Karibu! Welcome to the new Harambe Market in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
This brand new Counter Service location in the Africa section of the park features four distinct serving stations offering dishes based on African street food, and plenty of beverages.
You have to look for it a bit —it’s tucked behind Tamu Tamu Refreshments, and this new section creates a continuing path from the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction to the road leading from Africa to Asia. Once you get there, the surrounding area begins pulling you into the setting and story even before you set foot past the official entrance….
The new Harambe Market area is ready to welcome guests from all around the globe.
You walk into the official Market through this entryway.
When Disney released the first info about the marketplace to come, they shared a bit of its story as well: the marketplace serves as a center of commerce serving food and goods to world travelers who have come to the town as a respite before or after their safari adventures seeking out the animals of Africa. Of course, we’ll be getting to the food :), but here are a few glimpses of the market.
The water tower stands tall as a landmark over the marketplace.
Whenever the Wildlife Express Train goes by on its trips to and from Rafiki’s Planet Watch, it’s even more believable that you’ve stepped into a place that hosts traveling guests. It’s truly transportive.
If you’re like me and could spend all day checking out the detailed signs and wall art all over Animal Kingdom, get ready to have an absolute field day in here.
As always, some of the posters and bits of art make you smile while others are more thought-provoking, but all
bring you deeper into the story.
Some signs serve as good old-fashioned cross-promotion as well. I like how Tusker House is now considered part of “Old Harambe.”
Oh, and a few feature someone near and dear to many of our hearts…
Who doesn’t love Mister Mouse?
There is plenty of much-welcome seating, the vast majority of which has some sort of coverage, be it a simple overhead roof or an umbrella-topped table.
There were just a couple of uncovered tables, but those got little attention.
Because if you’re in Animal Kingdom, the odds are good that what this sign says is true!
I know, I know… I say this practically every time I visit Animal Kingdom. But I’m saying it again because they’ve earned it once more: you really do feel transported in this incredible setting, rich with detail.
So now that we’ve checked out the atmosphere, let’s see what the Market has for in store for travelers like us on the search for a bite to eat…
As mentioned, there are four distinct stations serving food and drink: Chef Mwanga’s Ribs Shop, Kitamu Grill, Famous Sausages, and Wanjohi Refreshment. Each station features a star item or two, while the dessert option and beverages — as you’ll notice in the menu pics — are the same no matter where you stop. We’ll be taking a look at them one by one starting with…
It’s all in the name at Famous Sausages!
It’s home of the Boerewors Sausage Fried in Curried Corn Batter.
Its reputation precedes it with these terrific signs peppered throughout the area :).
Before we dive into specifics, just a note that each station is similar in its serving style. You order at one window (as shown in the building shot above), then pick up at the next.
But back to the sausages… It seems like variations of the good ol’ park favorite Corn Dog have been popping up everywhere recently! From Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace’s Corn-battered Portuguese Sausages to a more traditional take with Lightsaber Bites at the Rebel Hangar, it seems we’ve entered the new Era of the Corn Dog. But I did mention variants, and the version at Famous Sausages has two: first, instead of a more traditional hot dog, it’s a sausage link inside. Second, and possibly more unique, is the curry batter. As a side note, the portion is terrific — not quite a foot-long, but not far from it.
The yellow curry batter is, as it turns out, a great complement to the sausage. I really like curry, but I know its very distinct flavor is not everyone’s cup of tea. But it’s really well done here — it’s definitely present and yet not at all overwhelming. I know it’s a risk, but I think the curry-averse might even enjoy it.
The side item is a Roasted Broccoli and Tomato Salad (you’ll also spy red onion among the ingredients).
This was actually quite refreshing — you can’t even see it in the picture (or in person, for that matter), but there is just the slightest hint of vinaigrette that adds a bit of sweetness to this cold salad. It managed to make the broccoli taste good ;).
You’ll find the same side salad served with the entrees at our next stop: Kitamu Grill.
If I’m judging correctly from the lines I saw on my visit, Kitamu Grill spot appears to be the most popular of the three food stations.
So, we were really thankful that a Cast Member shared this bit of info with us: with the exception of Wanjohi Refreshments (which serves only beverages), you can order any of the food items at any of the three food stations. Great news for families who would prefer to remain together and yet sample different items!
Unlike its neighboring shops, Kitamu Grill features not one, but two different entrees: the Grilled Chicken Skewer and the Ground Beef Kabob Flatbread.
The Ground Beef Kabob Flatbread is served gyro-style, with two thin pieces of grilled ground beef in each of the two flatbreads, topped with a simple mixture of lettuce, diced tomato, cucumber, and a sauce that may have been a variation on tzatziki, but tasted more like a simple mayo to me.
The bit of char brought a little more depth to the flavor of the otherwise fairly simple ground beef.
While this one is prepared with a berebere spice blend (typically featuring spices such as cayenne pepper, chili powder, and coriander, among others), they must have been placed on with a sparing hand because I didn’t detect any of them. For that reason, I’d say it’s the safest bet for someone who wants to eat in this area but isn’t as much a fan of the curry, cumin, and turmeric-style leanings of the other dishes. Even though I like those spices, this was my second favorite entree after the Famous Sausage.
