Supervise children at all times.
Kilimanjaro Safaris takes guests through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve on a tour designed to showcase the flora and fauna of Africa.
The story has changed over the years, but has since been simplified as a trip inside the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. Previously, the story was that guests were venturing on a 2 week safari that was interrupted by poachers. The original story evolved over the years, and has now been simplified to the current story that’s used today.
The reserve is often quoted as being 800 square miles at the beginning of the attraction, and the design of many of the enclosures does give the impression that it is much larger than it actually is.
As the vehicles depart the warden’s post, they venture into the reserve. The first section that guests encounter is the Little Ituri Forest where guests can often spot Okapis, Bongos, and Yellow-backed Duikers.
Around the corner is a watering hole that’s home to Black Rhinoceros. Yellow-billed Storks can often be found in the water, while Greater Kudu can be found in the brush opposite the watering hole.
Deeper into the forest, Saddle-billed Storks are often visible alongside the vehicle.
The vehicle travels over the Safi River. A body of water on the right hand side occasionally has Nile Hippopotamus, and a metal tether system along the water is used as part of the Wild Africa Trek. On the left hand side, there are typically more Nile Hippopotamus as well as a flock of Pink-backed Pelicans.
After the Hippos, the path takes a right hand turn over a bridge that leads directly over a pool of Nile Crocodiles. There are foot bridges that also extend over the Nile Crocodiles as well as another metal tether system, both of which are used by the Wild Africa Trek.
The crocodiles are the last section before the large Savannah. The Serengeti Grasslands system is home to a variety of different animals, and also includes a handful of baobob trees. These trees are often identified by the guide and appear to be upside-down with the branches resembling tree roots.
First debuting in November of 2015, a new enclosure was added at the beginning of the large Savannah. This new enclosure is home to Spotted Hyenas and African Wild Dogs. The two species appear at different times of the day and are never in the exhibit together. The enclosure is separated so that the many grazing animals won’t encounter the two carnivore species.
While the grazing animals have their favorite spots on the Savannah, they can roam freely through a large area. Animals that are often visible include: Sable Antelope, Patterson’s Eland, Masai Giraffe, Reticulated Giraffe, Waterbuck, Ankole Cattle, Springbok, and Wildebeest. The Ankole Cattle are also known as Watusi Cattle. The alternative name derives from the Watusi Tribe that first domesticated them. Also on the Savannah, are a variety of termite mounds. Some of these mounds have toppled over while others are still in tact, over six feet tall.
Formerly on the Savannah, both Thomson’s Gazelle and Impala were visible, but that is no longer the case. Additionally, the old story line about a lost baby elephant was first stated towards the end of the ride through the Savannah. It was at this time that Warden Wilson Matua would come over the radio warning of possible poachers in the reserve.
The next section features a viewing area for elephants on the right hand side, but they are not always viewable at this location. The left hand side is often referred to as Monkey Point and Mandrill monkeys are typically sitting on the rocks.
Following Monkey Point is a rickety bridge that leads to the Red Clay Pits. The bridge is designed to collapse when the safari vehicles travel over it as an additional “scare” for guests. When traveling over the bridge there is a visible clearing straight ahead where occasionally zebras can be spotted. This is actually a backstage habitat for the zebras with only the small clearing visible to guests. The Red Clay Pits feature elephant tusk marks indicating elephant activity.
There is a large open area where several elephants are visible on the left hand side of the vehicle. The vehicle continues past a baobob tree towards a small watering hole.
The watering hole is home to many Greater Flamingos. After the watering hole, White Rhinoceros can be found standing in the dirt. Following the rhinos on the left hand side is a large shaded area that’s home to many Cheetahs.
Following the Cheetahs, the vehicle travels around a large rock formation known as a kjope that is home to Lions. The Lions will be on the left hand side of the vehicle and are often difficult to see. On the right hand side, occasionally White Rhinoceros are also visible as well as Scimitar Horned Oryx, Addax, Bontebok, and Ostriches.
