Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Aruna's Real Africa: It can’t always be lions...

On this trip a lot of time was spent in the camp, partly because there are so few roads that you end up driving the same road every time from waterhole to waterhole, but mainly because there was an extra traveller in the form of a stomach bug which was not conducive to long drives.

Besides the hides at each camp that look out onto a waterhole where you might see anything that you would see in the park (we missed them but lions and brown hyena were spotted during our stay) there are also plenty of birds and other animals to be seen in the camps themselves.

The hide at Mata Mata camp
Luckily I didn’t see anyone feeding the animals, but beneath every tap someone has placed some type of container for the animals to drink from.

The ground squirrels are very cute and they seem to be very used to being around people making for some great photo opportunities, which is a nice change from trying to get a good picture from 500 yards away, so I spent quite a bit of time sitting on the ground, surrounded by the squirrels and complaining that they were getting to close for my 250mm lens!!

And later in the afternoon when I was coming back from the pool I saw a yellow mongoose looking for insects...

But not everything happens on the ground, one evening I happened to look up into the tree above the tent and there were three owls there. The day after I went looking and found them roosting in a tree further on. Before the day was ended the whole campsite knew about these owls and in the evening it was like the paparazzi at our campsite with all the flashbulbs going off!

And then in the evening there were the jackals, but more on that in another post.

by Aruna Mohan (@arunarealafrica)

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Art of DAK

Just about everywhere you look in Disney's Animal Kingdom you will find some incredible original artwork, often painted by artisans from the country represented in that particular area of the park. Check out this gorgeous painting of a shield on the exterior wall of Ziwani Traders.

A word to the wise, never walk through DAK without looking around at the details and artwork surrounding you. If you do, you're missing part of the show!

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Episode 54 of Radio Harambe - Touring the Oasis Trails

It is time to begin our audio guided tour of Disney’s Animal Kingdom! That’s correct, in the feature segment we will have Part One of our guided tour of the park as we walk you through the park’s entrance area and the Oasis Trails.

Before the tour, we discuss the news from the Animal Kingdom and the rest of Walt Disney World, including baby rhinos, a sumatran tiger and an overpriced dessert party. If you have any questions or comments about the show, email us at jamboeveryone@gmail.com.  Asante Sana!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Photo for Today: Meeting the Man

I can not speak for Safari Mike, but I know how I would feel meeting someone like Joe Rohde. Getting to shake hands with the man who designed the best theme park in the world, and the best Disney dreamer since Walt himself?? Yea, that's a really big deal!

Mike had the honor of meeting Mr. Rohde last night at the Environmental Film Festival at American University in Washington D.C., where the film The Leopard in the Land was being shown. I am sure Mike will have much more on the event later in the week.

by Dave McBride

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for March 25, 2015: Tigers and Awards

DAK and AKL Granted AZA Accreditation Again:  The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has once again accredited both Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Maintaining this accreditation is of huge importance to Disney, and any zoo looking to have creditability in the field. We will have much more on this soon, but you can check the Disney Parks Blog for more.

New Sumatran Tiger “Onstage” This WeeK?: We do not have this officially confirmed yet, but we are hearing from sources that the new Sumatran Tiger we have been telling you about may be onstage during guest hours as early as this week. We will let you know if we hear any more.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: March 25 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Thursday: March 26  9am - 8pm
Friday: March 27  9am -7pm
Saturday: March 28  9am - 7pm
Sunday: March 29 9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Monday: March 30  8am - 8pm
Tuesday: March 31  8am - 8pm

Check Out Kenny the Pirate for this week’s Entertainment Schedule!

Attraction Closures:
Sunrise Safari: discontinued
Creature Comforts: closed
Flame Tree Barbecue: closed until April 2015

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Animal Kingdom Theme Spotlight: The Ruins of the Rajah

Truly one of the great spots of the Disney's Animal Kingdom is the ruins of the palace of the rajahs. This area that we are focusing in on is past the initial view of the tigers. As you walk and down the old hunting blind, you come to this site.

People actually have receptions here. Disney in its brochures refers to it as the Belvedere, the Palaces Herb Garden Ruins. I can understand why, the level of Disney details is extraordinary. It is, of course, a second viewing area for the tigers during the day.

I suppose Disney does not want to refer to it by its real theme, the Maharajah's hunting palace. In the 16th century (1544 to be precise), King Bhima Disampati made this forest a royal preserve. Thereafter, the royal family constructed this palace to conduct hunting parties into the jungle. The King himself depicted in his hunting glory.

