Saturday, October 21, 2017

Japan Travel with Children - Kyushu - African Safari in Oita Beppu

In the usual zoos, the animals are kept in the enclosures or cages. However, in African Safari (アフリカサファリ) in Oita Prefecture of Kyushu, visitors are the ones who are kept in the cage! I mean, in the open zoo concept, the visitors travel in African Safari via Jungle Bus or their own vehicle! 

Look at the Jungle Bus! So cute!

I made the online reservation for Jungle Bus 3 months in advance. We reached African Safari early, and the staff offered us to take the Jungle Bus at the slot that was earlier than the reserved slot, of course we gladly agreed!

As we were boarding the Jungle Bus, each adult was given a tray of animal feed and the instruction sheet. There was a briefing on the bus, but since it was conducted in Japanese, we conducted our own briefing in English with our children.

At each enclosure, the Jungle Bus would stop at a few spots. We were excited to see that the animals walking towards our Jungle Bus when it stopped! Especially when we saw the lions!

The staff on the Jungle Bus introduced the animals to us in Japanese, how I wished I had a better command of Japanese language so that I could learn more about the animals! After the Jungle Bus tour which lasted for about an hour, we had an ice-cream before we continued to explore other parts of African Safari.

There was a petting zoo of small animals like guinea pigs. Our children took one guinea pig each, and while I was taking out my camera, I saw one of the guinea pigs running on the ground and looking terrified! Hao Hao actually dropped the guinea pig as he was very scared! In the end, I carried a guinea pig for the children to play with it. Well, I suffered from a bite as I was trying to turn the guinea pig to face our photographer aka DaDi, I was thankful that I was not injured as gloves were provided.

We asked our children whether they wanted to try the pony ride (500 yen), they decided to just feed the ponies.

We learnt that Capybara could poo poo into water, and then drank that water...

The most cooperative animal that I have ever seen. This kangaroo was stationary while I was taking photo of it!

There was a bakery that sold cute bread! 

There were cat salon and dog salon for up close and personal experience with cats and dogs respectively. However, extra cost was required for each salon (300 yen for adult, 200 yen for child). Since we were not very keen to play with cats and dogs, we gave it a miss. 

Another attraction was carrying new born lion cubs and taking photo with them. What a pity that during our visit, there was no new born lion cub available.

Jungle Bus fare is additional cost to the admission fee, but I feel that I would not just pay for admission fee without taking Jungle Bus, because there is nothing much to see in African Safari if you do not take the Jungle Bus!

The half day trip at African Safari is a unique experience, we rarely have such close encounter with the animals and to feed them, especially the lions! If you are self-driving, I would suggest that you take the Jungle Bus instead of driving your own vehicle, because you are not allowed to feed the animals from your car. Yes, I know it is much cheaper to drive, but it is worthwhile to spend a bit more to make the experience more memorable!

Useful Information about African Safari

Opening hour: 
1 March to 31 October - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
1 November to 28 February - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission: Adult (above 15 years old) 2500 yen, Child (above 4 years old) 1400 yen
Jungle Bus fare: Adult (above 15 years old) 1100 yen, Child (above 4 years old) 900 yen
Drive-in vehicle fare (include DVD): 600 yen per vehicle
How to get there using public transportation:
From Beppu, take Kamenoi Bus no. 41. Check the bus schedule here. Bus fare (one way) is 760 yen for adult, 380 yen for child. Read our Tips #2 below for how to save money! The bus journey is about 50 minutes.

Tips for Visiting African Safari: 
  1. Make online reservation of Jungle Bus 3 months in advance.
  2. If you are travelling from Beppu to African Safari via public transport, purchase the package which includes return bus trips between Beppu and African Safari + admission ticket + Jungle Bus at 3700 yen for adult, 2700 yen for secondary school student, 2150 yen for child. The package is sold at the tourist information counter located opposite Beppu Station gantry. (p.s. This information is not available in African Safari's English website, it is found in Japanese website.)

Our Japan (June 2017) Travelogue

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  1. Hi! I'm headed for Beppu next week and didn't realise the jungle bus was open for booking so early. Checked the booking page and the slots are full already. Do you know if I can still get jungle bus tickets on that day if I did not pre-book?

    1. Hi, there are more jungle buses slots in addition to those reflected on the online reservation system. But of course, it is based on first come first serve basis.

  2. Thanks for the information!!! Guess I will just have to head there earlier to try my luck! The booking system only shows 4 timings, every 1 hr from 11am-2pm, so earliest bus would be 11am, is that correct?

    1. If I understand the Japanese website correctly, on weekdays the frequency is every 20-30 minutes, while on weekends the frequency is every 10-15 minutes. There is no information on the first bus though.

  3. Hi, how long would you recommend to spend in the Safari? Is 3 hours enough?

    1. 3 hours should be enough - 1 hour for Jungle Bus, 2 hours for walking around

  4. Hi peipeihaohao, thanks for sharing so much information on your Kyushu trip. A quick check, where to go for reservation on the package that cover the return kamenoi bus+ jungle bus + safari entrance fee?

    1. Hi, as I mentioned in the blog post, you can buy from the tourist information counter at Bwppu Station.


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