In the foothills of Jebel Hafit…

Al Ain Zoo offers some pretty wild opportunities to get close to its impressive collection of animal inhabitants. You can for example, stick your neck out and have breakfast with giraffes (Dhs252); play tug of war with a tiger; there will even be an option to break your fast with the Mufasa this Ramadan, through a very special ‘iftar with the lions’ experience.

But if you fancy getting out and seeing animals in a more natural setting, there is a safari encounter available, staged across a 217 hectare stretch of the Savanna-esque scrub-dashed foothills of Jebel Jais. There are a few flexible touring options available, priced from around Dhs210 — aboard either 20-seater safari trucks or private SUVs and your safari guide will be selected from a passionate team of Emiratis with a Wikipedic knowledge of the park’s wildlife.

Featured creatures

So what sorts of beautiful beasts can you expect to see out on there roaming around on the rolling plains? Some of the African continent’s famed Big Five — lions, white rhinos,  and giraffes. There are also zebra, wildebeest, springbok gazelle, sable antelope, kudu and and ostrich.

Night safaris

Ever wanted to know what lions get up to after dark? Presumably, it’s not night ‘cubbing’. But weak puns aside, at the Al Ain safari, you can book night safaris (on request), giving you insight into a whole new world of animal activity and behaviour.

For a brighter future

Conservation is a huge and inextricable element of what goes on at Al Ain Safari — with special, pioneering projects in the protection and propagation of species such as the scimitar oryx and the addax. This mission of preservation, of working towards a more sustainable tomorrow of course feeds into UAE Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision for the country.

Al Ain Zoo, safaris 9.30am to 5pm daily (season dependent), from Dhs210 (includes zoo acess). Tel: (800) 555, alainzoo.ae

Images: What’s On archive/Instagram