Explore the wildlife gems of Kenya, game viewing in Samburu Game Reserve and Lake Nakuru, before experiencing the world-famous Masai Mara. From one of Africa's very best, Masai Mara, travel to the game-rich Northern Safari Circuit of Tanzania to take in scenic, wildlife and cultural highlights.
Cross the vast Serengeti Plains and see an abundance of wildlife in another of Africa's finest safari destinations, hosting the Big Five. Dip into the Ngorongoro Crater to sight a plethora of wildlife, including the Big Five, before ending your journey in Arusha.
This camping and lodge safari offers not only the ultimate game viewing adventures but also cultural encounters with the Samburu, Masai and other local people, along with spectacular scenery in Kenya and Tanzania.
On the first day of this safari adventure, there are no planned activities, leaving you free to rest after your travels and enjoy optional activities in Nairobi.
In the evening you meet up with your tour guide and travel companions at the hotel at 18:00 for a pre-tour briefing.
On day two we leave the megacity of Nairobi behind, making our way north towards Samburu Game Reserve in the Rift Valley Province. We drive through rural Kenya, passing farms in the Kikuyu lands and Mount Kenya, Africa's second tallest peak after Kilimanjaro.
Before entering the Big Five territory of Samburu National Reserve we visit a small village near the game park to meet the local Samburu people. Like the Maasai, the semi-nomadic Samburu are a proud warrior tribe of East Africa. We witness traditional Samburu dancing and walk through the village with tribesmen. Our stop offers some insight into the distinctive customs and colourful culture of the Samburu, and benefits go to the community.
By afternoon we enter Samburu National Reserve, known for its rare and unusual animal species, including the gerenuk, Grevy's zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe and beisa oryx, as well as the Kenya leopard. Other animals to look out for on our game drive, range from buffalos and hippos to elephants and big cats, such as lion and cheetah.
Day three is set aside for game viewing in Samburu Game Reserve - hosting an abundance of wildlife and birds, especially along the Usaso Nyiro River.
This remote reserve is home to the Big Five - elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, and buffalo - so keep your eyes open. With over 350 bird species Samburu is also a birding haven.
Today we drive to Nakuru, making our way down into the Great Rift Valley of East Africa. We travel in a safari vehicle, stopping to admire the breathtaking views as we go.
For the next two nights, we camp on the outskirts of Nakuru, a lively agricultural town on the shores of Lake Nakuru. If time allows we visit a tea farm to see how the plants are grown, the leaves picked and the tea produced.
We spend the entire day game viewing in Lake Nakuru National Park, home to healthy wildlife populations and rich birdlife.
The park protects a sizable population of black rhinos, and other wildlife - buffalo, giraffe, zebra, impala and baboons, and if we are lucky we may see lions or leopards. When conditions are right we often see large flocks of birds such as pelicans, flamingoes and cormorants, and other birds like African fish eagles and winged black terns.
Next up - the one and only Masai Mara Game Reserve, known the world over as one of the very finest African safari destinations. After settling in at our permanent tented camp near Masai Mara National Reserve the wildlife adventure begins.
This afternoon we explore the open plains and rolling hills of Masai Mara, searching out the abundance of wildlife that makes Masai Mara the legendary game park it is. The Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant) roam freely in the rambling savannahs studded with thorn trees, along with plenty of plains game.
The top two game viewing highlights of Masai Mara are the Wildebeest Migration and the large population of big cats found here - lions, leopards, cheetahs. The Great Migration sees hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles stampede across plains and rivers in a mass annual movement between Mara and Serengeti in Tanzania.
Up early for a full day of game viewing with our guide in Masai Mara, Kenya's top game park. Game viewing in the early morning is one of the best times to be out in the African savannahs, as wildlife and birds begin to stir. The whole day is spent exploring the quintessential African landscapes of Mara and spotting abundant wildlife, visiting the area of Mara River if time allows.
You have the option of taking to the skies in a hot air balloon, for a bird's eye view of the open plains dotted with herds, packs, loners and prides. Those opting for the scenic balloon ride will set off before dawn, watching the sunrise over Masai Mara National Reserve, from the air.
