Small Groups: Never more than 10-16 travelers—guaranteed!
Travel Africa on safari and experience east Africa’s stunning national parks ... its Maasai tribespeople, who can often be seen herding their cattle across the plains ... its big game, from lions to hippos ... the towering, cloud-shrouded peak of Mount Kilimanjaro ... and of course, the awe-inspiring migration of the wildebeest across the vast Serengeti plains. On this popular African safari, you'll discover all of this and more, as we explore the wild beauty of Kenya and Tanzania. Talk with local residents in a Maasai village and school, tour the home of Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa, and stay in intimate lodges in breathtaking locations—including the heart of the Serengeti.
4 nights from only $1795
Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve is a gem of wild beauty. Rolling grasslands yield to breathtaking views of distant mountain ranges. Rich in wild fauna, Masai Mara celebrates Africa at its most untamed. Travel this fascinating land on an affordable extension.View Extension Itinerary
You depart the U.S. in the late afternoon on an overnight flight to Amsterdam.
We arrive in Amsterdam this morning. After a short layover, we fly to Nairobi, and arrive in the evening. You will be met and transferred to your hotel, where we'll enjoy a Welcome Drink and a briefing on our upcoming explorations. We’ll also be joined by fellow travelers who took our optional pre-trip extension, Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve.
With a morning at leisure, you can opt to enjoy this time to relax at our hotel. Or perhaps you'll decide to join our optional tour to Kibera, a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi, where you'll meet the people who live here. Perhaps you'll also have a chance to discover the Nubian Quarter, which houses the descendants of soldiers who once fought for the British army and whose families first settled this land during World War I. Kibera comes from the Nubian word Kibra, meaning “land of forest.” Although they've struggled historically for tribal recognition by the government, the Nubian people have a significant legacy here.
Following lunch at a restaurant near the Nairobi National Museum, we'll delve a little deeper into Kenya's rich heritage during a tour of the museum, where a host of exhibits showcase the best of east Africa's past and present, from natural and cultural wonders to a fascinating history that archaeologists say extends back as far as the origin of our species.
Then, we explore one of Africa's most cosmopolitan cities—Nairobi—during a city walking tour with our Trip Leader. Though it began as a simple trading post for the British East Africa Company, today's Nairobi is an active business and political capital with more than two million residents, and serves as the African headquarters for organizations, such as the United Nations Environment Program and the World Health Organization.
After our walk, you'll have time to freshen up at our hotel before we enjoy a Welcome Dinner together at a local restaurant.
After breakfast at the hotel, we travel to the nearby Karen region, named for famed author Karen Blixen. Our first stop is the Giraffe Center, where you can get close to these towering animals and photograph them. In 1974, Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville relocated five orphaned and rare Rothschild giraffe to their home here, which was quickly dubbed "Giraffe Manor." Over the years, the giraffe have thrived, and now have their own young. The center plays an important part in the conservation of the Rothschild giraffe species.
Leaving the Giraffe Center, we visit a museum dedicated to Karen Blixen, who wrote Out of Africa under the pen name Isak Dinesen. The Kikuyu people she wrote about with great affection are still one of Kenya's major ethnic groups. The Danish writer, as you may know, "had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills," where she lived from 1914 to 1931. The Danish government gave her beautiful house to the country of Kenya upon its independence, and today it is a museum furnished with much of her original period furniture and is open to visitors. A visit to this museum offers a fascinating peek into the lives of early 20th-century Kenyan settlers.
After enjoying a lunch at the Karen Country Lodge, we'll depart for the Lake Nakuru area, traveling through the Rift Valley, enjoying splendid views as we go. Our lodge is located near Lake Nakuru National Park, in a setting that boasts more than 430 different avian species.
We'll arrive in time to enjoy dinner at our lodge this evening.
After breakfast, we'll travel overland to Lake Nakuru National Park in time for a morning game-viewing excursion. Lake Nakuru is famous for the seasonal migration of vast rings of flamingos that often transform its placid waters into a shimmering sea of pink. The park is also home to a relatively large population of black and white rhinos. These are normally elusive due to their dwindling populations, but recent conservation efforts have made Lake Nakuru one of the most likely spots in East Africa to lay eyes on one of these stunning beasts.
After lunch at our lodge, we embark on an afternoon nature walk. Be sure to keep those cameras ready—we'll have another great chance to explore the diverse landscape and colorful birdlife here. Dinner tonight is at our lodge.
Departing Nakuru, we leave the Great Rift Valley and continue overland to Amboseli National Park, set on the border of Tanzania and in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. We enjoy a game-viewing drive en route to our camp. Along the way, we'll pause for a picnic lunch in the park.
