Disney Wiki

Kilimanjaro Safaris

  • View history
  • 3 Animals Seen
  • 4 Incidents
  • 5 Construction
  • 8 References

The ride originally begins as a two-week safari aboard Simba 1 through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve in Harambe , East Africa. It is 800km 2 of natural terrain, including Ituri forest, wetlands of the Safi River valley and the open bush country of the Serengeti Savanna. During most of the ride people view the common African animals including elephants, giraffe, antelopes, gazelles, crocodiles, monkeys, hippos, lions, cheetahs, rhinos, zebras, crocodiles, storks, pelicans, flamingos and okapis. The tour guide points out animals and provides entertainment. During the journey, the driver is in radio contact with reserve warden Wilson Matua, who is flying over the reserve on his daily routine. It all takes a turn when poachers are spotted in the reserve, and it's up to Simba 1 and the guests, with support from the air and other rangers, to stop them.

History [ ]

Kilimanjaro Safaris typically operates until sundown. However, during the holiday season of 1998, the safaris were continued at night and dubbed Kilimanjaro Night Safaris. Though many animals were asleep, or unable to be seen at night, the attraction had a completely different script and storyline. This "new" attraction featured additional animal sounds, reflectors hidden in the foliage to resemble animals' eyes, and an actual African dance group, who performed around a bonfire in the area normally occupied by the attraction's elephants. Kilimanjaro Night Safaris only ran during that initial holiday season. After this time, it was deemed that the additional costs, plus the fact that animal visibility was poor (eliciting many Guest complaints), made Night Safaris unfeasible to continue regularly. Cast members can still switch the voice tracks on the trucks to hear the nighttime version of Wilson and Miss Jobson, however it is not considered part of the current Safari storyline.

In 2004, much of the savanna's drainage system had to be replaced. The attraction remained open during the rehab, with green tarps covering the construction sites to keep the animals out.

In 2007-8, work began to extend the trucks with an extra row of seating, allowing the trucks more capacity. Though not all the trucks have the extra row, it is known they will be finished by 2009. Also, the safari script/story, along with the Wilson/Jobson story has significantly changed. There is less of a story about "Little Red", and more about the animals in the Reserve and the need to find a lost elephant at the end.

The ride originally featured a cast member in the role of a gun-toting reserve warden who captured the poachers and saved Big Red and Little Red. This element of the attraction was eventually eliminated. During Cast Previews of Disney's Animal Kingdom, there was a "Dark Ending" in which the safari vehicle encountered the slaughtered corpse of Big Red. This scene proved too shocking for families and children, and thus was eventually changed to give the attraction a happier ending.

On August 15, 2015, at the D23 Expo , an expansion known as Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris , was announced, extending the operating hours of the attraction, as well as adding new landscapes, and two new species of animals, including African wild dogs and hyenas. [1]

Animals Seen [ ]

  • Okapi ( Okapia johnstoni )
  • Greater kudu ( Tragelaphus strepsiceros )
  • White-faced tree duck ( Dendrocygna viduata )
  • Northern pintail duck ( Anas acuta )
  • Nyala ( Tragelaphus angasii )
  • Sable antelope ( Hippotragus niger )
  • Greater flamingo ( Phoenicopterus roseus )
  • White-bearded wildebeest ( Connochaetes taurinus )
  • Pink-backed pelican ( Pelecanus rufescens )
  • Bontebok ( Damaliscus pygargus )
  • Eland ( Taurotragus oryx )
  • Springbok ( Antidorcas marsupialis )
  • Yellow-billed duck ( Anas undulata )
  • Thomson's gazelle ( Eudorcas thomsonii )
  • Yellow-billed stork ( Mycteria ibis )
  • Ankole Cattle ( Bos taurus africanus )
  • Mandrill ( Mandrillus sphinx )
  • Egyptian goose ( Alopochen aegyptiaca )
  • Scimitar-horned oryx ( Oryx dammah )
  • Red-billed duck ( Anas erythrorhyncha )
  • Helmeted guineafowl ( Numida meleagris )
  • White-breasted cormorant
  • Stanley crane ( Grus paradisea )
  • Bongo ( Tragelaphus eurycerus )
  • Impala ( Aepyceros melampus )
  • Mhorr gazelle
  • Yellow-backed duiker
  • Saddle-billed stork ( Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis )
  • Black rhinoceros ( Diceros bicornis )
  • White rhinoceros ( Ceratotherium simum )
  • Hippopotamus ( Hippopotamus amphibius )
  • Nile crocodile ( Crocodylus niloticus )
  • Reticulated giraffe
  • Masai giraffe
  • Plains zebra ( Equus quagga )
  • Mountain zebra ( Equus zebra )
  • Warthog ( Phacochoerus africanus )
  • Ostrich ( Struthio camelus )
  • Cheetah ( Acinonyx jubatus )
  • African bush elephant ( Loxodonta africana )
  • Lion ( Panthera leo )
  • Addax ( Addax nasomaculatus )
  • African wild dog ( Lycaon pictus )
  • Spotted hyena
  • Nigerian goat

Incidents [ ]

  • Tuesday, July 13, 2004 is known as "Black Tuesday". The final waterfall scene became overfilled due to a drainage block. When many of the trucks went through, it short-circuited the microphone and "puck" system. After a two-hour closing to figure out how to resolve the issue, it re-opened with trucks maintaining a driver, and another cast member standing in the first passenger seating row talking to the guests. Cast members from throughout the park were asked to help if they had knowledge of the animals/safari. Though it created some havoc, it is a story told by and to all cast members of the attraction.
  • February 10, 2008, a fire broke out in the engine compartment of one of the ride vehicles.

Construction [ ]

  • The attraction features custom-built GMC trucks riding washed-out, rutted roads and a tilting bridge. The roadbed is actually constructed of dark brown-colored concrete embedded with permanent tire ruts.
  • The flamingo island is a huge Hidden Mickey .
  • Between each ecosystem includes both chain road sensors and bars to prevent animals from venturing between sections. The vehicles drive directly on these obstacles.
  • The entire Magic Kingdom park could fit comfortably inside of this single attraction.
  • The music snippet that is heard when driving past the elephant area is called "Hapa Duniani" and is performed by the vocal group, "African Dawn."
  • The lions in Kilimanjaro Safaris originally were from an Oregon zoo and had a hard time adjusting to Florida's heat. The animals would often retreat from visitor's view to a shaded area. To counter this problem, Imagineers installed air-conditioning systems around the lion's promontory, thus giving visitors a better chance of seeing the kings of the savannah.
  • On the African savanna, acacia trees appear to be the mainstay of the landscape. Kilimanjaro Safaris, however, is pulling a switcha-roo on its residents by carefully trimming Florida's native southern live oaks to mimic flat-topped acacias. Disney claims the giraffes don't mind on the substitutes.
  • When you pass the lions on Kilmanjaro Safaris don't worry about being in harms way. Hidden from visitor's view, an 18-foot-deep, 21-foot-wide moat separates the lions from other animals and the rides vehicle path.

Gallery [ ]

A Disney's Animal Kingdom guide map featuring a Kilimanjaro Safaris lion

References [ ]

  • ↑ http://www.comingsoon.net/extras/news/472595-d23-disney-reveals-more-star-wars-land-details-plus-toy-story-land-and-avatar#/slide/1
  • 3 Inside Out 2

Guide to Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom

In this post we give an overview of Kilimanjaro Safaris, a safari ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World. We cover the basics of the ride, how to ride it, and our thoughts on the experience before closing with an FAQ. Read on to learn more!

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Related Posts

This post is a quick guide to Kilimanjaro Safaris, but we have related content that dives deeper into topics. Our Animal Kingdom Genie+ and Lightning Lane post covers Lightning Lane strategy in deep. The Animal Kingdom Rides and Entertainment Guide gives brief introductions to all the park’s offerings. For putting together your day at the park, we have a One Day Plan for Animal Kingdom .

If you’re really into animals, you might also want to check out our reviews of the Caring for Giants and Up Close With Rhinos reviews.

Kilimanjaro Safaris Basics

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a safari ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Kilimanjaro Safaris:

does not have a height requirement

does not offer rider switch

has an Lightning Lane as part of Genie+

does not have a single rider line

is not a part of Early Entry at Animal Kingdom

is about 20 minutes long (varies)

Disney warns that persons not in good health and expectant mothers should not ride. (People ask why this is. Keeping in mind we do not at all discount this warning, we assume it is because the ride can get quite bumpy. That said, it very well may have to do with the wildlife on the ride, or even the fact that the drive gets you somewhat remote from the rest of the park. That’s all speculation, but you can be sure there’s some good reason for the warning.)

Where is Kilimanjaro Safaris located?

Kilimanjaro Safaris is located in the Africa land of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Entering the park, you’ll want to pass the Tree of Life on the left, passing Pizzafari and Creature Comforts (the Animal Kingdom Starbucks) . Cross the bridge and head straight to the back of the land to get to Kilimanjaro Safaris.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

How to Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris

If you use Genie+ at Animal Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safaris will probably be your second Lightning Lane pick (after Na’vi River Journey).

Since Kilimanjaro Safaris (as of this update) is not a part of Early Entry, guests without Early Entry have a good chance at a short wait if they start there. Of course, there might still be a line of people who had Early Entry ahead of you.

As with most rides, waits will peak midday. But another good reason to avoid midday safaris is because the animals are less active in the heat. Kilimanjaro Safaris usually closes before the rest of the park. Check the hours in the app or at the ride.

Kilimanjaro Safaris is probably the highlight of a day at Animal Kingdom with a small child . It has no notably scary parts , but it is a 20-minute long experience. This has never been a problem for us because the animals have kept Zoe entertained enough.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Kilimanjaro Safaris Ride Experience

The Kilimanjaro Safaris queue is mostly outdoor, and while there are a few themed spaces (the theme being that you’re going on a safari at the Harambe Wildlife Reserve), nothing stands out to us.

The ride itself is unique and amazing. During an approximately 20 minute journey, you’ll take a safari through varying landscapes filled with real animals. You can view a video of the ride here.

Past thematic elements—a story of poachers, a broken bridge—have been abandoned, and the ride is basically a straightforward safari experience now.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Your experience may vary. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a “bad” safari, but some are notably better than others—more active animals, animals coming right up to the vehicle, and so on. Personally we think the cliche advice that morning safaris are better is cliche because it’s correct, but we also don’t make a habit of afternoon safaris.

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a long experience, something you’ll want to keep in mind when planning your day. If you head there early, waits on everything else will be longer by the time you finish. If you have a Lightning Lane or dining reservation, don’t let a long safari cause you any conflicts.

Kilimanjaro Safaris FAQ

How many miles is the kilimanjaro safaris path.

Looking at Google Maps, I believe the path is only about 1.5 miles. That’s not too long, but keep in mind you’ll be moving slowly and making lots of stops (not getting out), so the ride will take about 20-30 minutes.

Do you pet animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris?

No. There is a petting zoo as part of Rafiki’s Planet Watch. And, if it’s the same as pre-closure, the Up Close With Rhinos tour can but doesn’t always include a portion where you pet a Rhino.

Are the animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris real?

Yes, but there are a few fictional elements. It frustrates me to no end, but at least the termite mounds, ostrich eggs, and tusk marks in the clay appear to be fake. The animals are real, though.

When is the best time to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris?

Earlier is better, but if you’re not on by, say, 11AM it will usually be best to wait until after 3PM / 4PM. The animals are more active when it’s cooler.

All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered

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Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides , Hollywood Studios rides , Epcot rides , and Animal Kingdom rides ! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon ! And for some some fun prep, check out our Ranking of Every Ride at Walt Disney World .

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9 Awesome Facts & Secrets About Kilimanjaro Safaris

Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of our all time favourite attractions at Walt Disney World. We love it so much we rated it 5/5 in our Animal Kingdom attractions guide . With that in mind, here are 9 awesome facts about one of Disney’ most beloved and ambitious rides.

#1 Walt Disney Inspired Kilimanjaro Safaris

While it might seem incredibly unlikely, Walt Disney himself actually played a part in the creation of Kilimanjaro Safaris.

The first plans for the Jungle Cruise actually included real animals but it was quickly discovered that they would be far too unpredictable for the kind of attraction Disney wanted to deliver to park guests.

Fast forward to when Disney’s Imagineers were planning Animal Kingdom and Walt’s original dream became a reality.

#2 That’s One Big Attraction

Kilimanjaro Safaris is the biggest Disney park attraction in the world. Don’t believe us? You could fit the entire Magic Kingdom park in Kilimanjaro Safaris quite comfortably!

Kilimanjaro Safaris is 110 acres whereas the entire Magic Kingdom park comes in at 107 acres. Disney were not messing about with animal welfare when it came to designing this attraction.

The attraction itself makes up 20% of the entire Animal Kingdom park.

#3 The Lion Feels the Breeze Tonight

Though they aren’t always completely visible, the Lions in Kilimanjaro Safaris would be even less visible if it wasn’t for a bit of clever engineering from Disney.

The rocks in which the Lions hang around on for much of the day are actually air conditioned! The Lions originally came from a much cooler zoo in Oregon so Disney had to install air-con into the rock formation. Better yet, if it gets cold they can heat up so the lions can be comfortable all year round!

#4 Every Animal Needs to Rest

At the end of every day, animals throughout the attraction are called in to rest in their enclosures for the night. Each animal has been specially trained to respond to a different sound.

A few examples of this include crocodiles responding to a metal bar being hit underwater, elephants come in to the beat of a drum, giraffes for a cowbell and a duck call is used for the Thompson’s Gazelle.

#5 Free Roaming Animals

While every animal has set space to walk around in (you wouldn’t want the Lions in with the gazelles!), within their space they are free to walk wherever they wish.

