Classic East Africa safari
Highlights: Nairobi, Amboseli National Park, Arusha, Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Masai Mara, Lamu Island…
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate
Group Size Small Group
Highlights: Nairobi, Amboseli National Park, Arusha, Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Masai Mara, Lamu Island. This itinerary covers major highlights in Kenya and Tanzania, with an optional beach extension to Lamu Island in Kenya.
Kenya is blessed with many different environments, from snow-capped mountain ranges with cool wooded slopes, to flat savannah plains and deserts, lowland equatorial forests, coasts with mangrove swamps and sandy beaches sheltered by coral reefs
With this variety of natural habitats, it is hardly any wonder that these two countries boast over a hundred species of mammals, 12 and more different types of primate, a range of reptiles and more than 1,000 species of birds, including over 75 birds of prey and more than ten different woodpeckers.
Kenya’s diversity of flora for example also reflects the varying conditions, with many plants adapted to their surroundings, such as the Acacia thorn tree which withstands the fires and drought of the grasslands. Some families of plants, such as mallows and orchids, thrive across a range of habitats and can be found throughout the country.
But Kenya is also home to a number of less well-known species. For example, the lucky visitor may see large cats such as the spotted and striped serval or the tuft-eared caracal (Caracal caracal), a kind of lynx (see photo).
An unusual resident of Kenya's mangrove swamps is the mudskipper, a fish which lives out of water on its evolutionary road to becoming an amphibian.
Other unusual animals include omnivores like the civet and genet (both relatives of the mongoose), termite-eaters such as the aardvark and pangolin, rodents such as the jumping hare and giant forest squirrel and rock and tree hyraxes. Hyraxes look like rodents, but are in fact ungulates (hoofed animals) and their closest living relative is the mighty elephant
Tanzania is home to 364 species of mammals and 1108 species of birds. It also supports 130 amphibians and over 275 reptile species, many of which are endemic.
The Serengeti National Park is most famous for its annual migration of over one million and a half white bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 250,000 zebra. Up to 250,000 wildebeest die each year in the long and arduous movement to find forage in the dry season.
A population of approximately 25,000 large animals, largely ungulates along with reputedly the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa, lives in the Ngorongoro Crater. The Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest fauna reserves of the world, covering a total area of 54,600 km² and has additional buffer zones and no permanent human habitation or permanent structures are permitted
* Meet and greet service
* Accommodation as indicated or similar subject to availability
* Three meals in a day as indicated B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D=Dinner.
* Knowledgeable driver/guide and his expenses
* Ngorongoro Crater fee and bird watching and game drives
* Game viewing fees as indicated.
* Transport in a private land cruiser/safari van as indicated
* Ground transportation fuel
* Park Entrance fees, taxes and service charges.
* All transfers as indicated
* 01 litre per person per day - Mineral water whilst on safari
* All flights & Visa charges
* All extra meals
* A visit to the village.
* Balloon safari
* Items of personal Nature I.e. Drinks, Laundry, Telephone Calls, Clothing
* Tips to driver guides, porters and waiters
* Items / Activities not included in the itinerary
* Visa for Tanzania and Kenya
* Maasai Boma entrance fee
* Personal things like sleeping bags, rucksack, footwear and other things like clothing
Arrive at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and transfer to the Norfolk Hotel. Probably Kenya's most famous hotel - and certainly one of its oldest - The Norfolk has been drawing the rich and famous to its hallowed doors since they first opened on Christmas Day 1904. In many respects, Nairobi grew up around the Norfolk, which occupies a central but quiet location opposite the National Theatre. Just south of the equator Nairobi's main avenues blaze with colour from tropical bushes and vines. The nearby Nairobi National Park boasts the presence of all but one of the ‘Big Five'. Shopping in Nairobi varies from African clothing and craft shops to open-air markets. There are excellent museums, offering insights into the fauna, culture and history of Kenya. The rest of the day is free to relax or if time permits, enjoy some sightseeing. Overnight: The Norfolk Hotel Meal Plan: D
After breakfast, begin your drive south to Amboseli. Arrive at Amboseli Serena Lodge in time for lunch. Sitting in the formidable shadow of Africa's highest mountain, Amboseli Serena Lodge offers luxurious rooms and fine dining in one of Kenya's purest natural settings. Accommodation is in well-spaced rooms designed along the lines of traditional Maasai manyattas and decorated with authentic Africana and attractive murals painted by a local artist. A natural spring and waterhole in the lodge's immediate vicinity draw a steady stream of big game, from lion, buffalo, giraffe and wildebeest to some of Africa's largest elephant herds. The lodge also features a sculpted swimming pool and there are several protected jogging trails. Overnight: Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge Meal Plan: B,L,D
