Board a safari truck and get your cameras ready! Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom gives you the experience of a real-life African safari, but at Walt Disney World.
As you travel through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve you will learn about conservation, the importance of taking care of animals, and, of course, get the chance to see amazing creatures, like elephants, hippos, and giraffes.
Now, let’s explore our guide to Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Kilimanjaro Safaris Quick Facts
Description: You board safari vehicles that are driven by guides who really do drive (no tracks) and are very knowledgeable about the animals. As you make your way through the savanna, the guides provide lots of information based on what you see along the ride. Sometimes have to stop to wait for animals to clear the path.
No two rides are the same as the animals are free roaming and on their own schedule. We would recommend experiencing the safari twice in your park day, if possible.
Everything You Need To Know About Kilimanjaro Safaris
You can find Kilimanjaro Safaris in the heart of Africa. Here’s the location on the map.
How to Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris
Kilimanjaro Safaris has a Standby Lane and a Lightning Lane. There is no Single Rider Line.
Like most attractions, standby lines typically are the lowest first thing in the morning and at the end of the evening. The middle of the day will see the longest lines.
Even though it’s not listed as an available attraction for Early Theme Park Entry, sometimes Kilimanjaro Safaris is open during the 30-minute early entry.
Kilimanjaro Safaris Standby Lane wait time jumps quickly after park open and can see sustained wait times well over 60 minutes for most of the park day.
Do I need to use Genie+ at Kilimanjaro Safaris?
Kilimanjaro Safaris is available with Genie+ and we highly recommend using it at this attraction for anyone who has purchased Genie+ or if it’s a must-do.
This is a highly popular ride at Animal Kingdom, given that it is a long ride time and suitable for all ages.
Many park guests make it a top priority of their park day. So unless you do this ride first, right at park open, plan to reserve a Genie+ time for Kilimanjaro Safaris.
If you want to try and experience the Safaris twice in one day, we would recommend using the Standby Lane at park open and then using Genie+ to ride it again later in the day.
Make sure you check out our touring strategies for Animal Kingdom for more Genie+ advice.
Rider Switch/Child Swap
You cannot use Rider Switch for Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Rider Switch is Disney’s system allowing guests with small children to take turns riding bigger rides, while another person/people wait with the little one.
There also isn’t Single Rider available here.
What to expect when you ride
The Kilimanjaro Safaris queue is outdoors, with part of it shaded. It paints the scene of an African tour company with its straw, thatched roof.
While there isn’t an interactive queue, the line is themed to the attraction.
You can learn the African Swahili names to your favorite animals on displays as you move through the line. You can even hear the safari trucks driving by as you walk through.
Kilimanjaro Safaris ride vehicles can fit a total of 35 individuals. Each row can seat three to five guests, depending.
There is no seatbelt or safety restraint, but there is a door on the right side of each row that closes for security and safety purposes when you’re on the ride.
Kilimanjaro Safaris is far from a thrill ride, but it can get rough at times with the trucks bouncing up and down along the paths and bridges.
Sometimes you might even have to brace yourself, so you don’t slide in your seat.
We have a guide on motion sickness that’s filled with information and tips, so feel free to check that out.
Guests in ECVs or power wheelchairs must transfer to a manual wheelchair. There are wheelchair accessible vehicles with built-in ramps.
Those using an ECV who don’t wish to transfer to a vehicle bench, must transfer to a Disney-provided manual wheelchair.
You will be seated in Row 1 right behind the tour guide. A bench is located directly next to the wheelchair space and additional companions will be directed to sit in the rows behind the wheelchair space.
Those using ECVs or wheelchairs can remain in their mobility devices until they reach the accessible boarding and unloading area, which is not long after the stroller drop-off area.
This area is where ECVS and other mobility devices can be parked. They will be waiting in the same space when guests return from their safari.
Keep in mind that each safari vehicle only holds one occupied wheelchair at a time, so anyone needing this type of access could have an additional wait compared to those who transfer to a vehicle bench.
Handheld captioning, assistive listening, and video captioning is available for guests.
Service animals are also permitted, but with caution.
On the Ride
Spoilers ahead! If you want to go in knowing absolutely nothing about Kilimanjaro Safaris, feel free to skip this section.
After walking through the queue you and your party finally make it to the boarding lanes awaiting your safari tour.
You can’t miss the sound of your safari truck approaching. A warm greeting from your tour guide “Jambo,” which is Swahili for “Hello.”
After boarding your safari truck, your group will take off entering the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.
Be alert and have your cameras ready, because these are live, free roaming animals, so you never know what you will see or how close the animals will get.
No tour is ever the same!
You start off in the forest seeing the Okapi, the closet living relative to the giraffe. You’ll next approach a watering hole where you can catch sights of animals like the saddle billed stork, bongo, kudu, and black rhinoceros.
