Safari Secrets: How To Have The Best Kilimanjaro Safaris Experience

Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of those experiences that make each visit unforgettable. This ride takes you through the heart of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, offering a close-up look at some of Africa’s most iconic animals.

The queue entrance for Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom, with signs indicating the standby entrance and Lightning Lane.

You’ll see everything from graceful giraffes and majestic elephants to powerful lions and playful zebras. Each ride is a new adventure, with the bumpy path adding to the thrill and authenticity of the experience.

On our last trip, we had an unforgettable encounter with what I like to call “zebra zoomies.” The zebras were full of energy, chasing each other around the savannah, and at one point, they nearly brushed up against our vehicle.

A cheetah walking across the grassy savanna at Disney's Animal Kingdom, surrounded by lush greenery and trees.

It’s moments like these that make Kilimanjaro Safaris a highlight of any visit to Animal Kingdom and why it’s always at the top of my must-do list.

Ride Overview and What to Expect

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a 22-minute journey through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, designed to mimic an African safari. The open-sided safari vehicles provide fantastic views of the diverse landscapes and the animals that inhabit them. You’ll travel through forests, wetlands, and savannahs, encountering a wide variety of animals along the way.

A giraffe walking across the savanna at Disney's Animal Kingdom, with trees and bushes in the background.

Expect to see giraffes munching on treetops, elephants splashing in the water, lions lounging on rocks, and rhinos grazing. The ride can be bumpy, adding to the authentic feel of an actual safari. While it’s safe for most guests, expectant mothers should consider skipping this one due to the rough terrain.

If you’re planning your visit, don’t miss our comprehensive Animal Kingdom Strategy Guide, which covers the best strategies for navigating the park, including tips for rope drop and Genie+.

Genie+ Strategy for Kilimanjaro Safari

When it comes to Genie+ selections, Kilimanjaro Safaris should be high on your list. This ride is extremely popular, and lines can get pretty long, especially during peak hours. Make Kilimanjaro Safaris your second priority right after Na’vi River Journey. You won’t need Genie+ for many other attractions in the park including Expedition Everest, which has a single rider line to help manage queue times.

A sign with photography tips inside the queue area of Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom, advising guests to have their cameras ready.

By booking Kilimanjaro Safaris as your second Genie+ selection, you can enjoy other attractions early in the day and still catch the safari without a long wait. Trust me, it’s worth it!

Best Times to Ride Kilimanjaro Safari

What makes this attraction one-of-a-kind is the live animals you’ll see along the way. While Disney does their best to keep everyone out and active during the day, you’ll get a better experience during certain times.

Park Open

An elephant standing near a watering hole at Disney's Animal Kingdom, with a backdrop of rocky terrain and greenery.

One of the best times to hop on Kilimanjaro Safaris is right when the park opens. The animals are more active in the cool morning air, and you’ll enjoy shorter wait times. Starting your day with a safari adventure can set the perfect tone for your visit to Animal Kingdom! Make sure to also check out our One Day Itinerary for Animal Kingdom for a complete hour-by-hour plan, and free printable.

Later Afternoon

Another great time for the safari is in the late afternoon. As the day cools down, the animals become more lively again, and the crowds thin out. Plus, the lighting is perfect for snapping those stunning wildlife photos. It’s a wonderful way to wind down your day at the park.

A rare white rhino grazing on the savanna at Disney's Animal Kingdom, with trees and greenery in the background.

When it Rains

Believe it or not, rainy days can be fantastic for a safari. Animals love the rain and are often more active, rolling in the mud and playing. Plus, rainy days mean lighter crowds, so you can enjoy a more relaxed experience.

When to Avoid Kilimanjaro Safaris

Just like there’s a best time to ride, you’ll quickly find there are some less than ideal times as well.

During the Heat of the Day

An elephant standing near a watering hole at Disney's Animal Kingdom, with a backdrop of rocky terrain and greenery.

Midday can be a tough time for a safari. The heat tends to make the animals seek shade, so they might not be as active. Plus, wait times can be longer due to higher crowd levels. If you can, plan to do indoor attractions or shows during this time to stay cool and wait for better safari conditions.

Late Morning/Early Afternoon

This is typically the busiest time at Animal Kingdom. Lines for Kilimanjaro Safaris can be quite long, and the animals might not be as active due to the heat. If you’re looking to avoid long waits and get the best animal views, try to schedule your safari for early morning or late afternoon instead.

Fun Facts and Trivia

A close-up of the species spotting guide inside a safari vehicle at Disney's Animal Kingdom, showing illustrations and names of various animals.
  • The baobab trees you see on the safari are actually artificial, but they look incredibly real and add to the authentic feel of the savannah landscape.
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris features over 34 different species of animals, all of which are real and living in the reserve. No animatronics here!
  • The ride vehicles can hold up to 32 guests, ensuring everyone gets a good view of the animals.
  • Each safari is unique, as the animals roam freely within their enclosures, creating different experiences every time you ride.

By following these tips, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Have a wild adventure, and may your safari be filled with amazing animal encounters!

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