Ramat Gan Safari has the most extensive collection of animals in the Middle East. Moreover, there are African territories with grazing herds.
Note: for additional info about animals and wildlife, check out Zoos and Aquariums in Israel.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Basic Info
- 2 Map
- 3 Opening Hours
- 4 Entrance Fee
- 5 Coupons
- 6 Tours
- 7 Feeding
- 8 Safari Morning Tour
- 9 Regular Visit at Ramat Gan Safari
- 10 When to Visit Ramat Gan Safari?
- 11 Summary
Avraham Krinitzi, Ramat Gan’s mayor, wanted to establish a park around the city. And in 1951, he established Ramat Gan National Park. Two years later, a small petting corner was created in the park.
Today the Safari extends over an area of around 1000 dunams. It has the most extensive collection of animals in the Middle East and is unique worldwide because of the vast herds that graze in the African park.
The word “Safari” originates from the Swahili language and means “a journey.” The idea is to invite visitors to join the journey following animals in African Savannah.
The Safari is located at Hatzvi Avenue 1, Ramat Gan.
Interactive map of the area:
- Hotels, hostels, and appartments in this area:
A short explanation of what you can find inside the Ramat Gan Geological Center. The center has two areas:
- In the open area, also called the African park, you can find different animals walking freely. You drive around on paved roads. Also, part of the African area has a closed space. That is the lion’s habitat.
- Inside the open area, there is also a zoo.
There is also an animal hospital, but you can visit it only on a dedicated tour. These tours are free but do not take place every day. Check the events schedule on the official site.
On a typical visit to the Safari, you drive through the open space. Then leave the car near the zoo and walk inside. And after a visit to the zoo, you drive back through the open area towards the exit. You can visit the lions before or after your visit to the zoo.
If you do not have a car, you can purchase an open train ticket to take you through the open area to the zoo and back. But, since it is an open train, it will not enter the lion’s territory.
|Month||Sunday – Thursday||Friday and Holiday eve||Saturday and Holidays|
|March||09:00 – 17:00||09:00 – 16:00||08:30 – 17:00|
|April||09:00 – 18:30||09:00 – 16:00||08:30 – 18:30|
|May and June||09:00 – 18:30||09:00 – 16:00||08:30 – 19:00|
|July||09:00 – 20:30||09:00 – 16:00||08:30 – 20:30|
|August||09:00 – 21:00||09:00 – 16:00||08:30 – 21:00|
|September||09:00 – 18:00||09:00 – 16:00||08:30 – 18:00|
|October||09:00 – 16:30||09:00 – 16:00||08:30 – 18:00|
|November, December, January, and February||09:00 – 16:30||09:00 – 16:00||08:30 – 16:30|
- Cash registers at the entrance are closed two hours before the closure time.
- In case of bad weather, the opening hours may change.
- The lion area is open from 10:00.
Note: Before visiting, you must book places or buy tickets at the official site.
Adult/Child – 89 NIS
Adult/Child when purchasing tickets at the official site – 78 NIS
Pensioner/Soldier/Student – 67 NIS
Train ride (for those who do not have a car) through the open area costs an extra 7 NIS.
- Children under the age of two do not need tickets.
- Opening hours, entrance fees, and coupons were updated in December 2022, and in any case, before visiting, recheck the official site.
- You can rent an electric club car inside the zoo. Here is the price list.
Usually, there are few coupons for Safari (though the number of offerings started to grow in recent years). But on multiple occasions, I was able to find discounted tickets. And the coupons reach up to 50%.
Currently available coupons:
- Credit Cards:
- Bank Leumi – 45 NIS per ticket
- Couponofesh – 69 NIS per ticket
- HTZone – starting from 55 NIS
You can find the complete list of organizations and unions that provide discounts here.
If you purchase discounted tickets, you must buy them beforehand (usually online) and then book your visit at the official site.
In recent years, Safari started to offer various tours (in addition to regular visits). The number of tours continually grows, and currently, there are:
- Safari morning tour – starts before the Safari opens to the public (usually at 7:30). During this three-hour tour, you get to learn and feed the animals. I have joined several of those tours and will show one later. The total ticket price is 77 NIS. Age restriction: above three years old.
- Memories from Africa – offers a fascinating journey following disappearing animals and forgotten tribes. And you will reveal stories about the connection between them. This 2.25-hour tour costs 72 NIS. Age restriction: above three years old.
- Night Safari – when the stars go out, you will embark on a guided night tour through the open African terrain and enjoy a rare opportunity to discover what the animals are doing during the night. The 2.25-hour tour costs 86 NIS and come with an age restriction of above five years old.
- Midnight Safari is similar to Night Safari, but it takes place later (around 22:00). It is a 2.25-hour tour, and the entrance fee is 96 NIS. Age restriction: above 18 years old.
