Harambe Market opened about two and a half years ago now in May 2016.
You’ll find it in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom behind Mombasa Marketplace in an area of the Park that few people walk past, particularly with Rafiki’s Planet Watch now closed.
This is the main drag through Africa with Kilimanjaro Safaris in the back of the area. If you take a right at the entrance to Safaris and continue walking past the FastPass+ entrance, you’ll eventually come to what was once the entrance to the Wildlife Express over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Take a right there and you’ll be walking right by the entrance to Harambe Market.
While this is an old picture, the arrow to Harambe Market remains valid. There’s a small shortcut should you wish to take a right before arriving at Harambe Fruit and then another right immediately after passing the large store building. You’ll always be Pangani Forest Exploration Trail to me, Gorilla Falls.
Coming from Asia, the easiest way to get to Harambe Market is by taking a right prior to arriving at Tamu Tamu Refreshments and Africa Proper.
When Harambe Market opened, it did so as a quasi-food-court with four separate ordering windows, each offering a different menu. As you might be able to imagine, this created some confusion, along with lines of varying length and wait times based on whatever people were in the mood to eat at that time. If someone in the group wanted chicken and another ribs, then you might be looking at someone receiving their food in ten minutes and another waiting more than twenty.
Here’s one of the original menus:
Outside of beverages, there is exactly one item on the menu that’s survived since opening day, and that’s the Kids’ Skewer.
And even that has a new name now. The “Grilled Barbecued Chicken Skewer” is awfully small, but may do the trick for a very small appetite.
The quick service opened with six wines that you probably haven’t heard of offered by the glass – something that random tourists probably aren’t too interested in while standing outdoors at Animal Kingdom in July. I bought bottles of two of the options from Mombasa Marketplace to bring home and verify that both tasted like wine. They did. The Safari Amber and Red Sangria are still available along with the Watermelon Lemonade and soft drinks. Since Harambe Market opened about 30 months ago, the cost of a regular bottle of water has risen 40% from $2.50 to $3.50. Harambe Market no longer serves wine.
If you wanted a shot at a corn dog, it originally meant waiting in another line:
I’m a bit surprised that the Boerewors Sausage Fried in Curried Corn Batter wasn’t a survivor. If they were trying to make things a little more approachable, they could have dropped the Afrikaner modifier.
The sausages ended up being long and thin encased inside of the relatively thick, crispy spiced batter. I’m not sure if they were switched out due to a lack of popularity or trouble sourcing the sausages, which are supposed to be made in a traditional fashion to qualify as true Boerewors.
Here’s the third menu originally offered.
Chef Mwanga’s Rib Shop typically saw the shortest lines, but also some of the longest waits despite the fact that the entire operation basically consisted of offering one item in two sizes.
The ribs were quite the undertaking with a surprisingly-heavy hunk of meat sitting in the cardboard boat. The meat was plenty tender to cut easily with a plastic fork and knife, but it tended to be dryer the further toward the middle you got. And while the spice-rub provided some flavor on the meat that touched it, further down you get virtually no spice and instead, just dry pork. On the plus side, those that base their reviews on one bite probably gave it ahhhhh-maaaazing marks.
Here’s the original African Milk Tart dessert – “Coconut Custard in a Chocolate Tart Shell dusted with Sugar and Five Spice Powder then drizzled with Dark Chocolate Ganache” that tasted just like the description; unfortunately, the mushy texture was a turn off for me, personally.
Since it’s now somewhat irrelevant, I won’t go over every menu change over the years, but here’s a major update that we saw back in 2017:
There’s a different side served with all entrees in the Green Papaya Slaw and Black-Eyed Pea Salad.
Here it is alongside the Tikka Chicken Masala, which didn’t originally appear on the menu. It looks the part, but the sauce was incredibly bland.
Despite being somewhat African themed, you might have noticed that there were originally no vegetarian options offered. That changed with the introduction of the Grilled Vegetable Stack.
This seemed to have a number of supporters, but I thought everything was gummy and kind of gross.
What is now referred to as a Gyro has undergone a number of different name and ingredient changes since its debut with the original menu. First, it was a “Grilled Beef Kabob Flatbread.”
