Without a doubt, the savannas are one of the best features of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas. When you book a savanna view room, or even if you’re just checking out the resort, there are four different savannas to see. On the map below, I’ve circled each savanna with a different color: Uzima (purple), Arusha (blue), Sunset (red), and Pembe (orange). And while some of the boundaries do connect to each other, every savanna is unique, and your experience staying in the villas could vary depending on which savanna your room is located. So, with the help of The DIS Animal Kingdom Lodge Animal Guide and my own experiences, I thought it would be fun to explore each savanna.
The Uzima Savanna is situated on the east/southeast-facing side of Jambo House. Located along the Zebra Trail, it is one of the smaller savannas. All DVC rooms on this savanna will be on the 5th floor. I love the Uzima Savanna and always find it robust with animal life. Here you will find giraffes, impalas, kudus, bongos, blesboks, and Thompsons gazelles. I honestly find everything aside from the giraffes to look similar- all some sort of gazelle or antelope, but it’s still neat to see how they are actually all different. And while the Uzima Savanna may not have the largest inventory of animals, every time I look out there, I see very actively grazing giraffes and gazelles bouncing all around. If you’re not staying on the Uzima and want to check it out, you can take a walk down the zebra trail hallways and watch the animals from the big windows. There is an overlook for this savanna from the Uzima Springs pool area where you will also find the flamingos.
The Arusha Savanna takes up the entire back of Jambo House or the whole inside of the horseshoe. While it’s not the largest of the four savannas, it always feels big when staying over it. You can see this savanna from both the Zebra Trail and Kudu Trail and depending on what part of the horseshoe you’re in, you could be facing north, east, or west. The DVC rooms here are also all on the 5th floor. Here you will find pelicans, geese, giraffe, ankole cattle, zebra, wildebeest, eland, and gemsbok. We have stayed over the Arusha a few times and really like the location. The pelicans and wildebeest always seem to be around. The giraffes for us haven’t been as easy to spot as they have been on the Uzima, but there are still plenty of them around. For the best animal views here, I would recommend requesting a room nest the lobby. However, if you want the most peaceful setting, the rooms towards the end of the horseshoe are best for that. Arusha has the largest overlook area off the main lobby and is also visible from many windows through the hallways of the Zebra and Kudu Trail.
The Sunset Savanna is by far my favorite. It always seems to have the best animal activity, especially near the Kidani Village lobby. It is the largest savanna and is shared by both Kidani Village and Jambo House. From Jambo House, you will find Sunset Savanna rooms along the Kudu trail and the rooms will all be on the 5th floor with the exception of club level on the 6th. From Kidani Village, you will find it from any room inside the semi-circles or necklace (the English word for kidani). These rooms are along both the North and South Trail as low as the 2nd floor and as high as the 5th. Here, you will find the largest variety of animals of all the savannas: male giraffes, bongos, impalas, Thompsons gazelles, ostriches, ankole cattle, waterbuck, African crown cranes, stork, and blue cranes. You could be facing just about any direction depending on the location of your room. If you are not staying on the Sunset Savanna, you can check out one of two overlooks. The first is located off the Jambo House lobby and the second is off the Kidani lobby near Sanaa.
The Pembe is the smallest of the savannas. It tends to be the least favorite due to this and the fact that it is surrounded by a fence and does not have giraffes. We have stayed on the Pembe before and while not our favorite, found it quite peaceful. On this savanna, you will find nyala, impala, waterbuck, spur-winged geese, ground hornbill, red river hogs, ostrich, and okapi. The okapi is especially rare and although they look a little like zebras, they are a relative of the giraffe. The Pembe is located only in Kidani on the North Trail side and although it doesn’t have an overlook, you can see it from a variety of windows down that hall. When staying on the Pembe, you could be on any floor 2-5.
Regardless of which savanna you end up on, if you’re staying at Animal Kingdom Villas, you will get to experience watching a variety of animals from either your room, one of the overlooks, or the many viewing windows throughout the halls. It seems everywhere you go in the lodge, you will feel like you’re part of African wildlife. These great savannas are one of the many reasons Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas is a beloved DVC resort to many.
Tell us what you think about the savannas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas!
6 thoughts on “Getting to Know the Savannas of Animal Kingdom Villas”
Great review Amy- thanks!
Hi Amy! There were also zebras in the Sunset Savanna. Last September, we saw some interesting interactions of a mom zebra and her foal. She was very protective of her inquisitive little one, aggressively placing herself between the other animals and her foal. When another zebra approached, she challenged it, circling her foal and making the other zebra make a wide circle around them. Later, while she was distracted feeding, the inquisitive foal got behind her and approached the other zebra. She got about 2/3 of the way there before mom noticed and I was amazed at how fast a mom could move to protect she baby. That is one of the reasons why having a “friggin Savanna” makes Animal Kingdom a top choice in places to stay.
Thank you for this info! 🙂
Smart, informative, and really helpful article! Thank you!
This was very helpful! We’re in the final stretch of our Poly resale purchase and can’t wait to use our points at the Poly and AKL right away. So excited about the Savannah views. It’ll be worth the extra points. We paid the cash rate for a stay at Aulani in April 2021 and don’t want to ever pay cash at any DVC resort again 🙂
This is really great information. Thank you!
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