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Old 03-25-2013, 03:48 PM   #1
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Figment Goes on Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Figment Goes on Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Figment stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time in March, 2013 and decided to go on the Wanyama Safari. The safari started with everyone (twelve people maximum) meeting at Jiko. There was a yellow-green lanyard with a Jiko logo on it and a blank name card at each place setting. As we waited for the others to arrive, Figment got to know his safari mates. Once everyone arrived, we were served a light afternoon tea before heading out.
A rooibos tea (top) was served, along with two finger foods: one savory and one sweet. The savory snack was a piece of naan bread, topped with a slice of cucumber and some olive tapenade (middle top). The sweet snack was a biscuit with icing (middle bottom).

After everyone finished their tea and snacks, it was time to meet Mel, our “safari guide” and head out to the truck. Before boarding, each group took a photopass picture with the truck. After the photo, we got on to our truck. The back of the truck had benches lining the sides and front. One guide stayed in the truck with us and the other drove (and unlocked/locked gates).

The first stop was the Sunset Savanna between Kidani and Jambo House. Normally, we would have seen the giraffes at this point, but it was so cold out that they were already in their barn. Our guide told us that giraffes are not cold weather species, so whenever the temperature is expected to drop into the 50’s, they are kept in their barn. The truck pulled up to the barn and we all got to go inside and see the four giraffes (three females and one male). In some ways, they seemed almost human…they leaned over the railings of their stalls to look at us as we looked at them. We spent quite a bit of time with the giraffes, but no pictures were allowed because the barn is considered back stage.

After seeing the giraffes, we got back onto the truck and headed to the rest of the Sunset Savanna. We met up with another keeper who was feeding the ostriches. The guide explained that ostriches are very curious birds and one of them demonstrated the fact by sticking his head into the driver’s side window of the keeper’s truck! Along with the ostriches were the Marabou Storks (bottom).


Marabou Storks

Out on the Sunset Savanna were a wide range of animals: Impalas, Roan Antelopes, Grévy’s Zebras, Wildebeests, and Anikole Cattle. It was hard to keep track of which was which! We learned that there are two different species of zebras at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Grévy’s Zebras have stripes that do not go around their tummies. The wildebeests are the “troublemakers” of the savanna.


Roan Antelope


Grévy’s Zebra


Anikole Cattle

Next time...the Arusha Savanna!
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:41 PM   #2

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We did this in 2006 and are planning on doing it again in 2014. Can't wait to see the rest!!
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:01 PM   #3
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Great start!
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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Thanks everyone!

Continuing with Figment Goes on Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge...

The truck slowly drove around the Sunset Savanna and then headed to the Arusha Savanna at Jambo House (top). At the entrance to the Arusha Savanna the truck stopped and one of our safari mates got to sound the horn that called in the Red River Hogs for the night. At first the hogs did not appear, but while we waited a pair of Egyptian Geese walked past (middle). Finally, the Red River Hogs came running toward their enclosure (bottom).

Arusha Savanna

Egyptian Geese

Red River Hog

From there we drove around the Arusha Savanna. Figment’s room faced onto the Arusha Savanna, so it was fun to see up close all of the animals that we could see from our balcony! There were Thomson’s Gazelles, Roan Antelopes, Grant’s Zebras, Red River Hogs, Spoonbills and Waterbucks.

Arusha Savanna

Thomson's Gazelle

Roan Antelope

Grant's Zebra


Next we headed to the Uzima Savanna. As we waited for the guide to unlock the gate between the savannas, a pair of East African Crowned Cranes hopped over. They have very pretty wing feathers and were rather large!

On this savanna we saw Wild Donkeys, Blesboks, Scimitar-horned Oryxs, Ruppel’s Griffon Vultures, and Common Elands. There were also Anikole Cattle and more Roan Antelope.

Uzima Savanna

Wild Donkey


Scimitar-horned Oryxs

Ruppel’s Griffon Vultures

Common Eland

Other Animals

As we drove around the savannas, the guide told us about the animals. There was a lot of good information; some specific to the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s animals (like the animal’s names) and some about the species. Many of the animals are members of a group so in many cases the names are also themed. The guide talked about a group named after Peanuts characters, another named after rappers, and another group named after donuts. It was pretty clever.

Overall, the drive through the savannas was a great way to see the animals up close. Many animals were very close to the truck, so it was easy to see the animal’s details (e.g., stripes, coat coloring, etc.). Some of the animals even came up to the truck or raced alongside the truck. I wish the safari drive had lasted longer, but a yummy meal at Jiko awaited us!
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:15 AM   #5
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Really enjoyed your take on the safari! Looks like a great experience! Looking forward to Figment's dinner at Jiko!
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:49 AM   #6
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Great start. I love your reviews.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:40 PM   #7
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Great photos! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:57 PM   #8
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Continuing with Figment Goes on Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

This is the rough GPS track of the safari. It was pretty interesting to see where we went.