Some murals depict early hunts. The art depict a time when the people of Anandapur where not so conservation conscious. Of course, back then, as you can see, there were great herds of blackbuck and deer.

You will see plenty of art showing the hunting of not only deer but tigers as well.

There are also curious large wooden doors. These led to the royal stalls where horses and elephants, used in the hunts, rested. Now, there is a coral tree where locals tie scarves as offerings.

Now, centuries later, nature is reclaiming the royal hunting palace. The old building is crumbling.

The people of Anandapur are allowing this change, and in fact are embracing it. The ruins, however, remain just as an important piece of the people's culture as the forest preserved around it.

By Safari Mike

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Photo for Today: What Could Possible Go Wrong?

Here is a photo of one of the characters adorning Safari Mike's beloved Primeval Whirl. I always though this guy was looking back at us and saying "Don't worry about it, what could possibly go wrong?"

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Episode 53 of Radio Harambe - Talking Tamu Tamu

Dave and Safari Mike are back to talk Disney's Animal Kingdom. On this episode, they talk about Tamu Tamu Refreshments, it's history and backstory, and what the future may hold for this original counter service location.

They also discuss the news from the park, including lots of baby animal news, a move for Winged Encounters and a new change for Disney's conservation fund. Be sure to send any comments on the show to us at jamboeveryone@gmail.com or via Twitter @RadioHarambe

Friday, March 20, 2015

2nd Baby White Rhino of 2015 Born at DAK!

Another terrific success for Disney's Animal Kingdom! This morning, the Disney Parks Blog announced the birth of a female baby white rhino. It is the second white rhino born this year and the 10th in the history of DAK. It's a great day for the park's animal care team!

image copyright Disney
And just if you go to the Disney Parks Blog post you will also have your chance to vote for your favorite name for this gorgeous little girl. My vote is for Jama. The idea of friendship is one which fits very well with the Animal Kingdom. (Once again, I will continue to advocate for the name "Rohde" to be used one of these times...)

image copyright Disney
The baby girl was born only a few short weeks ago, so it will be quite some time before we can see her on the Kilimanjaro Safaris. But in a few month, you will see two baby rhinos "onstage" and I can't think of much better than that!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Aruna's Real Africa - Kgalagadi Lion sightings

Remember me saying I didn't get excited about lion sightings? Well it wasn’t like that in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP)! We saw a total of 16 lions and while most of them were sleeping the others definitely made up for that.

Because of the lack of bushes and shrubs in the KTP all the lions were fully visible and very close. This is probably why people say that the lions in the KTP are bigger than in Kruger, they are not, you can just see them better. What is definitely true however, is that the lions in the KTP are healthier as 80% of the lions in Kruger have tuberculosis, and that definitely shows.

This sighting was a group of 4 lions, three of them were very visible and the fourth one was lying in the shade behind a tree trunk and was a bit too far for me to get pictures. Even some of the pictures here are actually a bit too far, but they do add to the story..

At first the two young brothers came down to drink

Then all of a sudden a thunderstorm began...

After a really loud thunderclap that made them jump, it started to rain and they decided that they weren’t wet enough and started grooming each other.

The rain stopped just as suddenly as it had started so one of the brothers decided it was time to relax and dry off..

His brother still wanted to play...

And then their sister decided to join in on the fun as well...

Just one big happy family :)

They played for a while and I just enjoyed watching them and then they all decided to join the lioness by the tree and were definitely to far away for photo’s...

A great sighting, and one of the best things about it; there were only 4 other cars there and everybody made sure they weren’t blocking each other’s view.

by Aruna Mohan (@arunarealafrica)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for March 18, 2015: Malosi, Sohni, and Counter Service

New Sumatran Tiger Not Yet “Onstage”: We told you last week about a new male Sumatran tiger named Malosi coming to the Maharajah Jungle Trek, possibly as a mating partner for the current female named Sohni. Early reports suggested Malosi could be onstage as early as this week, but Scott from the Dixie Landings Radio Podcast, who we have recently dragooned into service as our local reporter, tells us Malosi will only be onstage at the Trek before guests arrive at the park.

Sohni at the Maharajah Jungle Trek
Introducing an animal, especially a predator, to a new partner and new habitat can be difficult and stressful for the animal. So it is important the animal care specialist take their time with this process. As soon as we learn more we will let you know.

