Description And Comments

As the trail winds between the domain of two troops of lowland gorillas, it's hard to see what, if anything, separates you from the primates. Also on the trail are a hippo pool with an underwater viewing area, and a naked-mole-rat exhibit. A highlight of the trail is an exotic-bird aviary so craftily designed that you can barely tell you're in an enclosure.

Touring Tips

The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is lush, beautiful, and jammed to the gills with people much of the time. Guests exiting the safari can choose between returning to Harambe or walking the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Many opt for the trail. Thus, when the safari is operating at full tilt, it spews hundreds of guests every couple of minutes onto the Exploration Trail. The one-way trail in turn becomes so clogged that nobody can move or see much of anything. After a minute or two, however, you catch the feel of the mob moving forward in small lurches. From then on you shift, elbow, grunt, and wriggle your way along, every so often coming to an animal exhibit. Here you endeavor to work your way close to the rail but are opposed by people trapped against the rail who are trying to rejoin the surging crowd. The animals, as well as their natural-habitat enclosures, are pretty nifty if you can fight your way close enough to see them.

Clearly this attraction is either badly designed, misplaced, or both. Your only real chance for enjoying it is to walk through before 10 a.m. (i.e., before the safari hits full stride) or after 2:30 p.m.

Another strategy, especially if you're more into the wildlife than the thrill rides, is to get a Fastpass+ reservation for Kilimanjaro Safaris for around 60 to 90 minutes after the park opens. That's just enough time for an uncrowded, leisurely tour of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail before you go on safari.

Attraction Photos

Special Comments

In September, October, and November 2014, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is undergoing a partial refurbishment. Expect the underwater hippo exhibit, the aviary, and the research outpost to be closed during this time.

Special Needs

Disney Dish with Jim Hill


Disney cast members regularly hide fruit-filled plastic jugs in the gorilla enclosures, hoping to stimulate the apes’ cognitive functions by making them search for treats. But one gorilla has turned the tables by hiding his empty jug in a different place every day, presumably to keep the staff on their toes.

Other Attractions in Africa

Touring Plans with Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

What is a Touring Plan?