Classic Safari: Kenya & Tanzania
On safari … it’s one of the most alluring phrases in all of travel. And Kenya and Tanzania count among the most alluring places to be “on safari.” As our small group travels from grasslands to highlands, to reserves and national parks, we enjoy intimate game drives, see stupendous landscapes, stay in excellent accommodations, and meet gracious local people.
Exclusive Departure: this departure is considered exclusive and the participants are U-M travelers, who consist of alums, family and friends.
Depart U.S. for Nairobi, Kenya
Arrive in Nairobi
After arriving in Nairobi, we transfer to our hotel. As arrival times may vary greatly, we have no group activities or meals planned.
We see highlights of Kenya’s cosmopolitan capital city today, stopping for a tour of the Karen Blixen Museum, the one-time home of the Danish writer who, as Isak Dinesen, wrote Out of Africa. We also visit the Giraffe Centre, which provides nature education to Kenyan schoolchildren and where we see several of the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe here up close. After returning to our hotel late this afternoon, tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at our hotel. B,D
We travel by mini-bus this morning to Amboseli National Park in the shadow of snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Maasai’s “white mountain” and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain at 19,336 feet. Known for its large elephant population, Amboseli boasts wide, dry plains also teeming with herds of wildebeest, zebra, impala, and giraffe – as we may see on this afternoon’s game drive. B,L,D
Early this morning we visit a nearby Maasai village. Later: a game drive and time for relaxing at our lodge in the foothills of Kilimanjaro beneath a copse of feathered acacia trees. B,L,D
Tanzania has 13,000 square miles of protected parkland, more than any other country. We travel today to peaceful Lake Manyara National Park, one of Tanzania’s smallest and most diverse parks. Bordered by the dramatic Western Escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Manyara is notable for its abundant birdlife, diverse vegetation, tree-climbing lions, and hippos. We take an afternoon game drive. B,L,D
Lake Manyara offers the essence of Tanzania’s safari experience. Along with the lake itself, the park boasts a varied ecosystem of forest, grassy floodplain, and acacia woodland that attracts herds of plains animals, plus hippo, monkeys, and baboons. On today’s two game drives, we get a taste of this incredibly diverse landscape and wildlife. B,L,D
This morning we enjoy a final game drive at Lake Manyara then after lunch set out for Ngorongoro, a UNESCO Conservation Area, International Biosphere Reserve, and site of Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. On the crater’s floor is Africa in microcosm: grassland, swampland, lakes, forest, mountains, and unparalleled wildlife, including the rare black rhino, hippo, wildebeest, zebra, eland, gazelle, and black-maned lion. B,L,D
On our morning tour of the 100-square-mile crater we have our only chance to see all of Africa’s “Big Five” – elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion, and leopard – in one place. The afternoon is at leisure to relax at our lodge on the crater’s rim. B,L,D
Ngorongoro/Serengeti National Park
We’re bound this morning for the Serengeti, the Maasai’s 5,700-square-mile “endless plain” considered Africa’s finest park and one of the world’s last great wildlife refuges. En route we visit 31-mile Olduvai Gorge, where in 1959 anthropologist Mary Leakey discovered the 1.8-million-year-old skull of Australopithecus boisei – and revolutionized the study of human evolution. Reaching our lodge, we embark on an afternoon game drive. B,L,D
Twice a year, some 1.3 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra, and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle migrate to new grazing lands between Masai Mara and the Serengeti, sparking one of nature’s most spectacular sights. But the Serengeti’s vast treeless plains teem with animal life year-round, and this is the best place to see lion and cheetah up close. Perhaps we will on today’s two game drives. B,L,D
We leave Tanzania today, crossing into Kenya and continuing on to Masai Mara, Kenya’s premier game reserve rich with animal life and the traditional homeland of the native Maasai people. Known especially for the annual migration that sees some two million wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle (among other wildlife) migrate here from the Serengeti (Masai Mara being the continuation of the Serengeti in Kenya), the Mara sits in the Great Rift Valley and comprises 583 square miles of vast plains, acacia forests, grass-covered hills, and slow-flowing rivers. We take our first game drive as we enter the reserve on the way to our tented camp. B,L,D
We spend today on safari, venturing out on early morning and late afternoon game drives during prime viewing hours to glimpse some of the lion, leopard, cheetah, zebra, giraffe, gazelle, wildebeest, elephant, buffalo, hippo, rhino, and other wildlife that call the Mara home. B,L,D
Again today we’re “on safari” with morning and afternoon game drives in this preserve that is just slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island. When not out in the bush, we are at leisure to enjoy the amenities of our luxury tented camp, including a spa and swimming pool. B,L,D
Today we re-enter the urban world as we fly from the Mara back to Nairobi. Tonight we toast our safari adventure at a farewell dinner. B,L,D
Nairobi/Depart for U.S.
After a morning at leisure, we transfer to the Nairobi airport and board our connecting flight to the U.S. B
Arrive in U.S.
We reach the U.S. today and connect with our flights home.
Meet Your Trip Host
Helen Weingarten MSW, PhD is an Associate Professor Emerita at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She was the co-founder and co-director of an interdisciplinary, program in conflict management alternatives sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation whose focus was on understanding the relationship among conflict behavior, social change, and social justice. In her writing, Dr. Weingarten explored the strategies of conflict resolution required of a third party when the motivations of those in conflict differ. Post- retirement, she has focused on her lifelong love of the visual arts. A docent at the University of Michigan Museum of Art for the past 10 years, she has designed and led museum tours for children, adults, and, currently, persons coping with dementia. In addition, along with other art related subjects, she has lectured and led study groups on the art of Africa. Helen and her husband Bill are world travelers. They have fallen in love with Africa, their last trips being safaris in Kenya, South Africa, and Botswana. Wildlife photography is also a passion, and they are looking forward to wonderful photographic opportunities and sharing these with others.