Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Circle of Life

I just returned from a week in Florida with my friend Cindy.
Unfortunately, this is the rainy season... and we had four days of torrential downpours!  It did NOT, however, dampen our spirit or enthusiasm one bit.

While enjoying the magic of Disney, Cindy treated us to an adventure in Animal Kingdom known as "Wild Africa Trek": a three hour VIP tour offering close encounters with exotic African wildlife in their native habitat.
The Wild Africa Trek takes small groups on a guided hike with animal experts into some of the undeveloped areas of the "Harambe Reserve" of the Kilimanjaro Safari.  You experience up close views of Africa's wildest animals.

You had to be in tip top shape and they weighed you before you were allowed to put on your protective gear.  (I just passed!)
There was a disturbing list of warnings that gave me some cause for concern but Cindy assured me NO ONE dies at Disney World!!
Once the pulleys and canteens, binoculars,  clips and supports were in place, we hiked along the wet slippery paths and journeyed deep into the Pangani Forest on a thrilling, privately guided expedition.
Usually there were twelve participants on each adventure but our group was an intimate and fun four.
Our safari "across an open savanna  teeming with native African creatures" was lead by knowledgeable guides who were also very supportive and kind... and patient.

 two hippos- I'm the one in the skirt!
"Twinday!" (means move along)

feeding crocs on narrow ledge (tethered in)
open wide for Judi
the monkeys screamed "stop stop stop" to warn me away

high up on the suspension bridge

After a seemingly precarious trek across the rope bridges, dangling over a throng of enormous crocs, you then experience another unbelievable view as you hang over the crocs' riverbed lair.
We then enjoyed a brief hike onto a sweeping African savanna for a VIP safari, riding in a bumpy private jeep to the back of property, where we visited an exclusive safari camp with incredible views of everything from towering giraffe to powerful rhino.
This true life adventure wild Africa Trek is a jaw-dropping journey only a few guests get to experience.
There IS a reason for that.... it costs about $100 just to get into the Disney park for one day (one park) and then you pay an additional $189-$249 per tour, depending upon the degree of thrills and perks.
Not for the faint of heart or pocket:-)
Full speed ahead, Cindy!

alligators hoping we miss a step

fern valley

baby Mosi with his mama

we got to keep the "free" canteen!
We received a delicious "snack" 2 hours into the tour.  This was a camp tin with upper and lower containers.
In the top circle, we had three small bowls with smoked meats, curried chicken salad and ginger infused fruit.
The bottom included Salmon roulade, tomato hummus and pita rounds and marinated tandoori shrimp.
orchid to cleanse palate

clothed in our daring jungle wear

we weren't the only diners of the day

This unique expedition was a thrilling encounter with African creatures in their native habitat away from the usual Disney crowds.

Thank you, Cindy, for a special and once-in-a-lifetime experience I won't soon forget.