Kilimanjaro Safari Ride, Animal Kingdom

Florida Guide > Disney Parks

Kilimanjaro Safari is one of our favourite rides, but it is very popular, so go straight there when you arrive, or use your Fast Pass. Situated at the far left hand end of the park, in Africa, it is a long torturous walk, round bends and turns, to get you there, but it’s all designed to make you believe you are moving, and there’s lots to see on the way, including overhead monitors, and information about the ‘African Safari Park’ you are about to visit. Disney magic manages to build up the excitement as you wait your turn. It’s shady, too, as the walkway has a roof, but the sides are open to allow the breezes in. Enjoy this part, and get into the mood – by the time you reach your destination you will begin to believe that you really are in Africa.

You travel in a big 32-seater passenger truck, and take part in an adventure to capture poachers. If you are lucky, your driver will make it all seem real – even though he has been building up the excitement dozens of times a day, and saying the same words every day for weeks, or months. Be prepared for a bumpy ride – the road is deliberately rutted, and all this adds to the reality. There are no photo stops, so have your camera at the ready, and preferably use the correct setting for fast shots. If you can manage to go on the ride twice, then sit on different sides of the truck – you will get a variety of photos of the animals this way.

It’s best to take an early ride, as after lunch is siesta time for many of the animals, and you may see fewer species. It is wonderful to see the elephants, standing so close to you, majestically flapping their huge fan-like ears, and seemingly oblivious to yet another truck full of eager tourists. You may even see a baby or two. Your truck will take you past tall necked giraffes swaying as they walk elegantly by, basking hippos and real alligators, wilderbeast and gazelles, grazing placidly, regal lions lying splayed out on the rocks, lazily dozing in the sunshine. There is a tricky moment across a rather dilapidated bridge, and then things get hectic when the driver is notified, on his crackling radio, that poachers have been spotted, and the elephants are in mortal danger! The ride speeds up as you chase the poachers through the park – but I won’t spoil the excitement!

It’s a ride the children will love, adults, too, and even if the termite hills and the baobab trees are made of concrete, they are pretty good replicas!

The amazing thing is that you will be unaware of the ditches and barriers, which keep the animals in the right place – there are no visible fences. Most extraordinarily – all the animals are taken into safe enclosures at night – makes you wonder how they get them all back in.

If you can’t manage a real safari, it’s a good start - you really can get close to the animals and it is well worth the wait.

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