The Grilled Chicken Skewer is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of dish.
The chicken was moist and the berebere spices were a bit more pronounced here than in the Flatbread. I should note that while there are many spices in the food selections throughout the market, they don’t deliver heat as much as flavor; so even if hot spices are a concern, you may still enjoy these.
All in all, though, while it was well-prepared it struck me as a bit more bland than the other dishes available for selection. Which brings us to our second to last stop…
According to the story, Chef Mwanga has the most successful business in the Market, so he has the fanciest sign and best-looking establishment, somewhat set apart from the others.
The Chef specializes in one thing here: Dreamy Ribs!!
So, let’s have a look at those dreamy ribs, shall we? The Spice-rubbed Karubi Ribs are topped with a green papaya-carrot slaw with a side of Chickpea, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad.
I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but the first thing you should know is that this dish is absolutely MASSIVE. It’s easily shareable, so I’m glad I had my husband with me. Of the two of us, he’s the Jumbo Turkey Leg connoisseur, so I asked him if he thought there was as much meat here as on a huge turkey leg, and he thinks definitely yes, if not more.
Of course, if you’re looking for a standard American barbecued rib, you’ll want to stick with Flame Tree Barbecue, since the spice rub here is similar to the other dishes. While the ribs boast nearly 20 spices, my husband and I both thought we picked up on coriander predominately. The other thing we agreed on was the quality of the pork, finding it to be juicy and tender.
The Chickpea, Cucumber and Tomato Salad is the side dish with the ribs.
I think I was expecting a vinaigrette akin to the one on the Roasted Broccoli and Tomato Salad, but the spiced blend mixed with this salad was oddly almost savory. I didn’t care for it, even though I do like that the small dish features chickpeas, which you won’t find much outside of hummus in the parks.
It was at Chef Mwanga’s that we also picked up the one dessert option at Harambe Market (you’ll find it at every food station): the African Milk Tart.
It’s a coconut custard inside a chocolate tart shell, topped with sugar and five-spice powder (autumn spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg among them) and drizzled with chocolate ganache. As a huge coconut fan, I was happy to see the coconut flakes immediately upon slicing the tart.
The chocolate shell was surprisingly soft, and you can tell by the photo that it barely crumbled. The custard was cool and creamy (closer to a pudding consistency than a creme brule type) with plenty of coconut flakes throughout. Coconut, chocolate, cinnamon… I mean, if there is only one dessert option available, I’d say this is definitely a good one to have! I’d recommend it as a snack in its own right, and not just as the add-on dessert option with the Disney Dining Plan.
So, we’re done with the food, but we still have one last stop…
Wanjohi Refreshment focuses solely on beverages.
True, you’ll find most of the beer and wine at the other locations, but Wanjohi Refreshment is the only place where you’ll find Iced Coffee and its specialty cocktail, The Starr of Harambe.
You’ll see on the menu that The Starr of Harambe is served in the Souvenir Mask Tumbler, but you can also get it without the tumbler for $11.99. It’s a very simple mix focusing on just two ingredients: Starr African Rum blended with Mango Puree.
The same white rum is featured in a few drinks at the Dawa Bar, and it goes really well with the (obviously) fruity mango puree, coming through primarily in the aftertaste. Plus, on a really hot afternoon, I can’t imagine anything much more refreshing than this icy blend. It went down so smooth and easily that I gave myself brain freeze… four times. I wish that were a joke, but it isn’t. Consider yourself warned ;).
And that’s our last stop at the Market, my rafikis (friends)!
Just in time for the busy summer season, Animal Kingdom has provided something much needed with the Harambe Market in providing new Counter Service options in the Africa section of the park. Not only that, but they’ve done it with great style and theme. And I think the food strikes a pretty good balance of offering familiar dishes with just enough uniqueness to remind you that you’re eating in a place that’s made to pay tribute to different cultures and cuisine.
One missing piece, however, does stand out: in a park that typically does a great job at providing vegetarian options in spots such as Bradley Falls and Mr. Kamal’s (and even at Tamu Tamu Refreshments before it became a desserts-only stop), it’s a little surprising that there isn’t one here. One thing we do know, though, is that lots of things are changing at Animal Kingdom, so perhaps this will, too, as Harambe Market establishes itself among the Animal Kingdom eateries.
In fact, we may have spotted a future change on our visit, just behind the construction walls across from the Market. It’s difficult to read in the picture, but the sign below is labeled “Zuri’s Sweets.” Hmm…
But as far as Harambe Market as it stands right now in its first week of operation, I’d recommend anyone to stop by for a bite whether it’s for a full meal, just dessert, or simply an afternoon “refreshment” ;), to spend some time taking in the truly immersive marketplace — the newest section of an ever-expanding Animal Kingdom.
Which market are you hoping to visit on your next visit? Let us know in the comments below!