Kilimanjaro Safaris featuring Ankole Cattle | March 2015 Walt Disney World Trip Report Update

Chapter 14
Ankole Cattle Everywhere

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We were prepared for a “wild time” upon arriving at Animal Kingdom.

I love how the dragon still holds the center spot on the old Animal Kingdom logo, in spite of Beastly Kingdom having never come to be.

We hadn’t quite made it in time for rope drop because we’d been eating breakfast and packing, but it was still relatively early in the morning, and the park wasn’t too crowded.

We spotted our first few animals as we walked toward the center of the park.

I’m always excited to catch my first glimpse of the Tree of Life. It’s such a unique icon.

We had to get a photo to commemorate our arrival.

We tend to be creatures of habit when we figure out a touring plan that we like, and Africa is always our first destination at Animal Kingdom.

Our goal is always to do Kilimanjaro Safaris early in the morning before it gets too hot. The animals always seem to be a little more active, and we can avoid sweating to death on those ride vehicles.

We’d booked a FP+ time for this attraction a little randomly—knowing that we might not make it on time because of our room move—but it ended up working out pretty perfectly.

Now, if you’ve been on this attraction many times, like we have, there are various parts of the cast member spiel that sound familiar with each ride (even if the exact wording is a little different).

We’ve all heard about how the okapi is actually a relative of the giraffe, for example, and how the bongos are known as the “ghosts of the forest.”

And of course, there’s the old story about the baobab tree.

For this ride, however, we had a guide who seemed to be struggling with the script a little, and she said a few things that stuck out to us.

When we entered the savannah, we quickly spied some ankole cattle and heard about their extremely large antlers.

But then we drove by these guys (wildebeests), and she started to repeat the information about the ankole cattle.

Not only that, but she told us that these ankole cattle are named after the African word “wild beast.” It was one of those moments that probably went over the heads of most of our fellow riders but really struck a chord with me and Tracy. For the rest of the trip (and for many trips to come), every single animal we passed was an ankole cattle—or as the Africans might say, a “wild beast.”

The rest of our safari stuck a little more closely to the script, but it was still fun because we got to see lots of active animals.

Honestly, though, we were a little disappointed that the guide didn’t go on about these giant gray ankole cattle.

I always feel lucky when the male lion is sleeping atop his rock outcropping—even though I feel like he’s up there at least 80% of the time.

The black-and-white-striped ankole cattle (zebras) had only recently been introduced to the safari when we visited.

They were sharing space with the addax—who had caused quite the holdup on our safari a few years earlier.

As we pulled back into Harambe, I took a final picture of our animal guide—just so we could always be sure to remember the most important (and apparently ubiquitous) animal on the savannah!

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About Wandering Mouseketeers

We are Taylor and Tracy — husband and wife from Boulder, CO — and we love all things Disney, as well as general travel. This website was originally created to showcase our Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line trip reports, but we've also got an entire series of blog posts about what it was like to live for a year and a half in Orange County, CA. Hopefully you'll enjoy reading about our various adventures. All of our Disney trip reports have lots of pictures and details that you can use to plan your next vacation!