14 Days – GPP – East Africa Explorer Kenya & Tanzania
Combining our Tanzania and Kenya safaris for a two-week journey of adventure that is more than just one wildlife park after another. Discover the contrasting scenery, wildlife environments and cultures as you travel through these most spectacular safari destinations. This itinerary starts in Tanzania, but can also be started in Kenya
Day 1: Arusha- Manyara National Park
From Arusha we drive to Lake Manyara in the great Rift Valley. Enter and take a game drive around Lake Manyara National Park. Famed for its unusual tree-climbing lions it also has a large elephant population, rich bird life in the forests and thousands of flamingos on the soda lake. Late in the afternoon, climb into the crater highlands for overnight at Endoro Lodge on the border of the Ngorongoro Conservation area, our overnight accommodation (en-suite rooms).
Day 2: Manyara National Park- Karatu
Short drive to nearby centre of Karatu and a leisurely walking safari through farms and villages on the rift valley escarpment. You discover the farming, irrigation, houses and cattle husbandry techniques of the Iraqw tribe. There is also traditional wood-fired brick making, local musicians, and you generally gain a deeper understanding of the lifestyle of the people who live here. Visit the nearby village market or relax in afternoon back at Endoro Lodge and overnight (en-suite rooms)
Day 3: Karatu- Serengeti National Park
Drive to the Serengeti! Lunch en-route at Olduvai Gorge and a view of the archaeological sites (and museum) where early human tools have been found. Afternoon game drive in the rolling grasslands. Criss-crossed with forested riverine valleys, the Serengeti plays home to millions of Africa’s large mammals, making this one of the world’s most famous wildlife destinations. Camp overnight in the heart of the Serengeti. Modern toilets and showers, but not en-suite.
Day 4: Full day game drive at Serengeti National Park
All day game drives in Serengeti. Best time for the wildebeest migration is Dec to June but there are spectacular wildlife sights at anytime of year.
Dinner and camp-fire with the stars and sounds of the African night. Camp again in the heart of the Serengeti. Modern toilets and showers, but not en-suite. .
Day 5: Serengeti National Park- Ngorongoro conservation area
Further morning game drive in Serengeti and then back across the grasslands and up to the Ngorongoro Crater. Tonight we stay in Rhino Lodge, owned and run by the Maasai here. Located within the forest, it is quite common for zebra, buffalo and even elephant to be grazing right outside the lodge (en-suite rooms).
Day 6: Ngorongoro conservation area – Arusha
Ngorongoro is collapsed volcano – an incredible natural amphitheatre, 25 km across and teeming with all of the African big game. Early morning descent into the crater for spectacular scenery and game viewing in what has been described as the eighth wonder of the world. After lunch, on to a small village north of Arusha for Maasai lands and life experience. We maintain a nursery and primary school here, which you can visit in term time if you wish. Overnight at our own small campsite behind the school with Mt Meru looming above – there will be villagers round the fire guarding the camp all night.
Day 7: Arusha- Nairobi (by shuttle bus)
Morning activities around the village. You can visit traditional huts, take part in activities like goat herding, jewellery beadwork, spot birds on a short walking safari, and learn from a villager the history and culture of these fascinating people. Return to Arusha by 13.00 for 14.00 shuttle-bus transfer to Nairobi. Overnight at our Rock House private guest house accommodation.
Day 8: Nairobi- Masai Mara
Drive west from Nairobi, stopping for a breathtaking view over the Great Rift Valley, and into Maasailand. Lunch en-route and on to a small Maasai homestead for insights into their fascinating way of life. Overnight camp under the acacia trees, dinner round a camp fire, starlit skies and sleep to the sounds of the African night – often lions roaring in the distance. Don’t worry! Our camp is guarded by the Maasai all night.
Day 9: Masai Mara
Walking safari (not obligatory) along small river course and through the savannah for wildlife viewing with the Maasai as guides and interpreters of their lands, often walking amongst giraffe, impala, zebra and wildebeest. On to lunch by a natural hot spring at Maji Moto where you can take a dip or just dip your toe in. Here we support the Enkiteng Lepa Maasai women’s project, a primary school (we arrange visits during term time), and engage in cultural activities with the Maasai. Then on to our secluded camp in the Masai Mara. Overnight in our comfortable permanent tented safari camp (beds with en-suite facilities).
Day 10: Masai Mara
Ecologically the Masai Mara is an extension of the great Serengeti plains and teems with wildlife. Up at dawn to spend a full day in the reserve on game drives where you almost certainly will see elephant, buffalo, lion, zebra, giraffe, hippo, crocodile and a whole ark-full of other animals. Rhino, cheetah and leopard are seen on 2 out of 3 visits but our expert naturalist guides and 4WD vehicles ensure you have the best chance of seeing them all. From July to September, the Mara is home to the great wildebeest migration. Overnight again in our permanent tented safari camp.
Day 11: Masai Mara- Nakuru
Early start for another game drive, or short hike up Naumare Hill to watch the sun-rise stream over the Mara. Back to camp for breakfast and then on to a Kikuyu homestead near Lake Elementaita. Exploration of a subsistence farm here and afternoon tea with the farmer and his wife. Option for an overnight stay in a villager’s house for fascinating insights into local life, enhancing your African experience and providing an additional income for the family – no extra cost but advise us in advance please. Otherwise on to a comfortable local hotel just outside Nakuru National Park.
Day 12: Nakuru
Drive through Nakuru town, then up past the spectacular Menengai volcanic crater, to a coffee and tea estate co-operative. A delightful, cool, verdant forested setting where there will be a guided bird-watching walk, excellent estate lunch, and visit to the tea and coffee processing operations. You can try your hand at picking tea and coffee if you like (and if you don’t fancy the walk or the tea and coffee processing insights you can relax in the beautiful gardens drinking it). Return to the hotel by Lake Nakuru for overnight.
Day 13: Nakuru- Lake Naivasha
Early start for game drive in Lake Nakuru national park. This is a small but spectacularly picturesque park with abundant wildlife and an excellent chance of seeing the rare rhino, both black and white species, lion, leopard, vast herds of buffalo and the unusual Rothschild’s giraffe. It has also had nearly 400 species of birds recorded within its boundaries. After lunch a short drive to Lake Elementaita, a soda lake on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, for walking exploration of the lakeside environment and afternoon tea. There are hot springs with amazing heat tolerant fish (accessible if lake water not excessively high) and thousands of pink flamingos and pelicans. Another short drive to Lake Naivasha for overnight accommodation in chalets right by the lake.
Day 14: Lake Naivasha- Nairobi
Lake Naivasha is a vast freshwater lake, famed for its hippos and bird life particularly fish eagles, love-birds and pelicans. You take an early morning boat trip to see some of them, disembarking at an animal sanctuary half way to walk amongst giraffe, zebra, impala andwater buck.
Leave mid morning for return to Nairobi arriving around 13.00.