Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World

| March 14, 2011 | 7 Replies

When I first heard about it, I couldn’t wait to experience the Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  I used to live in Africa and never got the chance to go on a safari so I was excited for this new tour at Animal Kingdom. I had watched a video that Disney had released and was a little nervous about the rope bridges but figured I would try the tour. I am so glad that I did!

The 3 hour tour is offered daily at 8, 9, 10 am, 12, 1, and 2 pm.  Theme park admission is required and the cost of the tour is currently $189.  You are instructed to meet at the podium behind the Dawi Bar near Tusker House.  The tour is conducted rain or shine so be sure to dress for the weather. Because of the nature of the tour, you are required to wear closed toe shoes. You must weigh less than 350 pounds and they do weigh you.  In case you are concerned about sharing your weight with others, only the cast member can see the weight. Up to 12 people are allowed on each tour; children must be 9 or older.  I took the 12 pm tour and there were plenty of animals to see.  Keep in mind it gets very hot in the summer so you may want to take the tour earlier in the day. They do have lockers for those items you don’t want to take on the tour.

The big question that everyone seems to ask, Am I allowed to bring my camera on the tour?  The answer is yes.   They encourage you to attach your small camera to a tether in a vest pocket.  You can take a big DSLR or video camera but realize you are walking through the woods and brush.  You can wear it around your neck but you should only plan on taking the lens that is attached to your camera.  One of the cast member guides will be taking lots of pictures while you are on the trek and you receive a coupon for a free PhotoPass CD at the end of the tour.  The cost of the tour seems expensive to many, but when you consider you are getting a PhotoPass CD worth $149 for free, the trek price is reasonable!

The first thing they have you do is suit up into your safety vest.  It will come in handy later when viewing the hippos, crocodiles, and crossing the rope bridges. Then you walk across a small rope bridge to see if you can handle it.  If you can, you are not considered a newbie any longer.

Finally we headed off for the Pangani trail. We went in through the exit and viewed the gorillas.  We left the trail near the naked mole rats.  Once you leave the trail, it’s hard to believe you are still in a theme park.  There are lots of exposed roots on the trail so you need to be careful while walking; I tripped once.

Have you seen this when you are walking through the trail?  Do you know what it represents?

The first animal we got to see was a hippo.  There was a guide here to tell us all about them.

You see this area when you are on Kilimanjaro Safari.

We hooked our safety cable to these bars to get up close and personal with the hippo.

The next trail marker that we saw was a crocodile skeleton.  Our guide explained that you could tell the size of the croc from the head size and this had been a big one.

Now I was getting nervous.  I knew the rope bridges and crocodiles were next. I have a fear of heights and rope bridges, but I trusted Disney. Our guide hooked us up to the safety cable at the rope bridge. It is obvious that Disney is very concerned for your safety on the trek.

If you notice, not all the boards are there.  Some of them are only parts of boards.  Only three people are allowed on the bridge at a time. We landed on a platform and then we walked the next rope bridge.  Here I am crossing the bridge, notice the crocodiles beneath me.

For me it was a personal triumph to cross these bridges.  I would love to do it again. Every time I have gone by the crocodiles on the safari, they are always sleeping, but on the day of my trek they were awake and fighting.  We got to peer over into their area with our safety cable attached.  The guide explained the crocs could jump 7-8 feet and we were standing only 10 feet above them…

Sadly, our time in the woods was over.  We boarded a special Safari vehicle and we were off to see the animals. The benefit of the Trek is that you can go off road to see the animals and sit there viewing them for awhile which you can’t do on the Safari.

We had two great guides – Frankie and Aaron.  They told us all sorts of interesting facts about the animals.  They also have binoculars available for everyone to view the animals.

All too soon it was time to head for our boma for lunch.  This building has a wonderful view of the animals on the Safari. The food was delicious.

We then continued on the Safari and got to see lots of animals.

All too quickly our trek was at the end.  Those 3 hours just flew by and I was on such a high from a great Disney experience that I feel like I floated home.  If you are looking for something new and different to do on your Walt Disney World vacation, I highly recommend this tour. I know I will be back with friends and family!

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