Disney’s Animal Kingdom is actually set up in a number of sections. Unlike traditional zoos where animas are kept in smaller habitats that are specifically tailored to that individual animal, the Animal Kingdom works more as wildlife preserve. That means that when you visit the Africa section of the Animal Kingdom, you’ll really get to go on the closest thing to a safari you’ll get on the North American continent.
The Africa section starts off in the fictional village of Harambe. According to the wisdom of Disney legend, Harambe was once a Dutch colony, but a peaceful revolution in 1963 made the village self-governing at that time. In modern Disney time, this is where visitors start if you would like to observe the animals of Africa in their natural habitats.
The “village” is also the namesake of the Haramabe Wildlife Preserve, which is the home of the Africa section’s Kilimanjaro Safaris. Guests get to ride in open- sided safari vehicles through the grounds to see a number of African animals in their “native” savannah environment. Quite a few African animals roam freely throughout the Africa portion of Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including reticulated giraffes, hippos, African elephants and lions. For those who would like to see gorillas, there is the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail to explore. While on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, guests can also see an “African valley” which is full of Nike hippos, birds, and fish.
The Animal Kingdom is definitely not just another zoo – and once you’ve visited the wilds of “Africa,” you’ll know it’s true!