When you are away in far off lands in Walt Disney World, there are times you don’t speak the language presented around you. Often times, when visiting Harambe in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the language you encounter is Swahili. If you’re making your way through the queue for Kilimanjaro Safaris, translations for animal names are easy to come by. This is especially easy to pick up if you’ve ever paid attention to names in The Lion King.
Then there are the times that language is presented to you without translation. Sometimes the context gives you clues, such as the markings around the Harambe Marketplace or the markers on the road throughout Kilimanjaro Safaris. There are always those times, however, that unless you translate the message you never quite know what information is being passed along. These are some of my favorite details in Harambe because I know not everyone takes the time to fully investigate the communications and proverbs sitting in front of them, so these are treasures (and I find all words to be treasures) that I know I share with only a dedicated few park detectives.
There is a last category of written communication, the type when worlds collide and the messaging is meant to beat you over the head. Such is the case with the image we’re exploring today. Taken from along the shores of the Discovery River, this gate is along the pathway to Festival of the Lion King. The messaging here is clear whether you are reading Swahili, English, or pictograph.
The Swahili text reads, “hawana baada ya giza.” It’s English translation, and I ran this through several different translators, comes out as, “they do not after dark.” It is likely more closely related to “closed after dark,” but I wanted to stay true to my translation. While the crocodile aspect is missing from this section, I imagine it is a safe bet that the locals know precisely why they shouldn’t visit the beach after the sun has set.
The English text reads, “Access after dark at risk. Crocodile activity on beach. Beware.” Straightforward and directly to the point. Clearly some of the non-native tourists have been forgotten that Harambe lives nestled up to, and in harmony with, the wild spaces of Africa.
If these two written warnings weren’t enough, there is one last message. A picture of an angry looking crocodile with sharp action lines radiating from his jaw. If this doesn’t get the idea across to you that there are crocodiles and that they are wild creatures who like to have their space, then I’m not sure what more the citizens of Harambe can do to give you a warning you will understand.
Vignettes like these are scattered all throughout Harambe, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Walt Disney World as a whole. It takes an investment of time to understand what you are looking at and how it plays into the story around you, and it may even take a little digging into a knowledge base you’re not familiar with, but it is well worth the exploration. You see more of the narrative and even have something special to share with friends and family that you bring along with you. Plus, you always know when to be on the look out for crocodiles!