More Counter Service Options at DAK: Last week, OrlandoParkNews.com reported on some additional meal options being offered at counter service locations throughout the Animal Kingdom. Check the menus at Isle of Java, Dino-Bites, Harambe Fruit Market, Drinkwallah and Bradley Falls for some new options. The Thai Pork Sandwich at Bradley Falls sounds very intriguing!

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: March 18 9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Thursday: March 19  9am - 7pm
Friday: March 20  8am -7pm
Saturday: March 21  8am - 8pm
Sunday: March 22 9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Monday: March 23  9am - 7pm
Tuesday: March 24  9am - 8pm

Check Out Kenny the Pirate for this week’s Entertainment Schedule!

Attraction Closures:
Sunrise Safari: discontinued
Creature Comforts: closed
Flame Tree Barbecue: closed until April 2015

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Cretaceous Trail - Back in Time

In the nearby Dinosaur attraction, you use a time rover to head back to the Cretaceous period to bring back an iguanadon. But on this trail, you see the real deal. Living species from the time of dinosaurs.

This path is tucked away, near both the exhibit of Abdim's storks and the path to Dino Institute. In fact, it is the Institute who sponsors this trail. Take a look at the sign above and you can see their logo on the bottom. Here they want their visitor to experience some of the life that existed along with their studied animals, the dinosaurs so they have created this botanical garden.

The entrance is protected by a dino statue. Behind it is a beautiful example of a cycad, a plant that thrived during the time of the dinosaurs and still does well today. In fact, the Dino Institute has one of the largest collections of the plant in North America.

The cycads are palm-like plants that are called gymnosperms. The name means "naked seeds" and refers to the fact that they don't use fruits or flowers to protect their seeds. Although they nearly went extinct thanks to the ice age, they can now again be found nearly everywhere. Other ancient plants like monkey puzzle trees and ginkgo biloba are also found in this space.

Another highlight of the trail is this guy, the Pachycephalosaurus.Unfortunately, in recent months, Donald has had a meet and greet back here which honestly can kill the peaceful ambiance of the place.

Turn a corner and there is usually no one around. The trail goes back fairly far and most guests don't bother with it. But there are benches and plenty of shade. Hidden back there are even more dinosaur statues as well as recordings of the sounds of an ancient forest. The Cretaceous trail is certainly nothing fancy. Its just one of the great spots at the park that provides sanctuary and the feeling of being elsewhere. 

By Safari Mike 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Photo for Today: Out of the Way

One of the most beautiful and graceful birds in the world, the saddle billed stork makes its home along the banks of the Discovery River. They are found on the path that is directly behind the Tree of Life. To find them, you must bear right just before entering Harambe. In fact, you can often see them from the bridge leading into the Africa area of the park. This seems appropriate as they are in fact commonly seen in the waters of Africa.

This is one of my favorite sights at the Animal Kingdom and one of the park's best features. To have such a little, out of the way path and find this kind of beauty is unique in the theme park world. And yet, this is still the main water way of the park. Millions walk right past there and don't notice. We always talk about how the Animal Kingdom's strength lies in these little nooks and crannies, and this picture demonstrates that idea so well.

by Safari Mike

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Disney Photo Safari

Everyone has their favorite things to do at a Disney theme park. Whether it be a favorite ride, show or even restaurant there is always something, and often more than one thing, that people simply can't go to a Disney theme park without doing. And I am no different, especially at my favorite park anywhere, Disney's Animal Kingdom

Believe me when I tell you, I love all the attractions, all the restaurants and certainly all of the incredible live music and stage shows at DAK. Of course I do, I write a blog about it for crying out loud! But there is one thing I love more than any other....

And that something is actually many, many things...the animals. And more specifically, I love to photograph them. I may not be any good at it, heck I am certainly nothing near a pro, but I can not go to Disney's Animal Kingdom without my trusty Canon at my side. (Yes, my wife makes all there expected embarrassing tourist jokes.)

So that is why I wanted to take this post and invite any of our readers, who haven't already, to join me over at my other blog called the Disney Photo Safari. For the last few months, and for the foreseeable future judging by the amount of memory taken up by animal photos on my computer, I have been posting some of my favorites.

And these are only animal photos, taken from all over Disney's Animal Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I have plenty of great scenery photos from DAK, but you can find those on this blog in our "A Photo for Today" series.

So if you love animals as much as I do, even the ones that might be a little scary or intimidating, you can simply click the Photos tab on the line bar at the top of this page. Bookmark that page and come back and check whenever you need a smile. That is, as long as white-cheeked gibbons being silly also makes you smile.

