Have you ever noticed people walking around the safari or near the hippos on Kilimanjaro Safaris? Have you ever wondered what they were doing and how you could be out there getting up close to the animals? One of Animal Kingdom’s hidden gems is the Wild Africa Trek, a special tour that debuted last year.
This tour departs several times throughout the day with the earliest tours starting before Animal Kingdom opens to the public. The tour last approximately 3 hours. If you are arriving before the park opens you will need to meet your guide at the front of the park and be escorted back to the tour’s starting location. If your tour starts after the park opens, you can head behind the Dawa Bar to meet your guide.
Once you meet your guide, you will be fitted with your tour vest, which is also your harness for the first half of your adventure. You go through some basic safety training and get to test out the practice bridge to see if you can handle the challenges up ahead. As soon as everyone in your group is ready to go you head off with your guide into the Pangani Forest and begin your adventure. You have short walk through the forest along the paths that the regular guests follow before you head towards the Ituri Forest.
The path that you follow isn’t paved. You are walking on dirt and over roots. For guest that are physically unable to take this route, there is an alternate trail that you will take with your own guide before meeting up with the main group later. My tour had a few people who took this option.
Once you find your way through the forest, your first stop is with the hippos in the Safi River. Your “monkey tail” that is part of your tour vest is attached to a safety bar and you are able to walk out to the edge of the enclosure and lean over to view the hippos. I was the only one in my group brave enough to head out to the edge and lean as far as the monkey tail would let me. It gave me the opportunity to get some great pictures.
After your guides share some interesting hippo facts, you head off to the daredevil portion of the tour. Everyone is able to walk across a suspended bridge. I thoroughly enjoyed this portion of the tour. I can’t say as much for some of the other people in my group. Some were scared of heights and just focused on crossing the bridge. I took my time and enjoyed the view. I watched as the safari trucks passed underneath and stood over the crocodiles just daring them to try to make me into their dinner.
Once you’ve make it across the bridges and spent some time at the crocodile overlook, you take your last hike out to meet your personal safari vehicle. I think our safari vehicle was my favorite part of the adventure. Unlike the vehicles that you ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris, the Wild Africa Trek vehicles are able to stop and you are able to walk around your vehicle to get pictures of the animals.
One last treat during your adventure is a small meal that is served to you overlooking the savannah. The early morning Treks include fruit salad, cheese and yogurt, followed by fig cake, a special slaw, and prosciutto. It was all delicious and just enough to refuel me for the rest of our adventure.
We had a special, but unplanned treat near the end of our adventure. The lions were out! There is a spot where the truck is able to pull over and we got some great pictures of the lion. After the lions, you follow the same path as the regular safari vehicles.
Once you return to the warden’s post, you walk back to Wild Africa Trek meeting place. You are able to select one of the conservation efforts represented by the animals that you saw on the Trek. By making the selection, Disney donates a portion of your fee to the selected efforts.
I would definitely do the Wild Africa Trek again if I were given a chance. Since I was on one of the first Treks of the day, I would like to try one of the later Treks, maybe even try to head out on the last one of the day.
Have you ever been on the Wild Africa Trek? What was your favorite part?