Please welcome back guest author Alex Freeman, who’s brought us a review of the Wild Africa Trek featured at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. After getting an awesome view of the animals on the savanna, trekkers are treated to some wild eats! Jambo, Alex!
On December 27, my sisters and I took part in the Wild Africa Trek offered at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Some of you are probably wondering why I am writing this review for a food blog, but this Disney tour includes a wonderful treat at the end.
At least 15 minutes before your scheduled tour time, you check-in at the Wild Africa Trek desk located to the left of Tusker House Restaurant. Even though I have been to Animal Kingdom many times, I did not know the area where the desk is located even exists.
There are outside tables for people who want to bring food from other quick service places and eat in a relatively quiet and peaceful atmosphere.
Once you check-in, you are reminded of the Trek conditions (you must be over the age of 8 and you must be between 45 and 310 lbs).
Also, you are given a waiver to sign, which not only covers a variety of medical situations, but also permission for Disney to use any pictures they take of you in their promotional materials.
After everyone is checked-in (which was 11 people for our tour), you are greeted by your two Trek guides. Our Trek guides were named Lonnie and Paul and they were absolutely fantastic — hilarious, informative, and very friendly.
We followed both of our guides through a gate that led us to uncharted territory for the general public.
In this area, you are given a locker to hold any of your personal belongings. You are not allowed to bring anything besides a camera (as long as it has a wrist strap that can be attached to your harness). Everything else, including your phone, must be stored in the locker.
You are then weighed and given a suitable harness, which they help attach to you. This harness includes a gear loop (which will attach you to the bridges), a souvenir water bottle (which you get to keep), and a headset so that you can hear both of the guides even when they are not right beside you. This headset was an absolute necessity when we were in the middle of a crowd.
Once you are strapped to your harness, you are asked to practice walking across a suspension bridge. This bridge is much smaller and much lower to the ground then the real one in the “savanna,” but it is a practice bridge.
This way you can make sure that this tour is something that you can do, because you will definitely be going across multiple suspension bridges on this Trek.
Starting Your Trek!
You begin your tour by following your Trek guides through Harambe Village. This, especially during Christmas season, is somewhat tricky when you are trying to navigate 13 people through the crowds.
I will let you know that many people stare at you while you are walking through the crowds. Not only are you in a line of people wearing harnesses and headsets, but because the Trek guides are telling jokes through your headset you end up just laughing to yourself. I think a few people wondered where we were going and why we were laughing and talking to ourselves!
Lonnie told us where our end goal was, which was very helpful, because if you became separated you would know exactly where to go. And, the Trek guides count the group continuously throughout the trip so that they never accidentally leave someone behind.
Once we made it through Harambe Village, we walked through Pangani Forest Exploration. While walking through the trail, we didn’t stop to see any of the animals there, but the Trek guides explained interesting facts about the different animals. About halfway through the trail, we veered off the path and into the “forest”.
At this point, we also took our first group picture. While walking through the forest, you will know exactly why they tell you to wear closed-toed shoes. You are constantly trying to maneuver over roots and under branches. This is not a cleared pathway. It is actually like you are hiking through a real forest.
Our first real stop was with a researcher who was going to tell us all about hippos. Once we arrived there, the Trek guides help us attach our harnesses to a type of equipment that allowed us the ability to stand on a ledge over top the Hippopotamus area. This thing let us walk as close to the ledge as possible, and we met Nacho and three of his fellow hippos.
After the hippos, we went to the Crocodile area. This was absolutely amazing. Since we were harnessed, we could actually stand on a ledge about 10 feet above 20 crocodiles.
Did you know that all of the Disney crocs are males? They do not have any females because they are not interested in breeding them at this time.
One of the coolest parts of this trek was being able to walk on an overhead rope bridge, which was about 30 feet in the air. Yes, this bridge is a Disney bridge, so it is completely safe and you are attached to a safety harness. But, we felt like we were actually walking over a rickety old bridge. Disney Magic!
Once we were done with the walking portion of the Trek, we boarded a private safari vehicle and drove through the Savannah.
We stopped many times for private viewings of the animals, like the giraffe, the lions, and the elephants. The giraffe were right next to the vehicle, which was amazing!
Finally, we made our way to the Boma (not the restaurant in Animal Kingdom Lodge, but an actual Boma on the savanna, which means “cooking place”), where we were given a “Taste of Africa.” This is when I actually get to the food portion of my review!
At the Boma, we were given Jungle Juice (the same juice you get at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma during breakfast), and tastes of many different types of food in a circular camp lunch container.
In the top circle of our camp lunch, we had three small containers containing smoked meats, curried chicken salad, and ginger infused fruit. The smoked meats were very salty, but they were quite flavorful. It was a bit strange to eat them on their own.
The curried chicken salad was one of the best things that I tasted during this “Taste of Africa”. It had a wonderful flavor, but it was not an overwhelming curry taste. And, the chicken was cooked perfectly, not dry at all.
The Ginger Infused Fruit Salad was amazing as well. The fruit was refreshing, but it had a frozen feel to it, which is not the trek’s fault. They are just trying to keep the food cold throughout the entire trek.
In the bottom have of the camp lunch, we had three more containers — salmon roulade, tomato hummus and pita rounds, and shrimp.
The salmon roulade was flavorful and had a great texture. It was my sister’s favorite part of the meal, but the salad underneath the roulade was relatively flavorless.
The tomato hummus was amazing! I love hummus and this had a great roasted red pepper and tomato flavor, but it wasn’t overpowering. There was definitely enough hummus for the amount of pita rounds. And the pita rounds didn’t taste stale, even though they had to be chilled.
Finally, we received some spiced steamed shrimp. The shrimp were not spicy but they had a good flavor. The only problem with the shrimp were that some were frozen. The fruit and the shrimp must have been sitting too close to the ice in the coolers.
Finally, we received desserts. These desserts were three different mini tastes: there were two chocolate truffles and one shortbread cookie.
While we were eating at the Boma, we were able to see the animals in the Savanna. We got to see two elephants playing! They were so adorable! And, we were able to see some lions hanging out on “pride rock”.
Overall, I would recommend the Wild Africa Trek to anyone! It is a little pricey, since you have to buy a park ticket plus your Wild Africa Trek reservation. But, it is definitely well worth it. You get a behind the scenes tour of Disney’s savanna and you get a CD full of pictures mailed to your house to as a remembrance.
Editor’s Note: The Wild Africa Trek is currently priced at $189-$249 and can be booked at 407-WDW-TOUR.
Does the Wild Africa Trek in Disney’s Animal Kingdom sound like something you’d enjoy? Let us know in the comments below!