The safari programme of the Hortobágy Wildlife Park in the Hortobágy National Park has long been considered a special experience, but now a new safari car has been added to the service. The development was financed with a total of HUF 15 million, of which HUF 12 million was provided by the Hungarian government and the remaining HUF 3 million by the Hortobágy National Park Directorate (HNPI).
Most people think of safaris in the savannahs of Africa, but much closer to home, in the Hortobágy’s salt marshes, you can have a similar experience. Before the conquest of civilization, the Hortobágy area was home to large numbers of grazing ungulates, such as the primeval eland and wild horses. The descendants of these big animals can be seen up close by those who take part in the safari programme of the Hortobágy Wildlife Park.
Visitors will be taken on a small journey through time to learn about the habitat types and their fauna and flora. The tour, which lasts about 25-30 minutes, is in an open safari vehicle and takes you through the so-called Great Pasture, which is outside the Vadaspark’s pedestrian zone, accompanied by a guide. The programme includes detailed information about the different habitats and their associated species. Visitors will also have the opportunity to take nature photographs. “The wildlife park offers nature-oriented programmes where all generations can find a useful and valuable way to spend their time. And the new safari vehicle not only offers a unique experience but also increases the comfort of visitors,” said Máriusz Révész, the Government Commissioner for Active Hungary, at the inauguration.
The national park’s safari programme has had to manage with a specially converted 20-year Land Rover SUV, which was capable of carrying 8 passengers. Due to the vehicle’s high mileage and obsolete diesel engine, the service was often interrupted for weeks at a time during repairs.
“Our aim was to increase guest satisfaction,” said Dr. Zita Kovács, Director of the Hortobágy National Park Directorate. The Toyota Hilux Single Cab was converted by removing its platform in order to fit a special body with a roll-over system. To ensure the maximum safety of visitors, 7 special safety seats with 4-point safety belts were installed in the passenger compartment. The guest area is also equipped with a tarpaulin to protect against rain and light. An audio sound system with wireless microphones and loudspeakers supports the guided tour, allowing passengers to ask questions. The new car is petrol-powered, making it more suited to the terrain and the demands it is designed to meet. HNPI’s long-term plans include expanding the capacity of the safari programme with the purchase of a purely electric safari bus with a similar conversion.
The safari programme is weather and dependent, with a maximum of 7 participants. Registration is possible at the Wildlife Park gift shop, and for larger groups – over 15 people – in advance by phone (+36 30 383 1612) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In addition to the safari programme, the Hortobágy-Malomháza Wildlife Park offers an exhibition of the ancient wildlife of the wilderness, there is a gift shop, and a buffet, as well as a playground. The Wildlife Park is open all year round, but can only be visited in an organised way, with shuttles departing from the Shepherd Museum at the foot of the Nine Hole Bridge. Groups and individual visits out of season require advance booking.