13 Days Kenya and Tanzania
This 13-day safari lets you experience majestic locations in both countries including Mount Kenya, Ngorongoro Crater, and plenty of time in both the Maasai Mara and Serengeti – always with your own driver and outstanding accommodations. Add in an early morning hot air balloon ride over the vast grass plains for an unique perspective on this magical and primodial landscape.
Welcome to Kenya! Upon arrival into Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, you will be greeted and escorted to your hotel, a serene escape in Kenya's bustling modern capital city.
OVERNIGHT: NAIROBI SERENA HOTEL
MEALS: ON OWN ACCOUNT
Your first day on safari! This morning, we drive to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a private game sanctuary situated on the Laikipia Plains near Mount Kenya, arriving in time for lunch at the Sweetwaters Tented Camp. Built on the grounds of a colonial-era farm inside the conservancy itself, Sweetwaters is the perfect base for exploring Ol Pejeta. After settling into your accommodations, set out into the bush for your first game-viewing drive. Later this afternoon, you will tour Sweetwater’s Chimpanzee Sanctuary, the only facility of its kind in Kenya. Upon your return to camp, you can relax on your private verandah overlooking the camp’s water hole, take a dip in the pool, or catalog the day’s haul of wildlife photographs. After dinner, relax by the fire or retire to the wonderful ambiance of your tent. The camp’s luxurious tents all feature comfortable beds, electricity, hot/cold running water, and a full in-suite bathroom with shower.
OVERNIGHT: SWEETWATERS TENTED CAMP
Enjoy the entire day at leisure at Sweetwaters with morning and afternoon game drives through the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Boasting an incredible density of wildlife within its borders, the conservancy is home to a host of endangered species and especially known for its populations of black rhinoceros. We return to camp for dinner and another pleasant evening.
OVERNIGHT: SWEETWATERS TENTED CAMP
After a morning game drive, we head north through coffee and pineapple plantations to the Aberdares region and the unique Serena Mountain Lodge inside Mount Kenya National Park. An ancient and long-extinct volcano, the legendary Mount Kenya is Africa’s second tallest mountain. Its jagged central peaks are a stunning sight as we approach from the south. Situated nearly 7,000 feet above sea level on the lower slopes of the mountain, the timbered Serena Mountain Lodge is nestled deep within the primordial rainforest. Perched on stilts high above its own water hole and salt lick, the lodge affords guests a treetop view of wildlife from their rooms, several decks, and even from a secret viewing hide by the water’s edge. After our arrival in the late afternoon, spend the rest of the evening enjoying a leisurely dinner and taking in the excellent game viewing just below the lodge. Tonight, fall asleep to the symphony of the African forest or simply sit in stillness watching as the animals arrive to drink, bathe, spar, and forage around the water hole. It is an experience you will never forget.
OVERNIGHT: SERENA MOUNTAIN LODGE
This morning, you may find yourself awakened by the trumpeting of elephants who have come for their morning visit to the water hole. We drive to Lake Nakuru National Park arriving in time for lunch at Lake Nakuru Lodge. Enjoy an afternoon game drive in the park, famous for its vast flocks of flamingoes. In some months, these birds are so abundant that they seem to form a pink band along the lakeshore. Among a wide variety of other animals, notable inhabitants of the park include giraffe, buffalo, waterbuck, lion, and rhinoceros.
OVERNIGHT: LAKE NAKURU LODGE
Setting out across the Great Rift Valley, we arrive in the Maasai Mara in time for lunch at Mara Serena Safari Lodge. Set high on a hilltop above the Mara, the lodge is blessed with sweeping views of the savannah below. In the distance you can see the meandering coils of the hippo-filled Mara river. The Maasai Mara Game Reserve is widely considered to be one of Africa’s greatest reserves, where the Maasai community co-exists in harmony with the local fauna. The co-existence of man and wildlife makes this one of the world’s most unique wilderness regions. The Mara is home to a breathtaking array of life. Enjoy an afternoon game drive in this natural paradise, returning to the lodge for dinner and relaxation around the fire pit.
OVERNIGHT: MARA SERENA SAFARI LODGE
Enjoy a full day of game viewing in the Maasai Mara. The vast grasslands teem with herds of zebra, giraffe, gazelle, and topi. The acacia forests abound with monkeys and bird life. Elephants and buffalo wallow in the wide Musiara Swamp while the Mara and Talek rivers brim with hippos and crocodiles. From July through October, the Mara plays host to one of the greatest spectacles on the planet as millions of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and topi head north from Tanzania into Kenya. Those fortunate enough to witness The Great Migration are treated to spectacular viewing and photographic opportunities.
OVERNIGHT: MARA SERENA SAFARI LODGE
After an early breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to the border town of Isebania where we make our way into Tanzania and the Serengeti National Park. Your driver will assist you with customs and immigration formalities. After a picnic lunch, you rejoin your vehicle and continue on to the Serengeti and the Gran Melia Serengeti. Enjoy game viewing en-route and arrive in time for dinner at the lodge. After, unwind on your private verandah as you look out across the plains of the world-famous Serengeti.
