Everything You Need to Know About the Kilimanjaro Safari
The Kilimanjaro Safari is one of the most unique experiences you will have at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Set out in an open air vehicle as you go on an adventure through the savanna of East Africa. Trek through bumpy terrain, flooded roads and wide open plains as you meet exotic animals along the way.
Observe these creatures while they seemingly roam free in their natural habitat at the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. Escorted by incredibly knowledgeable guides, you will learn quite a bit about the land and its inhabitants. What a ride.
The Inspiration behind the Safari
Walt Disney had the idea for an attraction involving real animals in the 1950s. Originally, he envisioned the Jungle cruise, however experts at the time believed that these wild creatures were too unpredictable, so the ride used animatronics instead of live animals.
When Disney’s Animal Kingdom was still in the process of being designed, Imagineers felt more confident in executing and constructing an attraction that incorporated the inhabitants of the African Savanna. An attraction they hoped would draw people to Animal Kingdom. They took inspiration from the great Walt Disney himself and created the Kilimanjaro Safari.
Imagineer Joe Rhode oversaw the creation of the ride. He and his team traveled to Kenya and Tanzania to study the wildlife in their natural habitat. After their trip, they decided not only to showcase these amazing animals on the safari, but to also a weave a story into the ride itself. Disney CEO Michael Eisner was adamant about Disney’s Animal Kingdom promoting the idea of conservation. Imagineers created the Safari in the fictional village of Harambe, which is Swahili for “working together”.
The amazing animals
With the name ‘Simba One’, a nod to ‘Lion King’, the jeep holds up to 36 passengers. After boarding their safari vehicle, you will journey into the African wilderness. Have your camera ready because every moment during this wild ride is photo worthy. With 34 different species of wildlife across over 100 acres of land, you’ll never know what you may find.
One of the first stops during the expedition is the watering hole, where black rhinoceros and hippos can be found. As you cross the Senkell Bridge over the Safari River, catch a glimpse of a crocodile lurking in the water. The Savannah features other animals such as elephants, ostriches, cheetahs and finally zebras. You may even see a lion, the king of the jungle, taking an afternoon sunbath on a rocky perch.
And there are many more animals to see and learn about while on the Kilimanjaro Safari. Even the plant life is native to East African region. A more noteworthy part of the scenery is the baobab, also known as the upside-down tree. These trees store water in their large trunks and produce a fruit called monkey bread.
This animal party doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Once off limits to visitors after sundown, the all-terrain caravan takes you deep into the wilderness of Africa as you explore the Harambe Wildlife Reserve at night. With Strategically placed lighting, you won’t miss the tranquil moments of these animals after the sun sets.
The safari guides will also give you insight on some of the nocturnal habits of these amazing animals. It’s a once in a lifetime experience where you will be able to observe these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.
Hidden Mickeys along the way
And I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you are a true Disney fan, keep your eyes peeled for a few hidden Mickeys concealed somewhere in the ride. Maybe ask the Flamingos.
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Special thanks to Victoria Prisco for writing this article! My name is Victoria Prisco and i’m a writer from New York. Ever since I was little, I have been completely enchanted by the magic of Disney. And i’m still looking for that rabbit hole to Wonderland.