Length: 13 Days
Areas visited: Kenya, and Tanzania
- Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
- Great Rift Valley
- Zanzibar, Tanzania
- Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
- Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Tour Price: R23,325.00
Local Payment: $1,350.00
Accomodation: Camping in 2-person dome tents
DAY 1- 3
Nairobi, Masai Mara National Reserve
Kenya is East Africa’s most popular destination and has a long tradition of tourism and of welcoming visitors. Very often the first word you hear is the Swahili greeting ‘Jambo’ (hello), often followed by ‘Hakuna matata’ (no problem!). We recommend you arrive the day before the tour’s scheduled departure in order to relax and overcome any jetlag before starting your trip. Nairobi, has seen rapid growth in recent years but has a comparatively small city centre, ideal for walking, a very interesting city market (ideal for sharpening your bargaining skills), numerous craft shops, book shops and plenty of cafes and restaurants to try. We depart the city early Day One of the tour and make our way across the Great Rift Valley to the Masai Mara National Reserve. We spend two nights camping on the edge of the Reserve with time to explore the park on morning and afternoon game drives. The sweeping plains, distant horizons, low slung acacia trees, occasional coppices of vegetation, and plentiful wildlife form a deeply evocative introduction to this wonderful continent. The ‘Mara’ is crossed every year between July and October by great herds of wildebeest, zebra and other grazing animals in their migration from the adjoining Serengeti plains to the south (in Tanzania). Predators (such as lion, cheetah, leopard) and scavengers (hyena, vultures) follow the grazing animals and this enormous congregation of wildlife forms a spectacular display of Africa’s natural resource. But the Mara is excellent for game viewing at any time of year and regardless of when you can visit we hope to see some, if not all, of Africa’s ‘Big Five’ (elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard) and an array of other wildlife.
From the Mara, we back across the Rift Valley to Nairobi, where we usually overnight, on our way south into Tanzania.
DAY 4- 8
Arusha, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater
After crossing the border at the busy Namanga frontier we come to Arusha. Situated mid-way between Cape Town and Cairo, this is very much Tanzania’s ‘safari capital’ – a bustling city with colourful markets, shops, vehicles and people, all nestling in the shadow of the brooding Mt Meru (4556m). After exploring the curio markets, we head to our camp outside Arusha on the open plains to the west of the city. There is the opportunity to walk to one of the local Masai villages. For those who are interested there is a local school and small clinic near the campsite, or you may wish to visit the small but very informative Masai museum and to walk through the – also very informative – Meserani Snake enclosure.
Switching to smaller more ‘gamepark friendly’ vehicles we drive west across the Rift Valley, passing through Mto Wa Mbo (‘mosquito creek’) and enter the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. We pass into the park and drive around the Crater rim and down onto the Serengeti plains. Green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry this is home to an enormous variety of grazing animals, predators, and birdlife. Flatter and larger than the Masai Mara the Serengeti is simply huge – indeed the name derives from the Masai word Siringitu – ‘the place where the land moves on forever’. Game viewing here can be superb and camping out in the designated (but unfenced) campsite where lion and hyena roam nearby is an unforgettable experience.
The following day we drive out of the plains for gamedriving and after lunch ascend the outer wall of the Ngorogoro Crater. We spend the night camping on the rim (you may need a jacket; it can be cold at night). At 326 square kilometres in area the Ngorongoro is Africa’s largest intact caldera and is a World Heritage Site. If the view from the rim (2400 metres above sea level) is spectacular, the site from the Crater floor (some 600 metres below) is equally enjoyable. All the major mammals are present except giraffe (which cannot manage the steep slopes leading down onto the Crater floor) and we descend the steep access road for a morning of game driving. Time her is limited however and we drive back up the access road after lunch for a final view over the Ngorongoro before we retrace our steps to Arusha and our camp for the evening.
DAY 9 – 13
Dar es Salaam – Zanzibar
We have time in Arusha to replenish our stores before continuing past the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro (Africa’s highest peak at 5895m) to Dar es Salaam and the Indian Ocean. ‘Dar’ is Tanzania’s main port and is a hub of commerce and industry – a hot, humid and bustling city. We set up camp at our campsite on the beach just outside of the city centre, usually having time to browse curio markets – best known for ebony wood – and prepare for our trip to Zanzibar.
Evocative and exotic, Zanzibar conjures up images of idyllic, sandy, palm fringed beaches, romantic winding cobbled alleys and lush tropical forests. You will find all of these here – and an intriguing history. Zanzibar was the base for the great 19th century explorers such as John Hanning Speke, Richard Burton and David Livingstone and was once a major trading centre for spices. Indeed the spice trade is centuries old: Zanzibaris have traded with the people of the Arabian peninsula for generations, plying the ocean in simple dhow sailboats relying on the annual trade winds for passage. The Arab influence is evident in the architecture and diverse street stall offerings of the capital, Stone Town. Indeed the Arab influence can be seen right along the East African coast – the Swahili language itself the result of the mixing of Arab and African languages and cultures over many centuries.
Zanzibar’s other history is not so romantic. The island was also a staging post for slaves brought from the African interior being held before being shipped to slave owners in the middle east. You can still see the places where these men and women were held – and even a short visit is enough to convey the appalling conditions they had to endure. Our time on the island is not structured and your time is at leisure. Perhaps the best way to see Stone Town is on foot: explore the bazaars, shops, mosques, palaces, courtyards and alleyways of the old town. Spices are grown in plantations nearby and you can take day-tours to visit some and have your senses dazzled by the tastes and scents experienced. If it’s white sand, sparkling ocean and hot sun you prefer head for the northern beaches and enjoy the Indian Ocean at its best. Try snorkelling and diving, indulge in some sumptuous seafood, or simply relax beneath a coconut palm with a cocktail and a good book.
After three nights we cross back by ferry to the African mainland and Dar es Salaam, where our tour ends.
NB Basic shared accommodation is included on Zanzibar however meals will be for your own account allowing you to experience some of the many different options available on Zanzibar.
|Accomodation||Camping in 2-person dome tents|
|Start Point||Nairobi, Kenya|
|End Point||Dar es Salaam, Tanzania|
|Meals||12 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners|
|Price||R23325 US$1350 (Local Payment) / Price Match Guarantee|