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The Wanyama Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge–Post One: The Safari

For my first post-Disney with Mom post, I’ll be reviewing the Wanyama Safari offered to guests of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.  This tour was the reason we booked at Animal Kingdom Lodge (heretofore referred to as AKL).  My mom loves animals and I love food, so this tour seemed perfect for both of us.  Spoiler alert–it was perfect for both of us.  This is post one of two and covers the safari itself.  I will cover the meal in post number two. 

Our directions were simple–show up at Jiko–AKL’s nicest restaurant–by 3:45pm.  Check in was easy and came with a bottle of chilled water and this pin…

We were seated in Jiko’s lounge area briefly and told to use the restrooms–the tour was approximately 90 minutes long and included zero stops (good to know–I’ll just put that water away!)  We then met our two tour guides, walked to our tour jeep and were on our way.

The tour was being narrated by two different guides.  The first girl narrated while the other drove and then they switched places.  I wish I knew the name of our first guide…

…because she was awesome.  This is not to say that our second guide was not wonderful–she was–but the first guide was that winning combination of real, friendly, and knowledgeable.  We loved her.

The tour began on the road that connects Jambo House and Kidani Village.  We then ventured onto the savannah, following the fence that blocks off the outermost portion of the animal enclosure.  For a while I thought we’d be sticking to the fence for the duration of the trip but I was (thankfully) incorrect.  About five minutes into the tour we approached an elaborate series of gates and entered the savannah proper.  This pretty lady was there to meet us…

…please note that this photo was not zoomed in any way.  She was RIGHT THERE (so right there, in fact, that we could tell the girl giraffe from the boy giraffe…ahem…)  It was at this point that I took a bunch of giraffe photos…

…before we continued on.  What did we learn about these giraffes as we traveled the savannah?  Everything.  We learned how the one giraffe is the daughter of the other giraffe and that they need to keep them apart because they don’t get along (mothers of teenage daughters can relate!)  We learned how and why they breed them, how they house them, entertain them (yes, I said entertain), and how to tell a reticulated giraffe from a…non reticulated giraffe?  Ok, I made that last part up.  But I definitely now know what a reticulated giraffe looks like.

During our hour and a half guided tour, we encountered more giraffes, longhorn African cattle, many ostriches, and a variety of other hoofed mammals the names of which I do not remember (because I was too busy having an amazing time to take notes.  But I have lots of photos!)  We even got up close and personal with a crazy brown and white zebra…

The safari continued on in this way with the tour guide giving us crazy-detailed details about each aspect of the savannas themselves as well as each animal.  You really understood how committed each guide was to all of the animals residing at AKL.  They spoke about them as though they were pets–no, that’s not it–as though they were friends.  Add that to the vast knowledge they shared about the animals in a general scientific sense, and you have the best tour I’ve ever been on.

In addition to all of that,  we were also treated to fantastic views of both Jambo House and Kidani Lodge thanks to our unique location.  We had a zebra’s eye view of the beautiful architecture…

Say what you will about AKL–and I will say several things in later lodging reviews–but it is stunningly beautiful.  And being able to experience this safari makes a stay at AKL completely worth it.

Up next–the meal portion of the trip.  Warning–do not view when hungry!

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