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Old 07-19-2011, 10:54 PM   #1
nandc619
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Wanyama Safari at AKL

This fall, DH and I are planning a split stay with our first two days spent just relaxing at AKL. Today I came across the Wanyama Safari and I was wondering if anyone had done it before? It's not cheap (about $170/person), and I'm wondering if it's really worth it? The thought of seeing the animals up close and trying several things on the Jiko menu sounds pretty cool, but I haven't seen many reviews on it, and it's pretty expensive. Any thoughts or experience on this? I would be so grateful for any input!! Thanks!!!!
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:29 AM   #2
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We did it last December early in a 10 day stay at AKL. I truly enjoyed it, but I'm the type that will watch a nature show over a sitcom - so it's the type of thing I'm inclined to like. I especially liked knowing the 'back' story about some of the animals (a problematic ostrich on sunset savannah, for example.) And it enriched the remainder of our stay knowing details about the animals which we learned on the safari when we later saw them from our balcony. The Jiko dinner was very nice and afterwards some of the people on our safari wandered out to the firepit and we continued our conversation there - which was nice. Price/value is a relative thing, and I did think it was pricey when I booked it, but I'll definitely do it again next time I stay @ AKL.
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:46 AM   #3
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I've done it twice so obviously I thought it was worth it. I'm a total animal geek too, so even with the price I wanted to do it. I did it before Kidani opened and once while staying there. You do get really neat inside information about the care and feeding of the animals, plus you can ask all the questions you want. You really get some great animal photos and sometimes you meet fun people in your group.

The only reason we aren't planning it on our next AKL stay is that we want to dine at Jiko and order off the menu instead of the sampler. I'll edit this post with links to some pics or add pics once I'm at my computer and not on my phone.
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Old 07-20-2011, 01:24 AM   #4
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I did a split stay at CSR and AKL May '10, just so I could do the Wanyama Safari. It was worth every penny. Using my AP I was able to get a discount though. Like sndral I enjoyed hearing stories about the specific animals (like the cow that drags his horns and the specific names of the giraffes). The meal at Jiko was wonderful. I only wish the guides would stay for dinner. They leave you at Jiko's check in desk.
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Old 07-20-2011, 02:50 AM   #5
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These were some of the shots that I got on the Safari















One cool thing we learned was that these birds (vultures?) were going to be moved from the Jambo Savannah where they were on our safari day to the Sunset Savannah at Kidani within days of our safari. They did this on the morning of our checkout, so while we were in the lobby of Kidani waiting for our ME bus, we got to watch them acclimating to the savannah and they were having face offs with other birds that wanted to occupy the same area. That was 1 1/2 years ago so I assume they have worked out their territory.



Here's what they served us for dinner.

Appetizers









Mains







Dessert

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Old 07-20-2011, 08:06 AM   #6
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i'd vote "worth it."

here's a recent thread with more discussion:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2675460
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:10 AM   #7
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We loved it!! We would have dined at Jiko anyways, and sampled almost as many dishes as we were served, so we believed it was WELL worth it for the safari, considering what we would have paid on dinner alone (it also includes wine pairings). Everthing is relative, of course, and only you can decide what's "worth it" for your family.

Check out my dining review from last summer linked in my signature. I include a brief review of the dinner.
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:49 AM   #8
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Totally worth it! It was the highlight of our 10 day honeymoon. We even passed being in the AK parade because we needed to be back at AKL in time for the safari. We also did the Sunrise Safari that trip and the Wanyama Safari was 10 times better! We had a nice group as well (2 families and 2 couples).
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Old 07-20-2011, 06:17 PM   #9
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We loved it! As long as you are OK with sharing a meal with strangers. We had no problem with it, as we lucked out to be with a nice group. I supposed it could go the other way. The food was GREAT! I was glad we did it, as I probably would not have ordered many of the foods we tried. Getting up close with the animals was delightful!
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:32 PM   #10
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We loved it too! My family is not adventurous with food so I wanted to make sure everyone was on board with trying really different food. I was also a little worried about eating with strangers because I am very shy around people I don't know. Let me tell ya....we had a great group that we shared our meal with and I was the one in my family that talked the most! My husband kept saying later that he couldn't get over how much I talked. I would love to do it again this trip but we are going to do a couple of other things instead. I give it two thumbs up!
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Old 07-20-2011, 10:55 PM   #11
nandc619
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Thank you all so much for your input! Those pictures are wonderful! Our AKL stay is supposed to be DH's part of the trip to "plan." (Although "not plan" is more appropriate- he prefers to have NO PLANS at all on vacation! I, on the other hand, have a secret spreadsheet made up for the other 6 days of the trip! ) But I think I could convince him to go for this just by showing him these pictures and reviews! The animals are so close, and the food looks AMAZING! I was hungry after seeing the pictures, then I followed the link to iloveeeyore's dining review and now I'm starving! (GREAT dining review by the way! I enjoyed reading about several of the restaurants we're planning on trying this trip!) We were already planning a trip to Jiko before discovering this safari, so I figured we would have easily spent $150-$200 there anyway. I think another $200 would be worth it just to be so close to the animals! (And that's exactly how I plan on rationalizing spending almost $400 for a 3hr safari!! )

But I have to say, I'm still a little hesitant about the family style dinner. I'm not great at small-talk, and I find awkward silence pretty uncomfortable. But I think it could be fun to step out of my comfort zone a little. A couple of questions though- do they offer non-alcoholic drinks as well as wine? (DH jokes that I'm part camel as I always require several refills with dinner... and I'm assuming you don't get refills on the wine! ) And I'm looking for a nice way to put this one.... Did anyone have any trouble with someone at the table eating more than their share of the food? It all looks so good, and I'm sure we would want to atleast try everything.

