Animal Kingdom’s premier zoological attraction, Kilimanjaro Safaris offers an exceptionally realistic, albeit brief, imitation of an actual African photo safari. Thirty-two guests at a time board tall, open safari vehicles and are dispatched into a simulated African veldt habitat. Animals, such as zebras, wildebeests, impalas, Thomson’s gazelles, giraffes, and even rhinos roam apparently free. Predators, such as lions, as well as potentially dangerous large animals like hippos, are separated from both prey and guests by all-but-invisible, natural-appearing barriers.
Although the animals have more than 100 acres of savanna, woodland, streams, and rocky hills to call home, careful placement of water holes, forage, and salt licks ensures that the critters are hanging out by the road when safari vehicles roll by.
Disney has done an amazing job of replicating the sub-Saharan east-African landscape. The main difference that a Kenyan or Tanzanian would notice is that Disney’s version is greener and, generally speaking, less barren. As on a real African safari, what animals you see, and how many, is pretty much a matter of luck.
We’ve experienced Kilimanjaro Safaris more than 100 times and had a different experience on each trip.
Make sure to return in the evening and experience the nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris, which allows you to explore the savanna and its inhabitants thanks to special lighting. Disney has done an amazing job of replicating the sub-Saharan east-African landscape that guests can observe throughout the day. Special technology creates additional hours of twilight, making this attraction very beautiful at night.
If you would like to explore the savanna more, consider the Wild Africa Trek, a privately guided VIP tour. Guests are guided on a walk along a grassland path, across a rope bridge, and on a ride in a rugged safari vehicle over an open savanna for a chance to view African creatures such as giraffes, rhinos, hippos, and crocodiles. The tour includes a break in an enclosed area on the savanna where African-inspired fare is served. Prices for the tour range between $189-$249, depending the season.
Caring for Giants is a 60-minute experience, where guests meet with dedicated animal specialists who provide for the care and wellness of Disney’s African elephant herd. Throughout this experience, guests are able to observe the elephants from approximately 80 to 100 feet away. The tour costs $30.
For all there is to see and do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here.