Getting The Most Out of Your Kilimanjaro Safari Photos

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Welcome to those of you joining me from Home is Where the Mouse is and those of you just hopping on board.  I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.

The overall theme of the Blue Loop, this month, is Disney Photography 101.  I will be focusing on one of the most highly photographed attractions at Walt Disney World – Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom.  This attraction winding through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve provides guests with many opportunities to get pictures of various animals.  This article will give you some tips and how to get most out of your photos and the best out of your camera.

Canon PowerShot SX200IS
Canon PowerShot SX200IS

All pictures in this article were taken with the camera in the above picture which my wife and I have nicknamed “Little Red.”  This is a powerhouse of a camera for its size.  It’s very compact making it easy to transport through the parks and it’s easy to use.

Tip #1: Learn everything about your camera

Most cameras have a lot of different settings, speeds, lighting, zooms, etc.  Don’t be intimated and overwhelmed by all of things your camera can do.  Instead learn what they can do.  The two things about my family’s camera which we take advantage of on this attraction is the zoom but, more importantly, the “burst setting.”  This setting allows the user to take multiple pictures each time the picture button is pressed.  The downside is a lot of wasted pictures but in an era of digital photography the wasted pictures are easily deleted.

An example of the burst setting:

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These pictures were taken in the same take picture button press.


An example of the zoom setting:

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Can’t get that close in real life or the crocodile jaws will take a good chunk of your leg.  😉

Tip #2: Have a spotter with you

This can be sometimes difficult if you have kids and you are spending more time finding the animals for them to see.  It’s difficult for one person to see out of both sides of the car.  A spotter can look out that other side of the car and/or find those hard to spot animals that a hiding in the trees.

I see you.  Do you see me?
I see you. Do you see me?

A solo rider could easily miss this picture without the benefit of a spotter.  This picture is also another great example of the zoom on the camera.

Tip #3: Have the photographer sit in the end seat.

Don’t put the photographer in the middle seat of your group.  Have him or her sit on the end seat.  In an end seat, the photographer does not have to get the heads of their fellow riders out of the picture before taking the picture.   An end seat provides a good view out onto the savanna to spot the animals.

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Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to ride the attraction multiple times

One of the benefits of the Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the most dynamic attractions at Walt Disney World.  No two rides on the attraction are the same.  The animals will move.  Some will go away as the day goes on while others will make an appearance.  One trip, my family rode it at the end of the day.  Then, the next day, we arrived at the park at rope drop and rode it again so we could see more animals that were not out the day before.

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Those are some of my tips for getting the most out of your photos on the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction.  It’s a combination of knowing how to use your camera and learning its features, having a spotter to watch the other side of the savanna, and a willingness to ride the attraction multiple times, if possible, in one visit.  I’m going to close with one of the best photos that my wife was able to get which used all four of the tips in this article.

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Thank you for joining me today.  The next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is For the Love of Disney.

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1st Stop ~ Rolling with the Magic – Cell Phone Photography Tips & Apps

2nd Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog – Memory Maker 101

3rd Stop ~ Home is Where the Mouse Is – Do’s and Don’ts of Theme Park Photography

4th Stop ~ Dad for Disney – Getting the Most Out of Your Kilimanjaro Safari Photos

Final Stop ~ For the Love of Disney – Recommended Gear to Take Good Photos and Still Enjoy Your Vacation


26 thoughts on “Getting The Most Out of Your Kilimanjaro Safari Photos”

  1. Excellent tips, Dad! We have been long-time PowerShot users (I believe I’m on my 3rd version – this time mine is also red!) My daughter and I both take pictures, so we usually each take an end seat, while the rest of our family sits between us. This way, we can get pics out of both sides of the vehicle and (hopefully) not miss anything. What’s your favorite animal to photograph on the safari?

  2. What a phenomenal photo of the lion! Amazing! I agree a spotter is extremely important. One thing I’ll add- if your sitting at the end of the row, hold onto your camera tight!

  3. Excellent tips – definitely one of my favorite rides to photograph. You’re right, it’s totally different every time!

    Heidi… what’s your favorite?! 🙂 I like the lions as well, but they’re not always out for me. I LOVE getting the ankole cattle. Those horns kill me! 🙂

  4. Love the safari! Before I went digital I would go through multiple rolls of film on this attraction. It was quite a task to change out rolls in the middle of the ride!

    After riding over and over, have you any opinion on one side (left or right) being better than the other for photo opportunities?

  5. My camera has an action shot that works like your burst. It makes getting those perfect shots so much easier!

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