East African Safari – 3 nights Volcanoes National Park | 3 nights Serengeti | 2 nights Lake Manyara | 2 nights Ngorongoro Crater | 3 nights Zanzibar
“Hello from down under!
I sent your questionnaire from the airport. In case you didn’t get it, I want to thank you for all help in planning what was one of the most rewarding and stress free holidays.
Once again your attention to detail was the best I’ve encountered, so much so when meeting a couple of Scandinavian travel operators I had to boast the way you handle and show them the itinerary with maps, pics etc etc. They were in awe! Next time we want to go to Zimbabwe. We will be back in touch next year!”
Upon arrival in Nairobi, you will be met at the airport by our representative and transferred to your hotel on the edge of the Nairobi National Park. The rest of the day is at leisure to recover from your international flights.
This morning you are transferred to Wilson Airport for your shuttle flight to the Masai Mara. Upon arrival at Ol Kiombo Airstrip, you are met and are transferred to Basecamp Masai Mara, your safari camp on the edge of the Masai Mara Park.
The Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya covers an area of 1 510 square km. This vast protected landscape is one of the top wildlife destinations in Africa, and is Kenya’s flagship conservation area. It has fenceless borders with a number of private conservancies, as well as with Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, forming the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. The lack of fences allows one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth to make place unfettered – the great migration.
The Masai Mara was named for the Maasai people who inhabit the area, and for the Mara River, which flows through this great reserve. In addition to the abundant wildlife in the reserve, no Masai Mara safari would be complete without a cultural experience with the Maasai people.
Game viewing in the Masai Mara is excellent all year around thanks to the diverse population of resident game, including the Big 5 – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino – plus popular species like zebra, giraffe, hyena, eland and gazelle. The Mara’s big cats are even the stars of a popular wildlife TV series.
From July to November, the wildebeest migration, reaches the Mara – the sheer number of wildebeest arriving in the area is staggering. The migration is a dramatic mass movement of almost 2-million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle in a seasonal annual cycle driven by rainfall. To reach the Mara’s fresh grazing, wildebeest make dramatic river crossings, facing enormous crocodiles to feast on the Mara plains and regain their strength. November’s short summer rains trigger the last leg of the migration, when the wildebeest move south to their Serengeti calving grounds. The calving season also happens in the Mara between December and January. Known as the green season, it’s a time when surface water is plentiful and wildebeest, zebra and antelope give birth to their calves, foals and fawns. With so much easy prey around, it is also a good time for predators to raise their cubs and pups, making for wonderful photographic opportunities.
Today you are transferred to the airstrip for your flight to Tarime and then onwards to the Serengeti. Upon arrival at Seronera Airstrip, you are met and are transferred to your safari camp in the central Serengeti.
The Serengeti is unequalled for its beauty and contains more than three million large mammals spread over the vast endless plains. It is here, at certain times of the year, that we may encounter the breathtaking spectacle of the annual wildebeest migration, where one and a quarter million wildebeest trek in columns of up to forty kilometres long in search of grazing, drawing with them their predators and numerous other species of game. From January to March the herds can largely be found in the southern area, proceeding north through the centre and Western Corridor during June and July before heading into the northern Serengeti eco-system. They return south in November to repeat this amazing instinctive procession all over again. Africa’s most famous national park covers an area of almost 15000 sq km (5,700 sq miles) and is world- renowned for its dense predator population and the annual wildebeest migration. The park is part of the much large Serengeti eco-system, including neighbouring Masai Mara and surrounding Grumeti Reserves and Maswa – combined with Ngorongoro Conservation area it’s an impressive region. The greater part of the park is open grassland, patches of acacia woodland and isolated areas of granite rock outcrops called kopjes.
Animal migration is linked to the annual rainfall patterns and its effect on their feeding habitats. Formerly the home of the Maasai tribe who displaced the Datoga pastoralists in the 17th century, the name Serengeti is derived from the Maasai word serengit, meaning ‘endless plain’. Huge herds of wildebeest and zebra can be found here along with smaller concentrations of Thomson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, impala, kongoni, Kirk’s dik dik, klipspringer and small numbers of roan, oryx, oribi, eland and waterbuck. There are also significant numbers of buffalo, giraffe and warthog. Elephants are relatively scarce on the open plains, and more common in the northern areas and the western corridor.
