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, for a few reasons:
1.) The contest ended thirty years earlier.
2.) The company doesn't even make animal crackers anymore.
The female of the trio explains the company now makes household poisons and Christmas lights.
3.) "An old box of cookies" is not a legal contract.
Just after stating the third reason, Homer gets hurt by the box, and the executives reconsider, as they don't want to be sued. 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 Ngorongroro, 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 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 and then have spears thrown at them from a nearby tribe. After escaping, they think they're safe, then are swept over a waterfall. They survive, 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 Greenpeace 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. Busswell 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 asks, "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.