So thank you in advance, and if you have any questions or any great animals photos of your own you would like to share, follow me on Twitter @RadioHarambe or fill out the the contact form on the side and drop me a line. Asante Sana!

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Sumatran Tiger Coming to Maharajah Jungle Trek

We got some really great news this week thanks to OrlandoParkNews.com. They are reporting a new Sumatran Tiger will soon call the Maharajah Jungle Trek home. The tiger's name is Malosi and could be making an onstage debut as soon as tomorrow.

This is simply fantastic news. The Sumatran Tiger is incredibly endangered, with only something like 400 animals left in the wild. The survival of the species may depend on zoos like DAK. Now we don't have confirmation of this yet, but we are assuming Malosi is a male and along with Sohni, the female tiger already on the Trek, will hopefully become a breeding pair. A baby tiger being raised at DAK?? I can't think of much better.

If you want to learn more about the Sumatran Tiger, check out Safari Mike's brand new post on his blog. Hopefully in the next few days Disney will release some more information and photos of their tiger pair.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

Disney's Animal Kingdom News Round-Up for March 11, 2015: Tigers and Birds

New Additions to Kilimanjaro Safaris: We reported a few weeks back about how a few Sable Antelope Calves were born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. According to the Disney Parks Blog, these little guys are now “onstage” at Kilimanjaro Safaris.

image copyright Disney
These five calves have nearly doubled the population of Sable Antelope at DAK, the symbol of the Harambe Wildlife Preserve. There is nothing quite as cool as seeing babies being raised at DAK so if you get a chance to go to the park don’t miss this incredibly cute little ones.

Winged Encounters Moves Center Stage: It seems the staging area for the Winged Encounters show, which is really nothing more than an overgrown perch, has moved to a more central location in front of the Tree of Life.

This show is fabulous, and the new location will make it more accessible to guests who may pass it up without even knowing its there. Seeing the macaws flying to old location was terrific enough, but watching them soaring around the park’s icon wilklk be spectacular!

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: March 11 9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Thursday: March 12  9am - 7pm
Friday: March 13  8am -7pm
Saturday: March 14  8am - 7pm
Sunday: March 15 9am - 7pm (Extra Magic Hour 8 - 9am)
Monday: March 16  8am - 7pm
Tuesday: March 17  8am - 7pm

Check Out Kenny the Pirate for this week’s Entertainment Schedule!

Attraction Closures:
Sunrise Safari: discontinued
Creature Comforts: closed
Flame Tree Barbecue: closed until April 2015

Have A Wild Time this week!!

Kill Refurb Marry - Spots for Watching the World Go By

It's time once again to play one of our favorite blogger games: Kill Refurb Marry. You know the rules but do check out our friends at Mouse on the Mind and This Happy Place Blog for more great posts. This month the idea is for spots watching the world go by. Since there are a lot of great spots to sit back and soak in the day and atmosphere for a bit, I decided to stick to the Animal Kingdom and the Lodge.  So here are my entries:

Entertaining yes. Relaxing no.

Kill: Yak and Yeti counter service has gotten some new food items recently but one thing it hasn't gotten is a good place to sit and relax. A. You often can't find a seat. B. Relaxing is out of the question. Tables are jammed everywhere so even if you do manage to snag a chair people bump into you all the time. And half of them are soaked from Kali as it seems the counter service seating area acts as a causeway in and out of Kali and the Jungle Trek. Its a traffic mess. So while you try to scarf down some honey chicken keep your elbows tucked in, you could lose one.

Here's a tip take your food and head across the path to Drinkwallah there is a great quiet spot down a few steps near the water.

Where are the damn hogs?

Refurb: The Maji pool bar has some of my favorite things: warm water, fancy cocktails and animal viewing. But to be honest the animal viewing is tucked away in a little corner. There is no place to sit and watch the animals yet there is a nice savanna right there. I mean RIGHT THERE.

Oh its all the way over there

All you need to do is open up some of the greenery there that's blocking some nice looks at okapi, red river hogs and beautiful blue cranes. So bust out the hedge clippers and lets have some table views of the Pembe savanna.

Brooke and Alex know how to live

Marry: This one is as easy as it gets, the Dawa bar, one of my favorite spots in the world. Nothing quite beats a sugar cane mojito or a signature bloody mary while sitting back and soaking up Harambe. Sooner or later you will get a set by the Tam Tam drummers or Burudika, either way life is as good as it gets.

By Safari Mike