing but I sit comfortably in an air-conditioned van. My camera is safe in my lap while the van cruises along the wide smooth road across the Jakarta highway. I am staring up at every passing advertisement and signs that I am unable to read, because everything is written in Bahasa Indonesia. I'm thinking of the elephants, zebras and lions. They are my ultimate picture of what to experience on a Safari. For me it is a devout moment. It is my first Safari.  I am extremely excited and I'm concentrating on the fact that I must get the best camera angles for every shot. On the other side on the highway a truck, carrying hundreds of water bottles, is leaning to one side. It has lost a tyre. Accompanying me, is British born, Australian native, Mangiwau: a total stranger-turned-friend and Indonesian resident Geologist. Our adventure begins at a quick shop where we pick up a couple of snacks and fruits for our trip. Next door there is a clothing factory. I am unable to resist. I end up shopping for about an hour or so. My bill totals to over 2 MILLION Rupiah. Yes! I can now say that I am a millionaire in this life. 
 Indonesia was the perfect way for me to begin my life living and travelling around the world. Maybe if I did not have such an adventurous start to my travels, I would not be so hooked into living this travel life. I've been to over 10 countries so far and I plan to visit many more!

Who said there are not many places to visit in Jakarta? Only a couple days before, sitting in the hotel lobby, in Jogjakarta, an Italian journalist had told me that there is not much to do in Jakarta. Technically Taman Safari Indonesia is not in Jakarta, but it’s close from Jakarta for tourists to go visit. It is about 1.5 hour drive from South Jakarta. However, there was heavy traffic on that side, so it took us something like 2 hours. Have I told how much I hate traffic jams…? We left South Jakarta around 11a.m. and arrived around 2p.m. The traffic after you get out of the toll road in Cisarua was congested as there is only one road with one lane each way which leads to the Safari from the toll road. There were pockets of heavy traffic, coming closer to the Safari. Vehicles were not moving, it was like a parking lot... and when they did move, they inched forward  and this continued for a few miles. 
Alas! Our van is before the Taman Safari Indonesia. Its exciting because we don't  know what`s around the next bend!

Taman Safari Indonesia or the Indonesian Safari Park is a conservation center as well as a modern zoological garden with various collections of flora and fauna. In this Park, I was more than fortunate to enjoy the beauty of it‘s nature, but also interact directly or watch the animals wander around freely. In Indonesia, Safari Parks are available in three provinces; Taman Safari I in Cisarua Bogor, West Java, Taman Safari II in Mount Arjuna, Prigen, East Java, and Taman Safari III (Bali Safari and Marine Park) in Serongga Gianyar, Bali. Among these three tourist sites, Taman Safari I in Bogor is the most famous site for domestic as well as foreign tourists. It was built in 1930 and previously called Radio Safari Garden and Taman Safari Televisi Indonesia. Taman Safari has a collection of animals from all over the world and local animals such as zebras, rhinoceros, bisons, sun bears, white tigers, elephants, etc. There are more than 2,500 animals in Taman Safari Bogor with hundreds of species currently being maintained. It was nothing less than amazing to see all these wonderful animals. 

Upon entering Taman Safari I notice all the sensational shady trees. Rain had fallen on and off, which certainly gave an attractive start to the atmosphere for my adventure in open nature. There are a handful of vehicles along the Safari trail. It is a week day, so not many people are there, but the amount is still considerable. This is great for us, since we don't fancy crowds. Driving our own van gave us the most control to stop to take pictures. I am loving the Safari because it makes me appreciate this wonderful world! The variations in the landscape are astounding. From high mountains and dormant volcanoes to shallow rivers and creeks. So much lush greenery, and purity in the air. It is heaven on earth. As we approach the lion's habitat it gets foggy and extremely cold. For a couple moments it feels like we are in a Safari movie, where we are about to be killed. Everything is quiet now. Only 5 meters in front of the van the majestic lion is yawning and looking at us with a lazily glance. We are not a threat I believe he is thinking. However, we still whisper and move slowly as we try to find different angles for our pictures. By now all visitors have their windows up and doors locked. Out of the corner of our eyes we spot another lion. He is walking slowly towards our vehicle. His eyes appear to be a deathly neon yellow. He is at the side of the window now and is only a couple inches shorter than the van's window. Wow. Safely, inside the van, I still get goosebumps. I've never had a lion this close to me before.

After passing all the Safari environments, watching and interacting with the animals in their habitats, we arrived at a free-zone where we parked our vehicle and proceed on foot. This free-zone offers a variety of themed rides and scheduled entertainments (the menacing tigers, the acrobatic seagulls, and the hunting eagles, to name three lol). There was also the bird park, animal education show, reptiles, baby zoo, elephant and horse riding, safari trek, and wild-wild west exhibits. Another interesting venue to see is Baby Zoo, where you could cuddle animal babies and take their pictures. 