That means that they have right of way, even to the Safari trucks that form part of the attraction. If an animal chooses to walk in front of a truck (has happened to us many times) then be thankful as it means you will be able to get up close with those cameras!

Spaces are controlled through a combination of chains in the ground (to stop animals crossing into another area), walls and even deep pits in the case of the lions.

#6 Fake Plastic Baobab Trees

Okay, not plastic but we wanted to sneak in a Radiohead reference… The famous Baobab trees that are scattered around Kilimanjaro Safaris are actually all fake and made of concrete. The real tree has a thick trunk and is very good at storing water during periods of drought.

There was a single real Baobab tree in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Harambe Village but sadly it died during a cold winter a few years ago.

#7 Animals Are Kept Close to Park Guests

Though it would be almost impossible to see on the first few experiences of Kilimanjaro Safaris, Disney actually does a lot to make sure the animals wander as close to guests as possible.

In addition to the air-conditioned rocks we already covered, Disney tactically place hay, grass, salt licks and drinking water close to the roads in which the safari trucks travel. Some of these placements are obvious when you know to keep an eye out but others are really well hidden, how many can you spot on your next safari?

#8 Real Safari Trucks

A lot of guests simply assume that the cast members aboard the great big safari trucks are simply onboard for guest safety and that the attraction is all on a track. This is completely false.

Cast Members go through rigorous training to land the role on Kilimanjaro Safaris and all of the custom built GMC and Ford trucks are free roaming. It is essential that this is the case as on many occasions cast members have had to swerve off course to go round an animal that has decided to settle on the road.

Each night the safari trucks are driven off the road and into a lot where they can be assessed and serviced ready for the next day.

#9 Timing is Everything

Though it is fair to say animals can be seen no matter what time of day Kilimanjaro Safaris is ridden, there are times of day where the animals are most active.

Early in the mornings, just after Disney’s Animal Kingdom has opened, can be a great time to experience the safari due to the cooler temperatures. In addition to this, the animals are all grazing on their breakfasts!

Disney introduced nighttime safaris in 2016 and this also offers a great time to see some of the animals who prefer to be active during the evening. These include Warthog, Hippo, Hyena and African Wild Dog.

Of course every safari is different and we can never guarantee that you will see great views of the animals on every trip.

Want more on Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Be sure to check out the rest of our Animal Kingdom guides .

Ryan

Ryan has been attending theme parks since as long as he can remember and his first proper memory comes from when he was just three years old sitting in Main Street USA drinking a Nesquik milkshake from a carton while the piano was being played outside Casey’s Corner.

© 2024. ThemeParkTrader.com

Kilimanjaro Safaris

A stately lion reclines on a boulder as seen on Kilimanjaro Safaris

A Truly Wild Adventure

Explore the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, home to over 30 species living in 110 acres of picturesque open plains, shady forest landscapes and rocky wetlands. Your rugged safari vehicle is driven by an expert guide, who helps point out animals and shares fascinating wildlife facts during this extraordinary 18-minute expedition.

Unique Animal Sightings Spot a lounging hippopotamus nestled in a peaceful pond. Behold a regal lion sunbathing on a rocky perch. Drive past a towering giraffe grazing on the tall trees or a white rhino relaxing in the cool mud. Other amazing animals you may encounter include cheetahs, crocodiles, elephants, painted dogs, zebras—and so many more!

Since animals have minds of their own, every expedition is a unique and unforgettable experience. Be sure to keep your eyes open and have a camera ready—you never know what you’ll see on a Kilimanjaro Safaris outing.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Related Activities

Wild africa trek, disney animals at walt disney world resort, even more magic – as you wish, guests also viewed, safety, accessibility and guest policies, times for kilimanjaro safaris.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

  • Africa attractions
  • FastPass attractions

Kilimanjaro Safaris

  • View history

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a safari attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom on the Walt Disney World Resort property in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It simulates an open-sided safari ride through the savanna of East Africa.

  • 2 Ride Description
  • 3 Incidents
  • 4 Facts & Trivia
  • 5 Sources & External Links

History [ ]

Kilimanjaro Safaris typically operates until sundown. However, during the holiday season of 1998, the safaris were continued at night and dubbed Kilimanjaro Night Safaris. Though many animals were asleep, or unable to be seen at night, the attraction had a completely different script and storyline. This "new" attraction featured additional animal sounds, reflectors hidden in the foliage to resemble animals' eyes, and an actual African dance troup, who performed around a bonfire in the area normally occupied by the attraction's elephants. Kilimanjaro Night Safaris only ran during that initial holiday season. After this time, it was deemed that the additional costs, plus the fact that animal visibility was poor (eliciting many guest complaints), made Night Safaris unfeasible to continue regularly.

In 2004, much of the savanna's drainage system had to be replaced. The attraction remained open during the rehab, with green tarps covering the construction sites to keep the animals out.

In 2007-2009, the trucks were extended with an extra row of seating, allowing for more capacity. Also, the safari script/story, along with the Wilson/Jobson story has significantly changed. There is less of a story about "Little Red," and more about the animals in the Reserve and the need to find a lost elephant at the end. This led to a somewhat confused plot in which guests are searching for a lost "mother elephant" and eventually find her baby which, according to the story, had already been safe the whole time.

The ride originally featured a Cast Member in the role of a gun-toting reserve warden who captured the poachers and saved Big Red and Little Red. This element of the attraction was eventually eliminated. During Cast Previews of Disney's Animal Kingdom, there was a "Dark Ending" in which the safari vehicle encountered the slaughtered corpse of Big Red. This scene proved too shocking for families and children, and thus was eventually changed to give the attraction a happier ending.

Long before the safari or even Walt Disney World opened, Walt Disney wanted to use real African animals for the river attraction Jungle Cruise at Disneyland . However, due to several reasons, Audio-Animatronic replicas were placed instead.

In July of 2010, it was announced that guests will soon be able to go on "guided treks" around the savannah. This will include areas that are not part of the regular ride experience.

Ride Description [ ]

The ride originally begins as a two-week safari aboard Simba 1 through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve in Harambe, East Africa. It is 800 square miles (2,100 km2) of natural terrain, including Ituri forest, wetlands of the Safi River valley, and the open bush country of the Serengeti Savanna. During most of the ride people view the common African animals including elephants, giraffes, zebras, antelope, gazelles, crocodiles, monkeys, hippos, lions, cheetahs, warthogs, ostriches, rhinos, storks, pelicans, flamingos, wildebeests, and okapis. The tour guide points out animals and provides entertainment. During the journey, the driver is in radio contact with reserve warden Wilson Matua, who is flying over the reserve on his daily routine. It all takes a turn when poachers are spotted in the reserve, and it's up to Simba 1 and the guests, with support from the air and other rangers, to stop them.

Incidents [ ]

  • Initially, there were a number of animal deaths from disease, toxic exposure, maternal killings and park vehicles. The United States Department of Agriculture investigation found no violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The pneumonia death of a hippopotamus caused a 40 minute closure of the ride.
  • On February 10, 2008, a fire broke out in the engine compartment of one of the ride vehicles.

Facts & Trivia [ ]

  • The attraction features custom-built GMC trucks riding washed-out, rutted roads and a bridge that tilts. The roadbed is actually constructed of dark brown-colored concrete embedded with permanent tire ruts.
  • The flamingo island is a huge Hidden Mickey .
  • Between each ecosystem are both chain road sensors and bars to prevent animals from venturing between sections. The vehicles drive directly on these obstacles.
  • The music snippet that is heard when driving past the elephant area is called "Hapa Duniani" and is performed by the vocal group, "African Dawn."

Sources & External Links [ ]

  • Official website
  • 1 Walt Disney World Monorail System
  • 2 The Haunted Mansion (Walt Disney World)
  • 3 Downtown Disney (Walt Disney World)

Attraction Guide to Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney World

in Walt Disney World

Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction guide

In this guide to one of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s most popular attractions, we are going to take you through everything you need to know about the ride. From its incredible history to answering some of the most important questions that guests have on the attraction, we’re covering it all in our Attraction Guide to Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney World.

If you wanted to jump to a specific section, just click on one of the links below:

  • What is Kilimanjari Safaris?

History of Kilimanjaro Safaris

  • FastPass Information
  • Your Questions Answered

What is Kilimanjaro Safaris?

Kilimanjaro Safaris is Disney’s attempt at creating a real safari experience in a theme park. It’s a huge attraction spanning 110 acres and home to 34 different species of wildlife. The entire attraction was designed from the ground-up to look just like a real African reserve and this illusion starts as soon as you get into the queue for the attraction.

Giraffes at Kilimanjaro Safaris

You can find Kilimanjaro Safaris within Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, right toward the back of the park.

Related: Go Wild for this Disney+ playlist themed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Believe it or not, Walt Disney helped to inspire the attraction, despite passing away many years before the Imagineers came up with the idea for the attraction.

When designing Disneyland, Walt Disney always wanted to use live animals for the Jungle Cruise . Thankfully this wasn’t allowed at the time, otherwise we would never have gotten the classic Jungle Cruise attraction, which is widely considered one of the best at the Disney Parks.

The Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction owes a lot to legendary Imagineer Joe Rohde who headed up the design for Disney’s Animal Kingdom and worked on the attraction, getting it ready for the parks opening date over 20 years ago on April 22, 1998.

The original story for the attraction taught guests about the dangers of poaching and the impact it had on animals in the African Savannah. The original poaching storyline was actually far more intense than guests ended up seeing a dead corpse of Little Red’s mother. This was removed before the grand opening of the ride and replaced with the happy reunion between the two animals.

Kilimanjaro Safari 1998 scene

In 2012 the story of “Little Red” the elephant was dropped in favor of a new section of the attraction, a Zebra exhibit.

Related: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge welcomes new baby zebra

Though nighttime safaris were originally introduced as far back as 1998, the additional costs and poor visibility of animals meant that they just weren’t feasible until technology changed. Thankfully the Imagineers reintroduced nighttime safaris back in 2016 when hyenas were brought to the reserve.

FastPass+ Information

FastPass+ is available for the Animal Kingdom safaris attraction. Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the busiest attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and is, therefore, an attraction you are likely going to want to get a FastPass for.

FastPass sign at Kilimanjaro Safaris

Your Questions Answered on Kilimanjaro Safaris

How long does kilimanjaro safaris take to experience.

This is one of the longest attractions at Walt Disney World, with the average safari taking around 20 minutes from when you first set off.

There’s an average because there are times where it can be a lot longer or shorter, it all depends on whether or not an animal sits down in front of your safari truck!

What are the height requirements?

Great news: there are no height restrictions at all for Kilimanjaro Safaris! This means you can board with all of your Junior Wilderness Explorers — just make sure they sit toward the inside of the vehicle.

Are the animals in Kilimanjaro Safaris real?

You’d be surprised at how much we hear this question! Every animal that you can see is a real animal that lives in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The only exception to this is the termite mounds you see, these are used to hide treats for the animals. Oh, and while the Ostriches you see on the attraction are real, the eggs that are ALWAYS by the roadside are made of concrete.

Ostrich at Kilimanjaro Safaris

What are the ride vehicles like?

Many guests assume that the attraction is on a track. These are real custom built GMC and Ford trucks that are actually being driven by the Cast Member that you see at the front of the attraction.

Kilimanjaro Safari Truck

Cast Members go through rigorous training to be able to get a role on Kilimanjaro Safaris. The trucks are real because many Cast Members have had to stop, swerve and move for the numerous animals that wander the attraction. Remember, the animals have right of way!

Each night the safari trucks are driven off the road and into a lot where they are assessed and serviced ready for the next day at the park.

The trucks seat 3-5 guests to a row and while there is a cushioned back, there are no safety restraints (such as seat belts) on this attraction.

Does weather affect Kilimanjaro Safaris?

It is rare that the attraction will close due to weather.

A bit of rain won’t stop the attraction, but if there is a heavy storm it will result in the attraction having to temporarily close.

Does Kilimanjaro Safaris run at night?

Yes! Nighttime safaris were introduced back in 2016 and have been pleasing guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom ever since.

Kilimanjaro Safaris at night

What is a Nighttime Safari?

A nighttime safari is a great chance to see some of the animals on the reserve when they are a bit more active. Hyenas, in particular, are really active at night but many of the other species are also more comfortable at night thanks to the cooler temperatures.

The ride’s duration at night is slightly shorter than the day as the safari truck avoids areas where animals aren’t going to be visible.

Does Kilimanjaro Safaris cost extra?

No, Kilimanjaro Safaris is included in the cost of admission to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Disney offers paid walking tours of the attraction that come at a cost but are well worth the money. Here’s Ryan taking one of the tours ( Wild Africa Trek ) last year:

Ryan at Wild Africa Trek

Can you ride Kilimanjaro Safaris when pregnant?

The official response from Disney is that the attraction isn’t suitable for expectant mothers.

That being said, this is certainly one of the tamer rides that sit within this bracket. You need to assess every scenario and what works well for you. There are many Disney fans that will tell you the first trimester won’t be an issue but do your own research and remember the warning is there for a reason.

What animals are on Kilimanjaro Safaris?

Hippos at Kilimanjaro Safaris

Here are just some of the animals you can expect to see when riding Kilimanjaro Safaris:

  • Black Rhinoceros
  • Egyptian Goose
  • Pink-backed Pelican
  • Common Waterbuck
  • Greater Kudu
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Reticulated Giraffe
  • Sable Antelope
  • White-bearded Wildebeest
  • African Elephant
  • African Lion
  • White Rhinoceros
  • African Wild Dog
  • Nile Crocodile
  • Masai Giraffe

What is the best time to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris?

