This budget East African safari combines the world-renowned game parks of Kenya and Tanzania with the idyllic white-sand beaches of palm-fringed Zanzibar Island.
Explore Kenya's iconic Masai Mara National Reserve teeming with wildlife and go game viewing on the endless plains of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Two of the best game parks in the world, both Masai Mara and Serengeti Parks offer superb year-round game viewing, but are best known for the annual Great Migration when breathtakingly vast herds of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and other wild animals stampede across the open plains in search of fresh grazing and water. Then we descend into the Ngorongoro Crater for more world-class game viewing in this Eden of Africa.
After experiencing the wildlife adventure of a lifetime head to the exotic Zanzibar Islands for the last few days of this Kenya, Tanzania & Zanzibar Camping Safari. Kickback and relax on the tropical, Indian Ocean beaches of Zanzibar and discover the Spice Island's rich history and intriguing cultures.
This overland camping safari starts in Kenya’s bustling capital city of Nairobi. Nairobi, known as the "Green City in the Sun", has in recent years undergone rapid growth and is today not only Kenya’s largest city but the most populated city in East Africa. Meet the friendly people of Kenya, the most popular travel destination in East Africa, keeping an ear out for the Swahili “Jambo” which means hello. Kenya has long had a well-established tourism industry and you’ll often hear the words "Hakuna matata", meaning no problem.
On day one of our camping safari, we leave Nairobi early in the morning and head for the Maasai Mara National Reserve. We cross the scenic Great Rift Valley on our way to the Maasai Mara, famous for its large populations of big cats, stunning scenery and the Great Migration.
We spend the next two nights camping on the outskirts of the world-renowned Maasai Mara Reserve, home to Africa’s Big Five - elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard. Our days are filled with morning and afternoon game viewing drives in safari vehicles, searching out the abundant wildlife found in this 1510 km² game park. The Maasai Mara looks like the idyllic Africa seen in movies, consisting of wide-open plains dotted with Acacia trees and thickets of vegetation; as well as fertile riverine woodland along the meandering Mara and Talek rivers. Everywhere we go in the Mara we will see numerous wild animals including Maasai giraffe, wildebeest, baboons, warthogs, bat eared foxes, grey jackals, spotted hyena, topis, impala and hartebeests.
The Maasai Mara Reserve is known for its annual Wildebeest Migration, when thousands of wildebeest, zebra and other herbivores stampede across the plains in search of fresh grazing. They migrate north from Tanzania’s Serengeti in about July and return south crossing the Mara River in about November. This dramatic migration is one of the most impressive wildlife spectacles in the world, especially seeing the grazers plunge into the Mara River inhabited by crocodiles and hippos. An impressive number of predators and scavengers, such as lion cheetah and hyena, follow the herbivore migration adding to this truly spectacular sight.
The Maasai Mara is home to huge numbers of elephants, buffaloes, zebras and hippos, making for superb bird watching and game viewing all-year round. Lions are also commonly sighted as they lounge around after a heavy meal, or search the plains for their next prey. Cheetah and leopard are fairly common in Mara, although these more elusive cats are harder to spot.
After exploring the epic Maasai Mara Reserve we cross the beautiful Great Rift Valley once again returning to Nairobi for an overnight stay.
Please note: We recommend that you arrange to arrive a day or more before the safari begins, giving you time to rest and explore the relatively small city centre of Nairobi. Practice your bargaining skills at Nairobi’s fascinating market, browse its bookshops and craft stores, or sit back and relax at one of the numerous cafes and restaurants in the city.
Next we travel south to the busy border post of Namanga where we cross into Tanzania. From there we drive to Arusha, Tanzania’s main safari hub located at the foot of lofty Mt Meru. The bustling city of Arusha is the halfway point between Cape Town and Cairo, and is a good place to experience colourful curio markets, shops, and the lively comings and goings of people. Arriving in the late afternoon we explore Arusha a little, stopping in at the curio markets.
If time allows then we also take a walk around one of the Maasai villages in the area to get a sense of more traditional African lifestyles and the well-known Maasai tribe in particular.
Then we make our way west to our next overnight camp situated on the plains just outside Arusha. This evening we get ready for our two-night trip to Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater - the top destinations of Tanzania's Northern Safari Circuit.
From our camp near Arusha, we travel west in 4x4 safari vehicles to Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, where we will spend the next three days. Our drive takes us across the Rift Valley, via the village of Mto Wa Mbo. We then pass the Ngorongoro Crater, driving around the rim, through the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area.
Leaving the Crater we descend to the game-rich open plains of the vast Serengeti, famous for its enormous Great Migration. Also known as the Wildebeest Migration this annual wildlife spectacle occurs when 1.5 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras and 350,000 gazelles stampede across the endless Serengeti plains in search of water and fresh grazing. Visiting the Serengeti plains, lush in the wet season and arider in the dry, is an unforgettable wildlife experience at any time of year. Serengeti National Park is arguably the most famous game reserves in the world, offering some of the best wildlife viewing in the world.
Tanzania’s oldest national park, the Serengeti National Park covers 15,000 km² and is a world heritage site. The Serengeti is home to a remarkable diversity of wildlife and birds, including great herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle, as well as lion and other predators. The Maasai name for Serengeti is Siringitu, which means "the place where the land moves on forever", aptly describing the endless flat plains.