The few remaining black rhinos are restricted to an inaccessible part of the park – so one doesn’t often see them. But the most popular animals to be found here in greater abundance than elsewhere are the predators. Lions, cheetahs and leopard may all be seen here along with other predators, such as the spotted hyena, golden and black-backed jackals, wild cats and servals.
This morning you are transferred to Sereonera Airstrip for your shuttler flight to Manyara Airstrip. You are met upon arrival and are transferred to your safari camp perched on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a world heritage site situated in the Crater Highlands of northern Tanzania. The jewel in Ngorongoro’s crown is a deep, volcanic crater, the largest un-flooded and unbroken caldera in the world. About 20kms across, 600 meters deep and 300 sq kms in area, the Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking natural wonder. Had it not become the world’s sixth-largest unbroken caldera, then what is now known as the Ngorongoro Crater could have been a towering volcanic mountain, as high as Kilimanjaro. It is a large, unbroken, un-flooded caldera, formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed some three million years ago. The Ngorongoro crater sinks to a depth of 610 metres, with a base area covering 260 square kilometres. The height of the original volcano must have ranged between 4,500 to 5,800 metres high. Apart from the main caldera, Ngorongoro also has two other volcanic craters: Olmoti and Empakai, the former famous for its stunning waterfalls, and the latter holding a deep lake and lush, green walls. On the leeward of the Ngorongoro highlands protrudes the iconic Oldonyo Lengai, an active volcano and Tanzania’s third highest peak after Kilimanjaro and Meru. Known to local people as the Mountain of God, Mount Lengai’s last major eruption occurred in 2007. At the mountain’s foot is Lake Natron, East Africa’s major breeding ground for flamingoes.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area contains over 25,000 large animals including 26 black rhinoceros. There are 7,000 wildebeests, 4,000 zebras, 3,000 eland and 3,000 Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles. The crater also has the densest known population of lions, numbering 62. Higher up, in the rainforests of the crater rim, are leopards, about 30 large elephants, mountain reedbuck and more than 4,000 buffalos, spotted hyenas, jackals, rare wild dogs, cheetahs, and other felines.
The legendary annual wildebeest and zebra migration also passes through Ngorongoro, when 1.7 million animals move south into the area in December then move out heading north in June. The migrants passing through the plains of the reserve include 1.7 million wildebeest, 260,000 zebra, and 470,000 gazelles. Over 500 species of bird have been recorded within the NCA. These include ostrich, white pelican, and greater and lesser flamingo on Lake Magadi within the crater, Lake Ndutu, and in the Empakaai Crater Lake, where a vast bird population can be observed.
This morning you are transferred to Manyara Airstrip for your flight to Zanzibar. You are met on arrival at Zanzibar and transferred by road to your resort on the north east coast of the island.
Zanzibar’s colourful history is an epic saga of travellers and traders, raiders and colonisers. To its shores came Sumerians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Indians, Chinese, Malays, Persians, Portuguese, Arabs, Dutch and the British, each leaving behind a legacy of their stay. Just the name Zanzibar evokes dreams of romance and mystery, and the reality will not disappoint the traveller seeking an enlightening and enjoyable holiday experience. Zanzibar – the name includes the main island, Unguja, and its sister island Pemba – has for centuries attracted seafarers and adventurers from around the world. Now it welcomes a new generation of explorers – those who have come to marvel at the rich heritage, reflected in the architecture and the culture of the people.
Visit Zanzibar’s historic Stone Town which is now another of Tanzania’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Relax on the dazzling white, palm-fringed beaches where the azure waters of the Indian Ocean beckon swimmers, divers, fishermen and water-sports enthusiasts alike. Breathe in the fragrant scents of cloves, vanilla, cardamom and nutmeg, and discover why Zanzibar is called “The Spice Island”. Explore the forests, with their rare flora and fauna, or visit some of the many ancient, archaeological sites.
Today is at leisure to enjoy some final relaxation before you are transferred to Zanzibar Airport for your flight to Nairobi, where you connect with your international flight home.