Unique to this property is the Arusha Rock feature. This elevated rock feature is centrally located outside of the north end of the lobby and provides guests with a truly wonderful view of animals within the property's wildlife preserve. Arusha Rock utilizes the same concept of CM guides, signs, and wildlife identification sheets as found in Disney's Animal Kingdom and is seamless transition between the two.
Two main wings of the hotel, the Zebra and Kudo Trail sections, open in a semicircle from this point which allows for many guest rooms to have a view of the preserve. The savanna extends outside of this main area and permits additional viewing points all throughout the resort including the pool/recreation areas and the connected Kidani Villas.
A wide range of flora and fauna are on display; guests can speak with Cast Members throughout the Arusha Rock area or refer the placards and signs throughout. Both are exceptionally helpful and entertain guests of any age. A fire pit is located at the intersection of the hotel lobby and Arusha Rock; as part of the hotel's robust activity list guests can participate in nightly storytelling events.
Guests of the hotel can also embark on an Arusha Rock safari. This is limited to guests of the hotel and is combined with dinner and is known as the Wanyama Safari. Each afternoon safari is limited to 12 guests ages 8 and older and finishes with dinner at Jiko - The Cooking Place.
During our brief visit to Arusha Rock we counted more than a dozen different animals. Disney lists the following as the wildlife you may encounter:
Ankole Cattle, Bontebok, Eland, Zebra, Greater Kudu, Impala, Okapi, Red River Hog, Nyala, Reticulated Giraffe, Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Thompson's Gazelle, Waterbuck, White-Bearded Wildebeest, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue Crane, East African Crowned Crane, Greater Flamingo, Marabou Stork, Ostrich, Pink-Backed Pelican, Spur Winged Geese, Guinea Fowl and Ruppel's Griffon VultureRegardless of which you encounter, this is a wonderful spot to either call your home base during a WDW trip or a great excursion within the resort areas.
These photographs were taken by the author in May, 2011.
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