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Animal Encounters at Wild Africa Trek in Disney\'s Animal Kingdom

Getting up close to alligators, hippos and giraffes is not the first thing many people think of when you say Walt Disney World, but that\’s just what we did! The Wild Africa Trek is a 3-hour VIP tour through the African Safaris of Animal Kingdom Park. If you’ve even been on the Kilimanjaro Safaris, then you might remember seeing people walking over the alligators on a wooden bridge tethered to a cable above them. Or maybe you saw people feeding hippos watermelon super close to the edge of the water hole.  Those are just some of the experiences while on the trek.

We signed up for the first trek of the day, 8am. We arrived a few minutes before 8:00 to get signed in and make our way to the meeting area. The guides were at the front gate of Animal Kingdom, and they were helpful in guiding us to the specific area where we met other guides and members of our trek. The trek can take up to 10 people, but ours only had two families of four. They gave us lockers in which to place our bags and any other items we didn’t want to carry with us. We were measured for the correct safety vest and were properly fitted. 

They supplied us with a stainless steel water bottle that became ours at the end of the trek. Everyone sprayed down with bug spray, and we listened to the safety procedures before we headed out with our two guides. 

We started with a hike to the hippos’ watering hole, and a different guide, who regularly feeds the hippos, joined us. He had a bucket of watermelon pieces and knocked on the plastic bucket get their attention. We learned more about the hippos while observing on the side of the watering hole. Our vests were attached to the cable, so we could lean out as far as we wanted and still feel safe. Then we hiked to the wooden suspension bridges. There are two bridges that you cross that are directly over the crocodile pond. There were more than 20 crocodiles out that morning, but we were at least 50 feet away from them and, of course, attached to the cable so no need to fear of becoming their next meal!

Once we arrived at the end of the second bridge, there was another guide waiting for our group. He was the local crocodile expert. He watched their behaviors and gave us lots of great facts about the creatures when everyone arrived off the bridge. At all times, we had one of our guides in front of us and one behind us, and at these special sites, we had an expert guide there to help us and let us ask questions. 

After the crocodile encounter, we hiked to the jeep where we took off our vests and boarded the jeep with our very own driver. This jeep is similar to the Kilimanjaro Safaris jeeps, but this one allowed us to go off the regular path to see and learn more about the animals. He drove at our pace, and if we were all engaged, he allowed us extra time to observe and ask questions. The regular ride jeeps can\’t do that! We stopped at a building right in the middle of the safaris that had a beautiful view out each direction. We had a bathroom break, and then were served our own African inspired snack. 

The meal consisted of beef and prosciutto, smoked salmon roulade with dill, fig cake with Boursin cheese, Brie cheese and apricot, berry yogurt and dried cranberries and fresh fruit marinated in mint and ginger. They also can substitute items based on food allergies as well if you tell them ahead of time. They also served Jungle Juice, which was our favorite, very refreshing with a unique flavor. They had water stations to refill your water bottle and binoculars to observe the animals when you were finished with your meal. After the break we headed back to the base camp. They again gathered us up and were available to answer any questions.

The trek is four hours long so make sure you plan the rest of your park day at Animal Kingdom accordingly. They allow anyone 8 years old and older to participate, and everyone needs to be able to hike uneven terrain and not afraid be of heights. It was a very unique experience and a great option for animal enthusiasts.

Close up view of the zebras! 

On our ride vehicle with a giraffe nearby.

Great views with the family overlooking the savanna.

Kasey Diep is a Disney travel planner with Wishdrawals Travel. She spends her time with her husband and twin boys, visiting Disney World when she can and planning great trips for her clients!  Contact Kasey to book your next vacation.  

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