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While we were planning for our recent trip to Walt Disney World my daughter decided that she’d love to experience the Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Wild Africa Trek is a 3 hour tour that takes you behind the scenes of the Animal Kingdom and allows some first hand interaction with some of the animal caretakers, along with one-of-a-kind vantage points of the Kilimanjaro Safari. You also have the opportunity for a delicious African inspired snack while overlooking the savannah. This is not an inexpensive tour and my husband and I agreed that if she could save money prior to our next trip that one of us would go with her.

 As of February 2019 the Trek ranges in price from $189 – $249 per person depending on the time of year you visit.  We spent $171 per person in December of 2018. My daughter worked hard, saving ALL her money and by December we were all set to go.   She saved her birthday money and worked all summer doing laundry and extra chores around the house.

To schedule the Wild Africa Trek you or your travel planner may contact Disney Reservations up to 180 days prior to your vacation. The tour has to be paid in full at time of booking but is fully refundable up to 24 hours prior to your scheduled tour. Remember, you must also have a valid theme park admission in addition to the tour.

The Wild AFrica Trek requires some walking over uneven terrain so if you’re planning on experiencing this tour you should be in reasonably good health. Plan to wear long pants or longer shorts as you will be required to wear a vest and harness. They provide photography services with your tour and will take pictures of anything that you request from trees to frogs to the bathrooms at the Savannah overlook. You may also bring a camera and sunglasses or eye glasses which will be securely fastened to your vest. They will not allow you to bring anything that may fall off during the tour, this even includes magic bands and watches. This is merely for the safety of the animals along the tour route. They will provide free lockers for your use during the tour. You will also need to bring a valid photo i.d. to confirm your reservation when you check-in. 

Our tour was scheduled for the first week of December and if you know Florida that could mean anything from a sunny 90° day to a rainy 30° day with any range of weather in between. We had scheduled an afternoon tour rather than a morning tour because the afternoon snack appealed more to my daughter. Luckily, we enjoyed a sunny day with a slight breeze and a temperature of around 62°.

Wild Africa Trek Check In

My daughter and I arrived about 30 minutes prior to our 12:30 Wild Africa Trek tour and were greeted by some very friendly cast members who checked us in and told us that we could explore Harambe for 15 minutes before meeting with the rest of the group.  The check-in is located to the right of the entrance for the Kilimanjaro Safari.

Once we returned to the check-in area we were given a locker to store any belongings that would not be accompanying us on the tour. We were then introduced to our wonderful tour guides, Megan & Jenny who went through all the safety procedures and explained the itinerary of the tour.  We then stepped on the scale and were weighed so that we could be suited up with the correct vest and harness system. Don’t worry, this is done very privately and only the cast members who choose your safety gear can see the output screen. Then they cheerfully helped us to gear up and to attach anything that we were taking with us to our vest. They also outfitted each of us with a receiver and headphones so that we could easily hear our tour guides. Everyone was given a stainless steel water bottle and name tag for use during the tour (surprise, they were ours to keep).  I’m sure that on warmer days the water bottles come in very handy. Our guides took a group picture and then we were on our way.

Wild Africa Trek – on Foot

Our Wild Africa Trek guides were absolutely fantastic! You could tell that they truly loved their jobs and loved working together. There was a great comradery between them and they made us all feel like we were a part of it. Our group consisted of 11 and my daughter who was almost 12 was the youngest on our tour. There were a group of older friends, a newlywed couple, 2 grown daughters enjoying an experience with their father along with me and my daughter   

First, our Wild Africa Trek Guides lead us down the Gorilla Falls trail and shared some stories and information about the animals that you encounter at the beginning of the Gorilla Falls Trail.  We saw the Colobus Monkeys and the newest addition to their troop, and viewed the huge African Bullfrog in the Research Center. Then we walked through the Aviary and saw all the beautiful African birds that call The Animal Kingdom their home. Did you know that one of the jobs of the caretakers is to count every bird every day?  

After the aviary we left the paved sidewalk paths and trekked through the “bush”, quite literally. There were tree roots and rocks that we had to traverse on the way to our next encounter, and tree branches to push out of the way – it was similar to hiking through the forests near your home and added some character to our tour.

After the aviary we left the paved sidewalk paths and trekked through the “bush”, quite literally. There were tree roots and rocks that we had to traverse on the way to our next encounter, and tree branches to push out of the way – it was similar to hiking through the forests near your home and added some character to our tour.

At the end of the path was a gate leading to the bachelor Hippo pool. As we entered through the gate we were hooked into the harness system so that we could get close to the edge of the overlook and an unobstructed view of the hippos, Henry and Hans.  We spent a lot of time here listening to our guides talk to us about the hippos behavior, daily routine and how the hippos and other animals are trained to help the staff with their veterinary care. We also had the opportunity to speak with one of the trainers and ask questions about his duties and how he interacts with the animals in his care on a daily basis.

He fed Henry and Hans heads of lettuce so that we could see their massive teeth and tusks. We also learned that they can swallow underwater. We had the unfortunate opportunity to experience not one but two dung showers. A dung shower is how a hippos marks / protects his territory. On the opposite bank you can see the Safari trucks from the Kilimanjaro Safari pass by. 

As we moved away from the hippo enclosure, we exited through another gate and were unhooked from the safety harness. We trekked through another section of the “bush” and ended up at the base of a tower. Our instructors explained that the next section would include traversing a “rickety” rope bridge over the hippo and crocodile pools. We climbed the tower and listened to the safety instructions that our guides shared and were once again clipped into the safety harness and invited to traverse the bridge at evenly spaced intervals, with only 2 people on the bridge at a time. I can assure you that this was the least rickety rope bridge that I’ve ever been on. While it was definitely created to look rickety and cause some feelings of trepidation, it was built to the highest safety standards and it barely shook when I crossed it. There are two bridges, the first crossed the hippo pool and I was lucky enough to have a hippos swim directly under me while I crossed the bridge. You can see the rope bridge from the Kilimanjaro Safari vehicles and my daughter and I were surprised while we crossed the second bridge to hear our family yelling to us from their safari truck.

The second bridge was just as steady as the first, but crossed over 29 crocodiles. These crocodiles were born at a farm in the 1970’s and Disney is currently studying the longevity of the Nile crocodiles as their average lifespan is currently unknown. The bridge crosses directly over top the lazy crocodiles while they bask in the sun. We crossed the bridge and were unclipped from the safety harness and then descended the 2nd tower. Our guides had reminded us frequently to drink water and at the base of the 2nd tower we were able to refill our water bottles. We sat on benches and waited on the rest of our group to join us. It was during this break that my daughter and I took the opportunity to interact with the other members of our tour. There is something special about talking to and learning about those around you. It’s something fun that we enjoy doing whether we’re riding a bus, waiting in a queue or on a tour. Once everyone had gathered we entered a gate and were clipped back into a safety harness. This area overlooked the crocodiles and our guides spoke at length of interesting facts and stories. We learned a lot about unique characteristics and healing abilities of the crocodiles.

Both of our Wild Africa Trek Guides were former Disney College program participants and spoke of how much they loved being able to be a part of this organization. After we left the crocodile overlook and unclipped from the safety harness we were able to take off our harness system.  

Wild Africa Trek – Safari Vehicle

We then boarded our own private safari vehicle with our guides and embarked on a leisurely tour of the savannah. Our guides were able to signal the driver to stop and linger at areas on the safari where those on the Kilimanjaro Safari are not able to stop. We could sit and watch the giraffes, elephants, wild dogs and more at our leisure, all the while asking questions and hearing anecdotes not available to the average guest. We learned about the elephant herd and spent some time observing their youngest member. The Wild Africa Trek Guides and driver lead us to the Boma, which is a small African fort ,for us to enjoy our afternoon snack.  

The snack was provided in a Tiffin carrier. A tiffin is a small snack or light meal. It was filled with delicious cured meats, fruit, chicken salad, humus, pita bread, shrimp and a beautiful and edible orchid. We were served delicious jungle juice, a combination of orange, pineapple and guava juices to drink. My daughter promised that she would try each component and she loved the cured meats and fruit. I absolutely loved the curried chicken salad and shrimp. The orchid had a light refreshing taste.

After our meal we spent some time overlooking the savannah and watching the animals. We then once again boarded our safari truck and headed back out on the savannah. As the afternoon had worn on it had become a bit chilly and our guides and driver had blankets ready for us to wrap up in when we loaded back up in the truck. We encountered rhino’s, cheetahs, lions, and blesbok as our tour came to a a close. We disembarked from our truck and were given the opportunity to choose which fund our portion of the tour would benefit. Our guides lead us back to the area where we checked in so that we could turn in our headphones, receiver and vest. We said our goodbyes to the friends that we’d made over the past 3 hours and thanked our tour guides for the fantastic experience that we had.

The Wild Africa Trek is a thoughtful and fun experience that the best Disney Imagineers have put together for their guests to enjoy. It’s an experience that I whole heartily recommend to everyone who loves animals and is interested in a special experience. Although it carries a large price tag, I’d say that it is worth every penny. I plan on experiencing this one again and I plan on scheduling it for my husband and son during our next Disney vacation.

Stacy Morris
Vacation Planner

Contact Stacy to help you plan your next Disney vacation!

 

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