While the rest of the park is running (or fast walking) to Flight of Passage in the morning at rope drop, wander over to Africa just as the park opens and you will get one of the best rides of the day.

Many of the animals like to take cover from the intense Florida heat during the course of the day, so your best time to see active animals is typically right at the start of the day or as the sun is setting.

Based on the number of times we’ve been on Kilimanjaro Safaris (which is a lot), we’d say you’d likely have more luck seeing active animals in the morning.

Keep in mind that one of the major selling points of the attraction is that every ride experience differs!

What is the worst time of day to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris?

There’s not really a time where you aren’t going to see anything but as we said previously, many of the animals like to seek shelter from the sun during the middle of the day. Plan for a safari during the morning or evening if you can to stand the best chance of seeing the most amount of animals.

That being said, don’t let us discourage you from visiting during the day. We’ve had many safaris during the hottest hours of the day and they’ve still been fantastic and memorable.

Do you have further questions you want answering about Kilimanjaro Safaris? Ask us anything in the comments below and we will add the answer to our guide!

EverythingMouse Guide To Disney

Disney Kilimanjaro Safaris – The Ultimate Guide Updated

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Want to know more about the Disney Kilimanjaro Safaris?

One of the most immersive of all the Animal Kingdom rides, the Disney Kilimanjaro Safari takes you on a journey through the African planes.

In Orlando Florida.

This highly unique experience is one of the highlights of any trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It truly is an adventure that you cannot find anywhere else in North America.

Discover what you need to know about Disney Kilimanjaro Safaris so that you and your family can get the most out of this immersive attraction.

disneykilimanjarosafaris

Disney Kilimanjaro Safari Guide

The Disney Imagineers have successfully created the Harambe Wildlife Reserve in Animal Kingdom park.

Walt Disney himself always wanted to have live animals incorporated into his theme parks.

Whilst in Disneyland this dream was kind of realized in Jungle Cruise (Walt originally wanted real animals for this attraction), Disney’s Animal Kingdom finally achieved that dream.

The area where your Kilimanjaro Safari Bus will take you is vast.

110 acres of vast.

And it is home to 34 different species of animal including lions, hippos, giraffes, and elephants.

What is the Disney Kilimanjaro Safari Ride Like?

Kilimanjaro Safaris

The first experience of any Disney ride is the line area!

The advantage of the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride is that the queue is well-shaded.

There are some things to look at along the way, including some videos about conservation. But mostly the best thing about this line is that it is in the shade!

It can get very very hot in Orlando and it can be a challenge to wait in line at the height of the heat. There are a few spots where you can even sit down on a small wall which gives your feet a bit of a rest!

This is one reason not to ride Kilimanjaro Safari in the heat of the day – the queue will be a lot easier to deal with if it is a bit cooler.

A short way into the line you will have to put your stroller in the parking place.

A Cast Member will be there to guide you to the exact spot.

Then by the time you get back, your stroller will have moved of course!

Animal Kingdom

Photo Credit

The Disney Animal Kingdom Safari ride vehicles are custom-built GMC and Ford trucks.

Lots of guests think that Kilimanjaro Safaris is on a track, but it isn’t. Those safari vehicles are true off-roaders controlled by the Cast Members!

Each ride vehicle holds up to 32 guests in 9 rows each seating up to 4. There is no height requirement for this Animal Kingdom ride.

It is very much for families, but as I discuss below, it is very bumpy.

Take notice of the warnings.

If you have a health condition or are pregnant give Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safaris a miss!

Passing Hippos

Is there a best place to sit on the Disney Kilimanjaro Safari ride?

There really aren’t any bad seats, but the best is the front and the back row.

However, be aware that the further towards the back you get, the bumpier the ride!

If you have small children they should not be at the edge.

Giraffe Models

In front of you, there are signs which help you recognize which animals you may see on your safari.

The most popular sitings are those of elephants, giraffes, gazelles, rhinos, crocodiles, hippos, and lions.

Animal Kingdom Safari Overhead Sign

The safari guides always make sure that they keep you entertained as well as educated. And they will try their best to point out the sometimes very well camouflaged animals.

If you can be organized enough it is a great idea to take some High Powered Binoculars with you.

I went on the safari ride for years before I actually did this. It made a huge difference to what you can see.

There is usually plenty of time to take photos of the animals. Your Cast Member guide will do their best to point out the best photo ops.

Animal Kingdom Safari Ride Fun Facts

mufasa mufasa mufasa

Don’t worry. Of course, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has things well designed so that you are not going to get up close and personal with a lion. Big trenches separate humans from the dangerous animals.

Jurassic Park this is not.

Disney has some great tricks to keep the animals visible and happy.

Ever wonder why the lions are always sitting out on the rocks? Yes, they are mimicking what they do in the wild, but what most people don’t know about the rocks is that they are air-conditioned!

The lions originally came from a much cooler park in Oregon, so they needed a little help cooling down in the hot Florida sun. If it ever gets too cold, the rocks can be heated too!

Disney also knows how to get the animals as close as possible to you. How do they do this? The usual incentive for food and water.

They place food, watering holes, and salt licks close to the vehicle paths.

The emphasis is on safety both for humans and animals.

You might think you can reach out and touch that giraffe but there is a large system of trenches, bridges and fences on all the savannas to keep humans from the animals and to keep the animals from predators.

Many years ago there was a story about poachers with a graphic illustration of the fate of Little Red, a baby elephant. This storyline has not been seen for almost a decade as many considered it too upsetting for a Disney attraction.

Disney Kilimanjaro Safaris Best Time To Ride

Baby Rhinoceros on Kilimanjaro Safari - Animal Kingdom - Walt Disney World

What is the best time to ride the Disney Kilimanjaro Safaris? This Animal Kingdom ride is popular. And popular means lines.

The best tactic for the best time to ride Disney Kilimanjaro’s Safari? Arrive early. I know that’s always the advice, but it works.

If you can arrive at the Animal Kingdom at rope drop and then go straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris you will most likely be beating the crowds. Even better is if you have Early Entry at 8 am. You can really get ahead of the crowds.

Kilimanjaro Giraffe

The attraction is right at the back of the park. If you plan to be there early look at a map of Animal Kingdom so you get your bearings as to where you are going.

There are plenty of signs in the park, but it is always good to have an overall view.

There is another great reason to ride Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safari as early as possible. The animals are much more active in the morning.

You are more likely to see a greater selection of active animals than in the afternoon when it is hotter.

 Kilimanjaro Safaris Wait Time

Maclean the African Elephant on Kilimanjaro Safari - Animal Kingdom - Walt Disney World

The Disney Kilimanjaro Safari wait times will vary from anywhere between 10 minutes to 120 minutes, This depends on the time of day as well as whether it is peak season or not.

As we have said, the lowest wait time will be as soon as the park opens.

If you leave it until 11 am you are likely to hit the peak wait times of at least 70 to 90 minutes.

Really try and avoid that time of day as it is likely to be the worst.

Kilimanjaro Safari - Animal Kingdom - Walt Disney World

If you don’t get to the attraction early in the day, the next best time to ride Disney Kilimanjaro Safaris is usually around 3 pm onwards.

A lot of people head for the attraction earlier in the day and have cleared that area by mid-afternoon.

The wait times for this Animal Kingdom attraction are somewhat better now that Disney’s Animal Kingdom has extended opening hours. It used to only ever be open 9 am until 5 pm.

Now the hours are often extended into the evening so this also gives a chance to experience the safari ride at night.

Kilimanjaro Safaris at Night

Welcome to Harambe Wildlife Reserve

Now the hours are often extended into the evening so this also gives a chance to experience the Disney Kilimanjaro Safaris at night.

This is a very different experience from touring during the day.

If possible you should try and ride once in the early morning and then go back late in the evening.

The least busy times will be just before the park closes.

Giraffes on Kilimanjaro Safari - Animal Kingdom - Walt Disney World

Adapting the experience for nighttime was not an easy task. Disney had to spend more than a year preparing the animals and the environment for the nighttime Kilimanjaro Safaris.

They introduced some new animals, such as the nocturnal hyenas, to be better suited to the nighttime experience.

They also added a huge wall of graphic displays to enhance the Kilimanjaro Safaris at night. This is so that guests can actually have enough light to see the animals.

The graphics cleverly mimic a gradually setting sun over an extended period of time.

This is so that the animals can adjust to the environment and the guests can actually still see the animals which are up and about in the evening.

The Kilimanjaro Safaris at Night is definitely a different experience than during the day. Ideally, you should do both. If you have to choose just one though, I would say go in the morning. You are likely to see more active animals.

Disney Kilimanjaro Safaris For Pregnant Ladies

I visited Disney World many times while pregnant. It’s a very pregnant lady-friendly place!

However, there are some Disney World rides that recommend that if you are pregnant you should not ride.

Zebras

Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safari Ride very clearly states that pregnant ladies should not ride.

This is going to be very much an individual decision. There are some rides at Disney World where it is very obvious that a pregnant woman should not ride.

You probably aren’t going to want to sign up to ride Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, or Rock N Roller Coaster when you are pregnant.

That’s obvious.

But Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of those Disney World rides where you are thinking shall I or shan’t I?

African Elephants on Kilimanjaro Safari - Animal Kingdom - Walt Disney World

My personal experience is that when I was pregnant with my youngest son I did go on the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride. After about 10 seconds I realized that for me, it was the wrong decision. Kilimanjaro Safari is bumpy!

I remember just wanting it to end almost as soon as it started.

I am fortunate and have experienced the Animal Kingdom Safari Ride many times. However, at that time I really wished I hadn’t. It’s fine normally to speed through the African planes in your safari vehicle over all the bumps, but when pregnant I just wanted to be somewhere else!

Will you be experiencing Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safaris on your next visit to the Animal Kingdom?

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando.  In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.

Disney Animal Kingdom Rides - EverythingMouse Guide To Disney

Saturday 17th of August 2019

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Complete Guide to Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom

Complete Guide to Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom

Board a safari truck and get your cameras ready! Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom gives you the experience of a real-life African safari, but at Walt Disney World.

As you travel through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve you will learn about conservation, the importance of taking care of animals, and, of course, get the chance to see amazing creatures, like elephants, hippos, and giraffes.

Now, let’s explore our guide to Kilimanjaro Safaris .

In this article

Kilimanjaro Safaris Quick Facts

  • Location : Animal Kingdom, Africa
  • Height Requirement : None
  • Suitable for: Everyonest
  • Attraction Length: 18 minutes
  • Do we recommend? Definitely a high priority attraction you must experience.
  • When to Visit : Typically at opening/within the first hour, or later in the day toward park closing.
  • Lightning Lane Available: Yes
  • Scheduled Refurbishments
  • Tip(s) : Visit first thing in the morning at park open. The line gets really long, really fast, and the animals seem to be out more in the morning. The next best time to visit is at sunset for park closing. Crowds level off earlier at Animal Kingdom, wait times may be reduced, and animals can be out feeding.

Description : You board safari vehicles that are driven by guides who really do drive (no tracks) and are very knowledgeable about the animals. As you make your way through the savanna, the guides provide lots of information based on what you see along the ride. Sometimes have to stop to wait for animals to clear the path.

No two rides are the same as the animals are free roaming and on their own schedule. We would recommend experiencing the safari twice in your park day, if possible.

Everything You Need To Know About Kilimanjaro Safaris

You can find Kilimanjaro Safaris in the heart of Africa. Here’s the location on the map.

kilimanjaro safaris map location

Download the PDF

AK Map Front Mar2023

How to Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris

Kilimanjaro Safaris has a Standby Lane and a Lightning Lane. There is no Single Rider Line.

kilimanjaro safaris lightning lane

Like most attractions, standby lines typically are the lowest first thing in the morning and at the end of the evening. The middle of the day will see the longest lines.

Even though it’s not listed as an available attraction for Early Theme Park Entry, sometimes Kilimanjaro Safaris is open during the 30-minute early entry.

kilimanjaro safaris line

Kilimanjaro Safaris Standby Lane wait time jumps quickly after park open and can see sustained wait times well over 60 minutes for most of the park day.

Do I need to use Genie+ at Kilimanjaro Safaris?

Kilimanjaro Safaris is available with Genie+ and we highly recommend using it at this attraction for anyone who has purchased Genie+ or if it’s a must-do.

This is a highly popular ride at Animal Kingdom, given that it is a long ride time and suitable for all ages.

Many park guests make it a top priority of their park day. So unless you do this ride first, right at park open, plan to reserve a Genie+ time for Kilimanjaro Safaris.

If you want to try and experience the Safaris twice in one day, we would recommend using the Standby Lane at park open and then using Genie+ to ride it again later in the day.

Make sure you check out our touring strategies for Animal Kingdom for more Genie+ advice.

Rider Switch/Child Swap

You cannot use  Rider Switch  for Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Rider Switch is Disney’s system allowing guests with small children to take turns riding bigger rides, while another person/people wait with the little one.

There also isn’t Single Rider available here.

What to expect when you ride

The Kilimanjaro Safaris queue is outdoors, with part of it shaded. It paints the scene of an African tour company with its straw, thatched roof.

kilimanjaro safaris queue at animal kingdom

While there isn’t  an interactive queue , the line is themed to the attraction.

kilimanjaro safaris queue at animal kingdom

You can learn the African Swahili names to your favorite animals on displays as you move through the line. You can even hear the safari trucks driving by as you walk through.

Ride vehicles

Kilimanjaro Safaris ride vehicles can fit a total of 35 individuals. Each row can seat three to five guests, depending.

kilimanjaro safaris ride vehicles

There is no seatbelt or safety restraint, but there is a door on the right side of each row that closes for security and safety purposes when you’re on the ride.

