The Badoca Safari Park is one of the parks I know mainly through Parkscout.de, because a few years ago there was a report about a new Hafema Rafting ride. A few years later, I missed the entrance to the Safari Park; but who would have thought that the area was not properly developed and that the sandy path at the side of the road is the entrance to the park? For kilometres there was no exit and my navigation system wanted to send me on non-existent roads. Eventually I was able to turn around and a short time later I was standing in the car park of Badoca Safari Park.
At the cash desks I was then confronted with the opening and show times of the zoo and actually I would have had to turn back immediately, because both rafting and the safari tour would not have been feasible according to my schedule. Nevertheless I wanted to have a closer look at the Badoca Safari Park, and interestingly enough I had already explored half of the park before the official opening of the park.
It is really not a good omen when you can hardly show any animals as a safari park. The situation is even worse if you simply don’t use any of your spacious enclores. The two small aviaries should be seen as the highlight of the animal park, as birds are generally interesting and macaws are great to watch. You can also kill some time watching lemurs and wallabies.
The way over the bridge to the safari only makes sense if you really want to start the safari within a few minutes. It has a length of 45 minutes and is therefore about twice as long as Chessington Worlds of Adventures Zufari; however, due to the wooded area it is not as densely populated. If you can see animals at all is a question I cannot answer. Of course the safari is the most important part of a visit to Badoca Safari Park – there is not much more to do around here anyway.
Despite this fact, the park still manages to create very long paths. The Ilha dos grandes primatas, for example, was placed not far from the high street and thus at the end of the world. There, two of the three large enclosures were equipped with animals and only in very small populations. Also, the gardener had apparently not been out and about for a long time, because somehow everything was growing wildly around here.
Rafting Africano is now advertising Coca Cola and apparently doesn’t do much else. The two Euros you have to pay for the trip can certainly be understood, but an opening time of 14h00 – 15h00 is not really understandable. Unfortunately the layout of the ride is hardly visible from the outside. However, the rafting offers the whirlpool well-known from this manufacturer and therefore a promising ride.
Last but not least I watched the first few minutes of the birds of prey show, where a few birds were presented under a lot of Portuguese blah-blah. Annoyed about the bad sound quality of the show and because of my lack of language skills I left the show early and made my way back to Porto Airport.
The Badoca Safari Park certainly had its best times far behind. Lack of advertising, even just outside the park, missing animals and stupid opening hours of the attractions do not speak for the park. The relatively high entrance fee and the numerous up-charge offers leave an extremely bland aftertaste. Sure, a Segway safari is certainly fun, but why not include it in the entrance fee? At least the park had some potential at some point.
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