On arriving at Amboseli, we check in at our permanent tented camp and then enjoy an afternoon game-viewing drive. The park shelters more than 400 bird species, including pelicans, flamingos, kingfishers, and ibis. But by far, elephants are the kings of the park. Amboseli's elephants, which are said to be among the largest in the country, are fond of the swamps, where they share the cool waters with the hippos that hide beneath the papyrus. Amboseli is also home to a large population of wildebeest and Burchell's zebra. Dinner is at our camp this evening.
We rise early to enjoy a light breakfast before traveling to experience A Day in the Life of a Maasai village and visit Amboseli Primary School (when in session). We will join the local children for their walk to school. At the school, we'll meet more students, take part in some morning activities, and discuss the school's future with the headmaster.
Upon our return to the village, we'll learn more about Maasai culture, including how they tend their livestock, make their natural medicines, and create their ceremonial dress. We'll take part in daily activities both inside and outside the boma huts and enjoy free time to mingle with the villagers.
After bidding our Maasai hosts farewell, we return to our tented camp in time for lunch.
After lunch and a short rest at our lodge, we embark on an afternoon game-viewing drive. Look for the elusive gerenuk, a delicate antelope with a long, giraffe-like neck that enables it to browse the middle branches of acacia trees. You may see families of giraffe, herds of zebra and antelope—and if you are lucky, you may spot the rare serval cat. Because Amboseli's abundant elephants are tracked almost constantly by researchers, they largely escaped the ravages of 1980s poaching, so you are apt to see some older “tuskers” here. You'll be fascinated by the abundant birdlife—from the colorful little lilac-breasted roller and the comical guinea fowl to graceful hawks and eagles. We return to our camp in the early evening in time to relax before we gather for dinner.
After breakfast, we depart for the Kenya-Tanzania border, enjoying a game-viewing drive en route. We continue to the town of Arusha, Tanzania, where we lunch at the Arusha Coffee Lodge.
We then transfer to Tarangire National Park, where we'll settle into our lodge. Upon arrival, we'll have the option to join a guided walk of our surroundings before dinner at our lodge.
Today, we rise early to experience Tarangire's diversity on a full-day game-viewing drive, during which we'll pause to enjoy a boxed lunch in the park. As Tanzania's third-largest national park, it features nine distinct vegetation zones ranging from grassland to woodland, from deep gully vegetation to scattered rocky hilltops, Tarangire offers a diverse geological landscape, as well as diverse wildlife—including the largest recorded concentration of breeding bird species in the world. Baobab trees dot the landscape, and the valley of the Tarangire River dominates the entire scene. Each of our driver-guides has extensive knowledge of the behavior of the native animals.
After our full day in the park, we'll return to our lodge for dinner this evening.
After breakfast this morning, we head north to Mto Wa Mbu village, located at the foot of the Rift Valley. In the early 1950s, the land around Mto Wa Mbu was irrigated, turning the dry and uninhabited area into a fertile, bustling community of Tanzanians from all over the country. Today, more than 120 tribes are represented here.
We’ll see this mix of cultures at play as we walk through the town, watching artists of various tribes at work creating crafts, woodcarvings, and paintings. We’ll also sample the local specialty, banana beer, at bar in town.
We enjoy lunch today at the Swahili Canteen, a popular local restaurant where traditional Tanzanian fare is cooked over a jiko, a charcoal-burning stove. We'll savor a spread that may include fish, chicken, spinach in peanut sauce, ugali (maize meal) and pili pili (chili sauce).
Later, we’ll walk to the shore of Lake Manyara to see the view and get a glimpse of our adventures here tomorrow.
We depart Mto Wa Mbu for Karatu, arriving late this afternoon. Dinner will be at our lodge this evening.
Today, we embark on an early morning game-viewing drive at Lake Manyara National Park, in the heart of the Great Rift Valley. Encompassing an area of just 125 square miles, the park is relatively small, but is still one of East Africa's most popular and beautiful wildlife sanctuaries. Lake Manyara National Park is known for its tree-climbing lions. Chances are also good we'll see wildebeest, giraffe, blue monkeys, vervets, impala, zebra, buffalo, bushbuck, and baboons.
We’ll stop at the park’s hippo pool, then enjoy a picnic lunch by the hot springs. From here, we’ll get a unique perspective of the nearby wetlands as we walk along a boardwalk.
As we make our way back to Karatu, we’ll see the valley unfold below us and with Lake Manyara stretching in the distance. We may see baboons or other wildlife along the roadside.
