A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE Part 2
ANIMAL KINGDOM'S WILD AFRICA TREK
If you're like I am, one of the items on my bucket list is to someday go to Africa and go on safari. Thanks to Disney, I was lucky enough to live out my dream without ever leaving WDW by taking the Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom. Last week I shared with you the first part of this incredible experience. To help refresh your memory about my adventures along the Pangani Forest Trail and my up close and personal encounters with hippos and crocodiles, click here.
The next part of our trek was where our real courage kicked in as we faced not one but two suspension bridges that were overlooking the hippos and crocodiles that we had just met face to face. Although we had trained earlier on a practice bridge, nothing can quite prepare you for this until you are actually on it. Both bridges span 100 feet in length are are 30-40 feet off the ground. The bridges have the feel of an old, rickety and weathered bridge that you are convinced is going to collapse at any moment. As you can see, there are even missing boards and broken planks. It dawned on me as I cautiously made my way across the first one, that this is Disney's way to get you to look down from your unique vantage point and marvel at all it has to offer. It only took a moment or two, and maybe a few jumps up and down, to relax and take in all the splendor that surrounded me.
Now that we had safely traversed the Pangani Forest trail, it was time to take off our safety vests and board our own open air safari truck to continue our trek. Soon we found ourselves "off road" through the savannah itself. Talk about the ultimate in animal adventures! As we we drove along on this privately guided expedition, we were so close we could almost reach out and touch giraffes, elephants, and rhinos just to name a few. Our guides were first rate when it came to educating us about the animals that inhabited these parts.
Our driver provided us with many extended stops to allow us to take pictures to our hearts content. We were provided with binoculars and our guides were quick to point out many of the things our untrained eyes would have missed. To be so close to rhinos, or a mother elephant and her new baby running and playing right in front of us was truly incredible.
When it came time to eat, Disney of course pulled out all the stops. As we rounded the bend at the end of the savannah, we were taken to our own private overlook area. We were seated in an open air, thatched roof patio furnished with comfortable tables and chairs. We were served an amazing catered meal from Tusker House, in our own personal two tiered tin. Lunch consisted of an edible orchid, tandoori chicken, curry chicken, proscuitto, fruit salad, mini pitas, red pepper hummus, turkey roulade with cream cheese and all the jungle juice you could drink. When you call in to book the trip, you are asked if you have any special dietary needs and if so, your meal is specifically catered to meet those needs. I noticed one of the children in the group actually had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in their tin.
After a leisurely 45 minute lunch, it was time to complete the last leg of our journey. Once again we boarded our truck and were led through the area where many of the big cats roamed. Disney is so meticulous in their camouflage techniques that unless they had been pointed out to us, they would have been undetectable. Animals are separated from one another through the use of almost invisible fences, rocks, and moats.
All too soon, our truck was pulling up to the platform where the Kilimanjaro Safari groups also exit their trucks. We were escorted back to our original starting point, gathered our belongings and posed for pictures. One of the many special things that the Wild Africa Trek does is to take a portion of your tour fees and donate them back to various conservation groups to help preserve wild animals and their habitats. We were each given a rock and could place it into one of three slots to designate where we personally would like our donation to go.
All in all the Wild Africa Trek is truly a once in a lifetime experience. There are no words to express how many different way this touched me and will stay with me for a long time to come. I would do this again in a heartbeat and wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to any and all of you! Thank you Disney for bringing the heart of Africa to me. For more information on this tour call 407-WDW-Tour or 407-939-8687 to book your own adventure. Wild Africa Trek is not included with standard park admission to Disney's Wild Animal Kingdom Park and is open to all guests age 8 and older. Are you ready to book your walk on the wild side?
To learn more about all the tours and special experiences the WDW has to offer click here