JEDDAH: For the first time in the Middle East, “Jungle Trek” was set for a real-life animal-watching experience, where visitors walk along shaded paths and can interact with exotic animals.
The trek is one of the Jeddah Jungle experiences as part of the Jeddah season.
Knowing the wildlife first-hand, visitors to Jeddah Season will also be able to enjoy an exciting Jeep safari experience and encounter seven different species of wild cats as well as other exotic animals.
On the Safari Game Drive, visitors can learn interesting facts about wild cats from the guide.
For example, lions are the only cats that live in packs – a pack can include 30 lions – and their roars can be heard up to 8 km away, with female lions being the main hunters.
Another fact: there are less than 2,000 Bengal tigers left in the wild, and their straps are just as unique as human fingerprints.
Tigers are an endangered species, grow faster than their orange counterparts, are rare, and occur once in every 10,000 births.
The golden tiger, also known as the strawberry tiger, is extinct in the wild. There are about 30 left, with Jeddah Jungle having three.
White lions are only born if the mother and father have the same gene, and the first recorded sighting was in 1938.
The liger – a breed of lion and tiger – with a mane like a lion and stripes like a tiger, is the largest known cat in the world, and there are less than 100 ligers left in the world.
Faisal Al-Rahili, an 18-year-old Saudi, has visited Jeddah Jungle five times since it opened. The teenager said he loved animals and grew up watching wildlife shows and channels such as Nat Geo Wild.
“I have always loved animals since my childhood, and this safari experience is the fulfillment of a childhood dream,” he told Arab News.
Al-Rahili’s favorite area is the Jungle Trek as it allows him to get up close and interact with a giraffe.
“I love everything about this place; it’s huge and there’s a place for every type of animal,” he said.
Six-year-old Saudi animal lover Omar Kaaki listed the big cats he has seen to Arab News.
“Along with a few tigers, lions and white lions, we also saw deer and a tiger with golden stripes,” Kaaki said.
“Cheetahs and tigers are my favorite animals,” he added.
The freshman asked his parents to take him to the jungle of Jeddah. His mother, Dareen Akbar, said the experience brought her son so much joy.
“He loves animals so much, as soon as we found out they were on safari in Jeddah, we came here,” she told Arab News.
“It’s a very nice experience, you don’t have to travel abroad to go on a safari and see the animals; you can take your kids to see the animals here in your country,” she said.
Indian engineer Mohammed Anish visited Jeddah Jungle with his wife and children for the first time.
“It’s a great place to spend some quality time with your family; my kids love animals,” he told Arab News.
“The Jeddah season is fantastic and provides a very good experience,” he said.
Visitors to the Jeddah Jungle can wear costumes symbolizing their favorite animals. This is an educational and entertaining initiative where children and young people compete in designing costumes for their favorite animals.
It also encourages them to learn more about these animals and get new information from the guides in the area, in addition to removing the fear of certain animals, learning to coexist with them and treating them as a friend of humans .
The Jeddah jungle is home to around 1,000 species of wild creatures, as well as 200 species of rare birds. It includes a reptile section, a bird section, a dog section and a farm, in addition to sections for shows and other services and an entertainment section.
The jungle areas of Jeddah are; Tram Station, Elephant Enclosure, Lighting Garden, Lucaland, Aviary, Taxidermy Museum, Reptile Land, Farm, Safari Game Drive, Jungle Trek and Park.
The park includes an adventure zone, a children’s playground, an open theater, an archery area, a paintball zone, a go-kart and a workshop zone.
The annual Jeddah Season festival aims to showcase the city’s rich heritage and culture through a total of 2,800 activities across nine zones during the event period.
Organized under the slogan Our Lovely Days, the second Jeddah Season follows the success of Riyadh Season, which recorded more than 15 million visits in five months.
The festival season offers 70 interactive experiences, over 60 recreational activities, seven Arabic and two international plays, marine events, a circus, four international exhibitions and a host of other options for families.