The truck drove us back to the Jambo House where we headed down to Jiko for a three course meal. A table in the center of the main room was set for us where we could see the kitchen and the show kitchen. At each place setting was a copy of the evening’s menu. Each course consisted of three different items. It was almost like a tasting menu!

We met our server for the evening and then dinner began. At the start of each course Chef Michael came out and explained a little about each dish as it was being served. First out was the cocktail. Figment is not a big drinker, but he liked this cocktail. It was called a Sunriser and was made of “Parrot Bay Rum, Banana Liqueur Blended with Orange, Pineapple, and Cranberry Juices.”

Next out were the appetizers. There was the “Taste of Africa – Assortment of Dips with Pappadam, Poppy Seed Lavash, and House-made Naan”. The naan bread was really good. The pappadam and lavash breads were also pretty good (one was round and the other was triangular).

The next appetizer was the “Inguday Tibs in Brik with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Cheese in Crispy Tunisian Filo with Apple and Curry Vinaigrette”. These were Figment’s favorites. The filo was nice and crispy and the filling had good flavor.

The next appetizer was the “Peri Peri-Roasted Chicken with Lime Chakalaka, Lamb Chopper Cheese, and Pickled Sweet Bell Peppers”. It was like a flat bread pizza and tasted really good.

The final appetizer was the “Crispy Beef “Bobotie” Roll with Cucumber Raita, Green Mango Atjar, and Honey-Roasted Groundnuts”. This one was kind of spicy, but it was still good. The wrapper was crispy (deep fried) and the filling was heavily spiced.

After the appetizers were finished and the plates cleared, the entrée dishes were brought out. There were three different entrees: one fish, one beef and one poultry dish. The fish entrée was “Maize-Crusted Corvina with Vegetables of the Moment and Tomato-Butter Sauce.” It had deep fried shaved leeks on the top and a mixture of spring vegetables underneath. The fish was moist and the coating crunchy.

The “Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon with Ancient Grain Pilaf, Brussels Sprouts, and South African Red Wine Sauce” was really good. The filet mignon was very tender (medium). The brussels sprouts were actually quite good (still slightly crunchy, but sautéed in butter).

The final entrée was the “Guinea Hen “Doro Wot” Braised Leg and Berbere-Roasted Breast with Sweet Potato, Wilted Greens, and Ancho Glaze”. The hen was moist and the ancho glaze had only a slight bite.

Finally, a dessert sampler was served individually: “Vanilla Rooibos-Tanzanian Chocolate Cake and Honey Crunch Topping” (left), Cheesecake with Spice Cake Crust and Warm Sautéed Apples in Caramel” (middle), and “Kenyan Coffee and Amarula Crème Brulee” (right). Figment is not usually a big fan of crème brulee, but this one was amazing! It was very creamy (almost like a mousse) and had a good coffee flavor. The chocolate cake was rich and yummy.

Each course was also paired with a wine (appetizers had a white, entrees had a red, and dessert had a sweet dessert wine). Figment is not a big wine drinker, so he did not think to take pictures with the wines until after dinner ended.

After dinner, each safari-goer was given a little goodie bag. The bag contained a copy of the dinner menu which Figment used to write this trip report, a Wanyama Safari pin, a small bag of cookies featuring African chocolate (yum!), and a recipe card for Jiko Rice.

Overall, Figment really enjoyed his safari through the savannas of Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was a lot of fun to see the animals up close and learn about them. The food at both the tea and the dinner were outstanding. He had already been to Jiko once before, but it was fun to go again and try so many of the items from the menu. He hopes to one day return to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and perhaps go on the Wanyama Safari again!
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:40 PM   #9
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Thank you so much for posting this. I am currently planning a High School Graduation trip for Spring Break 2014 for my son.

This review provided the information I needed to know about this safari. After reading it I am postive DS will love it!

Thank you again!

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Old 04-03-2013, 12:39 AM   #10
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I love this tour. DW and I did it last Oct. and plan to do it again in Nov of this year. Great up close views of the animals and a fantastic dinner to cap off the night.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:06 PM   #11
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thank you for the informative review.

We will be taking the safari in May, this helped make the waiting time jump ahead a little.

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:13 PM   #12
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Wonderful review and photos. They've added snacks before when we did the safari in 2010, all we got was a bottle of water. So cool that you got to go into the barn! I must do this again, which means I need to stay @ AKL!
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:31 PM   #13
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Thank you everyone for your nice comments! This was Figment's first formal trip report and it was a lot of fun writing.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:59 PM   #14
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What a great experience, getting to see the animals up close and tasting such a variety of what Jiko has to offer.

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Old 04-06-2013, 05:37 PM   #15
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Thanks for that! Looks like fun.

I'm hoping to make a reservation to surprise my fiancé on our honeymoon; did you pay for the tour when you reserved it or at the dinner? I'd rather pay before, so DF doesn't know how much it cost
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