Animal Kingdom’s Dawa Bar is considered by many to be something of a hidden gem. Tucked into a corner of the always-bustling Harambe Village in the Africa section of the park, the location is prime for anyone going to or from Kilimajaro Safari.
But it’s always blended so well into its surroundings that one could really walk right past it and not even know.
I stopped by recently to see what was new. As it turns out, it was a whole lot! The Dawa Bar has been relocated!
Now, when I say “relocated,” it actually hasn’t moved all that far . You will still head to the same area of Harambe Village – just head to your left upon entering Africa from Discovery Island, and directly across from Tamu Tamu Refreshments and Mombasa Marketplace.
However, the bar is now directly to the right when facing the Tusker House Check-In line, whereas it was previously on the left.
So, basically, when you see the sign that says this:
Instead, do this: ——–>.
Aside from the location, what else is new? For starters, the bar itself has received a color refresh, with of base of blue to better compliment the wall behind the menus.
I think the wall is what lends the biggest change to the atmosphere. Now that the bar is directly against Tusker House, the natural light that used to flow in from behind no longer does.
Additionally, the posts surrounding the bar are dark wood, as opposed to the previous white-washed stone. These things together lend a very different feel to the whole area. Even though so many other aspects remain unchanged, it feels almost entirely new.
Another change is that the left side of the bar has been opened up for more seating (previously it held the cash register, which is now in the middle and lowered and helps it feel a lot more open). More immediate seating at the bar brings a little more festivity to the area.
Fortunately, a lot of the things we always loved about Dawa Bar have remained the same!
The signature bottles that lined the shelves are still here (though they don’t seem quite as noticeable with the new backdrop, and to my eye there appears to be fewer of them).
My favorite detail – the mismatched chairs – have all made the move, too. I love the conga chair!
The overhead lights and fans that gave it such a transformative feel remain as well. And, of course, the seating area outside the immediate bar area is very much the same.
Something else that has remained primarily the same is the menu. Imported and domestic beer, wine, and sangria — as well as a few specialty cocktails — are still the offerings.
There was, however, one small change to the cocktail menu the day of my visit. The Harambe Cooler was back on the menu (having been replaced in recent visits primarily by the Dawa Colada, though some rotation is not unusual here for the cocktail menu).
A blend of Starr African Rum and Myer’s Dark Rum mixed with a little something called “Pangani Punch,” the Harambe Cooler is tangy and just a little bit tart as opposed to sugary-sweet, and the rum is potent (and – to my palate – also the primary aftertaste).
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating – the beverages here tend to pack a punch, and sometimes you don’t even realize it until it’s time to stand up! In other words, don’t let the playful words “Pangani Punch” in the description fool you. The drinks at Dawa don’t play…. which happens to be one of the best things that hasn’t changed at all .
From what I could see being poured, the Sugar Cane Mojito is still a hit, and one of the star players on the “Featured Drinks” sign (which, incidentally, has also been moved… by about 12 feet).
Who knew that a move of a few yards could make so much of a difference? We’ll be curious to hear thoughts from other Dawa Bar fans and frequenters. For anyone who hasn’t yet enjoyed this unique spot, it’s still very much worth checking out on your next trip to Animal Kingdom!
What are your thoughts on the “new” Dawa Bar? Please let us know with a comment below!