Tickets for tours can be purchased on the official site. And I would suggest buying them in advance since they might run out.
During a regular visit, you can watch an animal feeding and get a short explanation regarding those animals. Here is the timetable:
Regular Days Feeding Timetable
11:00 – bears
11:30 – little monkeys
Noon – apes
13:00 – deer
13:45 – pelicans
14:00 – penguins
Saturday Feeding Timetable
10:00 – Deer
10:30 – Meerkats
11:00 – Bears
11:30 – Baboons
Noon – Chimpanzees
12:30 – Gorillas
12:30 – Giraffes
13:00 – Asian elephants
13:45 – Pelicans
14:00 – Penguins
14:15 – Gorillas
15:30 – Lion-tailed Macaque
15:45 – Bears
Note: this timetable was updated in December 2022.
And now, let’s start by joining Safari Morning Tour.
Safari Morning Tour
One of the benefits of this tour is that you start early (around 7:30). The tour starts before the Safari is open to the public while it is still not too hot. And the animals are more active. But before buying tickets, if you do not know Hebrew, check out what language the guided tour will be in (our tours were in Hebrew).
Also, note that if you plan to come without children, then you will probably be the only one 🙂
In the Open Area
Last week we attended such a tour. We started by riding the train into the open area. That is the time when they are feeding the animals.
And, of course, the rhino, the symbol of Ramat Gan Safari. But we will get to them later.
At The Zoo
After riding the train in the open area and receiving explanations from our guide, the train entered the zoo. We received explanations about different animals and had a chance to feed them. For example, we threw fruits and vegetables to bear territory (before their door to the open area was opened).
For me, the highlight of this tour was feeding giraffes with cabbage.
There are two ways to feed a giraffe. The “natural” one: giving food as if it is taken from a tree. Like in the following photo:
And the more courageous method is placing the food on your palm. But in that case, your hand will be wet with the giraffe’s saliva. The instructor told us that some believe this (being licked by a giraffe) is a good sign and brings luck for the next seven years.
This mother elephant with two babies is one of my favorite photos from that Safari morning tour:
Since small elephants can not cover themselves with dust, their mother does it for them.
Though I did not see the crocodile move, we were told that this was the real thing 🙂
The duration of the Safari morning tour was about three hours. After the tour, we were allowed to enter the Safari in our car (included in the morning tour price). So we made another round since we wanted to visit the lions.
Note: the train is open (it has no windows). Thus it does not enter the lions
After the Tour
We entered the open space once again in our car. And these are the photos I took on our way to the lions.
This rhino decided to make a mud bath:
When we reached the lions, it was already around 11:00 and boiling. So all lions lay in the shade:
Overall, we liked the Safari morning tour a lot. There are many advantages. The main ones are: you get a guide, you come early while it is not too hot, and you get to feed the animals. As long as kids are happy, their parents will be delighted. The only downside is the ticket price. But, since the difference in ticket price between the morning tour and the regular visit is not significant, I am leaning towards the morning tour. If you are planning to visit Safari and buy full-price tickets, consider the Safari morning tour. In my case, I purchased the tickets through a coupon, and the ticket price was 35 NIS per person (this is even cheaper than the regular entrance). So, it was worth it.
Safari Morning Tour – Three Years Later
We participated in the first Safari Morning Tour in the summer of 2014. In 2017, I had another chance to buy discounted tickets, so I did. In this part, I want to tell you about updates/changes in the tour from our February 2017 visit.
Overall the trip was quite similar. We started our train ride in the open area and headed to the zoo. But, since we had a different guide and saw slightly different animals, we were told different things. For example, do you know how baby zebra differentiates his mother from other zebras?
The form of stripes is unique, like a fingerprint. And each baby zebra knows the back stripes of his mother.
While we were next to the pond, this rhino ran straight toward our train. In such cases, a jeep is protecting the train, and the Safari keeper entered with his vehicle between the train and the rhino.
As it turns out, rhinos do not have good vision. They mostly use the smell sense. And he probably did not see us.
For reference, here is our train:
Since we mentioned rhinos, do you know what rhino horn is made of? I thought the horn was some bone, but actually, it is made of keratin, the same type of protein that makes up hair and fingernails.
The Parrot Story
One of the highlights (same as in the previous tour) was giraffe feeding. And after giraffe feeding, our program was different. For example, we were introduced to this parrot. As it turns out, parents bought this bird for a young girl. As that girl aged and reached 18, she went into the army. The parrot became very sad, and the girl’s parents finally brought it to Safari. Until this day, the parrot holds grudges, and if a woman tries to pet him, he bites (the biting is aimed only at women and not men). Parrots may live 40-50 years. So before taking a pet, think about the pet’s whole life and not only the near future.
Our tour lasted a little more than three hours. We were brought by train back to the entrance and then entered Safari’s back gate with our car (this entrance is included in the tour price).
