What: Disney’s Wild Africa Trek
Where: Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom
When: Available daily at multiple times. Contact the park for specific times when you are visiting (407) 939-8687
Cost: Prices start at $189 + Park Admission (Save $50 on tours at 11:45 or later through Aug. 25, 2012) Price includes a PhotoPass of your trip.
Photos: For additional Photos click Disney’s Wild Africa Trek
I’ve always wanted to go on a safari, but since I don’t see myself going to Africa anytime soon, I was thrilled for the opportunity to go on Disney’s Wild Africa Trek at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.
Disney’s Wild Africa Trek is an expedition through the bush and Savanna of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve at Walt Disney World. The first section is a physical portion where you are walking through the bush of the Pagini Forest over rope bridges while tethered to a guide rope. The second portion is a traditional truck safari with lunch on the savanna. Groups are small, up to 12 guests go each time, making it a more intimate experience. Guests must be at least eight years old to participate.
Each Wild Africa Trek has two knowledgeable guides. One leads the group while the other takes photographs. At first I kept my camera out, snapping away at everything. However, once we reached the Savanna, I traded my camera for binoculars and let the photographer do their job. If you see a photo you like, just ask and they’ll take a picture. The group is small enough that individual pictures are easily done. Instead of worrying about getting photos, I was free to enjoy the safari. I watched a baby elephant nursing, and saw giraffes up close. It was freeing to get away from behind a camera and actually watch what was going on in the moment vs. just trying to capture everything for later. This is all part of your package, and I encourage you to use this perk. You’ll see a lot more AND get the photos.
To prepare for the first leg of the adventure, guests are weighed and get gear (you must be under 310 pounds to participate, and yes, you do have to get on a scale). The gear is a bit heavy, but you get used to it quickly. Each person is given a commemorative water bottle to fill up and use to keep hydrated on the journey and an ear piece for listening to the guide while deep in the jungle.
After a brief introduction, follow two guides through the Animal Kingdom theme park and the Pagini Forest with other park guests before veering off the beaten path to a restricted area behind the scenes for a bush walk. Along the way are stops to chat with animal experts and up close views of the animals. There are also two rope bridges to cross. If you’ve never done a ropes course, the bridges can be a bit intimidating with missing slats and sunning crocodiles below. However, each guest is tethered in, and a safety net adds an extra layer of protection from the waiting crocs.
The second half of the adventure is a truck ride through the African Savannah. Guests shed the heavy vests and trade them for binoculars. This portion of the adventure is riding. Our naturalist guide identified the animals and gave as much or as little detail as guests wanted about them. This is the same road taken by the theme park safari trucks, but Trek trucks go slower, stopping in sections for a leisurely look.
A highlight of the tour is a gourmet lunch, served in camp tins at a Savanna outpost. Everything is edible, including the flower. As you nosh, there are giraffe munching nearby. This seemed like a perfect location for a special event like a proposal and indeed the cast members have assisted couples in the past.
A portion of the trek price is donated to a conservation effort of your choice. When you return from your excursion into the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, choose where you’d like your money donated.
For more information about Disney’s Wild Africa Trek, see this great post on Zannaland.
I visited Disney World as part of the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. Disney Social Media Moms Conference attendees paid a conference fee which included hotel accommodations, park tickets, meals, admission to private parties, and more. We were not required or asked to write about the conference.