Specific Type: Steel, Vertical Drop
In 1998, Alton Towers silently built a new type of coaster that was a one trick pony known as a Dive Machine. Riders simply go up a lift hill and turn toward a vertical drop down a small hole in the ground and in the end go on an over banked turn back to the station. 2 years later, Jatsun Fancyworld in Taiwan built the 2nd and last installation, G5. Same as Oblivion, the concept never caught on and many parks throughout 1999 and 2001 rumored to get one. Busch seemed like a likely candidate since the chain has a contract with renounced designers Bolliger and Mabillard of Switzerland, which also designed Bush Gardens Africa’s Kumba and Montu.
In late 2003, rumors started over Busch getting a dive machine, though not believable, many articles point to Busch getting one. Soon enough it became one of the most hyped coasters for 2005 alongside Hydra: The Revenge at Dorney Park andKingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure. Soon enough, Busch silently began closing off a part of Stanleyville for a 2005 expansion. The train that used to go around the park now only goes around the Serengeti Plain and extensive work on sewer pipes began and demolition of a rarely used rental pavilion, the Zambezi Pavilion. Enthusiasts were eagerly awaiting Busch to make it official as clues popped up on the walls dividing the pathway from the site. Soon enough, enthusiasts got hyped again as red track and blue supports arrived at a field nearby. Enthusiasts knew the announcement was near for this revolutionary coaster.
On October 27th 2004, Busch announced SheiKra. SheiKra is a kind of bird that lives in Kenya, going with Busch Gardens Africa’s theme. As Stanleyville’s area finally gets an upgrade with a new restaurant, shopping area, and an ancient castle theme as well, pleasing Busch fan boys.SheiKra would be Florida’s first and much needed hyper coaster and of course the first Dive Machine to be built in the United States. Enthusiasts went mad over the announcement as it soon got more hype than the tallest and fastest coaster being built for next year, Kingda Ka. Busch ensured that this coaster concept stay unique by signing a contract with B&M not to build another model of this coaster for a few years.
Riders go through the ancient African castle themed area to the coaster’s station. They board the 3-rowed 8-across seats about to shriek over SheiKra as the train slowly turns around up to the 200 foot tall lift hill that is steep like the other dive machines. As the train slowly inches another turnaround to the big drop, you go down… no wait… the brakes have grasped you, only to get your adrenaline rushing expecting to know when the grasp of the brakes will let go and down the massive 200 foot drop. You go down the near vertical drop toward a worlds first on a Dive Machine. That’s right, the only inversion on this ride, the Immelman. The Immelman on this wild ride would become the tallest inversion on the world at 170 ft. Following the Immelman comes a helix up to the mid course brake run.
After the brakes, your welcomed with another drop down into one of the themed ruins, dropping vertically down 138 feet until you surface up with another turnaround into another first in this model, a water splash. After the splash has slowed you down greatly, you go up another tiny hill following a helix down into the final brake run surviving SheiKra.
If your ever at Busch Gardens Africa, get ready to shriek over SheiKra!
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