Safari Morning Tour – 2018 update
The morning tour was pretty much the same. But each time, some of the activities are different. And this time, we got to see the pelican and penguin feeding.
Also, Safari workers started to make feeding in the afternoon. Thus if you are near the birds’ area, you can see the pelican and penguin feeding at 13:45 as part of a regular visit.
After the morning tour, we returned mainly to the lions. But they were lying far away and without a clear line of sight.
Rhinos Reproduction Program
Our guide told us that many people ask her how she works in a zoo as an animal lover. But Safari is not a zoo. It is a zoological center. They have many different programs for helping animals.
As it turns out, Safari is one of the only zoological centers in the world where rhinos reproduce. In September 2015, Safari’s 27 baby rhino was born. That increases the rhino population in zoos and zoological centers significantly. And who knows, they might release them one day into the wild.
So I guess this is why they selected the rhino as their logo and symbol.
The bottom line has not changed. If you love animals (and since you read this post, you probably do), then go for it (especially if you can get cheap tickets). We loved it!
Regular Visit at Ramat Gan Safari
I have visited Ramat Gan’s Safari many times before, but when I saw a deal offering a ticket for less than 30 NIS (while the usual ticket price was 67 NIS), I could not resist.
Here are several photos from the open area.
An interesting fact about Wildebeests is that they often graze in mixed herds with zebra. It gives heightened awareness of potential predators. Gnus are also alert to the warning signals emitted by other animals, such as baboons.
While driving through the African area, Safari workers ask people to close their windows. They are especially strict about it in the lion’s territory. Also, please do not feed the animals!
And as I always suggest, start early. Early in the morning, it is cooler, and the animals are more active during this time. We entered the Safari at around 9:30, and it was already quite warm. Thus I changed the usual visiting order. First, we visited the Safari animals, then we drove to the lions and only then went to the safari zoo.
But though I was hoping to see some actions, the lions were already in standard position, lying:
We exited the lion’s area and drove to the zoo.
In the open area, we saw a group of Arabian oryx. Looking at the Arabian oryx from the side, you see only one horn. I read theories that suggested that Arabian oryx were the base for unicorns (since when looking from a distance, you can see only one horn).
The Arabian oryx was extinct in the wild by the early 1970s, but was saved in zoos and private preserves, and was reintroduced into the wild starting in 1980.
In 1986, the Arabian oryx was classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List, and in 2011, it was the first animal to revert to vulnerable status after previously being listed as extinct in the wild.
The first animal at the zoo that we saw was the kangaroo. And I thought it was hotter in Australia 😉
If you like kangaroos, check out: Gan Garoo – Australian Park in Nir David.
We arrived just for the feeding time of the bats. Interestingly, I noticed that bats do everything upside down. They rest upside down and eat upside down. But there is one thing they do not do upside down. Do you know what it is? Take a look at the following photo:
One of the differences that occurred in Safari was the reorganization of the monkey area. They are changing older fences and water barriers to walls with windows. The Baboon area is one example of this change:
Somali wild ass is a subspecies of the African wild ass, and this species is believed to be the ancestor of the domestic donkey.
When the Giraffes finished eating the leaves they were given, one went to the zookeeper and asked for more. Here they are together:
Another change inside the safari zoo is construction of a new playground for children. The downside is that after several minutes there, your shoes will be full of sand.
We finished our visit to the zoo and drove through the safari area (towards the exit).
When to Visit Ramat Gan Safari?
It is always lovely to visit Ramat Gan Safari. Especially on colder days. But on one occasion, it was not one of such days. And it seems that the turtle does not mind the heat.
Note: did you know that there are Nile softshell turtles in Israel? See Turtle Bridge at Alexander River for additional details.
But it is hot for the elephant. Thus, this zoo worker decided to cool them down (it is hard to see, but the baby elephant is hiding behind his mother):
Chimpanzees get water from fruits and vegetables:
The lions are in their usual poses.
And most of the other animals were hiding in the shade, and there was no clear line of sight in many cases. Thus, the bottom line is, though you can visit Safari all year round, I would advise considering the weather and going during the colder days and less hot hours of the day.
Life is tough, especially on a hot day 😉
So the bottom line, come either early or late (not during midday), and prefer cooler days.
Note: most photos in this post were made using Tamron 200-500mm on D610.
Ramat Gan Safari is an excellent attraction for the whole family. And it is probably a must attraction for animal lovers. Moreover, if you want to upgrade your visit, then check out available tours. I would recommend Safari Morning Tour. I attended this tour three times and enjoyed each one. Moreover, my family, including my wife, kids, and parents, also liked it.
The only downside is the price. Coupons to Safari are rare, but you can find them occasionally (see the coupons section above).
Have you ever visited Ramat Gan Safari? Let us know in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
For additional attractions nearby, see Tel Aviv.
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.