My most memorable experience at the Safari was my Jumbo Jungle Adventure. Only in TAMAN SAFARI INDONESIA was I able to feel the sensation of adventure into the wilderness by riding a 48 year old Sumatra Elephant. We went through a river on elephant back, observed monkeys in the trees and bears down below. The elephant even stopped to relieve himself, and mind you his droppings sounded like rocks falling. It was a bumpy ride, which had me swaying in all directions, but nevertheless it was a once in a lifetime experience, riding such a huge animal.

At the free-zone area, there were about two Safari souvenir shops, which obviously meant I went shopping....again! After visiting such venues, we were so tired and hungry so we proceeded to the Rain Forest Restaurant to grab a bite. Having a late lunch, whilst elephants were casually walking around, it felt so natural and free. There is nothing cooler than experiencing the Safari up close in the open air! We had such a great time exploring. I love that we got prime views. No other experience brings you so close to the animals. The animals roam free, so each encounter is unique. especially since we were able to hand-feed the animals! What an experience! A once-in-a-lifetime experience viewing rhinos, zebras, lions, white tigers,  and other animals. The Safari is not only animals in the wild, but also just as much a fantastic nature experience. I think one of the most memorable things about the Safari trip was that we had only planned it a couple hours before we actually got there. Our initial plan was to go to Ancol ( a theme park and sea world), but because neither me (definitely not me!) nor my friend knew how to get there we decided on the Safari. No regrets there at all. Taman Safari Indonesia was incredibly fascinating, in terms of the interaction you get with animals as well as the ambiance. It's a definite 'MUST visit' when you visit Jakarta. 

This was my first Safari adventure  and instantly I fell in love. Everything about it filled me with joy – the genuinely warm friendly people, their culture, the amazing wildlife and the natural beauty  everywhere I turned. I know I am destined to return. It was awe-inspiring and unforgettable and had me yearning for more . Discovering the secrets of Asian wildlife in their own habitat is something so remarkable, you have to experience it in person. Not even my blog post ( although descriptive and accompanied by tons of pictures) can portray what a fantastic experience I had. I love this Safari because it gave me unique experiences and memories for life! If you have never been on a Safari, it should be on your bucket list for things to do before you die! For me its a CHECK!

Stayed tuned for my Safari video, soon to be posted on my Youtube Channel.

Evaluating before I take them off the rack.

Only in Indonesia can I easily be a MILLIONAIRE! (In the background, on the screen is my bill after shopping) 2 MILLION Rupiah!

I'm not naked anymore!

There are many stalls like this where you can buy food for animals before you get to the Taman Safari. We got about five bunches of carrots wherein which the prices were raised the further along we drove, but no worries. There were at least 10 of them right next to each other on the same road! I began to wonder how did they make a descent profit when everyone was literally selling the same thing.We also got some bunches of bananas which came in handy, since the bunches of carrots ran out.

Local vendor...happy she got that dough!

This guy captured my heart. I think he was really happy to see us. He was waving his ears.The big ears are to help the elephants stay cool. Elephants don't sweat, so they have a hard time dissipating excess heat (keeping cool). Their large ears contain many blood vessels that allow heat to escape into the air. 

When you see elephants they are usually moving their ears back and forth. This fanning helps to dissipate more heat than if their ears remained still. The enormous ears of elephants act as cooling devices. The gigantic ear flaps  are equipped with an intricate web of blood vessels. When the animal flaps its ears, the blood temperature lowers by as much as 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Feeding the llamas...

What a breath taking waterfall.

Seeing Hippos for the first time was so cool. Look at the baby! So adorable. They seem so calm, but believe you me they are quite alert and extremely dangerous. I once watched a documentary on Nat Geo about them, after seeing that documnetary I wondered why aren't they the kings of the jungle?! They've got the entire package.

Love these guys, so photogenic!

Curious little fella.

They just keep coming back for more....

Do you see the size of those horns??! Yeah...that's precisely why we didn't feed him. 

Beautiful skin though...

Reminded me of something out of Lord of The Rings or the Hobbit.

Baby bear.

Tall and handsome.

Lazing around. I remember at one point the only time I saw these guys was on TV.

This stream was so much more fascinating in person.

Old but not cold though.

Absolutely had a grand time with the zeebz...

His beard though...

My Anaconda don't want none unless you got buns hun! 

He was saying the carrots were so damn good, and if it was possible for him to be fed more.

Posing for a photo before he chows down that watermelon

Two bananas at once...whoah! These zeebz dont play.

Gorgeous black and white stripes.

That stare.

All up in my camera. Lovinggggggg his stripes ahhhhhhh!

Did you know each giraffe has a different pattern?

The giraffe is like... yo berrd you photo bombing me from the front?!

Having a drink of water...when we passed by...thanks for the candid Mr Bison.

In his own world...

Well what do we have here...this dude commands so much respect...geez...

These rhinos were big as fudddge! They were almost the size of our van!


Finally in free-zone exploring..

The sky carts....

Shopping once again!

All these prints had me going wonkas.

The chosen one.


Hanging with some dudes..




At the Rain Forest Restaurant...ready to stuff my face.

My new homie....

Coolest moment everrrrrr.


Is that poop in the background?! Yep! The guy's gonna get it.

No hands...

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