According to my original review:
The Flatbread comes in two pieces, each with two slices of mildly spiced beef with tomato, cucumber, and diced tomatoes with a yogurt-y sauce inside of the soft pita-like flatbread that isn’t altogether unlike a gyro. The beef was a lot tenderer and more flavorful than it probably looks like in this lousy picture and overall, it was one of the better executed quick service dishes I’ve enjoyed in recent memory. And with two pieces, it makes for a surprisingly filling meal that would be easy to share if you wanted to go that route.
Apparently Disney agreed with my assessment as they called it a “Gyro Flatbread” after their first menu update and now it appears simply as a Gyro. The original side salad, also pictured above, was a bit of an odd one with so much red onion going on. It ended up being a very acidic, very astringent counterpoint to the various entrees that was probably a little too out there for your average tourist.
The Warm Malva Spice Cake replaced the Milk Tart at the same time.
According to my review, the flavor is similar to a more heavily spiced carrot cake without any of the carrot, if that makes any sense. And I’m not really sure where that flavor comes from considering there really aren’t any spices in the recipe…Anyway, it’s a very moist, sweet, light, and airy cake that’s further enhanced by the glaze on top.
While the Malva Cake is no longer offered at Harambe Market, we will see it pop up at nearby Tamu Tamu Refreshments served as part of a sundae with or without rum.
We’re in the vicinity of present day with this menu update that appeared during the spring of 2018 with the new dishes highlighted with red asterisks.
Proof perhaps that we were on the right track with the Vegetable Stack, this dish aptly called “Roasted Vegetables” replaced it in short order. This is not unlike what we’re going to see with the current menu.
The “Pork Sausage served with Curried Onion Relish and Naan Bread” also appeared. If your average theme park guest was a little unsure of whatever a Boerewors sausage was fried up in curry batter, then you wouldn’t think that they’d be all over a similar cylinder of pork covered in bright orange, radioactive-looking Curried Onion Relish. Originally, I said, “The Casey’s Corner crowd probably isn’t going to be into the thought of curried onion relish and those looking for some intriguing flavors aren’t going to find them with such a common hot dog flavor. But ten bucks is on the inexpensive side of things, at least, and it is filling.” It was another example of an item that seemed to promise big flavor but then didn’t deliver.
We now find ourselves clutching the present day menu, which debuted in the middle of December with the three bowl options and a handful of items that survived the most recent cuts:
All three Bowls are new takes, each served with the same “Cilantro Rice and Greens Salad Base” and “topped with Salsa.” The Chicken Gyro is a new addition alongside the Beef & Lamb Gyro, both served with what I’m very sure is an authentic recipe in the African Coleslaw. We also see a new version of the Pork Sausage along with the Safari Cake that we’ll take a look at. The Uncrustables is also served in place of the Kids’ Barbecued Ribs.
We’ll start at the top of our menu with the $14.29 “Ribs Bowl – Bowl of Ribs , Cilantro Rice, and Greens Salad Base topped with Salsa.”
This certainly looks good, I think, but the ribs were impressively bland and almost entirely devoid of flavor, while still somehow being both fatty and tough. There’s barbecue sauce packets that help a little with the dryness of the meat, but that seems to defeat the purpose of serving the ribs over rice. On the other hand, it seems a little odd to serve bone-in ribs as part of a rice bowl as you basically have to eat the parts separately unless you’re going to try to use a plastic fork and knife to pry the meat off the bone. It’s probably not worth the effort.
Flame Tree’s Ribs will set you back four more dollars, but the quality is significantly better over there.
And you’ll come away with 12 meaty bones, gorgeously smoked and covered in a delicious spice rub.
If beef and rice are what you’re after, then Satu’li Canteen in Pandora makes a lot more sense, I think. We’ll take a look at both quick services in more depth in the next update.
The $11.79 “Chicken Bowl – Bowl of Grilled Chicken, Cilantro Rice, and Greens Salad Base topped with Salsa.”
This version was better, in addition to coming in at $2.50 less money, which you can put towards those water bottle price increases. The portion of chicken is hearty, nicely blackened, and seasoned appropriately. The Cilantro Rice underneath is only okay in my estimation – too easy on the lime juice and cilantro to be much different than your standard white rice. Those that don’t like cilantro might be pleased, but I also feel like someone that doesn’t like cilantro isn’t going to be ordering cilantro rice on the off-chance that it’s bland and boring enough to be inoffensive. The “Greens Salad Base” also seems a little out of place with its fruity, tangy salad dressing smooshed to the side of the bowl furthest from the chicken. You’ve then got a chunky salsa that’s probably a little too off-puttingly brown separating the chicken and salad. Combine the ingredients and you basically just have a salad with rice kind of hanging out to the side. Anyway, this does the trick for the most part and would be a welcome addition to a Hollywood Studios quick service, but it probably doesn’t do enough to demand seeking out.