Heading out of the forest your truck will enter a river where you can spot hippopotamus’. The only way to exit the river is by crossing over an old, shaky bridge.
Under the bridge, down low you’ll spot a crowd of Nile crocodiles. But not to fear, you’re with an expert driver and guide! Your truck makes it over the bridge safe and sound.
Exiting the river your safari tour will enter the savanna marked by a big Baobab tree.
As your truck makes its way down the savanna you will spot many animals like zebras, African wild dogs, giraffes, wildebeest, and cattle. Some animals may cross in front of or come right up to the truck. Be sure to look out past the truck under trees and in the shaded areas to spot animals.
Leaving the savanna your guide will spot a couple of fallen down trees. That means the mighty elephants are near! On the way to find the elephants you pass a family of Mandrill monkeys.
Your truck approaches another old shaky, bridge, worse than the last one. Your tour guide crosses successfully with care.
In search of more elephants you enter the red clay pit. Sure enough you may be able to catch sight of the elephants! Females are usually found with their young, while the male elephants stick more to themselves. If there are new babies on the tour, your guide will be sure to point them out.
Driving through the watering area of the red clay pit, you will see a flock of flamingo. Did you know flamingos start off gray in color? Be sure to listen to the tour guide to hear what makes flamingos pink!
Approaching the mud pit you will spy white rhinoceros. Up in the shade you’ll spot a couple of cheetah, the fastest land mammals on earth.
Next up, the highlight of every tour, and sometimes the hardest animal to see, are the lions up on the rock. Since lions are nocturnal animals and sleep most of the day, your best chance to see them awake are on safaris later in the day near park closing.
Are you ready for more? Your tour is still not over! Next up be sure to look out for warthogs, ostrich eggs, and Bontebok antelopes.
Before your safari comes to an end, you’ll see some super adorable Nigerian Dwarf Goats, who are originally from Nigeria and considered to be of high value because of the high protein milk they provide.
You leave the reserve and head back to the village of Harambe. After the vehicle comes to a complete stop the doors on your right side will open, allowing you and your party to exit.
Keep in mind that each time you ride is different, because you never know what animals you’ll see or how they’ll act. This makes the attraction super unique.
Is Kilimanjaro Safaris kid-friendly?
Overall, Kilimanjaro Safaris is kid-friendly. After all, it doesn’t even have a height requirement. It should be fun for most kids to see the different animals. And, don’t worry, there aren’t any dark or scary moments.
That said, the ride can get rough at times thanks to the paths, bridges, and the safari vehicle itself. This could be either fun or upsetting to little ones. But, for the most part, the ride is kid-friendly.
Be sure to check out our full guide on several other things that might scare little ones at Disney World.
Strollers are not allowed on the Kilimanjaro Safaris vehicles. You’ll need to park your stroller in the designated stroller parking area at the attraction entrance.
If you forget to park your stroller or want to take it into the line, you can, but know you’ll have to park it mid-way. There is an area with Cast Members waiting, who will take your stroller and park it for you.
Kilimanjaro Safaris first opened in 1998, the same year as Animal Kingdom. Actually, both the attraction and the park opened on April 22, aka Earth Day.
Animal Kingdom is the largest of all Disney World theme parks. It spreads out over 500 acres, which also gives the animals plenty of room to roam and live.
The Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction itself spans 110 acres with the Harambe Wildlife Reserve serving as home to 34 species!
Your guide drives around as they gives facts about the animals you encounter along the way during the 18-minute journey.
When the ride initially opened, there was a poachers storyline and even a rickety bridge that threw some excitement into the mix. But, both of these elements were removed and now there’s more of a focus on the actual animals and the importance of conservation.
Former Imagineer Joe Rohde is responsible and to thank for not only breathing life into Kilimanjaro Safaris, but Animal Kingdom as a whole. Without him, this park wouldn’t be is what is today.
There’s no doubt Kilimanjaro Safaris is a fantastic experience and the closest thing many will ever get to experiencing an African safari.
Other Fun Details
- If you want an even more in depth and VIP tour of the savanna, you can sign up for the 3-hour guided Wild Africa Trek tour, where you will embark on some adventurous activities and see animals even more up close. This tour is priced separately and must be booked in advanced.
- For an additional price, Up Close with Rhinos is a 60-minute tour giving you the chance to go backstage at Animal Kingdom to meet and learn more about white rhinos, with help from a guide.
- Take some time to visit the Gorilla Falls Exploration walking trail, located near the exit of Kilimanjaro Safaris. It runs along parts of the driving tour and gives another look at many of the animals you saw on the drive, along with different ones like gorillas and meerkats!
- Pay attention as you drive by the flamingos for a fun Hidden Mickey.
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