Disney’s Wild Africa Trek: An African Safari in the Heart of OrlandoHeather Sievers
It’s always been a dream of mine to go on a real African safari. I want to see giraffes roaming the savannah, elephants trumpeting while they cover themselves in mud, or maybe a lioness basking in the sun on a rock, Lion King style. I want to see a bloat of hippos (yep, that’s what you call a group of them) floating in a lake, a cheetah with gorgeous spots, and giant crocodiles on the banks of a river. Africa is definitely a dream travel destination, but for now, I’ve found a little something to tide me over until that mega bucket list trip happens.
Located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Wild Africa Trek is a great way to visit “Africa” without having to leave the country. Your adventure starts with friendly cast members offering you a refreshing glass of POG (pineapple orange guava) juice before fitting you into your safari vest and harness. Yep, it’s serious business. After stowing your belongings in a locker (a camera and water are the only items recommended on the trip) your group will do a little intro activity then you’ll be off on a 3 hour safari trek through the Safi River Valley.
A knowledgeable tour guide will fill your brain with fun facts and lesser known tidbits about the animals as well as point out the flora, fauna and funny stuff that happens in the heart of Africa… I mean Orlando. The Wild Africa Trek makes you feel like you’re on a vacation within your vacation. As you listen to your guide call to hippos, cross suspension bridges over crocodiles, and watch giraffes nuzzling under an acacia tree, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled to another part of the world. The Wild Africa Trek allows for great photo opportunities that could easily convince your Facebook friends and Twitter followers that you were actually staying in a bungalow on the Serengeti.
The tour includes a gourmet African inspired meal while you sit under a covered patio on the savannah and gaze at rhinos, giraffes, and long horned ankoles. You’ll also have the opportunity to use one of the cutest park restrooms I have ever seen! When your adventure is over, the group will be taken back to return safari vests and grab stored belongings. The Wild Africa Trek is an experience you won’t soon forget. Especially since as you leave, you’ll be handed a CD full of the amazing images that your group photographer took along the way.
Check out the slide show below to see my Wild Africa Trek experience. For more information including how to reserve your trek, pricing, age requirements, scheduled dates/times and a special Summer offer, please visit the Disney Parks official Wild Africa Trek webpage.
Disney’s Wild Africa Trek 1 of 21
The Wild Africa Trek allows you to take a vacation within your vacation!
Make Your Way to Disney’s Animal Kingdom 2 of 21
Disney's Animal Kingdom houses the fabulous Wild Africa Trek. This VIP experience books up way in advance. Reservations are required, so don't delay if you'd like to participate. Tip: Make sure to wear comfy clothes and closed toed shoes!
Wild Africa Trek Starting Point 3 of 21
Head over to the Tusker House restaurant in the "Africa" area of Disney's Animal Kingdom and you will find the check in area for the Wild Africa Trek.
Suit up! 4 of 21
At the start of your trek, you'll be fitted with a safari vest and harness. Not to worry though, the tour is fairly mellow. The harness is used to strap you to an overhead line as you cross the suspension bridges. You know, so you can't take a dive into crocodile territory...
Fill up! 5 of 21
Fill up your souvenir water bottle so that you can stay hydrated during the 3 hour trek. You'll clip it to one of the many carabiners on your vest. The water bottle is included with the cost of the Wild Africa Trek.
Drink Some POG Juice 6 of 21
While you're waiting for the trek to start, pour yourself a refreshing cup of POG juice. That's Pineapple-Orange-Guava in case you didn't know! It's a staple drink at the Tusker House and is also known as Jungle Juice. To make some at home, check out the recipe here on the Disney Food Blog.
Hippo Time 7 of 21
Follow your guide along the path where your first big animal sighting will be the hippo pond.
Hippo Food & Fun 8 of 21
Here you'll learn about the exciting diet of a hippo. Yep, it's lettuce...
Hippos 101 9 of 21
You'll also get to hear your guide make "Hippo Calls" to try and get the hippos to perk up. In our case, the hippos didn't move, but that's ok because they were still awesome to see up close. At this time we had the chance to examine a hippo skull and learn more about this endangered species.
Crocodile Suspension Bridge 10 of 21
Your tour will take you over two suspension bridges. One puts you very close to some prehistoric predators. Not to worry though, your harness is strapped to an overhead line, so even if you were to slip through a crack....
Look Out Below 11 of 21
Make sure to take a little stop mid bridge crossing to get some great shots of the crocs underfoot.
Up Close and Personal 12 of 21
After the suspension bridge, you'll have the chance to get up close and personal with these guys. You make feel a little too close for comfort.
Lunch Time 13 of 21
Your adventure includes an African inspired snack. Depending on your your tour time, you will be served either the morning or afternoon menu. Your group is taken to a lovely shaded spot on the "African Savannah" where you will enjoy cold beverages and bento box style snack.
Refreshing Beverages 14 of 21
At snack time choose from ice cold water or POG (pineapple-orange-guava) juice served up in a fun canteen style metal cup.
Afternoon Snack Layer One 15 of 21
The afternoon snack menu includes air dried beef and prosciutto, chicken curry salad, fresh fruit marinated in mint and ginger and an edible flower. I loved the little bamboo "spoons" that we used to eat with. It made the dining experience feel so authentic!
Afternoon Snack Layer 2 16 of 21
Underneath the fruit, chicken salad and dried meats was a second layer of yumminess. Here you have sun dried tomato hummus with mini pitas, smoked salmon roulade with dill and marinated tandoori shrimp. The food in general was fabulous. My favorites were the fruit and chicken salad.
Pretty Potties 17 of 21
Make sure to take a trip to the restrooms on your snack break. They are fabulously themed to the African savannah with inlaid stones in the grout, textured/patterned wall tiles and adorable men & women signs to match.
A Snack with a View 18 of 21
Giraffes and long horned ankoles could be observed from the snack area.
Rhinos 19 of 21
There were also a pair of rhinos nearby.
Touring the Savannah 20 of 21
In addition to the walking portion of the Wild Africa Trek, part of the tour is taken in a off road truck type of vehicle. Here you'll see and learn about several animals across the Safi River Valley. It was during this portion of the adventure that I was able to catch some of those bucket list animal sightings: Lion King Moment - Check! Elephants - Check! Gorgeous Cheetah - Check! Random ostrich with fake ostrich eggs...
Overall 21 of 21
I thoroughly enjoyed the Wild Africa Trek at Disney's Animal Kingdom. My husband and I took the tour on a "kid free" trip to Walt Disney World. We both agreed that it was money well spent and fun to do something that we had never done before. I love the fact that the tour includes a CD full of photos from the trek; it makes a fabulous souvenir and guarantees that you'll go home with some very special photos from your vacation within your vacation.
Do you plan on taking the Wild Africa Trek on your next visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Or have you already taken the tour? Would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!