Saturday, June 1, 2013

Animal Kingdom's Wild Africa Trek

Back in 2011, Barbie, our friends Kandi and John, and I did a tour at Disney's Animal Kingdom that had made it's debut just 2 days previously called Wild Africa Trek. Even though some things have changed, I thought I'd share our experience. This was originally posted on the Tips From the Disney Diva Blog, where I'm a contributing writer. -Nick

Please note, there will be SPOILERS, as I'm going to go over the whole awesome experience that is The Wild Africa Trek. So if you want to be surprised, read no further! Also, as this is a review of the experience in it's early stages, things are likely to have been modified, added or "plussed".

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011:

The morning started off cool and overcast. We were picked up at the Wilderness Lodge by our friends Kandi and John. We had the 10AM Trek scheduled. They recommended we arrive about 15 minutes early and that you use a rest room before the trek begins, as it will be 2 hours before your next break. Check in for the Wild Africa Trek was behind the Dawa Bar, next to Tusker House. Lockers are provided for personnel items.

We waited for about 5 minutes, and were escorted "backstage". We met our guides, Meghan and Lani. Lani would be giving most of the information, and leading the group, Meghan taking up the rear, acting as photographer.

Then it's time to be weighed and outfitted (You must weigh between 45-310 lbs).

My wife and I in our trek gear.

We were also given tin water bottles, which attached to our vests, and a headset, so we could hear our guide, even if we were in the back of the line. After getting geared up, we were brought over to a practice rope bridge, shown how to use our lanyard, and took a practice walk.

We were provided with "Jungle Juice" afterwards, but it was suggested we not drink much, again, because it would be 2 hours before a break. I wanted to drink more, it was so good!

We were then brought back "onstage", and given some info and instruction on our upcoming adventure. We then walked through Harambe Village, our guide Lani telling us info about the village. It was very funny to see all the guests looking at our group in puzzlement. My wife commented that she may have preferred to do an even earlier tour, to have the park to ourselves, but I thought it was more authentic, almost. We were in a busy African village, after all!

We were brought by the gorillas, and meerkats, Lani talking about them, and answering any questions. The whole time, Meghan was taking photos of the group and animals.
Then, we went backstage.

We followed a trail, and it was actually very narrow at times, very authentic, stepping over and through trees, moving branches, etc. I'm assuming that a different trail would be used if it was raining, as it would probably be pretty muddy otherwise.

We would come across skulls every now and again, and Lani would talk about the animal it came from.

Then, we came upon the hippo pool. We clipped our lanyards onto a railing, and walked out, overlooking the pool, and watched as a cast-member fed a hungry hungry hippo (sorry, I couldn't resist.

We then moved on, and were told the "good" bridge had been flooded out by the rains, (wink), (actually, this was made more realistic by the fact the previous day had seen some torrential rains) and we would be taking the more dangerous route.

More walking, and we came to the bridge. We were attached to a guy-wire over the rope bridge, and sent across 3 at a time. This took us directly above the hippo pool. The hippos were actually pretty active, as it was cool, and the sun had come out.

You then go across to another bridge, taking you over the crocodiles.

On the other side, after coming down from the bridge, you once again latch in, and go directly over the crocs. This was awesome. We even got to see one croc come out of the pool and wedge himself onto the shore between his fellow reptiles.

After this, it was time to hit the savanna. We boarded a truck and more or less followed the Kilimanjaro Safari route, pulling off for Lani to tell us about the animals, and to take pics.

Then, it was time for our snack. We pulled up to a beautifully constructed structure, overlooking the savanna. There were much needed rest rooms. Binoculars were provided to view animals. The tables were all under cover, but we were told we were free to move them wherever we wanted.

It was an absolutely beautiful day, so we pulled our table out into the sun. The food was beautifully presented, in round, stackable lunch boxes. There was yogurt with dried fruit, brie cheese, an edible orchid, and fruit in a mint syrup, prosciutto, round breads, a smoked salmon pinwheel with dill cream cheese, and fig cake. And all the jungle juice we could drink!!

Everything was amazing. Delicious.

We re-boarded the truck, and drove, once again, along the safari road. Unfortunately the big cats were all sleeping.

Then, sadly, our Trek was over. When we returned to "base", we were told that the water bottles were ours to keep, and that a portion of the cost of our Trek would be going to an animal fund, and we had the opportunity to vote as to which animal we would like to fund.

We were also given a photopass card and password, to go online and get a CD of all the photos taken on the tour.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! Every trek is bound to have some variations, and, at that time, they are already planning to add a rope bridge overlooking the big cats which may be in place.
Is it worth the price? I would actually say yes, if you are up for a totally unique experience, are an animal lover, or are an adventurous soul, Wild Africa Trek is for you.


  1. Colour me jealous! I hope I get to do this on my next trip! And how cool that it had just started 2 days before that, thanks for the report.

    1. Thanks Gaylin. Actually, the previous day had been cancelled due to storms all day, so this was actually the second day. Of course, on the very first Trek, Imagineer Joe Rohde was in attendance! How cool would THAT have been?!

    2. I was going to go when I was there solo last year but it seemed like it would be way more fun to go with someone else, so I 'saved' it for another trip.

      Joe Rohde seems like a very interesting man, would have really been cool if you had met him.


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