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.
Depart U.S. for Nairobi, Kenya
After arriving in Nairobi, we transfer to our hotel. As arrival times may vary greatly, we have no group activities or meals planned. We are free to explore or simply relax after our overseas flights. Dinner tonight is on our own.
This morning we gather for a briefing on the journey ahead. Then we see highlights of Kenya’s cosmopolitan capital city, 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 snowcapped Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Maasai’s “white mountain” and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain at 19,336 feet. The reserve comprises five main wildlife habitats: open plains, acacia woodland, rocky thorn bush country, swamps, and marshland. Known for its large elephant population (an estimated 650 elephants live here, more than in any other Kenyan preserve), 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. Tonight we have dinner together at our lodge. B,L,D
Early this morning we visit a nearby Maasai village to meet the people before they leave to tend their cattle, and to see everyday life up close. We also visit a local school where we have an opportunity to interact with the children and their teachers. Then we return to our lodge for breakfast and lunch followed by a late afternoon game drive. In between we have time to relax at our comfortable 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 the plentiful wildlife here. B,L,D
Lake Manyara/Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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. The abundance of wildlife here is truly remarkable: all told, zoologists have recorded 95 mammal, reptile, and amphibian species and over 450 bird species on the reserve. 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. We have some time at leisure to freshen up and repack at our hotel. 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
We reach the U.S. today and connect with our flights home.
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