We arrive at our lodge with some time to rest or take a stroll through the extensive grounds before dinner.
This morning, we experience a rare opportunity to visit two neighboring tribes: the Hadzabe and Datoga peoples. We'll depart from Karatu with a packed breakfast and arrive at Lake Eyasi, where we'll first spend time visiting with the Hadzabe tribe. These hunter-gatherers have changed very little in 10,000 years and use a clicking based dialect. From there, we'll move on to discover the Datoga tribe. The Datoga are skilled farmers and craftsmen, and can be recognized by circular scarification patterns on their faces.
We then return to our lodge, where we'll enjoy lunch before continuing our explorations nearby.
We enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner is at our lodge tonight.
After breakfast, we depart on a morning game drive through the Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage. We'll discover the diverse flora and fauna that make up this vast expanse of highland plains, savannah, savannah woodlands, and forests. Then, we'll enjoy a picnic lunch by the hippo pool before beginning our climb through the cloud forest and out of the Crater floor.
We'll return to our lodge in the late afternoon for time at leisure before dinner.
This morning after breakfast, we'll set out for Serengeti National Park, perhaps the most famous wildlife-viewing destination in Africa. We'll embark on a game-viewing drive into the infinite expanse of the Serengeti Plain, where masses of wildlife roam the stunning landscape. We enjoy lunch in the park and another game-viewing drive en route to our lodge, where we'll arrive by the late afternoon.
The Serengeti stretches over 5,700 square miles of plains, riverine bush, and acacia woodland, with savanna grassland as the dominant environment.
During the next few days, we venture out from our lodge in our safari vehicles to try and spot a wide range of wildlife species—lion, cheetah, hyena, and jackal stalk herds of gazelle, zebra, wildebeest, and impala. Comical warthog bend down on their front knees to graze and elegant cheetah rest in the shade of acacia trees after a hunt. Isolated rock groups, called kopjes, provide shelter to lion, leopard, and cheetah—and to the tiny rodent-like rock hyrax, closest relative of the elephant.
We dine at the lodge this evening.
This morning, you may have the option of rising before dawn for a balloon flight. As you float high over the Serengeti, watch the morning sun wash across the plains. The views you'll observe during this one-hour ride are spectacular. On this optional tour, you'll celebrate with a Champagne toast. After touchdown, enjoy a special breakfast out on the plains with your fellow travelers.
For those who did not take the optional balloon tour, we'll set out on an early-morning game-viewing drive with a packed breakfast. The Serengeti's varied landscape of savannahs, grassy plains, and riparian woodlands make it one of the world's most hospitable places for wildlife, which you will likely see in large numbers.
We return to our lodge for time to rest before our group gathers again for lunch. Then we all head into the bush again for an afternoon game-viewing drive when animals resume activity again.
Dinner is at our lodge this evening.
We set out in the morning for a game-viewing drive, and then we'll have a relaxing picnic lunch at the Seronera Visitor and Information Center before returning to the bush in the afternoon for a second game-viewing drive. The great diversity of Serengeti wildlife is also evident here—look for buffalo, hippopotamus, elephant, lion, giraffe, antelope, and Thompson's and Grant's gazelle. In certain seasons, you may also see the spectacular migration of the wildebeest herds, which travel from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara each year.
We return to our lodge in the early evening and gather for dinner.
After breakfast, we continue to explore the vast ecosystem of the Serengeti at a pace that allows us to truly focus on observing animal behavior and interaction.
After the morning game-viewing drive, we return to our lodge before heading out to enjoy one more game-viewing drive with a packed lunch in the park.
Our final night in the Serengeti is spent at our lodge, where we enjoy our Farewell Dinner under the vast expanse of the African skies.
Today, we rise early, departing the Serengeti for our flight to Arusha, where we'll enjoy lunch at our hotel for the day. Travelers joining our post-trip extension to Rwanda: Gorilla Trekking will depart after lunch for their flight to Kigali.
Later this afternoon, we'll check out and travel overland to Kilimanjaro International Airport for our overnight flight back to the U.S.
4 nights from only $2595
Journey to Rwanda to experience one of the world’s greatest wildlife encounters—the rare Mountain Gorilla. Trek through the mist-shrouded forest of Rwanda’s Ruhengeri region for an intimate encounter with these magnificent, gentle creatures. You’ll also discover the warmth of the Rwandan people, discover how local beer is produced, and learn about the atrocities of Rwanda's civil war at the Kigali Genocide Museum.View Extension Itinerary