*DIS Contributors review meals, resort stays, and entertainment that they have paid for during their own vacations. They only utilize discounts and offers if they are available to the general public, such as annual passholder discounts or DVC membership discounts. They receive no additional compensation for dining experiences or events, so that they may give their honest opinions about price and value.
As an animal lover, I enjoy Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom, and I’d always dreamt of trekking through the animals’ habitats. I was blessed with this opportunity when my family and I were able to experience the Wild Africa Trek on our most recent vacation.
Before we embarked on our adventure, my family, fellow adventurers, and I were fitted with harnesses, vests, and earpieces. Our guides also gave us water canteens to stay hydrated. After a safety check and photo, we left civilization to explore the Safi River Valley, otherwise known as Kilimanjaro Safaris. Our guides led us first to the hippopotamus pool where we were harnessed to safety bars, allowing us to venture into the ledge’s edge without fear of falling into the water. We had the pleasure of watching a knowledgeable caretaker tossing lettuce and other treats to one of the hippos mere feet above its powerful jaws. Being able to watch these beautiful animals without the boundary of glass or great distance was amazing, but this was just the beginning. The most exciting part of our tour was up ahead, literally!
The bridges above Kilimanjaro Safaris are the main attraction for the trek. The feeling of walking across a rickety rope bridge, which, not to worry, is very secure with a net underneath to prevent any slips, was exhilarating! I beamed the whole way across the bridge, admiring the hippos, crocodiles, and ducks going about their day below. For anyone shivering at this description, know we were safely harnessed to a fixture before stepping out onto the bridge. Also, my mother, an admitted avoider of heights, did not mind this leg of the tour. Just bear in mind your comfort with high places before booking this experience.
After conquering the bridge, we admired crocodiles only a short drop away from the scaly creatures, which was another wonderful experience. Then, we shed our harnesses and started the next half of our tour. Our tour group squeezed into an all-terrain vehicle, and we were off to explore the savannah. Every so often, the truck would stop, and we would be able to take photos of and marvel at giraffes, painted dogs, zebras, and elephants while our guides regaled us with facts and stories about these amazing animals.
Later, we came to a wooden shelter with picturesque views of the savannah and shaded tables to enjoy unique snacks served in tiffins, which are multi-tiered metal containers. Our lunch included cheese, prosciutto, chicken wraps, shrimp, naan, pickled vegetables, fresh fruit, spiced hummus, and fig granola. The African-inspired cuisine was scrumptious and refreshing. I was also excited to discover POG juice accompanied by our meal; that’s always a win in my book!
We spent a little while gazing at the gorgeous savannah. From our vantage point we could see giraffes, flamingos, elephants, and wildebeests. The shelter was peaceful, and the view was unmatched, providing a moment of quiet reflection on the wonders we had experienced. The relaxed atmosphere of this secluded spot enabled us to simply absorb the beauty of our surroundings and enjoy our company without the bustle that lay beyond the savannah.
We made a few more stops to glimpse animals we hadn’t yet seen on our journey, including cheetahs, ostriches, and goats before returning to our adventure’s beginning. Our guides thanked us for joining them on the trek and bid us qua harini.
This experience is costly at around $200 per person, but it is entirely worth the price for animal enthusiasts and guests searching for a respite from attraction hopping, including teens disillusioned with characters and crowds. It is a chance to venture where most guests don’t get to travel without shattering Disney’s magical immersion. Not only can one experience the fullness of Animal Kingdom’s wilderness, savor a delectable meal, and receive countless professional photos, but Disney allocates a portion of the cost to Disney Conservation Fund’s efforts to preserve Earth’s wildlife. To top it off, incredible guides lead the tour. Our guides, Patrick and Daniel, were fun, engaging, friendly, and knowledgeable, which added to an already awesome experience. I’ll never forget this trek, and I would welcome an opportunity to relive this experience with open arms.