Animal Kingdom

Attraction Focus: Kilimanjaro Safaris

Updated with new photos in 2021

Attraction: Kilimanjaro Safaris

Park: Animal Kingdom

Location: Africa, Harambe

Year Opened: April 22, 1998

Imagineer: Joe Rhode

Inspiration: Kenya and Tanzania

Has anyone visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom and NOT done the safari? We’re sure there are a few souls out there, but surely not many.

Located at the back of the Animal Kingdom in the land of Africa, Kilimanjaro Safaris is truly an attraction for all ages. There is absolutely no height requirement and those in wheelchairs can be wheeled directly onto a vehicle (guests in electric convenience vehicles must be able to transfer from scooter to wheelchair). It is a little bumpy and you will be warned that if you drop your cell phone while taking photos, you need to wave bye-bye because there is no stopping.

Your adventure begins in the Disney-created town of Harambe (which means “come together” in Swahili). The queue is mildly themed with an educational video playing on monitors above.

Billed as an “authentic African safari” guests travel on a 22-minute journey around the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. The ride vehicle—named the Simba One—is an open-sided truck driven by a knowledgeable Cast Member Guide.

Simba One on the savannah (2021)

The safari explores 110 acres of savanna, forest, rivers and rocky hills. (The savannah is actually about 3 acres – larger than all of Magic Kingdom.) While it may seem that the grounds are barrier-free, the area is filled with hidden berms, ditches, moats, fences and turnbacks to keep the animals safe from guests. The barriers also prevent the lions from mingling with the giraffe, zebra and antelope—saving you from having that “circle-of-life” conversation with your kiddos.

However, some animals can walk right up to the vehicles and if an ostrich or a rhino decides to take a break in the roadway, you may have to sit in “safari traffic” for a minute or two while your driver waits for the animal to move on.

After stopping traffic for a little while, this ostrich shows off her running abilities (2021).

In total, there are 34 different species roaming the land including: crocodiles, hippopotamus, lions, zebras, warthogs and elephants. Disney Imagineers also created concrete replicas of the fascinating baobab tree, known for its large trunk, upside down shape and extreme longevity (1,000 years).

But enough talking about Kilimanjaro Safari. Let’s look at some photos. We can’t spoil the ride for you because every safari is different.


The size of the crocodiles on the safari is a little nerve racking (2018).

It’s rare to see the crocodiles move, and that’s a good thing. Here they are in December of 2020.


It seems like the giraffes are always eating, but Disney also places other items up high for the animals to investigate (2018).

Disney has had quite a few successful giraffe births over the years (2020)

A close up encounter with the giraffes is not uncommon (2021).


Here a lion and two lionesses enjoy an afternoon nap (2020).

It feels magical when we catch the lion awake and channeling King Mufasa (2019).



The birds get their pink color from the shrimp they eat (2021).


Mud baths aren’t all fun and games. This white rhino is not only cooling off, he’s using the mud to protect himself from the sun and parasites (2018).

This ostrich and rhino seemed like pals during our 2020 visit.

Having lunch in 2021.


In the cool water is where a hippo “bloat” loves to be (2018).

But it is not uncommon to see them on the banks of the river (2020).


This wild dog shows of his dynamic coat (2018).


It’s not actually real, but the baobab tree (or upside down tree) is the most photographed “plant” on the reserve (2018).

Another baobab (2021).


The cheetahs show of their backsides more than not (2018).

But not on this safari in 2021.


This guy gave us a smile by the watering hole (2018).

The young elephants are always a treat to see (2018).

Socializing in 2021.

On the move (2020)


The zebra seem to get along with almost everyone. This one hangs with the black rhinos (2018).

The animals are so comfortable with the safari trucks that a little one did not even stop nursing when our vehicle passed (2021).


The OKAPI (June 2021)

The GREATER KUDU (June 2021)

The BONGO (December 2020)

The WILDEBEEST (December 2020)

The THOMSOO’S GAZELLE (December 2020)

The GOATS (June 2021)


So, that’s our virtual look at the Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Keep checking back for updates and new photos.


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