I have always wanted to go on a safari! I came close in South Africa. I almost made it to Kruger National Park. At the last moment, it didn't happen. I was living in Mozambique at the time and told myself I had nothing but time to go on a safari- no rush. Before I knew it, my work contract was up, I was headed back home to the states and I hadn't taken my safari.
A year later, I was on vacation in Tanzania with some friends. I knew this would be my chance to finally take that safari. I made tentative plans to go to Ngorongoro, only I became distracted, very distracted by a little island off the coast, you know- Zanzibar. The moment my toes touched the crystal clear water it was over. I stayed put. Another safari opportunity missed.
I'll just go back I told myself. I'd made over eight trips to Africa, what was one more.
Then I got pregnant. Two years later I was pregnant again. Time went by and needless to say I have yet to return to the continent. I did however manage to make my safari dreams come true- well sort of.
Safari in Disney World on the Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom!
Thanks to the visionary folks at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom theme park, I was able to finally experience a safari.
It's called the Kilimanjaro Safari and it felt astonishingly realistic.
Well, for the most part...
From the baobab trees to the pseudo Savannah, squinting past the palm trees and in places short fences, one could convince themselves that they were in a Southern African country.
Aside from the lions who were in an enclosed area, the animals roamed freely along acres of open land modeled to perfection after their home habitats.
It was a sight to see.
Disney's attention to detail needs to be applauded.
Our guide pointed out animals as we chugged along in our jeep. We stopped here and there for photos or for a closer look.
The Kilimanjaro Safari was the highlight of my trip to Animal Kingdom.
My quest to experience an African safari has been rekindled. I can hear Botswana calling my name!
Within the next two years, once my youngest is a bit heartier and able to get medical clearance to travel to a malaria zone- we plan to head to beautiful Botswana in the south of the African continent to take our dream family safari vacation.
In the meantime, I have my lovely Disney safari memories!
Tips for the Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom:
- Use your fast pass if you can. You might have to book ahead. This ride is popular.
- If you can't use your fast pass, hit the line early as soon as the park opens or try the line during lunchtime when most people are heading to the restaurants.
- Best time to visit the park is late October/ early November. The weather is not as hot and the park is not very crowded.