The back story tells us that Harambe was first built in 1420. This part of town is old Harambe and was the original fort town on the Uvumbuzi River, which not coincidentally means Discovery River in Swahili. This river will eventually lead you to the Indian ocean and was a major thoroughfare in the old days. The Portuguese, the first to colonize the area, built a fort here to protect this water way from pirates and the remnants of that fort still exist, though in a different form with the construction of the Harambe Theater area.
When this park first opened, there was still this old turret from the fort. From this turret, you could see life on the river banks. There were still some boats sitting on the bank, but much of the fishing fleet was, the story goes, out on the water. The beach was actually once a popular swimming spot but the currents had taken a turn for the worse and swimming was no longer allowed.
In fact, guests to the park could not go down and see the beach. That is, unless you did the Wild Africa Trek, which went past here. Before the construction of the Festival of the Lion King theater, this was where the trek took guests for "training." It was a a great way to see the details.