A full day to explore Amboseli National Park Amboseli lies southeast of Nairobi, at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. The snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro rising above a saucer of clouds, dominates every aspect of the park and provides a backdrop to a spectacular display of wildlife – lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, cheetah, buffalo and a host of plains game. The Tanzania border runs along its base and also forms the boundary of the park. Amboseli has five main wildlife habitats- open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush country, swamps and marshland. Overnight: Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge Meal Plan: B,L,D
Breakfast at the lodge and then drive to the Kenya/Tanzania border town of Namanga. After immigration and customs formalities meet your Tanzania driver guides and drive to the town of Arusha for lunch. After lunch continue to Manyara. Dramatically situated on top of the Mto Wa Mbu escarpment, overlooking the vast expanse of the Great Rift Valley, the rooms blend gracefully with the serene natural surroundings. The lodge is located only a few minutes from Lake Manyara National Park. Overnight: Manyara Serena Meal Plan: B,L,D
This morning enjoy a game drive in the park before driving to the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Stop at Gibbs Farm, an old-colonial farmhouse for lunch. Built by German settlers in the early 20th century, the house still has the character of a well-looked after private house with log fires and friendly service. It lies perched on the outer slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater Highlands and is surrounded by coffee plantations and a vegetable farm with views over this lush agricultural area. After lunch continue to the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge which is nestled on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, one of the natural wonders of the world. Your lodge is designed in stone and wood. The vegetation around is left natural, so the lodge is almost unseen as it blends in with its natural surroundings. All rooms have breathtaking views of the crater. Overnight: Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge Meal Plan: B,L,D
This morning drive down the crater walls and spend the full day game viewing in the crater. The Ngorongoro Cater is the world's largest intact caldera. With an area of just 260 km² (102 square miles) the Ngorongoro is a true Garden of Eden. Highland forest covers the 610 metre (2,000 ft) sheer sides of the caldera, a spectacular barrier encircling and protecting the roaming plains wildlife which patrol the flat crater floor. This is a world of wide grassland plains, acacia copses, pools and streams. All the ‘Big Five’ are here – elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and even rhino can still be found. The central soda lake attracts birds and sometimes flocks of flamingo. Overnight: Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge Meal Plan: B,L,D
Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the lodge before beginning your drive to Olduvai Gorge, often called the "Cradle of Mankind". This is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world. The museum at the site shows how this area played an important part in understanding early human evolution. Leaving Olduvai continue to the Serengeti, one of the most magnificent parks in Africa. On arrival at the park drive to your lodge with game viewing en-route. Serengeti is the home of the great wildebeest migration and the short grass plains around your accommodation provide the perfect setting for the wildebeest as they mass around the area during the birthing of their young in the early months of each year. Kusini is perfectly located in a private corner of the Serengeti and sited among a cluster of kopjes (beautiful outcrops of granite rock). Part of Kusini’s charm is its remote and private location within the park borders and with no other camps in the near vicinity Kusini offers exceptional and essentially private game viewing. Overnight: Kusini Meal Plan: B,L,D
A full day to explore the Serengeti The Serengeti’s abundance of game is legendary and it is famed for the annual wildebeest and zebra migration which mass on its grassland plains, dotted with acacia. Overnight: Kusini Meal Plan: B,L,D
This morning after breakfast take a scheduled flight to Kilimanjaro Airport and connect with your flight to Nairobi. Upon arrival in Nairobi fly to the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve. On landing at the airstrip, your guide will meet you. Take a short game drive en route to your camp. You may be rewarded with sightings of elephant, buffalo, giraffe and a host of other plains game. Olonana is at the forefront of eco-tourism in Kenya with solar power, bio degradable products and an ingenious wetlands project which allows for all used water to be totally recycled and returned to the river clean. Your room is a permanent canvas structure. The camp comprises of just 14 spacious and airy en suite accommodation tents; all with floor to ceiling mosquito net ‘windows’ and river view verandahs. Lunch is served at the main cottage’s lounge and dining area, its spacious verandah overlooks the river where the resident hippo pods spend their days wallowing. After lunch there is time to relax before enjoying an activity of your choice. Overnight: Olonana Meal Plan: B,L,D
