East Africa Explorer - 14 days - Kenya start

big lionCombining our Kenya and Tanzania safaris for a two-week journey of adventure that is more than just one wildlife park after another. Discover the contrasting scenery, wildlife environments and cultures as you travel through these most spectacular safari destinations. This safari starts in Kenya and finishes in Tanzania - (see When we go).

Day 1

first camp
First night's campsite

Drive west from Nairobi, stopping for a breathtaking view over the Great Rift Valley, and into Maasailand. Lunch en-route and on to a small Maasai homestead for insights into their fascinating way of life. Overnight camp under the acacia trees, dinner round a camp fire, starlit skies and sleep to the sounds of the African night - often lions roaring in the distance. Don't worry! Our camp is guarded by the Maasai all night.

Day 2


Male impala & female group

Walking safari (not obligatory) along small river course and through the savannah for wildlife viewing with the Maasai as guides and interpreters of their lands, often walking amongst giraffe, impala, zebra and wildebeest. On to lunch by a natural hot spring at Maji Moto where you can take a dip or just dip your toe in. Here we support the Enkiteng Lepa Maasai women’s project, a primary school (we arrange visits during term time), and engage in cultural activities with the Maasai. Then on to our secluded camp in the Masai Mara. Overnight in our comfortable permanent tented safari camp (beds with en-suite facilities).

Day 3

ostrich
Male and female Mara ostrich

Ecologically the Masai Mara is an extension of the great Serengeti plains and teems with wildlife. Up at dawn to spend a full day in the reserve on game drives where you almost certainly will see elephant, buffalo, lion, zebra, giraffe, hippo, crocodile and a whole ark-full of other animals. Rhino, cheetah and leopard are seen on 2 out of 3 visits but our expert naturalist guides and 4WD vehicles ensure you have the best chance of seeing them all. From July to September, the Mara is home to the great wildebeest migration. Overnight again in our permanent tented safari camp.

Day 4

homestay hostess
Our homestay hostess

Early start for another game drive, or short hike up Naumare Hill to watch the sun-rise stream over the Mara. Back to camp for breakfast and then on to a Kikuyu homestead near Lake Elementaita. Exploration of a subsistence farm here and afternoon tea with the farmer and his wife. Option for an overnight stay in a villager’s house for fascinating insights into local life, enhancing your African experience and providing an additional income for the family - no extra cost but advise us in advance please. Otherwise on to a comfortable local hotel overlooking Lake Nakuru National Park.

Day 5

tea pickers
Tea pickers

Drive through Nakuru town, then up past the spectacular Menengai volcanic crater, to a coffee and tea estate co-operative. A delightful, cool, verdant forested setting where there will be a guided bird-watching walk, excellent estate lunch, and visit to the tea and coffee processing operations. You can try your hand at picking tea and coffee if you like (and if you don’t fancy the walk or the tea and coffee processing insights you can relax in the beautiful gardens drinking it). Return to the hotel overlooking Lake Nakuru for overnight.

Day 6


Lake Nakuru viewpoint

Early start for game drive in Lake Nakuru national park. This is a small but spectacularly picturesque park with abundant wildlife and an excellent chance of seeing the rare rhino, both black and white species, lion, leopard, vast herds of buffalo and the unusual Rothschild's giraffe. It has also had nearly 400 species of birds recorded within its boundaries.

After lunch a short drive to Lake Elementaita, a soda lake on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, for walking exploration of the lakeside environment and afternoon tea. There are hot springs with amazing heat tolerant fish (accessible if lake water not excessively high) and thousands of pink flamingos and pelicans. Another short drive to Lake Naivasha for overnight accommodation in chalets right by the lake.

Day 7

fish eagle
Fish Eagle, Lake Naivasha

Lake Naivasha is a vast freshwater lake, famed for its hippos and bird life particularly fish eagles, love-birds and pelicans. You take an early morning boat trip to see them, disembarking at a wildlife reserve half way to walk amongst giraffe, zebra, impala and water buck. Return to Nairobi for late lunch and overnight at our Kenya director’s Rock House private accommodation. Here you can relax in the tropical garden or by the pool, and catch up with your diary (and emails if you must).

Day 8

evening visitors to the lodge
Evening visitors

Private vehicle transfer to the Namanga border crossing into Tanzania – less than 3 hours' drive. Here you will meet our Tanzanian crew and make a short drive to Longido for Maasai lands and life experience. With local Maasai as guides you visit traditional huts, spot animals and an astonishing variety of birds on a walking safari, find out about the medicinal uses of the savannah plants, and learn from an elder the history and culture of these fascinating people. Optional visit to a women’s jewellery project - great for souvenirs direct from the makers. Overnight in Tembo Lodge – simple but delightful accommodation run as a Maasai community resource.

