Best Rollercoaster in Busch Gardens


Busch Gardens Tampa Bay features more roller coasters than any park in Florida and not a single one can be really classified as “kiddie.” It is very possible to hit every coaster and then go back and re-ride on almost any day (very few days a year are so crowded that this task is impossible). The best-case scenario is to be at the park as it opens, or very soon after. If you arrive later in the day, there is no telling what the crowds will be like.

The Best Strategy: SheiKra First

This strategy takes you to SheiKra, the park’s newest, tallest, and fastest coaster, first. From either the park’s main entrance or the Nairobi Gate, head left. From the main gate (red on the map below), the left is heading straight for the most part. Head past Gwazi into the Bird Gardens. When you reach the Bird Show Theater, hang a right. Follow the path until it merges with another path. Be sure to head to the right. You should emerge by the Land of the Dragons. Now continue to follow the path. You’ll walk up a ramp around Lory Landing and through a tunnel. Shortly thereafter are stairs to your right that will take you into Stanleyville. Proceed to the far end of the area to hit SheiKra.

Once at SheiKra, you have several options: you can ride once and move on, or you can try to get multiple rides. Usually, the park is pretty empty at this time; use discretion and gauge the crowds after your ride to see if you want to re-ride. You should be able to get a couple of rides in before most people make their way over.

SheiKra is America’s first vertical drop dive coaster. Launched in 2005, SheiKra is a monster thrill ride that coaster enthusiasts will love. Coasters of this type are few and far between. This is the only ride in the US that has a truly terrifying 90-degree drop! In fact, the ride incorporates 2 vertical drops (one into an underground tunnel), a 360-degree spinning climb, and a double loop. SheiKra is one of the most popular Busch Gardens Rides.

The moment the ride tips over the edge of the 90-degree vertical drop! Riders are face down. This is America’s only vertical drop coaster.

ShieKra Facts

  • Seats are 8 person across, floorless coaster
  • Maximum height reached 200ft
  • The highest drop 195 ft
  • Second vertical drop 138ft
  • Loops 1
  • Ride time 3mins
  • Height requirement: Must be at least 54 inches tall


If you decided to move on, or have had multiple rides on SheiKra, your next step is to head north (teal on the map below) to the Congo. There are a couple of options from here, but heading to Kumba first over Python is highly recommended. From Stanleyville, head past Stanley Falls. You should see a brown Congo sign up ahead. Head past Claw Island and the tigers and take a right. Head towards the Ubanga-Banga Bumper Cars and take a left. You will see the Kumba sign; proceed across the bridge and turn right to enter the line.

An oldie but a goodie! Kumba first launched back in 1993, for what it lacks in smooth, modern twists and turns, it makes up for in sheer power, speed, height, and one of the highest loops in the US. There are 7 different inversions during the ride over around 4,000ft of track. Kumba reaches speeds of 60mph, has a maximum G force of 3.85gs, and spins riders 360 degrees.

Kumba Facts

  • Seats are 4 person across, floorless coaster
  • Maximum height reached 143ft
  • Maximum G Force 3.8g
  • Longest drop 135ft
  • Loops & inversions 7
  • Ride time 2mins 54 seconds
  • Height requirement: Must be at least 54 inches tall

After Kumba, you once again have a couple of options. You can head to Python, Timbuktu, or Montu. First, the strategy if you want to hit Python.

Head to Python from Kumba

The first thing you want to do is head back the way you came. Head past the bumper cars and head straight until you hit Python. From here, you can head to Montu or Timbuktu. See their strategies below.

Head to Timbuktu from Kumba

Timbuktu features a couple of coasters (Scorpion and Cheetah Chase), but both are rather small. To get to the area from Kumba, head back across the bridge and head straight. On your left-hand side will be a ramp down into Timbuktu. Once there, you can head to Cheetah Chase (to the left) or Scorpion (straight ahead a bit down the path). After you’ve done everything you want in Timbuktu, head towards the opposite side of the area you entered. You will exit the area and enter Nairobi. The best choice from here is to hit Montu. Just follow the path until you come to a junction. Trader Jim’s will be to the left. Take a left and follow the path all the way to Egypt. You’ll be able to see Montu towering above everything. Head through the large structure and you’ll see the entrance.


The Scorpion is a classic roller coaster which seats two people across. It’s arguably surpassed by the newer thrill coasters at Busch Gardens such as Montu, and ShieKra. But then again, if you don’t want to try SheiKra, Kumba, or Montu this is a nice ‘middle ground’.

Scorpion Facts

  • Seats are 2 person across
  • Maximum height reached 65ft
  • Maximum G Force 3.5g
  • Longest drop 60ft
  • Loops & inversions 1
  • Ride time 2mins 15 seconds
  • Height requirement: Must be at least 42 inches tall

Head to Montu from Kumba

This option is the most recommended one, but it all depends on the Skyride operation. If the Skyride is not operating, you can get to Egypt the easiest by the way described in the strategy above. From Kumba, you want to head back the way you came from Stanleyville to Kumba. You want to head all the way back to Stanleyville, but stop at the Skyride station on the left-hand side before you reach SheiKra. Board the Skyride and enjoy the views. You will end up in the Crown Colony, right next to Egypt. Exiting the Skyride ride, head mostly straight around the Crown Colony House Restaurant, and through the large structure ahead to reach the entrance.

Now you can pretty much wander around and do what you want. You can head towards Gwazi, but you may want to wait until later in the day when people have left the front of the park to have shorter lines. On most days, this strategy should work to perfection or close to it. On really crowded days, there may be longer lines. If that is the case, there is not much you can do but wait in line.


A old-fashioned gigantic wooden roller coaster. Gwazi is actually 2 roller coasters in one! It has two trains that race each other to the finish. As you can see from the photos, Gwazi is a monstrous wooden structure that goes over 1 mile in length! Expect a bit of rougher ride!

Gwazi Facts

  • Seats are 2 person across
  • Maximum height reached 105ft
  • Maximum G Force 3.5g
  • Longest drop 90ft
  • Loops & inversions 0
  • Ride time 2mins 30 seconds
  • Height requirement: Must be at least 48 inches tall.

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