Reviewed: Zufari at Chessington
James Hardiker takes a look at the new Zufari ride at Chessington World of Adventures..
On a sunny Easter Sunday, we got chance to head to Chessington World of Adventures to ride their new attraction for 2013 ~ Zufari Ride into Africa. Zufari is located on the Wagama Reserve which you`ll need to access via the entrance to the flying jumbos / medical centre. Once there you`ll find a well themed attraction entrance.
Upon entering the cattle pen style queue line, you`ll soon come to a Pre-ride presentation. Here the expedition leader and a friend brief you and asks that you become part of a research team. This experience itself is interesting as the animation interacts with guests having them prove themselves worthy enough to be a part of the team.
When you are released from the briefing you soon find an All terrain Vehicle for your ride out into an unchartered area of Africa. Each vehicle is fitted with 6 rows of 5 seats with individual seat belts. There is a basket under the seat for your belongings. Once all researchers are onboard and you’re given a green light, you’re off on your Zufari.
This is where things get interesting as you’re bounced along the track. Itâ€™s quite a bumpy ride, Remember this is to be expected as you are supposed to be driving through the plains of Africa, if you want a smooth ride, Zufari isnâ€™t for you! On your expedition you pass by Flamingos, Giraffe, white Rhinos, Zebras and Blesboks to name just a few of their animals that make up a part of the expedition. Sadly however some of the animals were not out and around during our expedition which really made the experience less exciting. However the giraffe and rhinos which are new arrivals for this season really were amazing to see and one giraffe even came within 2 metres of our vehicle. How Exciting!
Upon passing the White rhinos we came across a problem! A tree had fallen across our path which ment our expedition had to divert through an unchartered cave which we were warned in the pre expedition briefing not to go near as unexpected things happen in the cave. When driving through the cave we felt this was a bit of an anticlimax to the ride. Half way through the cave there was a small wave of water which falls down the left hand side which hits the side of the van causing water to come under the feet of ALL researchers. Whilst this is happening there is a flashing strobe light (not very bright).
Finally to exit the cave you need to go through a waterfall which will give you a little splashing. Although this is an unexpected surprise we felt it was a bit randomly placed and was a bit bitty to the ride. At this point the expedition is over and you return to base camp for disembarkation. Having experienced Zurfari Ride into Africa, In its present riding experience I would give Zufari a 7 out of 10.
The theming is completed to a high standard and complements the experience well. If you go on a warm sunny day you would be easily fooled into thinking you were really in Africa. The 6 years spent planning this investment have been well spent. What a great addition to the park Zufari is.
After our ride we got speaking to a member of staff and we have since learned that Chessington is having to re-work some areas of the attraction for some of the animals i.e. flamingos, which is why some of the animals said to be a part of the experience arenâ€™t visible at the moment. Also some more minor visual effects are to be added within the coming months to the cave experience.
Photos & Wording by James Hardiker, with thanks.