Walking in before opening, the courtyard is quiet and people are slowly milling around. It looks like an abandoned village with shuttered up windows, posters on the wall seemingly coming apart, and an aged and weathered look to the buildings. But as soon as Harambe Market opens up, the whole place comes alive with smells and sounds that immerse you in what you might imagine it would feel like to be in an African village. The shops open with the help of a young child chosen from among the guests standing by, and a short ceremony declares the marketplace open. When the child rings the bell, the “shop owners” go to their respective food stands and open up. Everyone is greeted with a friendly “Jambo!” by the folks taking your order and the smells are definitely enticing. This is Harambe Market!
Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Africa
Type: Quick service
Specialty: African “inspired” street food
Cost: $6-8 for kids and $9-14 for adults
Craig’s Favorite: Tikka Masala Chicken – but I love Indian food
There are four food stands in the market with a lot of overlap with what they serve. Chef Mwanga’s Rib Shop sells pretty much just ribs. While Kitamu Grill and Boerewors Sausages (otherwise referred to simply as “Famous Sausages”) carry most items. The rib specialty you can find at all three locations (none of them are more than 50-60 feet from each other) but the Beef and Pork Sausages that are very much like a corn dog is only found at Famous Sausages. Kitamu Grill has everything that Famous Sausages has except for the sausages. The fourth location is a beverage stand and while you can get most of the beverages at the other stands, Wanjohi Refreshments have a few items you can only get there – Frozen Flamingo, Leopard’s Eye, Iced Coffee, and Hot Cocoa.
Located across the street from Zuri’s Sweet Shop and around the corner from most of the rest of the marketplace, Harambe Market is a nice location to settle down for a quick meal. With covered benches and tables scattered in front of the shops, it’s very reminiscent of an outdoor food market. We only tried a couple of food items, saving dessert for the Dole Whip around the corner, but both were really good and more than we expected from a quick service stand. My wife and I both got the Spice-rubbed Karubi Ribs and these were super-sized hunks of meat. They had a very African flavor to it, but not overwhelmingly so. If you like ribs, you’ll really enjoy the juicy, tender, and easy to eat meat on these. My daughter had the Tikka Masala Chicken which isn’t very African (unless I’m much mistaken), but was extremely good. The curry was a nice and bright flavor to your palette and the amount they gave you was a nice portion over Basmati rice and served with grilled flatbread.
While the food isn’t particularly African, there are definitely African tastes to many of the dishes and the atmosphere makes you feel like you are in a small village marketplace. It’s fun, lively, and the opening ceremony is a really nice touch. If you’re in the mood for some filling and good food, come and try the Harambe Marketplace in Animal Kingdom.