The Serengeti National Park, at 5,700 mi2, is larger than the state of Connecticut. Protected since the 19140s, the area was made a national park in 1951 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fantastic in its natural beauty and unequalled in its scientific value, this vast expanse of land is home to more than four million different types of animals. Large herds of antelope of every description can be found here: Patterson’s eland, klipspringer, dikdik, impala, zebra, gazelle, water buck, topi, kongoni, Cotton’s oribi, grey bush duiker, roan antelope, buffalo, and wildebeest. Storks, flamingoes, vultures, fish eagles, and ostrich are among the nearly five hundred species of birds that also call the Serengeti home. Include cheetah, lion, leopard, giraffe, hippopotamus, and rhinoceros, and there are precious few animals that cannot be seen in this ecological wonderland. From open grass plains in the south, savannah and scattered acacia in the center, hilly wooded grasslands in the north, and black clay plains in the west, the landscape is as varied as the wildlife that lives upon it. The Serengeti’s low vegetation means that game viewing is relatively easy. Small rivers, lakes, and swamps dot this magnificent landscape where animals roam in complete freedom. Vast herds of ungulates arrive from the Maasai Mara and begin to congregate in December, culminating in the calving of half a million wildebeest in early February. This southern portion of The Great Migration lasts from December until May, when the herds head out of the Serengeti and into the Mara once more.
OVERNIGHT: GRAN MELIA SERENGETI
We set out after an early breakfast amongst the splendor of an African sunrise for a full day of game viewing. Negotiating the roads and tracks down from the lodge, you are transported into a world of timeless natural wonder; one where the sights, sounds, and pageantry of life continue on just as they have for thousands of years. As the day progresses, your driver’s deep knowledge of the land becomes apparent as he leads you to one spot of outstanding beauty after the next, allowing you to observe the wildlife quietly and at your leisure. As the animals take refuge from the hot mid-day sun, we find a secluded spot to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch before pressing on. You arrive back at the lodge at dusk, pleasantly tired after an exhilarating day. After a well-deserved hot shower, you head to the main lodge for dinner. Take your after-dinner drink on your verandah if you wish, watching the wildlife grazing nearby. The atmosphere is remarkably peaceful as night falls, leaving you with dreams of this diverse and wonderful country.
OVERNIGHT: GRAN MELIA SERENGETI LODGE
After breakfast at Gran Melia Serengeti Lodge, we drive to Olduvai Gorge, the “cradle of mankind” where the Leakey family uncovered fossils of Homo Habilis that have been dated to over 1.75 million years old. After a picnic lunch, we continue on to Ngorongoro Conservation Area and its famous wildlife-filled crater. We arrive at the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge in time for a dinner with a panoramic view of the crater. Perched on the rim of the crater, this luxurious lodge is constructed in the rustic style and offers sweeping views from each of its rooms – each with its own private balcony.
OVERNIGHT: NGORONGORO SERENA SAFARI LODGE
After breakfast, the driver guides your vehicle nearly 2,000 feet down into Ngorongoro Crater for a full day of exploration. In addition to viewing larger game, we will drive across the dense forest on the rim to the soda lake to view the outstanding bird life. Today, we enjoy a picnic lunch in the crater itself and ascend back to the lodge for dinner and relaxation.
Ngorongoro Crater was an active volcano some eight million years ago whose cone collapsed, leaving a deep crater. It is the largest unbroken caldera in the world, the second largest extinct crater, and today shelters arguably the most beautiful wildlife
haven left on earth with a spectacular concentration of animals and stunning views. This is undoubtedly the best place in Tanzania to see black rhinos as well as prides of lions with magnificent black-maned males. Elephant, leopard, buffalo, cheetah, zebra, warthog, a dozen antelope species, and nearly one hundred species of birds not found even in the Serengeti also live within its walls. The crater rim is wooded with mountain forest vegetation and is abloom in acres of pink, blue, and white lupines, candle white lilies, and blue hyacinth. The short grasses on the crater’s floor make game easy to spot and photograph.
OVERNIGHT: NGORONGORO SERENA SAFARI LODGE
This morning, you wake one last time to the expansive view of Ngorongoro Crater from your room. After breakfast, we drive to Lake Manyara National Park, viewing game en-route to our lodge and arriving in time for lunch. After getting settled in, set out for an afternoon game drive and hope to see the park’s famous tree- climbing lions. A wealth of bird life and large game roam the park and its lake, with the cliffs of the Great Rift Valley forming a stunning backdrop to it all. The lodge is perched high above the lake with magnificent views from your room and the grounds. Dinner and overnight at Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge.
The beautiful Lake Manyara covers two thirds of this national park; the rest consists of steep mountainside, swamps, dense woodlands, open grassy areas and hot springs. One of the many alkaline lakes of the Great Rift Valley, it was formed three million years ago and is quite shallow – perfect for the 350 species of birds including pelicans, ibises, storks, Egyptian geese, and flamingoes. Baboons and black monkeys can be heard chattering in the woodlands near the park’s entrance and a multitude of large game can be found traversing the low, grassy areas near the lake’s shore.
OVERNIGHT: LAKE MANYARA SERENA SAFARI LODGE
We hit the road once again after breakfast for the final leg of our journey. Arrive in Arusha for your last night at Gran Melia Hotel. Airport for your scheduled flight back home will be arranged and the driver will come to pick you up at the reception. Sadly, the adventure comes to an end, but the memories are forever.
OVERNIGHT: GRAN MELIA ARUSHA HOTEL