Motion Sickness

Kilimanjaro Safaris is far from a thrill ride, but it can get rough at times with the trucks bouncing up and down along the paths and bridges.

Sometimes you might even have to brace yourself, so you don’t slide in your seat.

We have a  guide on motion sickness  that’s filled with information and tips, so feel free to check that out.

Accessibility information

Guests in ECVs or power wheelchairs must transfer to a manual wheelchair. There are wheelchair accessible vehicles with built-in ramps.

Those using an ECV who don’t wish to transfer to a vehicle bench, must transfer to a Disney-provided manual wheelchair.

kilimanjaro safaris accessibility information

You will be seated in Row 1 right behind the tour guide. A bench is located directly next to the wheelchair space and additional companions will be directed to sit in the rows behind the wheelchair space.

Those using ECVs or wheelchairs can remain in their mobility devices until they reach the accessible boarding and unloading area, which is not long after the stroller drop-off area.

kilimanjaro safaris ecv and wheelchair loading area

This area is where ECVS and other mobility devices can be parked. They will be waiting in the same space when guests return from their safari.

Keep in mind that each safari vehicle only holds one occupied wheelchair at a time, so anyone needing this type of access could have an additional wait compared to those who transfer to a vehicle bench.

Handheld captioning , assistive listening, and video captioning is available for guests.

Service animals are also permitted, but with caution.

On the Ride

Spoilers ahead! If you want to go in knowing absolutely nothing about Kilimanjaro Safaris, feel free to skip this section.

After walking through the queue you and your party finally make it to the boarding lanes awaiting your safari tour.

kilimanjaro safaris loading zone

You can’t miss the sound of your safari truck approaching. A warm greeting from your tour guide “Jambo,” which is Swahili for “Hello.”

After boarding your safari truck, your group will take off entering the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.

harambe wildlife reserve kilimanjaro safaris

Be alert and have your cameras ready, because these are live, free roaming animals, so you never know what you will see or how close the animals will get.

No tour is ever the same!

You start off in the forest seeing the Okapi, the closet living relative to the giraffe. You’ll next approach a watering hole where you can catch sights of animals like the saddle billed stork, bongo, kudu, and black rhinoceros.

bongo on kilimanjaro safaris

Heading out of the forest your truck will enter a river where you can spot hippopotamus’. The only way to exit the river is by crossing over an old, shaky bridge.

Under the bridge, down low you’ll spot a crowd of Nile crocodiles. But not to fear, you’re with an expert driver and guide! Your truck makes it over the bridge safe and sound.

Exiting the river your safari tour will enter the savanna marked by a big Baobab tree.

giraffe and zebra on kilimanjaro safaris

As your truck makes its way down the savanna you will spot many animals like zebras, African wild dogs, giraffes, wildebeest, and cattle. Some animals may cross in front of or come right up to the truck. Be sure to look out past the truck under trees and in the shaded areas to spot animals.

Leaving the savanna your guide will spot a couple of fallen down trees. That means the mighty elephants are near! On the way to find the elephants you pass a family of Mandrill monkeys.

Your truck approaches another old shaky, bridge, worse than the last one. Your tour guide crosses successfully with care.

elephant on kilimanjaro safaris

In search of more elephants you enter the red clay pit. Sure enough you may be able to catch sight of the elephants! Females are usually found with their young, while the male elephants stick more to themselves. If there are new babies on the tour, your guide will be sure to point them out.

Driving through the watering area of the red clay pit, you will see a flock of flamingo. Did you know flamingos start off gray in color? Be sure to listen to the tour guide to hear what makes flamingos pink!

flamingos on kilimanjaro safaris

Approaching the mud pit you will spy white rhinoceros. Up in the shade you’ll spot a couple of cheetah, the fastest land mammals on earth.

Next up, the highlight of every tour, and sometimes the hardest animal to see, are the lions up on the rock. Since lions are nocturnal animals and sleep most of the day, your best chance to see them awake are on safaris later in the day near park closing.

white rhino on kilimanjaro safaris

Are you ready for more? Your tour is still not over! Next up be sure to look out for warthogs, ostrich eggs, and Bontebok antelopes.

Before your safari comes to an end, you’ll see some super adorable Nigerian Dwarf Goats, who are originally from Nigeria and considered to be of high value because of the high protein milk they provide.

lion on kilimanjaro safaris

You leave the reserve and head back to the village of Harambe. After the vehicle comes to a complete stop the doors on your right side will open, allowing you and your party to exit.

Keep in mind that each time you ride is different, because you never know what animals you’ll see or how they’ll act. This makes the attraction super unique.

kilimanjaro safaris animal location map

Is Kilimanjaro Safaris kid-friendly?

Overall, Kilimanjaro Safaris is kid-friendly. After all, it doesn’t even have a height requirement. It should be fun for most kids to see the different animals. And, don’t worry, there aren’t any dark or scary moments.

That said, the ride can get rough at times thanks to the paths, bridges, and the safari vehicle itself. This could be either fun or upsetting to little ones. But, for the most part, the ride is kid-friendly.

Be sure to check out our full guide on several other  things that might scare little ones at Disney World .

Strollers are not allowed on the Kilimanjaro Safaris vehicles. You’ll need to park your stroller in the designated stroller parking area at the attraction entrance.

If you forget to park your stroller or want to take it into the line, you can, but know you’ll have to park it mid-way. There is an area with Cast Members waiting, who will take your stroller and park it for you.

Kilimanjaro Safaris first opened in 1998, the same year as Animal Kingdom. Actually, both the attraction and the park opened on April 22, aka Earth Day.

Animal Kingdom is the largest of all Disney World theme parks. It spreads out over 500 acres, which also gives the animals plenty of room to roam and live.

kilimanjaro safaris savanna

The Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction itself spans 110 acres with the Harambe Wildlife Reserve serving as home to 34 species!

Your guide drives around as they gives facts about the animals you encounter along the way during the 18-minute journey.

kilimanjaro safaris elephant and ride vehicle

When the ride initially opened, there was a poachers storyline and even a rickety bridge that threw some excitement into the mix. But, both of these elements were removed and now there’s more of a focus on the actual animals and the importance of conservation.

Former Imagineer Joe Rohde is responsible and to thank for not only breathing life into Kilimanjaro Safaris, but Animal Kingdom as a whole. Without him, this park wouldn’t be is what is today.

There’s no doubt Kilimanjaro Safaris is a fantastic experience and the closest thing many will ever get to experiencing an African safari.

Other Fun Details

  • If you want an even more in depth and VIP tour of the savanna, you can sign up for the 3-hour guided Wild Africa Trek tour , where you will embark on some adventurous activities and see animals even more up close. This tour is priced separately and must be booked in advanced.

animal tours disney's animal kingdom

  • For an additional price, Up Close with Rhinos is a 60-minute tour giving you the chance to go backstage at Animal Kingdom to meet and learn more about white rhinos, with help from a guide.

up close with rhinos name badge animal kingdom tour

  • Take some time to visit the Gorilla Falls Exploration walking trail, located near the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris. It runs along parts of the driving tour and gives another look at many of the animals you saw on the drive, along with different ones like gorillas and meerkats!

gorilla falls exploration trail animal kingdom

  • Pay attention as you drive by the flamingos for a fun Hidden Mickey.

Other Attractions in Africa

  • Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Wildlife Express Train (takes you to Rafiki’s Planet Watch)

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The entrance to Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The Ultimate Guide

posted by Charmaine Cortes on December 26, 2022 // last updated on June 12, 2023

Are you planning to visit Kilimanjaro Safari Disney World with your family or loved ones and want to learn more about it? Then you have come to the right place!

In this article, we will provide you with an overview of everything you need to know about Kilimanjaro Safaris. This safari ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park will transport you across the globe into an African Wildlife setting.

In this Ultimate Guide, we will cover all the basics from the history of the Safari, how to ride it and some further frequently asked questions about the wildlife park. Read on to find out more!

About Kilimanjaro Safaris

The kilimanjaro safaris ride, kilimanjaro safaris accessibility, interesting facts.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Walt Disney had a lifelong dream of adding live animals to his Jungle Cruise. Back then, this was not possible until the Kilimanjaro Safaris opened its gates in Disney’s Animal Kingdom park in April 1998.

The park in Walt Disney World wanted to differentiate itself from a zoo from the beginning. While it had live animals, it was more focused on conservation and experiencing the animals in their (somewhat) natural habitat.

Since 2016, visitors can enjoy special sunset safaris where they get to enjoy African animals after dark.

You will find Kilimanjaro Safaris located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, which is part of Walt Disney World.

Make your way past the Tree of Life to the back of Africa, all the way past Mombasa Marketplace and Dawa Bar. As you cross the bridge, you will get to Kilimanjaro Safaris.

The queue will lead you through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve before you enter your safari vehicle and head out to experience the African Savanna without leaving the States!

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

The Kilimanjaro Safaris vehicles are open-air trucks that can accommodate up to 35 guests. Each vehicle can seat three to five guests in one row.

The Savanna provides a bumpy ride along a dirt trail and is different from the other smooth theme park rides at Disney. So buckle up.

You will be provided with a game-spotting guide. Be on the lookout, as not all wildlife will be visible at all times.

A Kilimanjaro Safaris ride is approximately 20 to 30 minutes long and leads through 100 acres of Savanna. During this time, you will be able to spot about 34 different species. Among these, you will find famous members of the African Animal Kingdom:

  • Hippopotamus
  • Sable Antelopes
  • Thompson’s Gazelles
  • African Wild Dogs
  • Termite Mounds

Each expedition through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve is completely unique. The animals are all free roaming and are, therefore, always in a different place or sometimes in hiding.

If you are looking for a specific unique experience, you can visit Kilimanjaro Safaris at night! During those nighttime safaris, you will be able to experience the wildlife in a completely different setting. Some animals tend to be more active during the night, so we recommend trying out both times.

The ride with Kilimanjaro Safaris is longer than some other rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, so factor that into your time at the park, so you don’t miss other rides.

Since you will be dealing with real animals, we recommend behavior that suits the setting. No loud noises or erratic behavior as this can scare the wildlife. Small children are to be watched at all times. In general, this might be a better experience for children above the age of six.

Fastpass/ Lightning Lane:  Yes

Time:  20 -30 minutes

Height Restrictions:  None

Age Restrictions:  None

Handicapped Accessibility:

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris is Wheelchair Accessible

To access the safari ride, you can wheel up a ramp and ride into the truck itself. Your wheelchair will be tied down and secured, so you do not have to worry about bouncing around during the ride through the wilderness.

  • Other guests need to take a small step into the safari vehicle.
  • no high blood pressure
  • no heart, back, or neck problems
  • no motion sickness
  • no other severe conditions

Disney does advise against expectant mothers or people that aren’t in good health riding with Kilimanjaro Safaris, as the rides can get bumpy, and there is also no option for an emergency exit while in the safari vehicle.

Service Animals:

Kilimanjaro Safaris allows service animals to be taken into the premises and on rides. However, the park advises visitors to do so with caution. The animals might be completely new to this wildlife experience and might act differently.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

 In the beginning, Kilimanjaro Safaris included a lot of information about poaching in their ride and even had a specific section in the park set up to educate about the illegal hunting of wildlife.

These days, Kilimanjaro Safaris is more focused on the educational part of the conservation of the African Savanna and its wildlife.

The ride is designed to be as realistic as possible. Therefore, the roads are quite rough (as mentioned previously in this article). You need to be ready for some rough and rugged terrain during your safari adventure at Kilimanjaro Safaris.

How big is the Kilimanjaro Safari Park?

Including the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, the Kilimanjaro Safaris Park is about 1.5 miles.

While this might not sound too lengthy, keep in mind that you will follow winding roads that are extremely bumpy. On top of that, the Kilimanjaro Safaris area is about 110 acres big. Plus, the safari trucks will drive extremely slow. This is also to ensure you will see enough wildlife.

Can you pet animals at Kilimanjaro Safaris?

This is a clear no. You are dealing with wildlife from the African animal kingdom at Kilimanjaro Safaris. These animals are wild. They are no pets. A direct encounter with lions is to be treated with respect and can end in a dangerous situation should you mistake them for a house cat.

Should you or your children wish to pet animals, we recommend visiting the petting zoo at Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

Are all animals real at Kilimanjaro Safaris?

Yes, the animals are all real. The tour however does include some fake elements, such as:

  • Ostrich Eggs
  • Moonlight during the safari ride after sunset
  • Termite mounds

When Is The Best Time To Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris?

We recommend purchasing your Harambe Wildlife Reserve pass early in the morning and heading straight to the open-air safari experience. The animals tend to be more active during the morning hours as well as after sunset.

During midday, most animals will hide in the shade or be less active because of the heat. It will also be more strenuous on visitors, as this is an open-air vehicle and you might not feel too comfortable in the hot climate.

Does the Weather influence the Safari?

Kilimanjaro Safaris is an open-air safari. So the rides are in some way influenced by the weather. The animals might not be bothered by the rain, but they might be less active in extreme heat. So plan your visit accordingly.

Since this is an open-air safari, we recommend dressing for whatever weather you might encounter. If there is a possibility of rain, dress warm and take a raincoat. Should the weather be pleasant with sunshine, we recommend a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

Check your forecast and come with the necessities to make the ride enjoyable.

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Five Things to Know About Kilimanjaro Safaris

Kilimanjaro Safaris is an open-air safari through 110 acres called the Harambe Wildlife Preserve. Think of your trip as more of a photo safari during which you have an opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife roaming “freely” through forests, grasslands, and savannas.

The wonderful (and sometimes frustrating) aspect of Kilimanjaro Safaris is that no two journeys are alike. You may see a lot of animals, or sometimes only a few! Here are the five things to know before you head for the savannah.

