KILIMANJARO SAFARIS Africa Animal Kingdom
Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY! Feel transported halfway around the world to a 100-acre African savanna as you board Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safaris trucks.
Soon you arrive at the boarding platform, enter your truck and head into the animal reserve. Off you go down the bumpy dirt trail and into Africa!
Your driver will point out the various wildlife for you. Not all the animals are visible all the time.
Bongos are hiding around the first bend – look quickly or you might miss these shy creatures.
Hippos are at the base of cascading waterfalls.
The Vehicle emerges from thick vegetation into the vast savannah grasslands. In this area you might see Giraffes, Sable Antelope, and Ostriches. The land is very different here and is accented by termite mounds up to 20 feet high.
On the left is a huge rock formation where the Mandrill Baboon family lives (very very hard to see). Around the next bend are the Elephants.
The ancient baobab trees can be found in this area.
Greater Flamingoes inhabit a tiny island that legend says is in the form of a “Hidden Mickey”.
More watering holes, you might see the white rhinos wallowing in the mud. There are other hoofed animals: the kudu, scimitar-horned oryx and the long-horned eland along with sharp-eyed cheetahs up there among the rocks.
Coming around the last bend, your attention will quickly be drawn to the high rock formation on your left, where the King and Queen of the Savanaah reside…the Kopje Lions. Lions do spend the majority of their day sleeping; so don’t expect to see much activity.
The warthogs start to ramble across the field and soon its time for the safari to end.
This is when your safari comes to an end, as the vehicle rejoins the main roads and the Park Ranger Station comes into view.
Two new species were added in 2016 African wild dogs and hyenas.
Time: The safari lasts 20-30 minutes.
Height Requirement: None
Warnings: For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride.
The ride vehicle is 8 feet off the ground enabling you to wind your way through the grasslands and waterways of the savanna. 32 passengers fit in this all-terrain truck with a driver for your guide. There is some padding on the seat bottoms and tops.
Taller or larger guests may find the seating cramped with confined leg room.
If you want a less bumpy ride, ask to sit in the front of the truck. The ride feels bumpiest in the back. Some drivers will hit EVERY pothole in the road, but most will warn you before you start out.
Accessibility: Must transfer to wheelchair. Guests in wheelchairs should follow the signs to head to the special boarding area. You will need to either transfer from your wheelchair to a seat, or transfer to a standard wheelchair.
Video Captioning, Assistive Listening and Language Translation Devices available.
Due to the nature of the experience, those with service animals should check with a cast member at the attraction for boarding information.
The drivers are trained to spot the animals along the Safari and point them out to you. Photography, however, is a challenge — if possible the driver will stop for your photo op – although very briefly (5 seconds).
If you have questions about the animals, ASK. Though there is an assigned script, every safari really is different depending on where the animals are and who your driver is.
In general, the best times to ride are morning or at sunset. The animals are out in the rain.
When Animal Kingdom is open after dark you can journey through the African savanna amid the “magically extended orange glow” of the setting sun. This is best seen at dusk. Once the sun sets, the savanna is dark, making it difficult to see animals.
REMAIN SEATED AT ALL TIMES! Because the drivers are not allowed to stop on the ride path, the truck is always moving (the trucks are governed so the maximum speed is only 10 mph, though it feels faster). Animals can move in front of the vehicle at any time causing the driver to slam on the brakes and causing you to go flying. There are many mirrors on the trucks for the drivers, so just because you can’t see an animal doesn’t mean the driver can’t. If you want to take good pictures sit on the end of the rows, you get better shots.
Chances are your driver has already been on safari for a couple hours, so be nice to them!
Child Swap: Yes
There are photo identification charts of the animals overhead. This can make it difficult for children to view.
The Stroller Park is about halfway through the queue area. Be prepared to walk with or carry your little one approximately 40 feet.
The ride is very bumpy and even though our driver took care to avoid some of the bigger bumps, our son was still jostled around quite a bit in his wheelchair. Smaller children will actually come out of their seats on some of the bumps. (The Belcher Family)
One tip I can offer for riding the Kilimanjaro Safaris with youngsters is NOT to try to point out the animals. What?! I’ll explain: The first few minutes of our safari were an exercise in frustration as I would listen to the guide, then ask my daughter, “See the bongo?” and attempt to point it out. Inevitably, she wouldn’t see the (whatever animal) as we cruised on by, and then she d become upset, meanwhile missing out on the next creature coming up in our adventure. So I closed my mouth and let her see what she could spot on her own, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the safari. (Kim Kilgore)
For information on Animal Kingdom’s live entertainment, Visit Steve Soares’ WDW Entertainment Website.
There is no place to dine in the immediate vicinity of the Safari. Back in Harambe Village you will find Tusker House, the Dawa Bar, Harambe Fruit Market, Kusafiri Coffee & Bakery, and Tamu Tamu (ice cream).
There is one small shop just before you enter into Kilimanjaro Safari — it sells film, Duka la Filimu! This is one attraction you don’t want to run out of film on!
You won’t see any visible walls or fences here. Disney has done a remarkable job of hiding all the barriers that keep you and the animals safe.
When building the savanna, landscapers asked that the plants and trees be in place for two years before moving in the animals.
The details of the savanna were carefully crafted to give the illusion that it had “always been there”, right down to the ruts in the road that make the truck jolt and bump!
The hippos are actually the same ones you will sometimes see on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. The hippo barn resides in between Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and the savanna river.
In 2007, the ride vehicles were modified to add an additional row in the back. Also, the narrated story line was changed a bit.
Wild Painted Dogs