Wild Africa Trek
Have you ever been on the Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom and while on the ride see people walking across a rope bridge? Many times while I am on the ride, I hear people asking, “How do you get to do that?” Well, it’s called the Wild Africa Trek!
Wild Africa Trek is a “backstage” tour of the Kilimanjaro Safari. It is a guided tour to learn more about the day to day operation of the park and also allows you to get up close and personal with some animals.
Before our journey began, we had to get fitted for our gear. This actually included a
“weigh in” which caught the attention of a few members in our group. This is actually needed for part of the tour, I will talk about that a little later. We put on our special vests which included a special harness that would be used throughout the adventure, as well as holders for a water bottle (which you keep as a souvenir), loaded up on bug spray and sun screen. A majority of this tour is walking over some jungle like terrain, however it was not a difficult hike and your guides are there to help you out. They make sure you take water breaks and point out some easier routes if needed. After we were all weighed in, and in
our gear, we stopped for a quick group photo. One of the great things about this tour is you actually have a photographer following you through the tour taking pictures the entire time. These pictures are yours to download as it is included in the price of the tour. I still like to take my own pictures, but it was great having another angle as well as being in some of the pictures.
Our tour started on the Pangani Forest Exploration trail. This is when our tour guides
showed their expertise and knowledge of not just the tour but the operation of the park and care of all the animals. As we exited this caged area, we came up to a “do not enter” sign, and that’s when you know you are on a backstage tour. Our guides walked us through the gate and after a short walk we were watching the safari drive by us as we overlooked the hippo area. This was the first time we realized why the harnesses were on our vest, as we strapped in to a secure rail allowing us to look over the edge to see the hippos. No matter what Disney does, they take safety as their first priority. The guides check to make sure you are connected correctly and before you know it, two giant hippos came over to greet us. We were lucky
as we took one of the first tours so it was actually feeding time. Another guide came over and told us more details about the hippo area as well as how they are fed and taken care of at the park. As we were learning about the hippos, truck after truck passed us on the other side of the water as visitor pointed at us on the Kilimanjaro Safari. I wondered how many were asking, “How do
we get to do that?” After we spent some quality time with the hippos, it was back into the jungle. As we made our way up the path, we stopped at several locations to learn more about the environment and more about how the park operates. We turned a corner and saw a large tower with a staircase. We stopped briefly to talk about was we were going to encounter. I will admit, I was a little nervous and my daughter was very nervous as we were told we would be crossing a shaky rope bridge which would take us right over the crocodile pit! As we made our way up the stairs, I could feel my heart beat a little faster. When we got to the top, I had a very calming moment when I realized that I was at Disney. Disney of course is a master of
illusion. So as I looked over this rope bridge thinking my god I hope those planks can hold me, I realized they are far stronger than they look. In addition to the strength of the boards, we were harnessed into a cable above us, and just a few feet below was a net. This was a grand illusion that works brilliantly. The planks are space out perfectly giving you that uneasy feeling as you first walk over the path where the safari runs below you. Then you make a turn and see the crocodile pit! You know you are safe yet that little voice in your head still tells you that you are walking over crocodiles! The tour guides space you out so you feel like you are alone on the bridge. There are guides to help you on, help you make the turn, and help you off. Just before you exit the bridge the photographer is there to
take a picture of you right over the pit. As we exited the rope bridge we spent some time learning about the crocodiles. Once again we clipped into a rail with our harnesses and were able to lean over to take a close look. Again that little voice in the back of your head reminds you that you are leaning over a crocodile pit! As we exited the pit area, it was time to ditch our vests and harnesses and start the second part of the tour. After a short trek through the back path, we came up to our own safari truck waiting
to take us out the the Kilimanjaro Safari area. Once again, you realize you are on a backstage tour as this truck doesn’t follow the traditional road that the normal ride does. We were much closer than I have ever been before on this safari. Unlike the “safari ride” our truck was able to stop in areas as we learned about the different areas and how they care for each individual species. If I am ever reincarnated as an animal, I hope I end up here as they take amazing care of each animal in Animal Kingdom. After our tour of the Harambe Reserve, we were approaching something I have looked forward to since the
first time I went on the safari. Our truck pulled up to an elevated platform with a 360 degree view of the reserve. The “Boma” or cooking place was where we stopped for lunch. I am a very picky eater, however this was a really good meal. We had a chance to relax as animal after animal walked by the platform. I wasn’t sure if we were watching them or if they were watching us. Either way it was an amazing experience. We had a great view of the savannah, and as we walked
around the platform we were also able to see the elephants as well as the lions! It was simply incredible to sit down and enjoy our
service as we took in this stunning view. We made our way back to our safari truck and finished our tour. As we returned our gear, everyone in our group was still in awe of what we had just experienced.
This tour can be pricy ranging from $189-$249 per person. There are also some times where you can get a discount of about $50 per person. As far as tours go, I would say every dollar was well spent! There are some restrictions so make sure you visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/animal-kingdom/wild-africa-trek/ to learn all about the tour and what to expect. If you are looking for a backlot tour, I would highly recommend the Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom!