Day 1: Depart U.S. for Nairobi, Kenya
Day 2: Arrive Nairobi After arriving in Nairobi, we transfer to our hotel. As arrival times may vary greatly, we have no group activities or meals planned.
Day 3: Nairobi 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
Day 4: Nairobi/Amboseli 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
Day 5: Amboseli Early this morning we visit a nearby Maasai village. Later: another game drive and time for relaxing at our lodge in the foothills of Kilimanjaro beneath a copse of feathered acacia trees. B,L,D
Day 6: Amboseli/Lake Manyara 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
Day 7: Lake Manyara 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
Day 8: 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
Day 9: Ngorongoro Crater 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
Day 10: 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
Day 11: Serengeti 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
Day 12: Serengeti/Masai Mara 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
Day 13: Masai Mara 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
Day 14: Masai Mara 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
Day 15: Masai Mara/Nairobi 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
Day 16: 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
Day 17: Arrive U.S. We reach the U.S. today and connect with our flights home.
When To Go On Safari ...
January to February: Summer – dry and warm; cooler at Ngorongoro because of elevation. Migration picks up, with plenty of game throughout central/southern Serengeti
March: Rains become possible, bringing plains animals in search of fresh grass and food. Significant movement of antelope and other game to the plains for calving season, predators follow
June to October: Dry season; can be cold on the rim of Ngorongoro. Wildebeest and plains game begin migrating in search of water. By late July, wildebeest migration is in full swing, with opportunities for excellent game viewing and predator kills, especially in the Masai Mara
November to December: Season of the “short” rains (brief daily thunderstorms); comfortable temperatures at Ngorongoro; warm in the Serengeti, with plentiful game
B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included