The $10 “Roasted Vegetable Bowl – Bowl of Roasted Vegetables, Cilantro Rice and Greens Salad Base topped with Salsa” was, somewhat surprisingly, the best-tasting of the bunch.
This is a mixture of Roasted Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, Chickpeas, Zucchini, and Onion topped with a creamy, refreshing, unadvertised Yogurt Raita. The vegetables were served piping hot with a nice toasted quality to them and there was plenty of rice underneath to add some heft to each bite. There’s also a nice mixture of vegetables with the sweet potato adding a nice sugary quality and the yogurt sauce cooling everything down appropriately, leaving a refreshing, lingering flavor of cucumber, cilantro, and cumin. It’s one of the more filling vegetarian entrees available for the money and a nice take on what was already a very good vegetarian entree.
The $12 “Chicken Gyro served with African Slaw” is one of your non-bowl options.
It consists of grilled, chopped chicken on top of a fresh piece of pillow-y naan that’s topped with a lot of shredded lettuce and tzatziki sauce and very little cucumber and tomato.
It ended up being a little unwieldy to pick up with the giant mound of lettuce on top and even after pushing two-thirds of it to the side about half way in, I still felt like I was drowning in leaf vegetable. On the plus side, and it may just be luck (or lack thereof), the chicken here was more flavorful than what we received in the bowl and the tzatziki did a nice job of adding a cool vibe to each bite, while also helping reduce any dryness in the chicken. I’d still put it down as “good, not great,” which puts it behind better options at Flame Tree Barbecue and Satu’li Canteen.
The African Coleslaw is just a little cup of shredded cabbage and carrot tossed in a tangy, mildly spicy sauce with a pungent, lingering spice. Whether or you love it or hate it is potentially of little consequence as there’s only a couple of bites available.
It’s certainly not something that I would go out of my way to try, but I’m guessing that it’s easier for Disney to whip up in large batches than this previous side, which I thought was fresh and flavorful. It certainly looks more attractive.
The $5 “Safari Cake – Coconut Cake with Pineapple-coconut Mousse coated in Chocolate” remains the dessert here. I found the spongy texture of the mousse a little off-putting at first, but quickly got past it given the pleasant tropical flavors of the pineapple against the surprisingly-decadent, thin layer of chocolate. The coconut adds a toasty quality and a little bit of a crispy texture to each bite and the chocolate strands sticking out of the top are fun to munch down in between bites of cake. It’s really pretty good, though somewhat similar to what you’ll find at Satu’li Canteen with the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse.
A couple of notes on Harambe Market: First, seating is all outdoors, which can make it uncomfortable in inclement weather. There also isn’t typically enough of it, which can make for an unpleasant experience as you try to cram in somewhere or have to wait for someone to leave before sprinting over. As we stood up, a gentleman asked if we were leaving and promptly sat down, probably then waiting the 15+ minutes it would take for others to arrive with food.
Chef Mwanga’s is a separate ordering area that’s usually closed unless crowds are expected to be particularly heavy. That can lead to some long waits to order that are made all the more frustrating given a reduction in capacity.
In addition, Harambe Market is typically only open from 11am to 4pm, even during the busiest times of year. So you’ll need to make it work during those hours if you do plan to visit.
Finally, Harambe Market participates in mobile order via the My Disney Experience app, which is something that you want to take advantage of if you do decide to visit. The pickup window is convenient, just inside the entrance on the left.
Overall, Harambe Market remains a good quick service choice in a Park with some great options. Satu’li Canteen offers a lot more variety with indoor and outdoor seating in Pandora. Flame Tree Barbecue offers better food, in my opinion, in a much more picturesque location. Harambe Market is themed exquisitely, but it’s no waterside eatery with the Forbidden Mountain looming in the distance. It’s a rundown market.
We’ll get to the rest of what Animal Kingdom offers on the fast food front.