Magical Mara & the Serene Serengeti
The shimmering plains of the Maasai Mara and Serengeti are home to one of the world's natural wonders - the sight of over a million wildebeest migrating with zebra and gazelle in search of fresh grasslands. Whether or not you're here at the right time to see this mystical spectacle, our grand tour of some of East Africa's most renowned national parks is designed to be a memorable trip and increases your chances of experiencing the spectacular migration.
Traversing the best areas of Kenya and Tanzania; elephants, wildebeest, lions and many more remarkable animals will be on show in their natural wild environment. Starting in the city of Nairobi provides the opportunity to have close encounters with giraffe and elephants at the Giraffe Centre and David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The ancient tranquillity of the Maasai Mara plains is the next destination packed with wildlife and adventure. Following this you will cross the border into Tanzania, visiting several world famous national parks including the splendour of the Ngorongoro Crater and finishing in the Serengeti. A lot is packed into this holiday but we've carefully designed it so that nothing feels rushed and you have plenty of time to drink in the views of those wide African skies in a variety of unforgettable ways and locations.
Visit and interact with giraffes, orphaned elephants and rhinos at sanctuaries in Nairobi
Vast numbers of wildlife in the Maasai Mara, Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks
Arusha city shopping, galleries, tanzanite, bead factory and coffee plantations
Wind your way up the Great Rift Valley and overlook the lake below
Picnic on the floor of the extinct volcano in Ngorongoro Crater
Sunsets and sundowners in spectacular locations
From the first conversation until you arrive home from your holiday, you’ll be looked after by one of our Travel Designers who has travelled extensively in the region and will give advice from their personal experience on how to make the most out of your trip.
All of our trips are entirely bespoke and we will continually refine your itinerary until it’s perfect.
Safari outfits on and camera packed; you are ready for your "Out of Africa" experience in some of the world's best-loved national parks. Depart for Kenya on your flight from London to Nairobi, the capital city. On arrival, Swissport airside assistance will meet you and help with customs and immigration clearance after which you will meet your safari guide for a transfer to your hotel: the luxurious five-star Hemingways Nairobi. With butler service, 80 square metre bedrooms and a private terrace, indulge in the deluxe suite as you relax after the intercontinental flight.
After a good night of rest and you have enjoyed your breakfast; adventure on some great excursions. Your safari guide will drive you first to visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Elephant Orphanage. This Trust does valuable conservation work hand-rearing orphaned elephants and rhinos before re-introducing them back into the wild. Get involved in a wonderful operation which is saving some of Africa's endangered and threatened wildlife.
Following this heartwarming experience, have lunch at the Tamambo Restaurant, enjoying a drive through the bustling modern city of Nairobi en route. After lunch, transfer to the Karen Blixen Museum - situated on the very farm where Karen Blixen lived and wrote a story made famous by the 1985 film Out of Africa starring Meryl Streep. The final stop is a visit to the Giraffe Centre where you can see and actually feed a Rothschild giraffe by hand from the observation platform. Animal encounters don't get much closer and safer than this! In the evening return to Hemingways to reminisce on a glorious day in Nairobi.
Things to do
It is time to explore some of Kenya's most spectacular natural wilderness as you head to the magical Maasai Mara. In the morning your guide will transfer you to Nairobi Wilson airport to connect to the short 45-minute flight hop to the Maasai Mara. On touch down a lodge guide and vehicle will meet you. Enjoy your first taste of game viewing on the way to your residence for the next three nights: the beautiful Ashnil Mara. There's a game viewing drive in the afternoon, before you return to the lodge in the evening. Enjoy the sunset with a local tipple in hand before dinner.
Over the next two days head out in a camp vehicle for game viewing in the mornings and afternoons. Stretching over hundreds of miles, the Maasai Mara is home to Kenya's red-robed Maasai people who traditionally share the land with its plentiful wildlife. You might be lucky and see some of the most sought after animals in Africa; lion, elephant, buffalo and the famously elusive but breathtakingly gorgeous leopard. Allow yourself to be seduced by the warm air and flat vistas, where animals roam free. In the evening head back to your lodge and take in the fabulous views of wildlife whilst the sun sets from the comfort of your viewing deck.
Things to do
After clearing customs and immigration at Kilimanjaro Airport, you'll be greeted by your guide and transferred the hour's drive to your hotel: the elegant Arusha Coffee Lodge. Put down your bags and relax for the afternoon with the opportunity to visit the Shanga bead factory, coffee shop and curio within the coffee gardens. This very worthwhile social enterprise employs local talented disabled people who make beautiful hand-made jewellery and glassware. All arts and crafts are sold on site and you are welcome to watch, learn about and get involved with the artwork and people. It is a great project and a successful attraction in its own right. In the evening, after dinner, nestle in among the aromatic coffee trees in your plantation room for a good night's sleep.
