We had another delicious lunch today and as it was fairly quiet at Animal Kingdom, and we did early entry, we went on the Safari five times. Yes, I did say five. Lots of photos – you have been warned.
We were up and out as early as we have been all holiday. We wanted to be there for 8am to make the most of early entry, or Extra Magic Hours as they call it these days. Stephen took some photos from the balcony while I was getting ready. See? Early.
We had a fifteen minute wait for a bus so we think we must have just missed one, but we got there just at 8am and went straight in after the obligatory bag check. We headed straight for the Safari and grabbed Fastpasses before going on via standby. I’ll just note that although we used FP during the day we didn’t really need them as we never saw a queue longer than ten minutes for either the Safari or Dinosaur.
We took a lot of photos during the five Safaris that we went on through the day. Don’t worry, I have no intention of making you sit through a blow by blow account of each separate Safari. I’ll just give you a sort of synopsis.
The cheetahs were being particularly co-operative today. We’ve seen them before on this trip but not managed any reasonable photos before. Today not only did we get photos of them, a couple of times we saw them walking about near the front.
We saw the lions on most of the trips but I couldn’t get any better photos than I did the other day. I have developed a new technique for Safari photography though. Instead of trying to line up a shot, I just hold up the camera, aim it in the general direction and click as soon as the truck isn’t actually bouncing. I can crop and compose in Elements afterwards. Stephen was still trying to zoom in and compose and I’ve just deleted several photos of the sleeve of the man in the seat in front of us. A combination of techniques is the best bet, I think and as many trips as possible as then you can take a couple of photos and then sit back and enjoy. I really love the Safari now that the poacher storyline has gone.
We did already have several photos of the giraffe, especially the baby Masai giraffe, but I couldn’t resist a few more. He’s getting braver now and coming closer to the trucks and we had several really good views of him. In the photo above you can see his beautiful markings clearly.
We’ve seen some different animals on the Safari this year. I’ve already uploaded photos of the Addax, but today for the first time we saw Bontebok. I caught a glimpse of them through a gap and was really hoping we got a bit closer as they are so rare. As we came around the corner we got this view.
Aren’t they beautiful! They’re now extinct in the wild and are only found on reservations and places like this. Animal Kingdom has just managed to get the chap on the left to go with the two ladies so they’re hoping for the patter of tiny hooves soon. They’ve had massive success with breeding programs this year as we’ve seen from all the baby animals so their conservation work is doing really well. Did I mention that we saw a baby elephant nursing yesterday? That was quite something to see.
On another of our safaris we saw the Bontebok again. I was so thrilled to see them. We’ve seen one on our savanna and I fell in love with him so I was really happy to see more of them. I love their little faces.
We saw the waterbuck today. They’ve been a bit shy up until now, and we also saw the Sable antelope with several of their youngsters. The zebras were roaming about quite happily and look who was with them.
Ok, I promise I’ll step away from the Bontebok now 😉
What else did we see? Elephants of course. We saw lots of elephants as we went round. And around. We had a nice view of the bull elephant on one trip. He had a good drink of water and then blew it out just as we passed him. I rather like this shot with the birds on the branch in the foreground.
We also saw a lot more of the mandrill monkeys than we usually do. The whole family was out and was active. It’s a bit tricky to get decent photos of them as they do tend to blend into the background, and they move fast but this one isn’t too bad.
We walked round the various trails and pathways of the park in between Safaris as well as going on Dinosaur one last time. I do love that ride. We always strike an amusing pose as we know where the camera is. We always seem to ride with first-timers for some reason and the photos are hilarious. We’re pretending to look terrified, and they really do look terrified. Brilliant.
The tigers were just being called in for dinner when we popped over there and we managed to get a couple of photos of this one. It was making a loud chuffing noise as it walked.
We went to see the meerkats and found this one on lookout.
I love meerkats. They’re so cute.
We were lucky enough to not only see the Okapi walking about but also to see the yellow-backed duiker.
I’m not sure we’ve ever seen one properly before. Maybe just a dark blur in a corner as they’re a very shy animal. This one was very obliging and stood still for several photos.
One of the gorillas was having a snack so we took his photo.
As we haven’t been over for ages, we took the Wildlife express to Rafiki’s planet watch and had a smashing time chatting to keepers and looking at the exhibits and videos. We saw a display on the beehive fences that they use to protect the villages from elephants and therefore the elephants from the villagers. We learnt about that on our Wild Africa Trek so it was great to see photos and video to go with that info.
By now it was time for our lunch but we weren’t quite hungry. I popped in to the restaurant and asked if it could be pushed back, not really expecting it could. I was pleasantly surprised to be told that it was fine and I could come back at any time, and just to tell them what time our initial reservation was. We left it an hour until we got hungry and then went back and as promised were taken straight to a table. Excellent service, but I wouldn’t expect it on a busy day.
We’d gone to the Yak and Yeti restaurant. We often eat at the counter that has noodles in those takeaway boxes and like the food there but I’d been reading about how good the food was inside so we thought we’d try it. We don’t do many sit down meals but did fancy this one.
We weren’t hungry enough for a starter. We rarely are. I was determined to leave room for dessert though as I’d read about one in particular and I wanted to see how it compared to yesterday’s delight.
For the entrée I had Crispy honey chicken and Stephen had Beef and broccoli. The chicken was in a tempura batter and was served with crunchy veg. The honey glaze was yummy as was the whole dish. I swapped a piece of my chicken for some of Stephen’s beef and that was really tender but my chicken was nicer.
Stephen had the egg fried rice with his, which was good, but I liked my jasmine rice. It had a nice delicate flavour.
I just about had enough room for dessert after clearing my plate, which was good as I really wanted a slice of mango pie. It gets rave reviews and I do love mango. I’m happy to report that it was excellent. The mango flavour was just strong enough and the base was nice and light. The coulis was delicious and the presentation was very pretty.
There was a portion of diced strawberry and mango with it that just finished it off perfectly. It was almost as good as the cheesecake from Sanaa.
Stephen had the chocolate cake. I could probably have chosen a different angle to shoot it from but I was lucky to get that photo before he dived in. I did ask him for a description of it but all I could get from him was “Very chocolatey”.
We ambled back out of the park after that and made our way home. I did have plans to do a bit of pre-packing but by the time I’d sorted through the photos and deleted all the blurred and sub-standard ones, I was flagging. All the fresh air, excitement and good food had once again tired me out. Stephen too, as we both ended up nodding off.
One day left and then we have to go home. Boo.