Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom

Jambo and welcome!

This post is about probably my favorite ride at all of Walt Disney World: Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom. This ride is in the far left corner of the park, in Africa. I’ve had safaris at all times of day and in all sorts of weather and really love the variety of animals you can spot each time out – and each time out is an utterly unique experience!

The Safaris have undergone a few changes during their 15 years. Before the park opened to the public, there was a scene with a simulated poached elephant to drive home points about conservation and protection of these magnificent animals. The second incarnation did away with the “dead” elephant due to how upset people got over it, and instead came up with a storyline where guests on safari were employed to help track down and scare off poachers – the widely-known “Little Red” version of the ride. Recently, Little Red moved out and Warden Wilson was cut down to only being in the queue’s pre-show. The new storyline just says that the preserve has expanded – the broken fence through which we used to chase poachers is now the preserve’s old boundary. Zebras were once found beyond this boundary but have been problematic and so are being replaced with addax.

I have an ongoing theory that Wilson was actually leader of the poachers and make a compelling case for this theory any time I feel like messing around on twitter.

I shot these photos over two days: January 2 and March 4, 2013. In January, I was shooting with a 55-250mm lens and in March, I switched to my favorite 28mm to shoot some sweeping landscapes (I hope!). With the 28mm, I also used a fish eye adapter to get some queue shots. A great review of the adapter is available at the Duffyngton Post. All photos were taken with my Canon T3i, and edited lightly in iPhoto for OS X.

I must give credit to Wikipedia for animal names in this gallery. I do not have them all and welcome anyone who’d like to contribute.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Dori says:


    Your pictures are awesome! I recently returned from my first trip to Disney- we went on the safari 4 times! Do you happen to remember what they said at the end of the safari instead of goodbye? I really wanted to use the Swahili word they said at the end on one of the pictures from the trip, but I can’t remember it or the translation. I remember the driver saying ” we don’t say goodbye, we say _________ which means ______”. I can’t seem to find it on the Internet either.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your awesome pictures!

    1. Kwaherini :) means go well, I think.

  2. Dori says:

    Thank you! :)

  3. Karen Gravelle says:

    The safari has always been a family favorite. We always loved the story of saving the elephant and the fun of the bridge nearly collapsing. It made kids excited about conservation! We haven’t been since 2010 and were so disappointed this time when we realized that the story has simply been deleted. Although the conservation aspect is somewhat touched on by the driver, there is no suspense, no story and nothing to draw the passengers in. It’s basically a drive thru zoo. Not at all what we expect from Disney. Not at all worth waiting an hour for. Do not “monkey” with things that are amazing. Little by little I fear the Disney I onced loved is slowly eroding away. I do hope they reconsider bringing it back. It was magical before!

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