Africa opened with the rest of Disney’s Animal Kingdom on April 22, 1998. On opening day the land featured two attractions, Kilimanjaro Safaris, the Wildlife Express and the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. Kilimanjaro Safaris is a 22 minute safari on the African Savannah. Along the way guests can come face to face with exotic animals including: lions, elephants, giraffes, and zebras. The original storyline of the attraction had guests helping the safari’s warden, Mr. Wilson, stop the illegal poaching that was taking place on the grounds. After a high speed chase, guests eventually helped the preserve’s authorities catch the criminals. Africa’s second attraction, the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, served as an epilogue to the Kilimanjaro Safaris. After successfully helping the authorities catch the poachers, gets were given access to an exclusive "research station” (the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail) where they could see the rare Lowland gorillas. Lastly, the Wildlife Express train station is located in Harambe, taking guests to and from Rafiki's Planet Watch.
Besides its three attractions, Africa was also home five dining locations on opening day: Dawa Bar, Tusker House, Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery, the Harambe Fruit Market, and Tamu Tamu Refreshments . Finally, the shopping locations Duka la Filimu, Mombasa Marketplace, and Ziwani Traders could also be found in the land.
On June 1, 2014, the Africa section of the park was expanded with the creation of the Harambe Theater . The theater was constructed to house Festival of the Lion King, which moved from the closed Camp Minnie-Mickey.
Harambe was again expanded on May 23, 2015, with the addition of the Harambe Marketplace . Themed after an African street market, the marketplace features: Famous Sausages, Wanjohl’s Refreshments, Kitamu Grill, Chief Mwanga, and Zuri’s Sweets (which opened on June 17, 2015).
The Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is set in the fictional village of Harambe. According to the village's backstory, Harambe was originally a Dutch colony on the eastern shore of Africa. Eventually however the village was able to achieve its independence through peaceful revolution in 1961 . Modern day Harambe is bustling seaport, with visitors from all over the world. The biggest point of interest in the village is the Kilimanjaro Safaris, which take guests on a guided tour of the African Savannah. In addition to the wildlife attractions, Harambe is also home to a number of restaurants and shops, including the Harambe Market.
The Kilimanjaro Safaris are a major attraction in Harambe
Kilimanjaro Safaris- On this 22 minute safari, guests ride through the Savannah in East Africa. Along the way, the trams come face to face with elephants, lions, cheetahs, rhinos and much more. The safari is usually operational from park opening until sundown. In 2016 Disney began featuring "night safaris" that take place after dusk.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail- On this 3/8 of a mile walking trail, guests can observe some of Africa's most exotic animals. Okapis, meerkat, hippos, and Western Lowland Gorillas can all be seen here.
Wildlife Express Train- This seven minute train ride transports guests from the African village of Harambe to Rafiki's Planet Watch and vice versa.
Festival of the Lion King- This Broadway style show uses puppetry, song, dance and special effects to tell the story of Disney's The Lion King.
Wild Africa Trek- This three hour tour allows guests to trek through the African wilderness and the Savannah Desert where they can get an up close look at various African animals. The tour requires guests to pay an additional cost.
Harambe Marketplace- Harambe's newest dining location, Harambe Marketplace is made up of five different vendors: Famous Sausages, Wanjohl’s Refreshments, Kitamu Grill, Chief Mwanga, and Zuri’s Sweets. Each vendor features there own unique menus.