Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Flavors of Africa – Lunch at Disney’s Sanaa Restaurant

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

When we did our DIY tour of the Disney resorts’ Christmas decorations, we ran out of time before we got to see the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Since then, I’ve been looking for excuses to go back to see the hotel. That’s how I discovered Sanaa, a restaurant located on Kidani Village’s Sunset Savanna where you can watch the animals while you eat. Food and animals – two of my favorite things!

Sanaa means “artwork” in Swahili and the restaurant was filled with African artwork – beaded necklaces and lights hand-crafted out of gourds and baskets. The menu was a fusion of East African and Indian cuisines. Ron and I started with an appetizer of Lamb Kefta Sliders and then shared a plate of slow cooked spicy Durban chicken and beef short ribs with basmati rice. Our waitress suggested we add a side of naan, an African flatbread, which was delicious by itself or dipped into the meat gravy. We finished up with the Dessert Trio - Tanzanian chocolate mousse, coconut cheesecake and chai cream.

Sanaa front entry

Sanaa seating

Sanaa hidden Mickey
look for the Mickeys

Heather and Honey Sidecar

lamb sliders

slow-cooked meats

dessert trio
We were lucky to be seated next to one of the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the savanna. I had a hard time paying attention to my lunch because I kept getting distracted by the animals. There were two huge Marabou storks building a gigantic nest, roaming antelope and long-horned Ankole cattle, and East African crowned cranes. My favorites were the zebras, especially the babies. One of the curious zebra babies tried to approach the male Marabou stork but ran back to its mother when the stork squawked at it. So cute!

East African crowned crane

zebra herd

Zebra herd


baby and mother zebra

After lunch, we walked over to the Jambo House, the main building of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The 6-story lobby of the Jambo House was incredible. It looked a lot like the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge, except that it was decorated in an African theme. Instead of tee-pees, the huge chandeliers at the Jambo House were fashioned to look like Maasai shields. We walked around the entire property, exploring the pool area and the different savannas. Just before we left, the family of giraffes came out to nibble on the trees. What a great way to spend the day!

Jambo House sign

Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby

lobby chandelier

Red River hogs



Animal Kingdom coffee mug
a little memento from the gift shop

Travel Tips: Be sure to pick up a copy of the Wildlife Field Guide from the lobby.  It describes the different species of animals that can be seen around the property. There are also guides and cultural ambassadors at each savanna to answer questions.


  1. This is terrific, Susan! - I agree, a great way to spend a day (and a marvelous place to eat) Thanks for sharing it with us!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Lisa. I love your photos too. You've been a huge help in planning our trip to Aruba next month!