Disney’s Animal Kingdom Wild Africa Trek
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Wild Africa Trek
by Bea Green
When you say safari to Disney enthusiasts, chances are they think of the Killimanjaro Safari. Located near the back of the park, the Killimanjaro Safari is an eighteen minute ride in an open air safari vehicle through the 110-acre Harambe Wildlife Reserve. Here park goers can marvel at the real-life African wildlife as prey and predators a-like graze in open air spaces. With more than 30 species, this ride is well worth the use of a fast pass!
Although the Killimanjaro Safari is a great tour for all ages, it’s not the most intimate experience that Disney World offers guests that visit the Animal Kingdom. What if I told you that you could take a three hour private tour of the African savanna for an up close and personal view of the animals on foot, in an open air safari vehicle, and even crossing over water on a foot bridge? May I introduce you to the Wild Africa Trek!
On this particular trip, I visited Disney with my mom. On an early Monday morning of our trip, we rolled out of bed and hopped in a taxi heading to the Animal Kingdom. We met for the 8am tour so calling a taxi turned out to be the best savings of time, rather than waiting for the bus. Once at the park, we headed to the tour meeting spot where we huddled in with a small group of tourists and two tour guides. We were then fitted with wildlife vests, harnesses, and a complimentary metal water bottle.
The tour started off by feeding Hans and Henry, the parks father and son duo of giant hippopotamuses, their breakfast of corn and watermelon. The tour guides tethered us by our harness and allowed us to get up close and personal photos of these two giant creatures! Talk about an awesome photo opp!
After this we were brought to a wooden foot bridge that suspended over top of a sea of live crocodiles. And we crossed it!! Of course we were safely attached by tether and harness, but it was still an exhilarating experience! Each tour participant carefully crossed over the bridge, one at a time.
The tour guides were full of expert level knowledge on the animals we encountered and on the African landscape. They were also tremendous photographers! They knew each one of us by name and photographed us along the tour. Of course I brought my own camera but it was really special to have pictures of mom and I on our journey! Here’s a great shot of mom crossing the foot bridge.
After crossing the treacherous bridge, we were brought to the savanna that the riders on the Killimanjaro safari ride through. We rode deeper into the savanna than the traditional safari goes and even passed by the animal care facilities.
Next we got to visit the parks parade of elephants.
We stopped at a cabin in the middle of the savanna where we ate an African brunch on an open air porch, while watching graceful giraffes graze in front of us. I could get used to this safari thing.
The brunch was surprisingly refreshing! It included smoked salmon roulade with dill, fig cake with boursin cheese, brie cheese and apricot, berry yogurt, and fresh fruit marinated in mint and ginger.
After finishing our snack, we headed back to exploring. We saw flocks of exotic birds, mud covered rhinos, and majestic sunbathing lions.
We passed by warthogs, cheetahs, antelopes, zebra’s and hyenas. We even met this vocal ostrich.
As the tour came to an end, we were dropped back off at the Harambe area where our adventure began within the park. The tour guides answered any last minute questions and the participants handed their gear in (although we got to keep our metal water bottles). A group picture was taken and we were told that our complimentary CD of photographs from the trip would be arriving in the mail within two months. I have to add that we got our CD in less than three weeks!
I highly recommend this tour to anyone traveling to Disney with tweens, teens, or adults. You must be at least 8 years old, weigh between 45 and 300lbs, and in good physical condition to participate. Remember to wear closed toe shoes. Shorts or pants and a t-shirt are perfect safari going clothes. Don’t forget your camera, regardless of how fancy it is. There are so many opportunities for close up photography of the animals.
This tour is well worth the cost and is a must-see in our book!!
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