In a frantic search for food Homer finds a box of thirty-year-old animal crackers, which contains a gold giraffe - which means he has just won an African safari.
Marge is at the hospital emergency room with Maggie (who swallowed an issue of Time Magazine), making Homer, Bart, and Lisa go grocery shopping. While there, Homer and all the other shoppers insult, abuse and make unreasonable demands of the bag boys, causing all the bag boys in Springfield to go on strike. The bag boys also prevent anyone from carrying their groceries to their cars. When all the food in the house is gone, Homer becomes desperate and goes in the search of some food. Santa's Little Helper finds an old box of animal crackers that, according to Marge, was made in the 1960s, which Homer steals away and eats without hesitation. He bites into a giraffe-shaped cracker, but it turns out that giraffe is made of solid gold. Lisa reads the box, and it says, "Find the golden giraffe, and we'll send you and your family on a trip to Africa." This gets the family excited, but when Homer goes to the company that produced the animal crackers, the trio of executives (two men and one woman) he talks to initially refuse to give Homer and his family the vacation, explaining that the contest ended thirty years earlier and how their company doesn't even make animal crackers any more (the woman of the trio explains that the company now makes household poisons and Christmas lights). One of the men tries ending the discussion with "an old box of cookies is not a legal contract," but just then, a string on the box breaks and a corner of the box hits Homer in the eye, hurting him. The executives, realizing that Homer could sue them for what happened, reconsider and give him and his family the trip to Africa. Homer returns home and announces that "the Simpsons are going to Africa;" instantly afterwards, a tribesman in Africa tells his fellows that "evil is coming" and runs laughing crazily into the night.
When they arrive in Tanzania, the Simpsons see billboards with messages such as "Hail President Muntu", who their guide, Kitenge, informs them recently seized power. We then see the family staying in a treetop hotel, then going on safari in the Masai Mara, visiting Ngorongroro-where Kitenge fires shots at men who appear to be poachers- and Olduvai Gorge, and spending a day with some Maasai tribesmen. The family then join the tribesmen in a tribal dance, and Homer, while attempting to play the drums, accidentally beats the rear end of a sleeping hippopotamus, which enrages it. Kitenge distracts the hippo, while they use a tribal shield as a makeshift raft to escape down the river, but take a wrong turn, and end up far from the Maasai village. Homer tries to reassure the family that everything will be fine, only to immediately get attacked by a crocodile. They then see a few tribesmen along the riverbank, who sound menacing in their native language but are actually speaking kindly of the Simpsons. Marge suggests they not engage with them, but Homer throws a spear at them. After escaping the tribesman possible retaliation, they think they're safe, but then realize they about to reach Victoria Falls and are swept over a waterfall. They survive, landing in an enormous flower, make it to land and then try to find a way back to the village.
While walking through the savanna, Homer tells Bart to climb a nearby "hill" and see if he can find their hotel. Bart points out that the hill is Mt.Kilimanjaro but Homer sternly tells him to "go". Suddenly, a chimpanzee appears, and lead them to "Joan Bushwell's Chimp Refuge", which is run by Dr. Joan Bushwell (who is voiced by Tress MacNeille). Dr. Bushwell tells the Simpsons that she is in Africa because she is researching chimpanzees, but, when members from Greenpeace- who also happened to be the same men who were earlier mistaken for poachers at the Ngorongroro Conservation Area- arrive at the refuge, the family discover that she has enslaved the apes and is making them work in a diamond mine beneath the refuge. Fearing the repercussions for what she has done, Dr. Bushwell attempts to bribe the Simpsons and the people from Greenpeace with handfuls of diamonds. The next scene starts with the family sitting on the plane to go back to Springfield, with all of them but Lisa carrying a small fortune in diamonds. Out of the window of the plane, they see a new billboard which reads "Hail President Kitenge," with a picture of their old guide in the presidential robes that Muntu was wearing earlier in the episode.
Marge questions, "What happened to President Muntu?" Muntu then appears dressed as a flight attendant and says, "I don't want to talk about it." Muntu begins handing out peanuts, and the family all laugh as the plane takes off, as they quickly realize he got overthrown.
Behind the Laughter
The episode received mixed reception from fans and critics.