The competition is stiff at the Walt Disney World Resort for the best place to eat.
Obviously, there are some pretty fantastic places in Disney Springs and many of the moderate and deluxe resorts come with quality restaurants.
But if you’re talking in-park dining? I like the stretch of Disney’s Animal Kingdom from Africa over to the edge of Asia, which is filled with a variety of flavors that you can’t find in many other places.
The perfect plan for me is lunch on one continent, dinner on the other and a variety of snacks and treats as necessary in between.
Some will swear by the Flame Tree Barbecue over by the entrance to DinoLand – and I get it. However, I can get barbecue anywhere. There are only so many places in the world I can wander between Africa and Asia, dining to my heart’s content.
On our most recent trip, at the end of the day, we moseyed over to Pandora: World of Avatar for beers while the kids rode rides. But honestly, the selection of adult beverages in Africa is such that we didn’t have to go very far.
Is Harambe a real place?
Yes and no. It’s real in that there’s a place in Animal Kingdom called Harambe but it’s a fictional city based on the vibe of East African countries like Tanzania, Kenya or Mozambique where Swahili is spoken.
But according to the Disney Wiki, the place has a rich and deep fictional history that mirrors much of the region. Harambe is a Swahili word that means “all come together” or also translated as “let us all pull together” and appears on the Kenyan coat of arms, serving as the official motto of the country.
For Disney’s purposes, the term implies a community coming together and working towards a common goal.
I wanted to find a place to work in a line about the Toto classic “Africa” and how they messed the geography up terribly. Despite the existence of the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride and a Serengeti Sangria at the Harambe Market, I couldn’t do it.
Anyway, I looked it up and it is 324 kilometers from Mt. Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti – essentially 200 miles. Do better, Toto.
What is there to do in Harambe?
Eat. Drink. Shop. Harambe is home to the excellent Kilimanjaro Safaris ride. There’s a train station that takes you to Rafiki’s Planet Watch as well as a path to the Gorilla Falls Expedition Trail.
But also, enjoy the vibe. Harambe is filled with artists and performers who do an excellent job of bringing the sounds of traditional East African music to Disney World.
There’s something to be said for sitting in the shade, having a tasty Dole Whip or maybe some Sangria and chilling out to some African music played on traditional instruments.
Where should I eat in Animal Kingdom?
There are a lot of interesting choices and more if you include the short walk over to Asia where the excellent Yak & Yeti awaits.
But you could plan a whole day’s meal around Harambe and its food.
What’s inside the Harambe Market?
The Harambe Market is an open-air market offering a variety of meals designed to be delicious but not overfilling.
Here, you’ll find food items such as:
- Ribs and Chicken Bowl: Cilantro rice and mixed greens bowl served with ribs and grilled chicken topped with salsa
- Ribs Bowl: Same thing sans chicken
- Hot Link Bowl: Same thing but with plant-based sausage instead of chicken or ribs
- Harambe Salad: Mediterranean-influenced salad with pepperoncini, Kalamata olives, cucumber, tomato and feta served with Greek-style vinaigrette dressing
Kids meal options include:
- Chicken Bowl: served with white rice, choice of side, low fat milk or bottled water
- Chicken nuggets
- PB&J Uncrustables
You can also top off kids meals with a Simba Cupcake, which is a yellow cake filled with yummy white chocolate mousse and topped with sweet buttercream and served with an adorable edible image of Simba framed by a mane of orange and yellow icing.
Inside the market, they have a few sub-sections, listed below. Availability and hours may vary.
1. Kitamu Grill
Here, you can find light and refreshing meals including menu items like skewered chicken and a kabob flatbread sandwich.
2. Famous Sausages
This is where you’ll find fancy corn dogs, basically.
The corn dogs are inspired by a South African sausage called a boerewors, which are dipped in curry-infused corn batter.
3. Chef Mwanga’s
This is where you’ll find ribs and turkey legs.
They offer delicious spice-rubbed Karubi ribs with green papaya-carrot slaw.
You can wash it down with a Safari Amber, a red lager with toasted notes of caramel, malt and hops.
4. Wanjohi Refreshments
The market also has a variety of adult beverage options.
Some menu items vary by season. Currently, the market offers items including:
- Tampa Bay Reef Donkey APA: A 20-oz draft of this secret selection of hops gives this dry beer a lemon-lime aroma with citrus and a slight tropical fruit flavor
- Casa Larger: Morocco: A 12-oz bottle of pale lager has faint notes of toasted grain and earthy hops
- Serengeti Sangria: An Opici Family Sangria with Van Der Hum Tangerine Liqueur
Overall, the Harambe Market may also offer the widest variety of allergy-friendly options in the parks, something that I appreciate as the father of a son with multiple food allergies.
Harambe Market can accommodate gluten/wheat, egg, fish/shellfish, milk, nuts/legumes and soy allergies or sensitivities.
Do you have a favorite meal or treat at the Harambe Market? Let us know in the comments.