The next two days are yours to enjoy game viewing as you venture out in open 4X4 vehicles led by your expert driver/guide. A wide range of activities are offered at Olonana and you can plan your day to be as active or as leisurely as you wish. Visit the adjacent Maasai village, take a morning bush walk with an armed ranger or enjoy sundowners in the evening or even dinner under the stars in the middle of the African bush. In the Mara, the wildlife is abundant and the swaying grasslands ensure that animals are never out of sight. Elephants browse amongst the large herds of wildebeest, topi, gazelle, eland and buffalo. The plains offer a rich variety of food for the dominant predators: lion, leopard, hyena and cheetah. In the Mara River, hippos submerge while crocodiles sunbathe on the riverbanks. Around July to September, rain depending; the Masai Mara is host to the famous wildebeest migration which is one of the few remaining mass migrations of mammals in the world. During this time herds of over a million wildebeest will trawl their way through this region and they become the major focus for predatory activity and drama unfolds at every corner. There are also options for a morning balloon safari or a half-day visit to Lake Victoria. Balloon Safari: As the balloon is inflated against the first rays of sunrise your pilot will go through safety procedures. Once aloft, the balloon floats gently over the plains, giving a bird’s eye view of the game below as the sun creeps slowly over the horizon. After around one hour the balloon lands as breakfast is already being prepared and, of course, enjoy a glass or two of bubbly to toast your flight in a tradition initiated by the Montgolfier brothers. Lake Victoria Adventure: An early start this morning with a transfer to the airstrip for a flight by light aircraft to Lake Victoria. On arrival enjoy an appetizing full English breakfast before you board the boat for the morning. There will be the opportunity to try fishing for the legendary giant Nile perch found in these waters as you explore the myriad of tiny islands in this region of the lake. An experienced and knowledgeable fisherman captains each boat. There is the chance to stop at a traditional fishing village and see how the villagers live from day to day before returning to the airstrip for your return flight to the Masai Mara. Overnight: Olonana Meal Plan: B,L,D
As above. Overnight: Olonana Meal Plan: B,L,D
After breakfast transfer to the airstrip for your scheduled flight back to Nairobi. Upon arrival at Wilson Airport, you will be transferred to Norfolk Hotel where dayrooms have been reserved. The rest of the day is free for you to relax and freshen up, or go sightseeing and shopping. This evening transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your international departure flight. Option to extend to Lamu Island Fly from Masai Mara to Nairobi. On arrival in Nairobi you will be transferred to the Carnivore Restaurant for lunch. Situated on the edge of Nairobi National Park, the focal point of the main restaurant is the roasting pit where a staggering array of both game and domestic meat is roasted on huge metal spears. Waiters bring these different meats to the table and carve onto piping hot plates. For herbivores, there is an extensive vegetarian menu. Transfer back to Wilson Airport for a scheduled flight to Manda Island. On arrival, the Peponi staff will be there to meet you and take you by boat to your hotel on Lamu Island, an unspoiled island just off the coast of Kenya. Peponi was opened in 1967 and it still retains much of the character and charm that it had then, as the ultimate ‘home from home’ retreat on Lamu Island. Tucked into its own headland, with the bustling Swahili town of Shela on one side and the sweep of a shimmering beach on the other, Peponi occupies a special position between the old and new worlds. As well as gentle journeys aboard ancient dhows, the hotel offers a host of water sports, from water skiing and windsurfing to scuba diving and bountiful big game fishing. Overnight: Peponi Hotel Meal Plan: B,L,D
Lamu is an ancient Arab island, blissfully lost in the tides of history with its historical mosques and narrow streets. Donkey is the main form of transport as there are no cars on the island's narrow streets which are very much as they were centuries ago. Two days at leisure to relax and fall into the peace, tranquility and coastal pace of this unique island. Overnight: Peponi Hotel Meal Plan: B,L,D
Day 14 - Lamu Island As above. Overnight: Peponi Hotel Meal Plan: B,L,D
After breakfast transfer by boat to the airstrip for your scheduled flight back to Nairobi. Upon arrival at Wilson Airport, you will be transferred to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your international departure flight.