My uncle and cousins are in the city so since the last week or so we have been on a sightseeing spree. Last Sunday on our itinerary was the "Night Safari" which we have been wanting to go since a long time.....
The safari was due to start at seven in the evening but we reached there a bit early around quarter past six. As we entered the area of the night safari we were immediately impressed. Torches, totems and chants created an atmosphere that was very "voodoo" and we were thrilled. A group "nomads" came dancing down a bridge chanting a repetitive "mantra". Seeing this Ibnat became a bit scared and looked at me and I assured here that there was nothing to be scared about.
Before queueing up I noticed that some people were putting on insect repellents. The thought of bringing an insect repellent for Ibnat did cross my mind but I did not bring it as I felt she should be used to mosquitoes and other insects as these are so common in our countries.
After waiting in the line for few minutes we boarded the tram which would take us around the Night Safari. The area was dark which actually added to our thrill and artificial light was put here and there but it was done very subtly.
A 45 minute tram ride took us through three continents:Asia, Africa and South America. First was the artificially created "Himalayan foothills" and it we saw "Bharal" which we mistakenly thought was "goat". We also saw "Markhor" which is a type of goat and has unique twisted horns. In the "Nepalese River Valley" we saw one horned Rhinoceros, pelican and jackals.
In the "Indian subcontinent" we saw "Gir Lion" and it looked very majestic even in the dark. Ibnat was thrilled as she loves looking at pictures of lion so for her a live lion is a dream come true! The "Barasingha" deers were lovely creatures and I was disappointed to know that they were endangered.
In Africa we saw cape giraffe and again Ibnat was visibly excited. She has always been fascinated by a giraffe's long and graceful neck.
In the Indo-Malayan region we saw the "Malayan Tiger" which looks exactly like Royal Bengal Tiger and so "mama" (uncle), my cousins and we all started talking about how Bangladesh could do something like the "Night Safari" and attract tourists as it is blessed with a rich and diverse wildlife. Then we realized that we were talking loudly and getting carried away so we again concentrated on the nocturnal creatures around us.
In the Asian Riverine area we saw the Asian elephant and one of the elephants had unusually large white tusks and we all stared at it in wonder. We would have stared longer at him had the tram moved a bit slower. In the South American Pampas we saw the amazing "Capybara" which looks like a giant mouse. It is the largest creature of the rodent family.In this area we also saw a large anteater which came really close to the tram.
At the end of the trip all of us were happy to have seen so many nocturnal creatures in their natural habitats. We also wondered how the safari authorities have kept the tigers and lions from gobbling up the deers and other animals!