KILIMANJARO SAFARIS Africa Animal Kingdom

Kilimanjaro Safaris Highlights:

  •  FastPass+ FASTPASS+ AVAILABLE, Tier 2

  • Animal Kingdom’s flagship attraction — no height requirement!
  • 20+ minute safari adventure with real elephants, lions, giraffes, and more!

INTRODUCTION

Feel transported halfway around the world to a 100-acre African savanna as you board Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safaris trucks. This 20+ minute attraction takes you on a tour of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve as you spot real African animals such as elephants, lions, giraffes, rhinos, gazelle, crocodiles, and more!

Kilimanjaro Safaris is located in the back of Africa, past the Dawa bar and Mombasa Marketplace.

ATTRACTION

Walking through the queue area you find yourself in the Harambe Reserve.

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 the reserve!

Your driver will point out the various wildlife for you. Not all the animals are visible all the time. There is a game spotting guide above your heads in the truck that can help you identify the animals you see.

The first section of the reserve is called the Little Ituri Forest. Bongos are often hiding around the first bend – look quickly or you might miss these shy creatures. Passing the local watering hole you might see the Black Rhino. On the right, the rare Okapi which is an animal who appears to be wearing zebra pants, but he’s actually related to the giraffe. 

As you continue, you’ll pass through a watering hole where Hippos may be at the base of cascading waterfalls, and you’ll cross a creaky bridge over a group of Nile Crocodiles

The Vehicle emerges from thick vegetation into the vast savannah grasslands. In this area you might see Giraffes, Sable Antelope, Thompson’s Gazelles, Ankole-Watusi Cattle, Wildebeest, and more! To the left, you’ll pass a rocky area where Hyenas or African Wild Dogs may be spotted. 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 a Mandrill Baboon family lives (they can be harder to see!).  The ancient baobab trees can be found in this area.

Around the next bend are the Elephants. Greater Flamingoes inhabit a tiny island that’s 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 next 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 Lions! Lions do spend the majority of their day sleeping; so don’t expect to see much movement.

Past the lion, you’ll see warthog burrows (and possibly their residents!) to your left. Keep an eye out for the Ostriches as well! 

This is when your safari comes to an end, as the vehicle rejoins the main roads and the Park Ranger Station comes into view.

To take a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris, check out this AllEars TV Video:

RIDE LOGISTICS

FastPass+ is almost always a must here! This is an incredibly popular attraction, and a great use of a FastPass. If you cannot get a FastPass, going first thing in the morning will likely provide you a lower wait time. 

Time:  The safari lasts 20-30 minutes. The drivers are not allowed to go off the track, so you could experience short delays as animals cross the safari trucks’ path.

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. 

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 briefly stop for your photo op.

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, when it’s cooler. The animals are often out in the rain as well.

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. You can also get better shots if you sit in the back row, where you can carefully turn around for photos.

SHOPPING

The Mombasa Marketplace is located just before the main entrance of Kilimanjaro Safaris. Here you’ll find unique African goods, as well as Animal Kingdom and The Lion King specific merchandise.

INTERESTING FACTS

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.

The original version of Kilimanjaro Safaris included a heavy-handed anti-poaching storyline, but it was slowly faded out and by 2012 was gone completley. 

Here are some animals you may see on Kilimanjaro Safaris:

AFRICAN FOREST
Black Rhinoceros
Bongo
Egyptian Goose
Helmeted Guineafowl
Northern Pintail
Nyala
Okapi
Pink-backed Pelican
Saddle-billed Stork
Yellow-backed Duiker
Yellow-billed Stork

SAVANNAH WEST
Hyenas
Wild Painted Dogs
Grant’s Zebra
Greater Kudu
Greater Flamingo
Impala
Mandrill
Mhorr’s Gazelle
Nile Crocodile
Nile Hippopotamus
Reticulated Giraffe
Sable Antelope
White-bearded Wildebeest

SAVANNAH EAST
African Elephant
African Lion
Cheetah
Eland
Ostrich
Scimitar-horned Oryx
Warthog
White Rhinoceros