The following day, an interesting guided tour of the coffee estate awaits, where you'll learn all about how the beans are harvested and roasted. Have lunch at the lodge with an "as fresh as it gets" cup of joe before your tour of the city of Arusha commences in the afternoon. On the Arusha city tour sights and stops include a visit to the Tanzanite Museum to view and learn about the incredibly precious and rare blue gemstone before a spot of shopping at the local markets and galleries. Return to your hotel for a delicious dinner and your last night on the plantation.
Things to do
Tarangire National Park
This morning head to one of Tanzania's lesser-known national parks, Tarangire. Enjoy the scenic drive from Arusha to Tarangire, enter the park and head to where you'll stay in the peaceful surroundings of Tarangire Simba Lodge. The setting is fantastic and provides the feeling of being right in the centre of the African wilderness, it is a heavenly spot.
On arrival at the lodge admire the open views to the gorgeous Lake Burunge. Simba Lodge overlooks its own waterhole where there is often one or more of the following drinking: elephant, giraffe, waterbuck, zebra, lion, bushbuck, impala, porcupine, monkeys, warthog, mongoose and more.
Once you have settled into your room after check in and dropped off your bags. Savour some lunch whilst viewing wildlife from the elevated platforms. You may like to go on a game drive in the afternoon to see if you can spot some of the prolific wildlife and vibrant birds for which the park is renowned. In the evening, as the sun sets head back to the lodge for some pre dinner drinks, dinner and a restful night.
This morning, after a leisurely breakfast and check out, experience Tarangire for the last time before heading to the exit gate when you are ready.
Start the steep ascent drive all the while skirting the edges of Lake Manyara National Park. Stop to admire the stunning vistas over the Great Rift Valley, which you have just wound your way up, and Lake Eyasi down below before continuing onto the edge of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Karatu.
On arrival at your new residence, Karatu Simba Lodge, deep in the rural farmlands take in blissful views of the landscape from the countryside lodge whilst receiving a warm welcome, a refreshing drink and a cool towel to rinse away the dust of your journey. Once checked in and settled, enjoy a late lunch in a setting that promotes relaxation. Listen for the distant whistle of the herd boys, the occasional tractor and the chatter of twittering birds. For what's left of the afternoon marvel in the wonderful topography filled with abundant and varied birdlife including weavers, wagtails, sunbirds and many more. Before dinner watch the sun set over the Ngorongoro Forest while millions of stars slowly reveal their twinkle. Tonight ensure that your camera gets plenty of charge for tomorrow's adventure.
Early the next day head to the natural wonder that is the Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage site formed from a volcano where the land drops down 2,000 feet from rim to base. It is home to some 30,000 animals and, due to its natural boundaries, offers the best chance to see the famous "Big Five". Fortified by breakfast, begin the drive up to the rim of the crater where you will stop at the viewpoint before dropping to the floor of the extinct volcano. The early morning mists will only add to the magical atmosphere. Spot rhino, hippo, Thomson's gazelle, zebra, cheetah, buffalo, flamingos... we could go on and on but we would be here all day listing the mammals and birds on show. When you feel you need a break from the endless stream of wildlife passing by your 4X4 stop for a picnic lunch and eat surrounded by some of the most spectacular wildlife and natural sights in the world. When you've seen your fill, head back up the crater wall to your lodge in Karatu for dinner and the chance to look over your photos from the day before retiring for the night.
Serengeti National Park
Head to the most famous park of them all today, the beautiful wide-open Serengeti National Park. On the way you'll get another chance to see the lush Ngorongoro Crater as you drive along the rim en route to the central Serengeti. Arrive for lunch at the Asanja Africa Moru Camp, a luxury camp with culinary delights in one of the Serengeti's most beautiful areas. Enjoy a game drive in the afternoon and head back to camp for dinner and a good night's sleep.
The last few days of your safari in the Serengeti is free to fill as you wish or simply not fill by kicking back and enjoying this beautiful natural spectacle in your Maasai themed accommodation, on your private deck or lazing under a tree as you read a book. Come evening, sip cocktails as you watch the setting sun before enjoying fabulous seasonal local and international cuisine.
There is the option of further game drives through these grasslands that seem to go on and on forever, where you might see stately herds of elephants; lions lazily lying under the shade of a tree or a very rare glimpse of an endangered and near extinct rhino. The Serengeti is a bird-watcher's paradise too, with at least 350 different species at home here including 34 raptors. In June, July, November and December the famous migration, where millions of grazing wildebeest and zebra head en masse in search of further grasslands, is a simply mesmerising sight in the Moru Koppies area.
On your final day, when it's time to head home, savour your last breakfast in Tanzania before the drive to Seronera airstrip where you will connect to your flight to Kilimanjaro International airport. On arrival in Kilimanjaro connect to your international flight home with your head full of the quiet peace of East Africa's glorious plains and its mighty wildlife.