Day 9

mum and baby
Mum and baby, Lake Manyara

On to Lake Manyara in the great Rift Valley for a game drive. Famed for its unusual tree-climbing lions it also has a large elephant population, hippos in its freshwater springs, rich bird life in the forests and often thousands of flamingos on the soda lake. Late in the afternoon, climb up to the crater highlands to Endoro Lodge on the edge of the Ngorongoro Conservation area, our overnight accommodation (en-suite rooms).

Day 10

Paulo & wife
Our Iraqw hostess and guide

Short drive to nearby centre of Karatu and a leisurely walking safari through farms and villages on the rift valley escarpment. You discover the farming, irrigation and cattle husbandry techniques, visit houses and, if you want, sample local cuisine of the Iraqw tribe. There is also traditional wood-fired brick making, local musicians and you generally gain a deeper understanding of the lifestyle of the people who live here.  Visit the nearby village market or relax in afternoon back at Endoro Lodge and overnight (en-suite rooms).

Day 11

serengeti giraffes
Serengeti giraffe

Drive to the Serengeti! Lunch en-route at Olduvai Gorge and a view of the archaeological sites (and visit the museum) where early human tools and fossils have been found. Afternoon game drive in the rolling grasslands. Criss-crossed with forested riverine valleys, the Serengeti plays home to millions of Africa’s large mammals, making this one of the world’s most famous wildlife destinations. Overnight at a campsite in the heart of the Serengeti. Modern toilets and showers, but not en-suite.

Day 12

cheetah feeding cubs
Cheetah feeding cubs

All day game drives in Serengeti. Best time for the wildebeest migration is Dec to June but there are spectacular wildlife sights at any time of year. Overnight again at central Serengeti campsite.

Day 13

elephant by the verandah
Elephant by the verandah!

Further morning game drive in Serengeti and then back across the grasslands and up to the Ngorongoro Crater. Tonight we stay in Rhino Lodge owned and run by the Maasai here. Located in the Crater forest, it is quite common for zebra, buffalo and even elephant to be grazing right outside the lodge (en-suite rooms).

Day 14

Ngorongoro Crater floor
Ngorongoro rater floor

Ngorongoro is collapsed volcano - an incredible natural amphitheatre, 25 km across and teeming with all of the African big game. Early morning descent into the crater for spectacular scenery and game viewing in what has been described as the eighth wonder of the world. Return to Arusha for mid to late afternoon.

General

Accommodation is in bush camps (3 nights fully supported), our own permanent tented safari camp with beds and hot showers (2 nights), local hotels, lodges, and chalets (8 nights), with an optional night in local villager's house (please request details if you’d like to know more about this).  We do not generally use the mainstream tourist lodges but neither do we compromise on health, safety or reasonable comfort. Lodge accommodation can however be arranged for private group departures if required.

Equipment is carried by vehicle, you only ever carry a day-pack with personal gear. When camping you will not have to participate in camp chores. We buy fresh produce locally and ensure good standards of hygiene. We can cater for special dietary requirements and there are no extra food-kitty payments.

We can also arrange airport transfers and accommodation in Nairobi and Arusha for before and after your trip.

More Photos

Some of our previous guests have posted their pictures from this safari and are happy for you to view them - they're much better than my efforts:

Jack's photos

Burek’s photos – people & landscape, and wildlife

Trip Costs

Cost for scheduled departures: Group rates private departures:
US $4,395 per person if you join one of our scheduled departures - see When we go. We need a minimum of 2 people booked for these trips to run. Contact us for booking status if you are a single traveller. US $4,245 per person for group of 9 -12
US $4,395 per person for group of 5 - 8
US $4,695 per person for group of 3 - 4
US $4,995 per person for group of 2
US $7,240 for single person
Prices quoted include: Prices quoted exclude:
  • Transport - 4WD Toyota Landcruisers, with roof hatch for game viewing and guaranteed window seats
  • Hotel/lodge/permanent camp accommodation all with beds and mostly en-suite toilet/showers
  • All camping equipment on the three nights required including mattress, pillow, sleeping bag and cotton liner.
  • Dedicated wildlife/cultural guide, experienced driver, cook, and various local guides
  • All National Park entrance and other fees
  • All meals - from lunch Day 1 to lunch Day 14 and bottled drinking water
  • Donations to local community projects
  • International flights
  • Travel and personal accident insurance
  • Visa, passport, vaccinations, medicines
  • Tips (but we provide guidelines based on Lonely Planet guidebook advice)
  • Alcoholic drinks, souvenirs, personal items
  • Activities not detailed in the itinerary or any additional services you may request at the time

Site updated on 2nd Dec 2018

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