Thanks again for the input! This is why I this Disboards... everyone's so helpful!!!
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Old 07-21-2011, 12:13 AM   #12
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We had two very different experiences, but I don't think you have to worry about anyone taking too much unless they are complete oafs and I doubt you will encounter that. The first safari we did there were two couples, us and the other one. The other couple were locals (lived about an hour away) and they planned on dining at Jiko the following night and they sent us home with all the leftovers and let us eat more than half the dessert.

The second time there were 11 people and four were my family (me, my partner and my parents), the other seven split the two of each plates that they were served and it seemed that my family shared all our single plates between ourselves. Each of the plates served at least four people.

We actually enjoyed our first safari dining experience more than the second as we didn't interact with the other folks at all on the second. It was almost as if my family had our own dinner. I chalk that up to the fact that everyone else in our party is very introverted and I am the only one that enjoys interaction, plus the way we were seated we were somewhat isloated from the rest of the table. Otherwise I'm sure we would have interacted with the other party members as they seemed to enjoy each other's company.

The refilled our wine glasses as they were empty (my parents and I have hearty wine appetites), so we never felt neglected even if they filled the wine well before the food was served.
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Old 07-21-2011, 01:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nandc619 View Post
Thank you all so much for your input! Those pictures are wonderful! Our AKL stay is supposed to be DH's part of the trip to "plan." (Although "not plan" is more appropriate- he prefers to have NO PLANS at all on vacation! I, on the other hand, have a secret spreadsheet made up for the other 6 days of the trip! ) But I think I could convince him to go for this just by showing him these pictures and reviews! The animals are so close, and the food looks AMAZING! I was hungry after seeing the pictures, then I followed the link to iloveeeyore's dining review and now I'm starving! (GREAT dining review by the way! I enjoyed reading about several of the restaurants we're planning on trying this trip!) We were already planning a trip to Jiko before discovering this safari, so I figured we would have easily spent $150-$200 there anyway. I think another $200 would be worth it just to be so close to the animals! (And that's exactly how I plan on rationalizing spending almost $400 for a 3hr safari!! )

But I have to say, I'm still a little hesitant about the family style dinner. I'm not great at small-talk, and I find awkward silence pretty uncomfortable. But I think it could be fun to step out of my comfort zone a little. A couple of questions though- do they offer non-alcoholic drinks as well as wine? (DH jokes that I'm part camel as I always require several refills with dinner... and I'm assuming you don't get refills on the wine! ) And I'm looking for a nice way to put this one.... Did anyone have any trouble with someone at the table eating more than their share of the food? It all looks so good, and I'm sure we would want to atleast try everything.

Thanks again for the input! This is why I this Disboards... everyone's so helpful!!!
I'm so glad you enjoyed my dining review! I can't wait to do my next one after my trip coming up in 39 days!!! My pre-trip report will be up soon.

They definitely offer non-alcoholic drinks, they have to because it's a family situation, and I'm sure you can get both wine and soft drinks if you ask. My kids drank lots of soda, I think one of them may have even asked for Shirley Temple. As far as someone taking more than their share, that would have ben impossible, because first, the platters were huge, and second, they gladly bring out more of anything you want! In fact, we had one platter of filet that was too well done for most, and will still had enough of the rarer meat for everyone.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:21 PM   #14
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Let me edit my earlier post - I followed Chalee's link above and see that we actually did the safari 11/30/10 (just before last Dec..)
Because you spend quite some time in the truck/vehicle and you stop for pictures and people move around to get better shots - by the time dinner rolls around you have interacted with everyone. Plus the shared experience of seeing the animals and the open question format with the guide/animal keeper (they actually are husbandry staff who work with the animals) on the safari makes for a relaxed group. I'm a bit shy on occassion myself, but a few simple questions like where are you from, have you been here before, etc. leads to lot's of things in common to talk about - if you choose. After all, everyone probably likes Disney, animals and vacations. One couple in our group was a bit quiet, but I'm sure they enjoyed it as much as us more chatty types. It reminded me of cruises were you have been assigned a table with other diners.
At the dinner itself the chef (and a trainee chef) came out and described what we were eating a few times, as well. They talked about the wines, too, but I wasn't listening to that part as I wasn't sampling.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:34 PM   #15
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I am not a photographer. I actually hate taking pictures. One of the men who was on our tour actually mailed me an entire disc of photos he took on our tour with his very fancy-schmancy camera. I was so thankful! I also was a little concerned about the group dine, but by the time you come in from the tour, they are not strangers anymore!
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