Day eight begins with a morning game drive in Masai Mara, setting off into the bush early enough to catch the sunrise. We stop at a watering hole to watch wildlife coming to drink and bathe. Then we continue through the rolling grasslands, spotting wildlife as we drive through beautiful wild landscapes.
After our last game drive in Masai Mara, we make our way to the rural village of Maai Mahiu where we have lunch at a community empowerment initiative's cafe. Then we head back to Nairobi, arriving in the afternoon.
The day is spent driving south through rural Kenya and over into northern Tanzania. Our next stop is Arusha, located in a scenic area at the foot of Mount Meru. This afternoon you can walk around the town and visit one of the bustling local markets.
New travellers may join the trip today, embarking on the Tanzania section of this safari. We spend the night in a comfortable lodge.
On day ten we travel into the Great Rift Valley, visiting Lake Manyara National Park and the village of Mto wa Mbu.
First, we take a guided walk in Mto wa Mbu, visiting a local market, farm fields, craft shops and huts. Then we enjoy a traditional home-cooked lunch with one of the local families. After experiencing the diverse and colourful cultures of northern Tanzania in Mto wa Mbu, we set off for the scenic Lake Manyara National Park.
Flanked by the western side of the Rift Valley escarpment Lake Manyara National Park is a scenic gem, hosting a variety of animals and birds. The park is known for its tree-climbing lions and big troops of baboons, along with its prolific birdlife, including raptors, flamingos and storks. Other animal sightings include elephants, zebras, giraffes, buffalos and hippos.
We wind along the main route through the national park, which encompasses diverse habitats and terrains from lush forests, soda lake and open plains to volcanic peaks and woodlands.
Today we visit a local community project and Masai village in the Monduli District of northern Tanzania.
The Clean Cookstove Project provides the local people with the skills and materials to use clean-burning stoves as healthier and more efficient alternatives to wood and coal fires. The project benefits women and girls, in particular, saving them time and keeping them safe by doing away with wood collecting trips. We help build a stove in one of the traditional homes and see the health and social benefits of the clean-stove project.
After our village experience, we proceed to the Serengeti National Park, travelling via the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This scenic drive takes us through beautiful highlands and open savannahs, where plenty of birds and animals can be seen.
We are up early today, driving onto the vast Serengeti Plains of seemingly endless grasslands scattered with Acacia trees and teeming with wildlife. Look out for the Big Five and numerous other species - wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, bushbuck, Thomson's gazelle and more.
Back at the safari camp, we break for lunch, before embarking on an afternoon game drive back in the world-renowned Serengeti Park. Your expert guide helps locate and spot wildlife out on the plains and in the hills, so keep your cameras and binoculars ready.
You have the option of pre-booking an early morning balloon safari over Serengeti, instead of taking the game drive. Set off before sunrise and take to the skies in a hot-air balloon watching the daybreak over the wilderness below. Hovering in the air in the balloon you get to watch wildlife from above, before touching down for a champagne breakfast in the bush.
Rise and shine early this morning for one more game drive in the legendary Serengeti National Park. Driving across the wild African savannahs we scan for herds of game and the assortment of predators roaming Serengeti.
Leaving Serengeti behind we drive up to the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, famous for its high density of wildlife, including most large African mammals. From the rim of the crater, we are treated to spectacular views over the floor of this game-rich natural feature. This evening we camp on the outer walls of Ngorongoro Crater - the largest unflooded caldera in the world.
Our last bit of game viewing on the Northern Safari Circuit of Tanzania - we descend into the wildlife haven of Ngorongoro Crater early in the morning. This fertile natural area is home to one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa, with almost every kind of large African mammal represented here.
Driving down into the crater we admire the spectacular views and pass herders and their cattle in the morning mist. We explore the top areas for game viewing, getting up close to a variety of animals - rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards, zebras, gazelles, buffaloes, warthogs, hippos, primates and many more.
From action-packed game viewing in the world's largest unflooded volcanic crater, we return to Arusha. Our small group camping safari through East Africa ends upon arrival in Arusha this afternoon.
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