(If you’re in a hurry and just want details like where it is and how long the ride lasts, click here to jump straight to the Nuts and Bolts section.)

1. It Really Looks Like a Safari

What I have learned from the animal world, and what anyone will learn who studies it, is a renewed sense of kinship with the earth and all its inhabitants. – Walt Disney

Long before the Animal Kingdom existed, Walt wanted to create a ride featuring live animals at Disneyland. He originally proposed the idea while Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise was being designed. The impracticality of using animals soon became apparent and was shelved in favor of using animatronics.

Later, Disney World would offer something Disneyland couldn’t. Walt said, “Here in Florida, we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland… the blessing of size. There’s enough land here to hold all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine.” So, in a sense, Walt’s dream of a ride featuring live animals came true when Kilimanjaro Safaris opened with Animal Kingdom on April 22, 1998.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Animal Kingdom, headed by lead designer Joe Rohde, was revolutionary in that this park was alive – but it didn’t feel like a zoo. Incredible care was taken to ensure it looked like an actual African reserve. Equally important was that the animals be afforded an environment in which they could thrive. This attention to detail and respect for the animals that you see on Kilimanjaro Safaris is a big part of what makes this park different.

An overhead sign in the queue puts it best: “These lands preserve a portion of Africa’s vanishing wildlife. Please show respect to all animals you meet. Your care will ensure their survival. Asante Sana – Thank You.”

2. Looks are Deceiving

“You can’t just let nature run wild.” – Walt Disney

All the animals appear to be roaming freely. Which is true, to a degree. The Imagineers have strategically placed camouflaged barriers built into the savanna, woodland, and rocky hills. This is done to prevent predators like lions, or potentially dangerous animals like hippos, from wandering where they shouldn’t. (It keeps guests safe, too!)

But don’t worry – your ride experience will still be more than a tame drive through the woods. You’ll see a wide variety of landscapes and different terrains, all designed as homes for African animals. Since animal behavior is unpredictable, you never know which animals you’ll see on your safari. This makes it a different experience each time you take the journey!

Up Close with Rhinos Tour

For the list-makers, some of the 34 species roaming about include giraffes, hippos, wildebeests, elephants, antelope, impalas, gazelles, crocodiles, lions, rhinos, and cheetahs! Your guide will point out which animals are visible as you drive through and provide facts about them. Like the Jungle Cruise, this ride is different every time as your guide’s information is unique to your trip.

To maximize the number of species you may be able to spot on your safari, the Imagineers have taken a few steps to encourage them to appear. Water holes, forage areas, and salt licks are placed in spots that “tempt” animals to be in sight near your path when your safari truck passes along.

Bonus fact: the rocks in the preserve can provide the animals with air conditioning during extreme heat. They can also be heated when it gets colder than it should be for the animals.

3. It’s Real, Which Means It’s Not Perfect

“I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they’re in the park. I want them to feel they’re in another world.” – Walt Disney

Kilimanjaro Safaris is intended to be as realistic as possible to an actual safari. The entire experience is designed to help you feel as if you’re on the real thing. Truth be told, it accomplishes this goal very nicely.

However, as a consequence of the devotion to making the experience as real as possible, the roads are bumpy! As you travel through the preserve, you can be guaranteed that you’ll hit some potholes and bumps in the path that will cause your safari truck to bounce and lurch around.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Bonus fact: The ride vehicles for Kilimanjaro Safaris are custom-built trucks. They aren’t attached to a track or predetermined route of any sort. Your guide is actually driving the truck over the rough terrain. They do their best to miss any really bad dips and divots in the road, but there’s only so much room to maneuver on the paths.

As you attempt to take photos, it’s important for you to know that the vehicle isn’t guaranteed to stop at any given location. Drivers will try to accommodate guests and stop the truck when animals are visible from the path, but be prepared to click your shutter without having time to frame the perfect shot. I have a whole roll of film (yeah, it was a while ago) of blurry images as we tried our best to take pictures of wildebeests or lions to no avail.

For the best possible pictures, sit toward the outside of the seats (and Cast Members will probably recommend that little ones be seated on the inside). Even though both sides offer views of the animals, the left side is considered the best by some.

4. The Queue is a Sharp Contrast

“Whenever I go on a ride, I’m always thinking of what’s wrong with the thing and how it can be improved.” – Walt Disney

I’m totally guessing that Walt would have suggestions to improve the queue area for Kilimanjaro Safaris. To be honest, there’s not a lot to see as you wait in what is a really long queue. At one point, you pass through the “booking office.” It made me think about the plethora of details in the Jungle Cruise queue area “office.” I wished that something with similar interest and fun had been done here at the very least.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

In the final stretch of your line, overhead screens show clips about the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. Frankly, there’s not a lot else to see as you wait. And because it’s an open-air queue, it’s not all that comfortable on a hot, humid Florida day despite the overhead fans.

One improvement has been made to the attraction, at least in my opinion. The earliest script for the safari included a plotline about poachers. The experience could be a little intense – even a bit scary – at times. I remember in particular one part that involved crossing a rickety bridge that appeared to almost collapse while we were on it. Honestly, I didn’t mind when either of these parts of the story were removed.

5. The Nuts and Bolts

Kilimanjaro Safaris is located at the rear of the Africa section in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. The ride lasts 20 minutes, plus or minus. Bonus fact: It’s the longest ride in the parks that’s not a movie or show.

The safari trucks are open-air vehicles, providing you with the widest possible range of vision. Each can hold 35 guests with 3-5 guests in a row. As you might expect, the seats aren’t easy chairs and consist of a slightly padded bench with a back.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

To board, you have to take a small step up into the vehicle. There are no height restrictions for Kilimanjaro Safaris. Guests in an ECV must transfer to a standard wheelchair.

There are some significant health advisories for Kilimanjaro Safaris. Disney advises that for safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride. The reason for all of these is the previously discussed bumpy terrain.

Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of Animal Kingdom’s busiest attractions, along with Expedition Everest and the two Pandora attractions. Waits diminish in the late afternoon, sometimes as early as 3:30 p.m. The ride does operate when it’s raining, if possible, but it may close if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

To make the safari accessible to as many as possible, the following aids are available from Guest Services with a refundable deposit: Handheld Captioning , Video Captioning , Assistive Listening Devices, and Audio Description Devices .

Lastly, Lightning Lane via Genie+ is available.

The Bottom Line

Walt said, “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”

We think the Imagineers totally succeeded here. Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World author, Bob Sehlinger, agrees, saying: “Having traveled in Kenya and Tanzania, I can tell you that Disney has done an amazing job of replicating the sub-Saharan east-African landscape. As on a real African safari, what animals you see, and how many, is pretty much a matter of luck. We’ve experienced Kilimanjaro Safaris more than 100 times and had a different experience on each trip.”

How many times have you taken the safari? Which animals were you most excited to see? Let us know in the comments below. Asante!

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2 thoughts on “ Five Things to Know About Kilimanjaro Safaris ”

This will be my frist time on the safari at Disney world I’m so excited about the ride and I can’t wait to ride it and I love the African aminals because I’m part African

If you enjoy the Safari, I would also recommend doing the Wild Africa Trek to anyone that has a chance to do so! This experience was fantastic and goes into places that the Safari doesn’t and is a much more “up close and personal” tour of the area.

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Disney World Vacation Planning

Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom: A Must Do Attraction

Kilimanjaro Safaris Animal Kingdom Elephants

Are you ready for an adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Look no further than Kilimanjaro Safaris, an 18-minute open-air safari tour through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. As you journey through the savanna, you’ll catch glimpses of real African animals in their natural habitats. From towering giraffes to majestic lions, this safari offers a unique opportunity to observe wildlife up close and personal.

Kilamajaro Safaris Animal Kingdom Girafe

At Kilimanjaro Safaris, you’ll be transported to East Africa without ever leaving Florida. This attraction simulates an open-sided safari ride through the African savanna, complete with lush vegetation and rocky terrain. Along the way, you’ll encounter a variety of animals, including elephants, zebras, and hippos. The experience is both thrilling and educational, as you learn about the animals and their habitats from your knowledgeable guide.

Key Takeaways

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris offers an unforgettable safari experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
  • You will observe real African animals in their natural habitats during the 18-minute open-air tour.
  • The safaris is both thrilling and educational, providing an opportunity to learn about the animals and their habitats.

Overview of Kilimanjaro Safaris

View from Safaris Ride Vehicle

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a popular safari ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World. The experience takes visitors on an 18-minute open-air safari tour through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, where they can glimpse real African animals in their natural habitats.

The ride is a must-do for animal lovers and offers a unique opportunity to see exotic wildlife up close. During the ride, visitors can spot about 34 different species, including famous members of the African Animal Kingdom such as lions, giraffes, and hippos.

Kilimanjaro Safaris Animal Kingdom Ride Vehicle

The ride vehicle is a rugged, open-sided safari truck that can accommodate up to 32 guests at a time. The truck is designed to provide a smooth ride but it can get bumpy and you rock around a little bit when the vehicle goes over ruts in the road.

The wait times for Kilimanjaro Safaris can average around 30 minutes this will go up and down throughout the day. If you see the wait times get up there you can go try the Best Food at Animal Kingdom and come back. The line will usually go back down quickly. Genie+ and Lightning Lane are also available for this ride.

Animals You Can See

Kilimanjaro Safaris Animal Kingdom Monkeys

At Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom, we get to see a variety of African animals in their natural habitats. Here are some of the animals that we can expect to see during our safari adventure.

Kilimanjaro Safaris Animal Kingdom White Rhinos

The savanna of Harambe Wildlife Reserve is home to many mammals, including lions, giraffes, elephants, zebras, rhinos, wildebeest, cheetahs, hyenas, African wild dogs, okapis, black rhinos, white rhinos, cattle, bongos, mandrills, sable antelopes, kudus, and bonteboks. During the safari, you can observe these animals up close and learn about their behaviors and habitats.

Kilimanjaro Safaris Animal Kingdom Lion Napping

You can also spot a variety of birds during the safari adventure. The Greater Flamingo is one of the most iconic birds you can see, but there are other birds such as ostriches, storks, and cranes.

Nile Crocodile

In addition to mammals and birds, the Harambe Wildlife Reserve is home to several reptiles, including Nile crocodiles. These reptiles can be seen basking in the sun or swimming in the water during our safari adventure.

Overall, Kilimanjaro Safaris is a great way to experience real African wildlife in their natural habitats. We can observe these animals up close and learn about their behaviors and habitats.

Experience Details

Ride experience.

During your trip through Harambe Reserve the guide will point out the different animals and give you lots of good information. They try and slow down or stop by each animal area so you get a view of the animals. They can’t stop for long though the next vehicle is coming right behind you.

Animal Picture Guide Kilimanjaro Safaris

Above your seat the have an picture guide with all of the animals that you will see wandering the reserve. This can be educational and fun.

The animals are real and unpredictable. On our last trip the safaris guide had to slam on the breaks because three White Rhino’s ran out of the bush and right in front of us. It was pretty exciting.

Rhino on the trail

Its not uncommon for the driver to have to stop to let animals cross the road. In fact sometimes it can cause delays to the ride if the animals are stubborn and to not want to move.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Kilimanjaro Safaris is in the morning or at sunset. The animals are most active during these times, and the temperatures are cooler, making it more comfortable for both you and the animals. If you are looking for shorter wait times the afternoon and evenings are the best. We have a whole article Animal Kingdom Hours and best times to visit here Animal Kingdom Hours Guide & FAQ .

Accessibility and Health Restrictions

Kilimanjaro Safaris is wheelchair accessible, and assistive listening devices are available upon request. Service animals are also welcome on the ride. However, expectant mothers and individuals with certain health conditions, such as heart or back problems, should not ride. For the full details here is Disney Worlds ride and accessibility information.

Conservation Efforts

Kilimanjaro Safaris Animal Kingdom Poaching Alert

Disney is big on conservation of wildlife and their habitats. During the ride they provide information about conservation and the programs that Disney is involved in. One of the biggest threats to wildlife in Africa is poaching. Poachers hunt animals for their meat, ivory, and other body parts, which are then sold on the black market.

Disney has several programs to help preserve wildlife habitat. Rafiki’s Planet Watch and the Conservation Station is a great place to lean more about these initiatives.

Tips and Recommendations

Cheetah on the prowl

When visiting Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom, there are a few tips and recommendations that can help make your experience even better. Here are our top suggestions:

  • Ride early in the morning : The animals tend to be more active in the morning, and you’ll avoid peak wait times. Plus, the cooler temperatures make for a more comfortable ride.
  • Bring a camera : Kilimanjaro Safaris offers plenty of photo opportunities, so make sure to bring a camera with a zoom lens. Make sure you put it sports or action mode, you never know when you’ll spot a rare animal or catch a beautiful sunset.
  • Be prepared for rain : Florida is known for its unpredictable weather, so be sure to bring a poncho or umbrella in case of rain. The ride does continue in the rain, so don’t let a little water stop you from enjoying the experience.
  • Keep an eye out for the animals : Not all animals will be visible at all times, so make sure to scan the savanna for any movement or signs of life. Some of the most popular animals to look out for include antelope, gazelle, hippopotamus, flamingo, warthog, baboon, ostrich, wildebeest, bongo, and mandrill.

Hippos - Kilimanjaro Safaris Animal Kingdom

  • Observe the hippos : The hippopotamus exhibit is one of the most impressive parts of the ride, so make sure to take some time to watch these massive creatures. They may be resting on the banks or swimming in the water, but either way, they’re sure to awe you. If they are hiding in the water there is a hippo exhibit on Discovery Island where you can see through the glass into the tank. It provides an underwater look at the hippos.
  • Read the game-spotting guide : The ride provides a game-spotting guide that can help you identify the animals you see and learn more about their habitats and behaviors. It’s a great way to enhance your experience and learn something new.
  • Check the FAQ : If you have any questions about the ride, be sure to check the FAQ below or the Disney World website . They can provide helpful information about accessibility, ride restrictions, and more.

