Photo Finds: Construction update for Cheetah Hunt roller coaster at Busch Gardens

By Don Gworek

Construction of Busch Gardens’ new roller coaster, Cheetah Hunt, is well under way for a Spring 2011 launch. The site meanders in the Edge of Africa area of the Serengeti, between the Crown Colony House and the Rhino Rally. A good amount of the track is now in place, and it is very impressive!

This elevated figure eight rises near the Moroccan Palace Theater and towers over what will be the Cheetah Hunt boarding station. Cheetah Hunt will be a multi-launch coaster.

Trains will burst into full speed and head directly up into this track element.

Another view of the launch into the elevated figure eight.

A fun thing to notice is that guests momentarily step through the theme park perimeter wall to get between two areas of the park. In this photo, the Moroccan Palace area is to the left and the Crown Colony House area is to the right.

Guests seen here would normally be outside the park. They are walking along a portion of what is normally a pedestrian walkway near the tram loop. Note the temporary wall at the left.

This undated satellite photo from Google Maps gives a better idea of how guests are getting around the Cheetah Hunt site and where the temporary wall is set up near the tram loop.

This photo shows the other side of the temporary wall, as seen from the tram loop.

An interesting swoop turn, as seen from the steps of the Crown Colony House.

Note the skyway cables. The skyway is closed during construction, but will reopen. This view is from the park train.

Another view of the skyway station. The slightly shorter building to the left of the skyway station is the old monorail station. This will soon be the Cheetah Hunt station. The dust in the construction area is sawdust from a saw trimming concrete blocks to proper dimensions. Look close and you can see the operator pulling down on the very large circular saw.

A view of the old monorail/new Cheetah Hunt station site. Note the footers just above the construction wall edge. Some of the Cheetah Hunt track will probably be placed on top of these footers.

Another view the old monorail/new Cheetah Hunt station site, as seen from the Busch Gardens history museum entrance.

This is a portion of a 1970 park map, as seen in the Busch Gardens history museum. This map shows the old monorail route. Cheetah Hunt will ramble between the monorail station and Lake Victoria in the map. The Lake Victoria area is where the Rhino Rally attraction is today.

The Cheetah Hunt track is rising in the Rhino Rally area. Note how this track dips into the ravine (lower left) and then rises up and out.

A Rhino Rally show element, as seen from the park train. Rhino Rally used to have a water element in this area, where your vehicle would float down river.

Notice how the track travels through the ravine, as seen from the park train.

The track descends pretty well into the ravine to these footers.

The return to the Cheetah Hunt station seems to have a few terrain-hugging elements where the track will go below grade into trenches. This up and down action along the ground is intended to be like a Cheetah bounding after prey.

A general site photo as seen from the train. This area is likely to look very different in several weeks, with some Cheetah Hunt track bounding below the surface at the embankment at right.

Another below grade area, this one is richly-viewable from the park train.

Note the concrete form and steel rebar rising at right to support a Cheetah Hunt track element.

Further assembly required! These are Cheetah Hunt track segments waiting to be put together at the site.

There are some interesting marketing posters on the construction fences. You might be able to reach the link through the QR Code pictured here. Use your smartphone on this photo, follow the instructions.

Here’s a very real looking computer rendering of what your view of the ride will be:

Cheeta Hunt ride-through rendering - New roller coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

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  1. This looks amazing! And I applaud the Busch Gardens parks to maintaining their skyways. So many parks have lost them! (I’m looking at you, Disney World and Kings Island! and others!)