(No.9, Vol.6,Nov-Dec 2016 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

A bit of Africa in Vietnam

Last month, I had a fantastic tour to Phu Quoc Island with my parents and colleagues. The Vinpearl Safari was on our must–visit plan. And it was really an unforgettable experience.
We arrived at the area at around 8am. As soon as we got off buses and headed to the entrance, the sound of drums boomed. I saw a troupe of black men and women dancing and singing, welcoming our group. The drums stirred up the mood of the visitors. Many of them, including old people, showed the appreciation and couldn’t keep from swaying and dancing with the performers.
I had heard praise and criticism about Vinpearl Safari and wished to go there to see it. The nature and animals living in the wild are not something one can see easily, except on TV. And I imagine it must be tremendous work and effort to open and develop such a park on the island. What I saw, I would recommend, especially if you have little kids.
Our group was riding the trolley touring the park, through and by the inhabited areas of the animals. Then we went in special buses with glass windows to go slowly, to see animals so close as if we could touch them. On the bus, the tour guide provided lots of information about each type of animals—their origin, their character, what they eat and how big they can be and occasionally story of a special animal. It was lively inside the bus with children shouting or commenting on a tiger or big lion so near, and people taking photos.
After visiting the areas of big animals, we attended the show with lots of demonstrations of birds’ talents. The MC at this show is very active and appealing. Her closing show about bow birds knowing how to collect waste quickly to keep the environment clean was very good. The message about love of nature and care for our environment was strong and penetrating.
This is Vietnam’s first Safari Park, where animals live and are taken care of in a relatively natural way, Vinpearl Safari on Phu Quoc Island has rare animals and diverse botanical systems from many different geo-ecological regions.

Located in the Long Beach area on the Phu Quoc’s west shore, Vinpearl Safari houses over 2000 animals, belonging to more than 150 rare and precious species from all over the world.In this model, the living space of Vinpearl Safari citizens is surrounded by moats filled with water, which imitate the harmony of their natural habitat.Exotic animals such as Bengali tigers, Arabian oryxes, addaxes, Madagascar lemurs, red flamingos, scarlet macaws, rhinos, giraffes, bison, iguanas, and ball pythons really feel at home here.
There are theme zones such as the Peacock Garden, Egret Garden, Starling Garden, and especially the elegant Red Flamingo Lake, that make the open zoo experience so remarkable. Visitors can mingle with lovely wild life in such a relaxed way.
Occupying a large area with diverse botanical content, each part of the Vinpearl Safari recreates a different ecosystem, suitable for the biological habits of each member species. Sitting in a reinforced bus, visitors can see lions, rhinos and zebras close-up, through a glass window. Being so close to lions playing on dry grass, watching a group of giraffes leisurely crossing the path, a rhino family enjoying a mud puddle while some drinking waterbucks nearby suddenly startle at the sound of a tiger thunderously roaring…all is so unforgettable.

Vinpearl Safari also offers many unique action-packed entertainment options, such as seeing daily animal shows, taking photographs with cute and friendly animals, or taking part in a dance of the Zulu, the largest ethnic group of South Africa.
Mr Tho, our tour guide told us “Coming from South Africa, the Zulu dance troop intended to stay only 10 days. But the beauty of Phu Quoc Vinpearl Safari has held them for nearly a year now”. Wild and vigorous , the Zulu dances never failed to clear all boundaries and distances to drag visitors into a whirlpool of boiling emotions and movements.
After nearly a year in operation, Phu Quoc Vinpearl Safari —Vietnam’s first semi-wild park— has become a second home for animals from all over the world, and it has begun to receive their descendants. With the care of Vinpearl Safari vets and staff, not only the Bengali tigers but also many other rare and precious animals have successfully reproduced here.
Vinpearl Safari is a gift for those who love travelling and exploring nature and wildlife. It has been a destination of choice for many domestic and foreign tourists to the beautiful Phu Quoc Island.”

By Longie Le
Photos provided by Vinpearl Safari