Saturday morning, a got on a van with eight other Social Media Moms Celebration attendees.
The Wild Africa Trek is a multi-faceted experience featuring a hike through the “forests” of Animal Kingdom, an up-close experience with hippos, teetering across run-down rope bridges, an open-air safari, and lunch in the middle of the savanna. There is nothing else like it in the (Walt Disney) World.
Once we arrived in Harambe, Africa, we met our guides, signed a waiver, and got geared up. As you can see, the guides are very enthusiastic about their gear.
We were fitted with a vest (sized according to weight), ear piece, water bottle, and clips for cameras (if an item can’t be tethered to you, you aren’t allowed to bring it. Free lockers are provided for loose items. Your pockets must be empty as well, so plan on leaving everything but your tethered camera behind).
Here’s where I am going to throw in a hint…Do NOT wear shorter shorts. Now, I wasn’t rocking Daisy Dukes, but I was wearing normal length shorts and the harness made it very uncomfortable. Apparently, I am the only one who didn’t see this tip online prior to the trek because everyone else was in pants, capris, and bermuda shorts.
After a group photo and test walk on the mini rope bridge, we were off! Our guides (Alex and Bethany) were very engaging. After a little hike, we made it to the hippo encounter. We hooked up to the safety line and made our way out to the overlook. It was amazing. I never thought I’d be that close to hippos!
After the mesmerizing hippo experience, we hiked some more while Alex told us all sorts of fun plant and animal facts.
And then we were there. At the rope bridges. And, honestly? I was scared stiff. I am not a fan of heights or rope bridges. I stayed towards the back of the pack so I could watch the others cross first.
And then it was my turn. I did better than I thought! I even got the nerve to take a little video for you as I was walking over the second bridge. (my first ever blog video, too!)
Once we were across the bridges, we hiked a bit more to our private open-air safari vehicle (and got to loose the gear, yay!).
Our safari driver, Ashley (great name, no?) pulled over along the route so we could get a better view of the animals. Just to give you a perspective of how long we would stop: at one point, we were stopped long enough that at least half a dozen of the Kilimanjaro Safari vehicles drove by. It made the safari feel very special and exclusive.
Next, we were treated to a “Taste of Africa” brunch on a boma overlooking the savanna. The view was simply breathtaking and the food was delicious!
Special meals are available for kids (must be 8 or older to do the trek) and those with special dietary needs as long as advance notice is given.
After we talked and ate, we boarded the safari vehicle one more time and headed back to base camp to wrap up the trek. Proceeds from the Trek go to Disney’s Wildlife Conservation Fund and your group will vote to decide which animal group they’d like the money to go to. (ours voted for elephants) You are also given a Disney’s Photopass card which contains images taken by one of your guides. The card is also a coupon for a FREE Disney’s Photopass CD!
Overall, I felt the experience was amazing. I wish we had more time on the boma to really relax and enjoy our meals, though. That was the only part of the experience that felt rushed. I would suggest doing this tour first thing in the morning or as late as possible in the afternoon, as that is when the animals are the most active. I also had seen in other reviews tours were taken to the gorilla exhibit, but we did not see the gorilla area for whatever reason, and I had been looking forward to that. Our guides Alex and Bethany were amazing and the food was delicious.
I was given the chance to experience this Trek as part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration as part of my registration fee, but I would say the Trek is more than worth the standard cost. If The Husband and I are able to get a morning away from the kids on our next trip to Walt Disney World, I will most certainly be taking him on the Trek.