Tour the Harambe Wildlife Preserve on Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris

If you're only going to ride one attraction when you're visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom we suggest heading straight for the Kilimanjaro Safaris. This attraction is the closest most of us will ever get to a real African safari excursion and there is always something new and exciting to discover as you travel through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a must-do attraction at Disney's Animal KingdomKilimanjaro Safaris is a must-do attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Kilimanjaro Safaris is the largest attraction (currently) at the Walt Disney World Resort, coming in at 110 acres. That means you could fit the entire Magic Kingdom (107 acres) inside the attraction. Think about that the next time you're walking through the Magic Kingdom!

When visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom you'll find Kilimanjaro Safaris nestled in the back of the Africa section of the park. The attraction has a long queue area if you don't have FastPass+ reservations you might find yourself waiting, but the queue does tend to move quickly thanks to the number of guests that can board the ride vehicles.

Custom-built ride vehicles take you on safari!Custom-built ride vehicles take you on safari!

Once you board the open-air ride vehicle get ready to hang on tight because it's a very bumpy ride. (If you are seated in the last rows of the ride vehicle be prepared for a VERY bumpy ride!). The attraction features rugged terrain as you make your way through the savanna.

The attraction used to have a backstory about saving a baby elephant from poachers but that storyline was phased out several years ago. Now guests are on a "two week" photo safari in the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.

Giraffes are a fan-favorite on Kilimanjaro SafarisGiraffes are a fan-favorite on Kilimanjaro Safaris

While on safari you'll see more than 34 species of African wildlife who appear to roam freely on the savanna. Not to spoil the magic but the animals are kept in place thanks to hidden water features, moats, berms and even electric fences. So you don't have to worry about the lions eating the gazelles in the middle of the ride.

Because the animals do roam (mostly) freely, sometimes it's a challenge to actually view some of the animals. While there are methods used by the Imagineers to attract the animals closer to the vehicles, they are wild animals and often have a mind of their own, preferring to stay out of sight. This means each time you visit Kilimanjaro Safaris you'll have a different viewing experience.

Elephants on Kilimanjaro SafarisElephants on Kilimanjaro Safaris

Some of the animals on the savanna include antelopes, black rhinos, cheetahs, crocodiles, elephants, flamingos, gazelles, giraffes, lions, hippos, warthogs, wildebeests, and zebras. Despite the very bumpy roads, guests are likely to capture some great photos of the animals. Just hold on tight to that camera!

A great view of the animals on safariA great view of the animals on safari

Guests who are looking for even more adventure can make reservations to take the private guided Wild Africa Trek. This three-hour tour takes guests behind the scenes of Kilimanjaro Safaris where they'll enjoy close encounters with the animals during a private nature hike into Pangani Forest and Safi River Valley.

The Trek also includes an African-inspired light meal on the savanna. Prices start at $139. You can find out more about the Wild Africa Trek here.

Is Kilimanjaro Safaris on your list of must-do attractions at Disney's Animal Kingdom? We'd love to hear what your favorite animal is on the Safaris. Let us know in the comments.

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 11/11/2015 - 01:02:

Kristen K.'s picture

To me the safari is the very heart of this Park.

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