Zoolander : Land Rover Singapore's 'Camping at the Zoo'

By davidkhoo, 27 June 2019

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Land Rover Singapore takes some owners for a walk on the wild side at the Singapore Zoo

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Singapore - As Land Rover owners, we’re better accustomed to our cars leading the headlong charge into adventure. However, local Land Rover distributor, Wearnes Automotive, has added a twist to the familiar formula...

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In conjunction with the Wildlife Reserves Singapore, the Father’s Day weekend during the June school holidays was used to organise'Camping at the Zoo’, where the owners and their families would be the ones to face nature.

(We rumble off-road in Utah during the launch of the Discovery 5... click HERE to read about it)

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We reckon it’s far more enriching for the soul to venture outside our comfort zones and into the thick and grit of real (wild)life, as opposed to watching artfully choreographed depictions of reality on telly, or worse, whiling away an entire weekend in a shopping mall.

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(The Discovery 4's split-opening tailgate is perfect for a quick rest before setting off)

This excursion saw about ten Land Rover owners and their families (the total tally of adults and children was just about 40) take a walk on the wild side at the Singapore Zoo, which even included a night spent camping by the banks of the Upper Seletar Reservoir to catch a postcard-perfect sunrise the following morning.

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True to Land Rover’s spirit of tackling life’s challenges and the unknown head-on, the participants were granted'behind-the-scenes’ access and hands-on interaction with the zoo’s more eclectic creatures from the 'Reptopia' exhibit, such as a crested gecko and baby boa.

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We also enjoyed the colourful anecdotes and in-depth knowledge of the zoo’s denizens from our personal tour guides, and of course, campfire-style camaraderie with the other attendees.

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The compact, two-day immersive'private tour’ experience also included'express pass’ shortcuts for the Night Safari tram ride and the'Creatures of the Night’ show, as well as breakfast with a family of orangutans on the last day at the Ah Meng Bistro, named posthumously after the zoo’s most famous orangutan resident and beloved poster-girl.

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The kids in the group bonded quickly, and became firm friends before half the day was even over, and this is certainly in keeping with the spirit of the go-everywhere Land Rover, because it helps make the world a smaller place.

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The passion for the brand may be the common bond shared by the owners, but it is the human interaction that creates lasting memories.

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43-year-old Mr. Terence Ng, a Discovery Sport owner who was there with his wife and two children, said, “I’m looking forward to the next excursion with Land Rover. Hopefully, we can take our cars off-road for an even more intense experience since that’s what they’re built to do!”

(Click HERE to read about our drive of the Land Rover Discovery Sport)

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Our minders Anthony and Sophie (in addition to the full crew behind-the-scenes) spread their infectious enthusiasm for wildlife and took attentive care of the two groups under their charge: Under Anthony’s care was'Chawang’, named for the elephant that serves as park icon for the Night Safari, while Sophie led'Jubilee’ – named after the first giraffe to be born at the zoo in 2015, incidentally the year of Singapore’s SG50 celebrations.

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(This father-son duo really got into the swing of things!)

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In true Land Rover form, it’s all about experiencing the great outdoors, erm outdoors, and as the orange glow of the late afternoon made way for dusk, we received a crash-course in tent-pitching to ensure we would have a roof over our heads for the night when we did crash, since we were clearly expected to make our beds and sleep in it.

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My daughter and I opted for the au naturel option and set up camp on a grassy slope – instead of the sheltered tiled-area – sans padded sleeping bag and hot shower, as we took a gamble to brave the rainstorm that was forecast for the night; even though it would have been cool to experience a tropical deluge in the open, we’re half thankful it didn’t materialise!

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(We reckon this beats a mall or movie any day...)

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(This stunning view greeted the ones who got up early)

The rainforest in the water catchment area is teeming with life at night, and it’s an amazing and novel experience for us city slickers to be in the thick of it, especially if you’re bonding with the kid through thick and thin.

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After all, the best way to cultivate a holistic appreciation for Mother Nature is to spend more time with her, and this is something that segues perfectly with the essence of the Land Rover brand.

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PHOTOS Wearnes Automotive / David Khoo