After the unforgettable experience of camping under the stars in an unfenced campsite within the Serengeti, in an area where lion and hyena roam freely, we set off for the Ngorongoro Crater. We take a game viewing drive as we make our way out of the Serengeti Plains, stopping for lunch before driving up the Crater rim. Tonight we camp on the Ngorongoro Crater rim, enjoying spectacular views over the crater floor some 600m below (nights at 2400m above sea level can get cold, so bring a warm jacket).
The Ngorongoro Crater, known as Africa’s Garden of Eden, is the largest unbroken caldera in the world at around 326 sq km’s. This World Heritage Site hosts almost all of the animal species found in East Africa, including rhino, lion, cheetah, elephant, hyena, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, buffalo, various antelope species and numerous birds.
On the morning of day seven, we drive down to the floor of the wildlife-rich Ngorongoro Crater and spend the morning game viewing in this unique wildlife haven. After our rewarding game drive, we make our way up the steep crater wall, stopping at the crater rim to admire the breathtaking views one last time. Back at our camp on the crater rim we have lunch, before returning to our camp outside Arusha for an overnight stay.
In the afternoon we walk about in a local Masai village to see how this iconic East African tribe lives in rural Tanzania (if time did not allow on day 4). Meet the tall brightly-robed Masai warriors and herders, gaining some insight into their traditions and culture.
Today we continue our drive south passing through the town of Moshi on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, en route to our next camp in Bagamoyo. When skies are clear we get a glimpse of majestic Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, some 5895m high.
Bagamoyo was founded in the late 18th century as an important trading port on the East African coastline. Tonight we camp close to a sandy beach fringed with palm trees, enjoying the warm Indian Ocean.
Next stop is Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city is located on the East coast of Africa and as serves as the main port in Tanzania. There is usually some time to explore this bustling African city, browsing the curio markets and sightseeing. We prepare for our trip to Zanzibar Island and spend the night at a campsite on the beach just outside Dar es Salaam.
In the morning we take a ferry to the Zanzibar Archipelago, a cluster of lush tropical islands lying about 40 km’s off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean.
The main island is Unguja, also called Zanzibar Island, and the second main island is Pemba. The Zanzibar Islands are an alluring tourist destination, offering white sand beaches, exotic spices and a rich cultural heritage. Visitors are drawn to Zanzibar for its idyllic beaches and interesting history that can be seen in the architecture of places like Stone Town, as well as its diverse cultures.
We spend the next three nights on Zanzibar, allowing for plenty of time to explore this rustic and exotic island paradise. This tour does not follow an itinerary on Zanzibar Island, so you are free to choose your own activities and enjoy the islands at leisure. We typically spend one night in Stone Town and two nights at one of the northern beaches.
Explore the palm-fringed beaches up north, choosing from the array of activities available. Activities include snorkelling and scuba diving in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, taking excursions to the smaller off-lying islands and sampling the delicious fresh seafood on offer. Or you could simply relax on one of the beautiful beaches; sipping on a cocktail and taking a refreshing swim in the sea. Go on a romantic sunset cruise in a traditional Dhow sailing boat or hike one of the trails on the lushly forested island of Zanzibar.
Browse the bustling local markets and visit the intriguing mosques, palaces and courtyards of Stone Town, or stroll through the winding lanes of the historic quarter stopping at Arabic-style shops. Treat your senses to a Spice day tour to one of the spice plantations in the area where spices including cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper are grown - a feast of tastes, scents and colours.
Zanzibar features a unique blend of Arabic and African cultures having once been a major centre for the trading of slaves and spices. Even today the population of Zanzibar is mostly Sunni Muslim with the strong Arabic influence being evident in Zanzibar’s culture as well as its architecture and town design. Some of the 19th century’s great European explorers, such as Richard Burton and David Livingstone, used Zanzibar as a base, with the islands gaining independence from Britain in 1963.
Time for a quick swim or last-minute shopping in Stone Town, before we take the ferry back to Dar es Salaam on the mainland. Arriving in the big city we wrap-up our unforgettable Mara, Serengeti & Zanzibar Overland Camping Tour.
Your Zanzibar accommodation for the three-night island trip is included in the tour price. Your tour leader will book accommodation in Stone Town (one night) and at the beach (two nights), but you are free to explore the island and relax at your own pace. Meals in Zanzibar are not included in the tour price or the Local Payment (budget about $30 - $35 per night).
Please note that this safari requires a mandatory Safari Pass (Local Payment) at an additional cost. The Safari Pass includes major tour highlights and activities. This compulsory payment can be made when booking your tour, or at the start of your trip, payable directly to your tour guide. Contact African Budget Safaris for the detailed itinerary listing what is included in the Safari Pass and see the Full Pricing above for rates.
Transport on this tour is in a 24-seater, custom-built safari truck. The self-contained truck is fitted with onboard tables, individual lockers (70-litre) and a freezer, as well as safety features. The safari truck also features plug sockets, a library and an i-pod jack. Game drives in 4x4 safari vehicle and fast ferry.
The group prepares the included meals in camp and help with preparation is invited. Most dietary requirements can be catered for on the road, upon request at the time of booking. Please note that meals in Zanzibar are not included in the tour price.
Some of our National Park visits and game viewing drives are conducted using local services, to ensure the best quality game driving and to comply with local authority rulings. Using local African guides and service providers also adds to our safari experience and allows us to contribute to the local communities. These local services are included in the Local Payment of the tour.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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