After the kopje, a series of burrows on the left hand side is home to Warthogs.
The Scimitar Horned Oryx, Addax, Bontebok, and Ostriches can be found in the area across from the Warthogs as well.
In the original storyline, the Warthog burrows was the last animal section before the vehicles began pursuing the poachers. The area was redone in 2012 to be a new home for Grant’s Zebras, the area has since become home to the Addax, with the Grant’s Zebras also appearing nearby.
The attraction ends at the nearest Warden’s outpost and guests can return to the Village of Harambe.
The unpaved roads of Harambe Wildlife Reserve pass through rough and rugged terrain. You may experience bumps and sudden jolts on your safari adventure.
This attraction appeals to guests of all ages, especially animal lovers.
TIMES GUIDE - OPENING/CLOSING
This attraction opens with the park.
The animals may go into their night houses earlier than the closing time for the park when there is an early sunset. On these days, refer to the time guide or in park signage for the closing time. Signage exists near Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and Maharajah Jungle Trek indicating the closing time for those attractions. Most other animal enclosures will close at around the same time with the exception of Kilimanjaro Safaris which remains open later.
Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the high demand Fastpass+ reservations in the park. Same day availability occasionally exists, but will run our earlier than other attractions. Guests can save a considerable amount of time using Fastpass+ at this location.
The queue for Kilimanjaro Safaris begins as a thatch covered walkway that’s highlighted with paintings of animals. The paintings are labeled with both their English and Swahili names.
The path leads into the Booking Office for a small portion before going to another thatch covered area with television monitors. Canoes and other artifacts decorate the pathway and are mixed with the foliage.
The television monitors make reference to the now defunct story line that focused on poaching. This video includes appearances from both Warden Wilson Matua and Miss Jobson. Previously the two of them could be heard over the radio on the ride itself.
Animal enclosures exist along the right side of the pathway and they feature West African Crowned Cranes as well as Tortoises.
The standard vehicles are nine rows with four guests per row. The vehicles can fit more than four per row if they are smaller adults or children.
There are 9 wheelchair vehicles. These vehicles have 7 standard rows and 2 shorter rows that can accommodate the wheelchairs and two guests.
The trucks have a top speed of approximately 8 mph. They are governed by “pucks” in the ground that can regulate the speed of the vehicles. In the former chase scene they could get up to 12 mph. When traveling to and from the maintenance barn behind the Tusker House they can reach speeds of 20 mph if they pass by the appropriate “puck”.
This same “puck” system also activated any radio correspondence including the former interaction between the driver, Miss Jobson and Warden Wilson Mutua
Kilimanjaro Safaris is the evolution of the Jungle Cruise. Originally Walt Disney wanted to use live animals on the Jungle Cruise but at the time that was unrealistic.
The vehicles are unique to Kilimanjaro Safaris, but because of the terrain the ride can be as rough as DINOSAUR at times.
Attractions in the park that feature live animals are as follows:
- Kilimanjaro Safaris – Africa
- UP! A Great Bird Adventure – Asia
- Animal Encounter – Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- It Was All Started By a Mouse – Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight – Discovery Island
- The Oasis Exhibits – The Oasis
- Discovery Island Trails – Discovery Island
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail – Africa
- The Maharajah Jungle Trek – Asia
- Affection Section – Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- The Tree of Life Exhibits – Discovery Island
- Siamang and Gibbon Exhibit – Asia
- American Crocodile Exhibit – Dinoland U.S.A.
- Habitat Habit! – Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- Conservation Station – Rafiki’s Planet Watch
The below video is used with permission from the YouTube channel Virtual Disney World. These videos allow users to manipulate the camera a full 360 degrees using their cursor or directional arrows on their computer. Users on a smartphone or tablet can also manipulate the camera by moving their device in the direction they wish to look.