When we say ‘safari’, you think ‘Africa’, right?
Well, think again!
Thanks to a prolonged Chinese New Year break, we experienced our very first African wildlife adventure in Calauit Island, Palawan… in the Philippines! Calauit Island lies at the far north end of Busuanga Island, separated only by a large mangrove swamp.
To reach the remote Calauit Island from Coron town, we had the option to either take a four-hour boat ride or a three-hour drive plus a 10-minute boat transfer. Since we were planning to do some island hopping on the way back, we decided to travel by sea.
3.30 am. It’s time to board a traditional Filipino bangka to arrive on time to observe the animals grazing out in the open.
After a beautiful sunrise over the sea, the scenery changes from tropical beaches to African savanna.
At the entrance of the Calauit Safari Park, we are greeted by our guide who will share more about this very unique project.
Established in the 70s by former President Marcos, in an effort to preserve African wild animals from Kenya’s civil conflicts, Calauit Island was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1977. Sadly, not all imported animal species survived in their new Pacific home.
Today, African giraffes and zebras live in harmony with endemic Philippine animals like Calamian deers. They all roam freely in the verdant hills and plains of the island’s 3,700 hectares.
If elephants, rhino, or lions would have made it even more interesting, Calauit Safari Park gave us a little taste of Africa, right here in the Philippines.
We had the chance to feed giant giraffes. Did you know that giraffes can consume 33kg of food a day?!
We also discovered other creatures like a Philippine crocodile, white breasted eagles, porcupines, wild boars, and… a bearcat. This endangered native bearcat is famous for producing the world’s most expensive coffee. A coffee made from beans eaten and then defecated whole by the civet cat. Sounds lovely!
But Palawan has a lot more to offer: white sandy beaches, gorgeous limestone formations, vibrant coral gardens, turquoise sheltered lakes to name but a few as you will discover in our next post.