Zebra - Kilimanjaro Safaris Animal Kingdom

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of the kilimanjaro safaris at animal kingdom.

The cost of the Kilimanjaro safaris at Animal Kingdom is included with the admission to the park. There is no additional cost to experience this attraction.

What are the best times to experience the Kilimanjaro safaris at Animal Kingdom?

The best times to experience the Kilimanjaro safaris at Animal Kingdom are early in the morning or later in the afternoon. During these times, the animals are typically more active and visible.

How long is the Kilimanjaro safaris experience at Animal Kingdom?

The Kilimanjaro safaris experience at Animal Kingdom is approximately 18 minutes long. However, the duration of the experience may vary depending on factors such as animal sightings and traffic.

What types of animals can be seen on the Kilimanjaro safaris at Animal Kingdom?

There are over 34 different species of animals that can be seen on the Kilimanjaro safaris at Animal Kingdom. Visitors can expect to see animals such as lions, giraffes, elephants, hippos, and more.

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a must-see attraction for animal lovers visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The ride offers a unique opportunity to see real African animals in their natural habitats, and the experience is both educational and entertaining. With its accessibility options and health restrictions, the ride is suitable for most guests. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Disney-goer, we highly recommend adding Kilimanjaro Safaris to your itinerary. If you would like more information and ride tips you can check out our Animal Kingdom Guide.

Do you have a favorite Animal on the Kilimanjaro Safaris? What time of day is you favorite for this ride? Feel free to leave us a comment below. Thanks for reading.

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The Secret History of Disney Rides: Kilimanjaro Safaris

The Secret History of Disney Rides: Kilimanjaro Safaris - Secret History of Kilimanjaro Safaris

Traveling to Africa and experiencing a real safari is definitely on my bucket list when I'm older! (Unless of course I can go in the near future... ahem, Mom and Dad.) Seeing animals up close and in their natural habitat would be such a thrill. But for now, Disney Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safaris is a perfect way to see some of Africa's wildlife on a Jeep safari! With some recent (but exciting) changes to the attraction, I figured this is a perfect time to explore the secret history of the safari ride.

====>Hop here for Kilimanjaro Safaris wait times, ride details and more!<====

Giraffes

The Secret History of Kilimanjaro Safaris

Remember when we explored the secret history of Jungle Cruise and how it started with Walt Disney wanting to use real animals? Well, the idea of Kilimanjaro Safaris actually stems from that! Although the safari ride didn't debut until April 1998 with the opening of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney Imagineers kept this in mind to create an attraction featuring real animals.

The safari ride was constructed on a savannah identical to those found in Africa. Disney Imagineers wanted the savannah to look like it had always been there and wasn't constructed by man! To get this look , they matched concrete with the surrounding soil and rolled tires throughout it to create the rough terrain. Some of the animals on the safari include: cheetahs, black rhinos, baboons, wildebeests, white rhinos, lions, hippos and more! According to DisneyFanatic.com , Kilimanjaro Safaris also was created by moving over 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt and placing 2.3 million plants, trees and bushes throughout the savannah. The animals brought for the opening of the park were brought from zoos and breeders, rather than from the wild!

Elephants

While the animals do roam freely throughout Kilimanjaro Safaris, Imagineers designed the savannah with water features, moats and natural barriers to keep the animals in their designated areas. And of course, little tricks like salt licks, fresh water features and more keep the animals within view of the safari adventurers! Now, with the addition of late hours of Disney's Animal Kingdom, we get to now experience Kilimanjaro Safaris at night with a fake sunset as the backdrop. It's wild!

Rhino

Kilimanjaro Safaris Fun Facts

  • Magic Kingdom could actually fit into the area of Kilimanjaro Safaris—that's how big the attraction is!
  • One of the original storylines for the ride included a gruesome ending featuring an elephant that had been poached. Obviously, Imagineers decided to not use this!
  • The moat that separates you (and other animals) from becoming lion food on the attraction is 18-feet deep and 21-feet wide!
  • The safari Jeeps you travel on are GMC made.
  • Disney feeds many of the animals (gorillas, giraffes, baboons, elephants, etc.) from the 8-acre browse farm that grows hibiscus, mulberries and more!
  • The safari Jeeps travel on an altered route and deeper into the savannah during nighttime hours. The Jeeps used are also different!

Make sure to experience Kilimanjaro Safaris at night! It's spectacular. Hope you learned something new during this secret history and let us know if you have any questions!

Keep hopping, Tad!

Tags: Disney's Animal Kingdom , Disney , Disney World

I like kilimanjaro safaris because you can see the animals

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Kilimanjaro Safaris

Kilimanjaro Safaris is an attraction located in the Africa section of Disney's Animal Kingdom .

  • 1.1 Changes Since Opening
  • 2.1 Former Ending
  • 3 List of Animals
  • 4 Fun Facts and Trivia
  • 5 References

Attraction History

The concept for Kilimanjaro Safari actually began when Walt Disney started planning Disneyland in the 1950s. Walt originally envisioned the Jungle Cruise with premise that real animals would be featured in the ride. Eventually, experts convinced Walt that real animals would be too unpredictable to use in the attraction and Audio Animatronic animals were used instead [1] . When Disney Imagineers began planning their newest park, Disney's Animal Kingdom in 1989, however, they decided that an attraction using real animals was now a possibility. Taking inspiration from this idea, they designed Kilimanjaro Safaris with the idea that it would be the "E ticket" attraction that the park needed.

Imagineer Joe Rhode oversaw the creation of the Safaris, and in July of 1990 he and other Imagineers went to Kenya and Tanzania to study the wildlife there [1] . After their trip, Imagineers decided that besides just showcasing the animals on the safari, the attraction would also need a story. Disney CEO Michael Eisner demanded that Disney's Animal Kingdom should promote the idea of conservation [1] . To stay clear of any political problems, Imagineers set the Safaris in the fictional village of Harambe (which is Swahili for "working together") [1] . Like real villages in Eastern Africa, Harambe is themed to serve as a gateway for guests into the African Savannah.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

In order to get the environment right for the animals, Disney planters asked for two growing seasons prior to the animals' arrival [1] . With the foliage being planted in the spring of 1996, Disney began collecting trees from all around the country [1] . Furthermore, Imagineers had to determine what animals were going to be showcased in the exhibit. To do this, Imagineers evaluated how active the animals would be, how easily they could be moved backstage, whether they could interact with other animals, and what they would eat.

After the animals were selected, Disney needed to figure out how much space the animals needed and how they could be contained in their area. Moats, water features, electric fences, "ha-has", and wires and chains were placed on the ground in order to keep animals within their area. In order to make the animals more visible to guests on the safari, Disney implemented "tricks" to encourage the animals to stay in certain spots [1] . Hidden food, air condition rocks, cooling and warming waters, and cool breezes are all used to keep animals within view [2] . During Kilimanjaro Safaris' development, Disney also decided that they did not want to acquire the animals for the park from their natural habitats. Instead, they were brought in from other zoos or reputable breeders [2] . Finally, backstage, state of the art animal homes were constructed to shelter the animals when they were not "on stage" [3] .

The original story that Imagineers created for Kilimanjaro Safaris, involved guests racing after poachers while trying to rescue a mother and child elephant named Big Red and Little Red [4] . In the original plans for the attraction, guests would be involved in a high speed chase for the last third of the ride. Along the way, they would pass the bloodied corpse of Big Red who was killed by poachers for her tusks. This was done in order to stress the conservation message that Michael Eisner had championed for the park. Unfortunately, Cast Member previews proved that the sight of the dead elephant was too much for kids (and some adults) [4] . After receiving a lot of complaints, Imagineers removed the elephant and instead implied Big Red's death in the script. The elephant corpse was no longer a part of the attraction when it opened on April 22, 1998 [4] .

Changes Since Opening

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

During the holiday season of 1998, Disney decided to allow the safaris to remain open at night [5] . The "new" attraction, known as Kilimanjaro Night Safaris featured animal sounds, reflectors meant to represent animal eyes, and an African dance troupe who performed around a bonfire [5] . Following the holiday season however, it was decided that the attraction would be discontinued due to guest complaints about not being able to see the animals, as well as the additional costs of keeping the attraction open. [5]

In February of 2012, Disney announced that beginning in the fall, the Little Red story would no longer be featured in the attraction [6] . On April 29th, the Little Red Audio Animatronic was removed, and construction began on the attractions final scene [7] . On October 23, 2012, Plains Zebras were added to the attraction [8] and all mentions of Little Red or the poachers were now completely removed. Four months after their addition, the Plains Zebras were removed from the attraction due to “acclimation issues” and replaced with the addax [9] . The zebras were subsequently returned in June 2013 [10] .

In May of 2013 Disney announced that a nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris would begin running in the future [11] . As part of this new experience, in 2015 Disney announced that spotted hyenas and African wild dogs are expected to be added to the attraction [12] which was given a opening date of spring 2016. At this time, Disney announced that the nighttime version of the attraction would be called Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris [13] . The Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris began running in May of 2016 [14] .

Attraction Plot

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

After boarding their safari vehicle called Simba One, guests embark into the African wilderness. The first scene in the Safari is the Ukungu Forest. Here, guests can see the bongo and the okapi, two animals which are difficult to find in the wild. As the tour continues on, guests come across a watering hole, where black rhinoceros can be found. Further ahead, guests pass by the Safari River where two water holes can be seen. The first hole features a couple of male hippopotami, whereas the female hippos populate the second hole. As the Simba One passes by the second pool, the vehicle tips towards the water, showcasing the rough terrain that guests are riding on. Also located on the Safari River are crocodiles, which guests can see before the pass over the Senkell Bridge and enter the Ndege Hills.

On top of the hills, guests are shown the baobab or "upside-down tree". These trees produce fruit which is known as monkey bread, and their large trunks are used to store water. As guests descend down the Ndege Hills, they can see the African Savannah in front of them. The Savannah features the Thompson Gazelle and the Ankole cattle. Further on, guests see giraffes and Mandrills, one of the largest species of monkeys in the world. Other animals that can be found in the Savannah include elephants, ostriches, white rhinoceros, cheetahs and finally lions. After passing the lions, guests can see the attraction’s newest animal the Plains Zebra, before arriving at the unloading area.

Former Ending

The original ending of Kilimanjaro Safaris took guests on a high speed chase after poachers. As guests progressed to the elephant section of the safari, Mr. Wilson (the Safari's warden) warned guests that poachers may be present. When guests reached the back gate of the safari, they could see that it had apparently been broken into, and that the elephant Big Red and her son Little Red were missing. As the driver of the vehicle chased after the poachers, guests were actually shot at by the villains, and it became clear that Big Red had been killed. After narrowly avoiding erupting geysers, guests found out that the poachers had been captured by the preserves' authorities. Here, guests could finally see Little Red, back in the protection of the preserve.

List of Animals

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Animals that can be found on Kilimanjaro Safaris include:

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • Throughout the attraction, guests will see black vultures which are native to Florida. The vultures are not mentioned by the tour guides because they are not supposed to be in the attraction [15] .
  • The queue for the Kilimanjaro Safaris was inspired by the Mbuyu Camp's check in on the Selous Reserve in Southern Tanzania. This camp was visited by Joe Rohde and his team when they first went to Africa to research [16] .
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris is the largest attraction ever created by Disney [17] .
  • The Kilimanjaro Safari ride vehicles are based on the ones used in South Africa's Krueger National Park [18]
  • The entire Magic Kingdom could fit inside Kilimanjaro Safaris [19] .
  • To create Kilimanjaro Safaris, Imagineers had to move 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt [20] .
  • Imagineers had to place over 2.3 million plants when creating Kilimanjaro Safaris [21] .
  • Zebras were found on the attraction’s savannah when Kilimanjaro Safaris first opened. The animals are now featured at the end of the attraction [22] .
  • According to Imagineer Joe Rohde at one time there was a bloody zebra carcass that was used as a carnivore drinker (an object for the animals to drink out of). The drinker was removed due to numerous complaints from guests who thought the carcass was real [23] .
  • ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2011/01/kilimanjaro_safaris_at_animal_1.html
  • ↑ 2.0 2.1 http://www.disneyfanatic.com/16-amazing-facts-about-kilimanjaro-safaris-in-disneys-animal-kingdom/
  • ↑ http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/11/sign-up-for-a-chance-to-tour-backstage-at-disneys-animal-kingdom-theme-park/
  • ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 http://jimhillmedia.com/editor_in_chief1/b/jim_hill/archive/2001/01/01/282.aspx#.UK7NfIeCmSo
  • ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 http://www.jamboeveryone.com/2015/04/coming-soon-nighttime-kilimanjaro.html
  • ↑ http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-02-14/the-daily-disney/os-disney-aniimal-kingdom-safari-changes-20120214_1_disney-s-animal-kingdom-theme-park-zebras
  • ↑ http://exploringwdw.com/disney-info/kilimanjaro-safaris-update/
  • ↑ http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2012/10/guests-are-seeing-stripes-at-disneys-animal-kingdom-zebras-out-on-new-kilimanjaro-safaris-savanna/
  • ↑ http://wdwnt.com/blog/2013/03/zebras-removed-permanently-after-4-months-from-kilimanjaro-safaris/
  • ↑ http://www.jamboeveryone.com/2013/07/the-return-of-zebras.html
  • ↑ http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/10/first-look-avatar-to-come-to-life-at-disneys-animal-kingdom/
  • ↑ http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/08/new-details-released-on-rivers-of-light-sunset-kilimanjaro-safaris-at-disneys-animal-kingdom/
  • ↑ http://www.jamboeveryone.com/2015/08/sunset-kilimanjaro-safari.html
  • ↑ https://yourfirstvisit.net/2016/08/02/review-sunset-kilimanjaro-safaris/
  • ↑ http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2011/01/kilimanjaro_safaris_at_animal_2.html
  • ↑ This information was shared by Joe Rohde on his Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/p/B-Tf3OUHT7C/
  • ↑ http://www.wdwradio.com/2016/01/need-know-3-accessible-attractions-disneys-animal-kingdom/
  • ↑ This information was shred by Joe Rohde on his Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/p/B-Vr0-NH9gO/
  • ↑ http://www.easywdw.com/easy/animal-kingdom/kilimanjaro-safaris-disney-animal-kingdom-ak-review-info/
  • ↑ http://www.postbulletin.com/animals-rule-at-new-disney-theme-park/article_9f7bc67e-f7c1-5740-bf7b-17d433e8af03.html
  • ↑ http://www.disneyfanatic.com/12-mind-blowing-facts-about-kilimanjaro-safaris-at-disneys-animal-kingdom/
  • ↑ https://twitter.com/search?q=joe%20rohde%20mkpony&src=typd

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Kilimanjaro Safaris

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Kilimanjaro Safaris  is a safari attraction at  Disney's Animal Kingdom  at the Walt Disney World Resort . It is an open-sided safari ride through the savanna of East Africa.

