Black Mamba: A Ride As Vicious As It Sounds

A review of my favorite B&M Inverted Coaster

Black Mamba’s first drop as seen from the bridge that connects the park to Hotel Matamba
Friday, July 19, 2019

It may not look like much, but that’s because this deadly snake is good at hiding. Similar to the renowned Nemesis at Alton Towers, Black Mamba at Phantasialand is a B&M invert that uses the terrain to its advantage. I have never ridden Nemesis, but after riding this I can tell you that the use of terrain can really make a difference. In a moment you’ll see why Black Mamba is my favorite B&M invert.

Theming: 10/10

Saying that I was impressed by the level of theming on this coaster would be an understatement. I have seen videos and I already knew about all the tunnels and rockwork it goes through, but I wasn’t expecting everything else.

The queue is highly detailed with cave paintings, nature and artifacts. There is even a working waterfall! Riders are also immersed into the Africa theme through audio effects. For example, you can hear a lot of animal sounds while walking through the queue. Once you get to the station it gets very dark and loud. I had no idea about this before coming to ride, but each time a train leaves the station there is this really loud and spooky sort of African drum beat playing. This really sets the mood for what is about to come next.

Operations and Efficiency: 3/5

For most of the two days I was here, Black Mamba only ran one train. Most of the time it was a station wait, but it did get annoying when people eventually started piling up right before entering the station. One time I waited for about thirty minutes before they put a second train on. Somehow they were able to add a second train in a few minutes and keep the line moving at the same time. I still think they could have been running both trains even when the coaster was a walk on.

Trains and Restraints: 3/5

B&M inverted coaster trains are pretty comfortable despite having OTSRs. I found the restraints on Black mamba to be harder than on most inverts, but the coaster luckily had no headbanging.

Smoothness: 10/10

You would think that a 14-year old B&M would have shown its age over time- but no! Black Mamba is butter smooth. There is no rattle, no shaking- nothing! Even in the back seat I did not feel the slightest rattle. Black Mamba is the smoothest B&M inverted coaster I have ridden.

Layout : 8/10

Because Black Mamba is a looping coaster, don’t be expecting airtime. The ride does what it’s meant to do and does it very well. It is so cool how the lift hill goes through Hotel Matamba. The first drop goes straight into one of the snappiest and most intense vertical loops I have experienced on any coaster. Immediately after this is a zero-g roll followed by a ridiculously intense overbanked turn that could be classified as an inversion. You then go into two whippy corkscrews and lots of intense helixes. The zero-g roll provides a wacky sensation that I don’t know how to describe, and on the turns you are guaranteed to grey out. The layout is very packed and interacts with the terrain so much that it will leave you disorientated. The only thing that could make it better is throwing in a couple more inversions, but other than that it is a great layout for an invert.

Intensity and Fun Factor: 10/10

I have already talked about how insane this coaster is. The combination of possibly blacking out on every turn, fearing that your feet would get chopped off, and the shock of constantly going from pitch black to broad daylight are just some of the things that make Black Mamba the most intense B&M I have ridden (other than Fury 325, or course). Just like Taron, the coaster never loses speed and the pacing is relentless!

Score Breakdown

Theming (max. 10 pts)10
Operations and Efficiency (max. 5 pts)3
Trains and Restraints (max. 5 pts)3
Smoothness (max. 10 pts)10
Layout (max. 10 pts)8
Intensity and Fun Factor (max. 10 pts)10
Total (max. 50 pts)44

As you can see, Black Mamba at Phantasialand is a fantastic roller coaster. It is not one of the best roller coasters in the world but is certainly a must-do attraction for enthusiasts. Black Mamba gets a 9 for its final score.

Video credit: Konstantin D.

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Black Mamba at Phantasialand! This was one of my most anticipated coasters of the trip and it blew away my expectations! I have always wanted to ride this cool B&M invert and finally I did! The ride is full of surprises even before you get on! This has one of the most incredible themed queues ever, featuring audio, paintings, tunnels and even a waterfall! It goes right next to the track and right under a corkscrew! The station is really dark in an underground tunnel but the best part of all is when the trains dispatch- I had no idea this was there but every time a train leaves, there is this spooky African drumming sort of witchy spooky music that really sets the mood. Anyways onto the ride- the lift hill is really cool and the drop is fun. It goes straight into one of the most intense loops I have ever experienced, immediately followed by a crazy zero g roll that gives a sensation so weird the only way to see how it feels is to actually ride it yourself. Then you go into a super intense upwards turn, a fast whippy corkscrew, another turn and another corkscrew(this time over the queue) and more intense helixes. All this and you are flying through tunnels and all sorts of near miss elements. The coaster is very smooth and HAULS, very fast pacing and intensity throughout! This is not just the best B&M invert I have ridden, it is the best inverted/suspended coaster I have ever been, period. 9.75/10!

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