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Theme parks, disney cruise line – what you need to know, cruise line ships, recent walt disney world, recent disneyland, all reviews, recent reviews, allears style, newsletter home, kilimanjaro safaris africa animal kingdom, {"@context":"http:\/\/schema.org","@type":"breadcrumblist","itemlistelement":[{"@type":"listitem","position":1,"item":{"@id":"https:\/\/allears.net\/attraction\/","name":"attractions"}},{"@type":"listitem","position":2,"item":{"@id":"https:\/\/allears.net\/attraction\/search\/walt-disney-world\/all\/all\/all\/","name":"walt disney world"}},{"@type":"listitem","position":3,"item":{"@id":"https:\/\/allears.net\/attraction\/search\/animal-kingdom\/all\/all\/all\/","name":"disney\\'s animal kingdom"}},{"@type":"listitem","position":4,"item":{"@id":"https:\/\/allears.net\/attraction\/search\/africa\/all\/all\/all\/","name":"africa"}},{"@type":"listitem","position":5,"item":{"@id":"https:\/\/allears.net\/animal-kingdom\/kilimanjaro-safaris-africa-animal-kingdom\/","name":"kilimanjaro safaris"}}]} attractions > walt disney world > disney's animal kingdom > africa > kilimanjaro safaris, recommended by, ride length, motion level, individual attraction selection, ride seating photos & advice, kilimanjaro safaris highlights:.

  • Disney Genie+ Attraction
  • Animal Kingdom’s flagship attraction — no height requirement!
  • 20+ minute safari adventure with real elephants, lions, giraffes, and more!

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Introduction | Attraction | Ride Logistics  | Shopping | Interesting Facts

Introduction.

Feel transported halfway around the world to a 100-acre African savanna as you board Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safaris trucks. This 20+ minute attraction takes you on a tour of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve as you spot real African animals such as elephants, lions, giraffes, rhinos, gazelle, crocodiles, and more!

Kilimanjaro Safaris is located in the back of Africa, past the Dawa bar and Mombasa Marketplace.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Walking through the queue area you find yourself in the Harambe Reserve .

Soon you arrive at the boarding platform, enter your truck , and head into the animal reserve. Off you go down the bumpy dirt trail and into the reserve!

Your driver will point out the various wildlife for you. Not all the animals are visible all the time. There is a game spotting guide above your heads in the truck that can help you identify the animals you see.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

The first section of the reserve is called the Little Ituri Forest.  Bongos are often hiding around the first bend – look quickly or you might miss these shy creatures. Passing the local watering hole you might see the Black Rhino . On the right, the rare Okapi   which is an animal who appears to be wearing zebra pants, but he’s actually related to the giraffe. 

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

As you continue, you’ll pass through a watering hole where Hippos may be at the base of cascading waterfalls, and you’ll cross a creaky bridge over a group of Nile Crocodiles . 

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

The Vehicle emerges from thick vegetation into the vast savannah grasslands. In this area you might see Giraffes , Sable Antelope, Thompson’s Gazelles, Ankole-Watusi Cattle, Wildebeest, and more!  To the left, you’ll pass a rocky area where Hyenas or African Wild Dogs may be spotted. The land is very different here and is accented by termite mounds up to 20 feet high.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

On the left is a huge rock formation where a Mandrill Baboon family lives (they can be harder to see!).  The ancient baobab trees can be found in this area.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Around the next bend are the Elephants . Greater Flamingoes inhabit a tiny island that’s in the form of a “Hidden Mickey”.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

More watering holes, you might see the white rhinos wallowing in the mud. There are other hoofed animals: the kudu , scimitar-horned oryx and the long-horned eland along with sharp-eyed cheetahs up there among the rocks. 

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Coming around the next bend, your attention will quickly be drawn to the high rock formation on your left, where the King and Queen of the Savanaah reside…the  Lions!  Lions do spend the majority of their day sleeping; so don’t expect to see much movement.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Past the lion, you’ll see  warthog burrows (and possibly their residents!) to your left. Keep an eye out for the Ostriches as well! 

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

This is when your safari comes to an end, as the vehicle rejoins the main roads and the Park Ranger Station comes into view.

To take a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris, check out this AllEars TV Video:

RIDE LOGISTICS

Lightning Lane  access for  Kilimanjaro Safaris  is available  with the purchase of Genie+ . If you choose not to purchase Genie+, going first thing in the morning will likely provide you with a lower wait time. 

Time:   The safari lasts 20-30 minutes. The drivers are not allowed to go off the track, so you could experience short delays as animals cross the safari trucks’ path.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Warnings:  For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride.

The ride vehicle is 8 feet off the ground enabling you to wind your way through the grasslands and waterways of the savanna. 32 passengers fit in this all-terrain truck with a driver for your guide. There is some padding on the seat bottoms and tops .

Taller or larger guests may find the seating cramped with confined leg room.

If you want a less bumpy ride, ask to sit in the front of the truck. The ride feels bumpiest in the back. 

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Accessibility:  Must transfer to wheelchair. Guests in wheelchairs should follow the signs to head to the special boarding area. You will need to either transfer from your wheelchair to a seat, or transfer to a standard wheelchair.

Video Captioning, Assistive Listening , and Language Translation Devices are available.

Due to the nature of the experience, those with service animals should check with a cast member at the attraction for boarding information.

The drivers are trained to spot the animals along the Safari and point them out to you. Photography, however, is a challenge — if possible the driver will briefly stop for your photo op.

If you have questions about the animals, ASK. Though there is an assigned script, every safari really is different depending on where the animals are and who your driver is.

In general, the best times to ride are morning or at sunset, when it’s cooler. The animals are often out in the rain as well.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

When Animal Kingdom is open after dark you can journey through the African savanna amid the “magically extended orange glow” of the setting sun. This is best seen at dusk. Once the sun sets, the savanna is dark, making it difficult to see animals.

REMAIN SEATED AT ALL TIMES!   Because the drivers are not allowed to stop on the ride path, the truck is always moving (the trucks are governed so the maximum speed is only 10 mph, though it feels faster). Animals can move in front of the vehicle at any time causing the driver to slam on the brakes and causing you to go flying. There are many mirrors on the trucks for the drivers, so just because you can’t see an animal doesn’t mean the driver can’t.

If you want to take good pictures sit on the end of the rows, you get better shots. You can also get better shots if you sit in the back row, where you can carefully turn around for photos.

The Mombasa Marketplace is located just before the main entrance of Kilimanjaro Safaris. Here you’ll find unique African goods, as well as Animal Kingdom and The Lion King specific merchandise.

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

INTERESTING FACTS

You won’t see any visible walls or fences here. Disney has done a remarkable job of hiding all the barriers that keep you and the animals safe.

When building the savanna, landscapers asked that the plants and trees be in place for two years before moving in the animals.

The details of the savanna were carefully crafted to give the illusion that it had “always been there”, right down to the ruts in the road that make the truck jolt and bump!

The hippos are actually the same ones you will sometimes see on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. The hippo barn resides in between Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and the savanna river.

The original version of Kilimanjaro Safaris included a heavy-handed anti-poaching storyline, but it was slowly faded out and by 2012 was gone completely. 

Here are some animals you may see on Kilimanjaro Safaris:

AFRICAN FOREST Black Rhinoceros Bongo Egyptian Goose Helmeted Guineafowl Northern Pintail Nyala Okapi Pink-backed Pelican Saddle-billed Stork Yellow-backed Duiker Yellow-billed Stork

SAVANNAH WEST Hyenas Wild Painted Dogs Grant’s Zebra Greater Kudu Greater Flamingo Impala Mandrill Mhorr’s Gazelle Nile Crocodile Nile Hippopotamus Reticulated Giraffe Sable Antelope White-bearded Wildebeest

SAVANNAH EAST African Elephant African Lion Cheetah Eland Ostrich Scimitar-horned Oryx Warthog White Rhinoceros

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

How long is Kilimanjaro Safaris?

The ride takes 20 Minutes Find all the attractions by their length

Will Kilimanjaro Safaris make me motion sick?

The motion level is Low. Jeep ride through the animal savannas. You will be jostled on the ride. Near the end, there are some sharp quick turns. Details on handling motion sensitivity on your visit

Is Individual Attraction Selection available for Kilimanjaro Safaris?

No Kilimanjaro Safaris is not eligible for Individual Attraction Selection Find Individual Attraction Selection attractions

Is Kilimanjaro Safaris included in Genie+?

Yes Kilimanjaro Safaris is included in Genie+ Find more Genie+ attractions using our search

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Kilimanjaro Safaris

A safari bus in a river bed near a herd of elephants around a large, bare tree

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Guests Can Be

Age Interest

Thrill Level

Ride in an open-air vehicle for a day or evening tour of a lush African savanna, home to real-live exotic animals.

A Wildlife Adventure Glimpse real African animals in their natural habitats during an 18-minute expedition into the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.

Traipse along a picturesque twisting path beyond a lush garden gateway, on your way to rendezvous with Kilimanjaro Safaris, the touring company for your adventure into the wilds. Featuring vivid open plains, shady forest landscapes and rocky wetlands, the 110-acre Harambe Wildlife Reserve is a spectacular sanctuary dedicated to the protection of African animals.

The Call of the Wild  Board an open-air safari vehicle and brace yourself as you begin a guided tour into the African outback—where over 34 different species of exotic African wildlife roam, cage-free. As your bumpy transportation rides over rugged terrain, look for an array of exotic animals in a variety of unique habitats, your helpful guide providing you with valuable information about the land and its inhabitants.

Unique Animal Encounters  Discover a shy hippopotamus nestled within a still pond. Behold a regal lion sunbathing on a rocky perch. Drive past a gentle giraffe grazing on a tall tree or wave hello to a swinging baboon. Since each animal behaves differently, every Kilimanjaro Safari expedition is a unique and unforgettable experience.

Here are some animals you may encounter during the tour:

  • Black rhino
  • Hippopotamus
  • White rhino

Be sure to stay alert and have a camera ready! You never know what amazing animals you’ll see on a Kilimanjaro Safaris outing.

Kilimanjaro Safaris

This is the latest in a series of articles on Theme Park Tourist in which we'll talk to Cast Members at Walt Disney World to understand their roles and the part that they play in "creating the magic" for guests. The interviews will offer an insight into Cast Members' day-to-day roles, the training that they undergo and the aspects of their jobs that they find the most rewarding. We might even uncover a funny story or two. Kilimanjaro Safaris is a live safari adventure that embodies the heart of what Animal Kingdom was built to be. The ride was one of the opening day attractions at the park, and continues to be one of its most popular draws. The signature attraction at the park, Kilimanjaro Safaris takes guests on a real off-roading adventure past real animals (with seemingly no fences) that takes place on a parcel of land equal in size to the entire Magic Kingdom park. Among the animals that are on show are lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhinoceros and cheetahs. The Cast Members that work on Kilimanjaro Safaris play a crucial role in the ride experience. In particular, they are responsible for actually driving the safari trucks, and for pointing out the various animals en route. It's one of the most unique and coveted roles at Walt Disney World - where else can you go on a mini-safari every single day? Amy Ziese worked as an Attractions Cast Member on Kilimanjaro Safaris in 2006 (Amy has previously shared with us her experiences of working as a Housekeeping Cast Member ). She was kind enough to speak with Theme Park Tourist about her experiences of working on the ride - and you can read her thoughts below.

Landing the role

Amy was working on the Dinosaur attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom when she was told that Kilimanjaro Safaris (KSR to Cast Members, for Kilimanjaro Safari Ride) was short-staffed: "Anyone who was interested could be cross trained and eventually transfer to work over there. I’ve always loved KSR and was excited to try a spieling role, not to mention the thrill of working on an attraction with live animals. One of my managers at Dinosaur had previously worked there and encouraged me to go for it."

Training up

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Since Amy was a cross-train from Dinosaur, she had already completed Daklamation, which is the class for new hires at Animal Kingdom. She went straight into attractions training for Kilimanjaro Safaris: " We began by practicing the spiel while we were off the truck and driving the truck without worrying about talking. After a couple days of that, we put it all together and once we were able to take a couple solid trips, we started going with guests on the truck."

"I trained along with one other person, who was also a cross-train from Dinosaur. For some trips we would take turns with one of us spieling and the other one driving to help us get the hang of it. She was a better driver and I was stronger at spieling, so she would practice talking while I focused on driving for several trips. We also had to learn all the positions off the truck, but these were much easier, particularly since we had both worked in attractions previously."

Day-to-day duties

Working on Kilimanjaro Safaris wasn't simply a case of driving the safari trucks all day long: "Every KSR cast member rotates through all the positions. So you take your turn on the truck, but you’ll also work as a greeter, grouper, strollers, and other positions. Every day was different so you never knew exactly what positions you would land most or when."

Kilimanjaro Safaris (2)

"Obviously driving the truck is one of the most challenging positions. While you’re trying to spot all the animals and point them out to guests, you’re also maintaining the appropriate distance between yourself and the next truck, keeping an eye on guests to make sure they stay seated, slowing down just enough for guests to try and get some great pictures, and keeping an ear on the radio in case there are any special situations (like animals in the road that will slow you down and keep you stuck in one area for awhile)."

The "old" Kilimanjaro Safaris

Little Red

When the ride opened to the public, it retained the story that included the disappearance of "Big Red" but didn't show the elephants death. It did, though, include a fake elephant known as "Little Red", who was "rescued" by the guests on the safari. This version of the ride included a fast, bumpy chase in which the guests pursued and stopped the poachers and evetyone went home with a compelling lesson about the dangers of poaching in Africa. The chase was one of Amy's favorite parts of the attraction: "I was lucky enough to work KSR when the bridge was moving and you got to chase down the poachers, so there was a lot of bumpy driving and a thrilling element of urgency there at the end when you could really get into the role of tracking those poachers down." In 2007, the story was toned down. The guests were told of a baby elephant wandering the park and were asked to keep an eye out for it. Though they still found the elephant and briefly encountered the poachers, the message wasn't so stark. Finally, in 2012, Kilimanjaro Safaris lost the last lingering message about the harsh realities of poaching in Africa. Poachers and Baby Red have disappeared along with all radio chatter between the tour guide and the game warden that warned of poaching and set up any kind of story line. The bumpy chase is long gone, and even the unstable bridge that would rock from side to side remains stubbornly secure.

Kilimanjaro Safaris trucks are very real. "It's not a secret, but I think a lot of guests didn’t really believe that the trucks were free-moving," says Amy. "We take them off the ride path and park them in a big parking lot backstage every night. They don’t go very fast, so it’s agonizing taking them on and off and driving the backstage roads at that pace, but they are absolutely real, free-moving trucks."

Kilimanjaro Safaris

The reason that the trucks don't simply cycle around on a track is very simple: "The animals here are free roaming. Drivers will often need to swerve to one side of the road or another to scoot past a stubborn giraffe. While they can’t leave the road entirely, there’s enough wiggle room to help them navigate the savannah safely."

kilimanjaro safaris disney wiki

Founder of Theme Park Tourist and a lifelong fan of everything Disney and Universal. He loved everything about Theme Parks and his goal in starting the site was to create a resource that could help fans make the most of their park trips, and to make visiting theme parks a little more affordable by capturing as many money-saving tricks as possible.

Great Blog,Nick. When will you be doing an article on african safaris? We would love to contribute :-)

On one of our trips we were held up by a animal that had stopped in front of another vehicle ahead of us. We could see that. Then we got a little boot from one of the large antlered animals who thought we should be moving along. He trotted off after that, probably because we were all laughing.

We go to see a baby being born one year and when we went back 2 years later they pointed out the young animal. It was the one we had seen being born a couple years before. It was awesome. It was one of the deer like animals. I'm blanking on what it was.

Sorry this reply is five years later, but I think it may have been a bongo! I've seen those at that attraction before

The first time my husband and I got to experience this attraction, we got held up by a giraffe. The giraffe actually stuck his head in the truck, and we all got to have an "up close and personal" encounter. As I recall, he also tried to pull the pin out of the door lock. :) It was a great experience, and a treasured memory. We ride every time we go now.

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Kilimanjaro Safaris

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This article is on the real-world attraction. For the fictional company of the same name, see Kilimanjaro Safaris (company) .

Kilimanjaro Safaris is an attraction in the Africa area of Disney's Animal Kingdom . It is considered to be the spiritual successor of the Jungle Cruise as it is based on Walt Disney 's original plans for the Jungle Cruise , being a ride through a faux wildlife environment with live animals. The attraction also has shared continuity with the Jungle Cruise franchise, and is frequently referenced in Jungle Cruise/ Adventureland attractions.

  • 1.1 Backstory
  • 1.2 Development history
  • 3.1 Adventure Trading Company
  • 3.2 Jungle Cruise
  • 3.3 Skipper Canteen
  • 3.4 Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar
  • 5 References

History [ ]

Backstory [ ].

Kilimanjaro Safaris takes place in the late 20th/early 21st century in the East African port of Harambe . Guests are part of a safari service lead by the Kilimanjaro Safaris company through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve , established from the remains of a colonial cattle company 's base after the people of Harambe rebelled and freed themselves from the British Empire . Guests take a ride aboard the SIMBA-1 jeep through the reserve for animal sight-seeing.

Development history [ ]

Kilimanjaro Safaris is an African wildlife safari which opened the April 22, 1998 as part of Disney's Animal Kingdom theme-park. The attraction was based on Walt Disney's original plans for the Jungle Cruise, being a ride which featured real exotic animals. Due to this, the Disney company created 110 acres of a functioning wildlife reserve which is home to 34 species of animal.

The original version of the attraction had a narrative with show-scenes, character audio and audio-animatronic elements. This version of the ride was made to be a moral story to fight the poaching industry. The narrative had guests encounter the corpse of the mother elephant, " Big Red " and team up with the reserve's aviator/warden Wilson Matua to find the poachers and save her baby Little Red . This incarnation of the ride was backlashed due to being mature without warning and not having a clear separation between audio-animatronic and live-animal for young guests.

Summary [ ]

Guests enter the base-camp and board the SIMBA-1 jeep. After this, their jeep enters the Ukungu Forest. After this, the SIMBA-1 passes by a watering hole and the Safari River. The jeeps proceed onto the rickety Senkell Bridge towards the Ndege Hills. From the hills, the jeeps enter the African savannah which is densely populated by animals, including lions atop, "Pride Rock". After this, the jeeps return to base and disembark.

Jungle Cruise connections [ ]

Adventure trading company [ ].

The Daily Gnus newspaper journalist B. Pepperella made reference to Harambe having been visited by the Adventure Trading Company alongside the Lost River Delta and Mystic Point .

Jungle Cruise [ ]

Kilimanjaro Safaris repurposes Walt Disney's original premise for the Jungle Cruise, being a ride featuring real exotic animals. In 2023, a souvenir banner from Harambe was hung over the Banana Troop door in the Amazon River Base . [1] [2]

Skipper Canteen [ ]

In the Skipper Canteen 's library is a book titled, "The Harambe Chronicles" by an author named Wilson.

Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar [ ]

In this bar is a photograph of Trader Sam on an elephant-back safari with the Kilimanjaro Safaris logo on the elephant's saddle. A note from Sam explains how this was a safari through the village of Harambe.

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of two Jungle Cruise inspired attractions in Disney's Animal Kingdom, the other being Na'vi River Journey .
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris' theme-song is Hapa Duniani by Msafiri Zawose and African Dawn .

References [ ]

  • ↑ https://blogmickey.com/2023/11/100-photos-jingle-cruise-holiday-overlay-returns-to-jungle-cruise-for-2023-holiday-season-at-magic-kingdom/
  • ↑ https://allears.net/2023/08/23/25-things-you-didnt-know-about-jungle-cruise-in-disney-world/
  • 1 Lope de Aguirre
  • 2 Frank Wolff

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  1. Kilimanjaro Safaris

    Kilimanjaro Safaris is a safari attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It is an open-sided safari ride through the savanna of East Africa. Contents 1 Story 2 History 3 Animals Seen 4 Incidents 5 Construction 6 Facts 7 Gallery 8 References Story

  2. Kilimanjaro Safaris

    Kilimanjaro Safaris is a safari attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom on the Walt Disney World Resort property in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It simulates an open-sided safari ride through the savanna of East Africa . Attraction Story

  3. Guide to Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom

    February 1, 2022 In this post we give an overview of Kilimanjaro Safaris, a safari ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World. We cover the basics of the ride, how to ride it, and our thoughts on the experience before closing with an FAQ. Read on to learn more! Related Posts

  4. 9 Awesome Facts & Secrets About Kilimanjaro Safaris

    Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of our all time favourite attractions at Walt Disney World. We love it so much we rated it 5/5 in our Animal Kingdom attractions guide. With that in mind, here are 9 awesome facts about one of Disney' most beloved and ambitious rides. #1 Walt Disney Inspired Kilimanjaro Safaris

  5. Kilimanjaro Safaris

    Glimpse real African animals in their natural habitats during an 18-minute open-air safari tour in the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida.

  6. Kilimanjaro Safaris

    Kilimanjaro Safaris is a safari attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom on the Walt Disney World Resort property in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It simulates an open-sided safari ride through the savanna of East Africa. Contents 1 History 2 Ride Description 3 Incidents 4 Facts & Trivia 5 Sources & External Links History

  7. Attraction Guide to Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney World

    Kilimanjaro Safaris is Disney's attempt at creating a real safari experience in a theme park. It's a huge attraction spanning 110 acres and home to 34 different species of wildlife.

  8. Disney Kilimanjaro Safaris

    One of the most immersive of all the Animal Kingdom rides, the Disney Kilimanjaro Safari takes you on a journey through the African planes. In Orlando Florida. This highly unique experience is one of the highlights of any trip to Disney's Animal Kingdom. It truly is an adventure that you cannot find anywhere else in North America.

  9. Complete Guide to Kilimanjaro Safaris

    Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom gives you the experience of a real-life African safari, but at Walt Disney World. As you travel through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve you will learn about conservation, the importance of taking care of animals, and, of course, get the chance to see amazing creatures, like elephants, hippos, and giraffes.

  10. Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom: The Ultimate Guide

    A Kilimanjaro Safaris ride is approximately 20 to 30 minutes long and leads through 100 acres of Savanna. During this time, you will be able to spot about 34 different species. Among these, you will find famous members of the African Animal Kingdom: Hippopotamus Lions Giraffes

  11. Disney's Safari Ride

    [4K] A full ride through of Kilimanjaro Safaris in Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. "Set off in an open-air vehicle for a guided tour of an Afri...

  12. The Dark Plotline of the Original Kilimanjaro Safaris

    Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom is well-known for its peaceful trips through the fictional Harambe Wildlife Preserve as a relaxing family attraction showcasing some of Disney's impressive wildlife collection. Upon boarding a safari truck, guests would pass by a number of animal enclosures and get up close views of animals such as ...

  13. Five Things to Know About Kilimanjaro Safaris

    1. It Really Looks Like a Safari What I have learned from the animal world, and what anyone will learn who studies it, is a renewed sense of kinship with the earth and all its inhabitants. - Walt Disney Long before the Animal Kingdom existed, Walt wanted to create a ride featuring live animals at Disneyland.

  14. Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom: A Must Do Attraction

    Kilimanjaro Safaris is a popular safari ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World. The experience takes visitors on an 18-minute open-air safari tour through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, where they can glimpse real African animals in their natural habitats.

  15. Kilimanjaro Safaris FULL Ride Experience at Disney's Animal ...

    829 Share 106K views 2 years ago WALT DISNEY WORLD® RESORT Enjoy a complete ride experience vide on the Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom in 4K UHD 60fps! I made sure to film...

  16. The Secret History of Disney Rides: Kilimanjaro Safaris

    Well, the idea of Kilimanjaro Safaris actually stems from that! Although the safari ride didn't debut until April 1998 with the opening of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney Imagineers kept this in mind to create an attraction featuring real animals. The safari ride was constructed on a savannah identical to those found in Africa.

  17. Kilimanjaro Safaris

    Kilimanjaro Safaris is an attraction located in the Africasection of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Contents 1Attraction History 1.1Changes Since Opening 2Attraction Plot 2.1Former Ending 3List of Animals 4Fun Facts and Trivia 5References Attraction History

  18. Kilimanjaro Safaris

    Disney Parks Wiki is a FANDOM Lifestyle Community. Kilimanjaro Safaris is a safari attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. It is an open-sided safari ride through the savanna of East Africa.

  19. Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom

    Feel transported halfway around the world to a 100-acre African savanna as you board Disney's Kilimanjaro Safaris trucks. This 20+ minute attraction takes you on a tour of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve as you spot real African animals such as elephants, lions, giraffes, rhinos, gazelle, crocodiles, and more! Kilimanjaro Safaris is located in ...

  20. Kilimanjaro Safaris

    Kilimanjaro Safaris Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park Africa Guests Can Be Any Height Age Interest All Ages FastPass+ Thrill Level Slow Rides Ride in an open-air vehicle for a day or evening tour of a lush African savanna, home to real-live exotic animals. A Wildlife Adventure

  21. Secrets of a Kilimanjaro Safaris Driver at Disney's Animal Kingdom

    Secrets of a Kilimanjaro Safaris Driver at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 08:15. This is the latest in a series of articles on Theme Park Tourist in which we'll talk to Cast Members at Walt Disney World to understand their roles and the part that they play in "creating the magic" for guests.

  22. Kilimanjaro Safaris

    Kilimanjaro Safaris is an African wildlife safari which opened the April 22, 1998 as part of Disney's Animal Kingdom theme-park. The attraction was based on Walt Disney's original plans for the Jungle Cruise, being a ride which featured real exotic animals. Due to this, the Disney company created 110 acres of a functioning wildlife reserve ...