- Go on an urban safari in Nairobi visiting baby elephants and feeding giraffes
- Take a driving safari in a park that's best known for its herds of elephants
- Search for Serengeti's resident buffaloes, rhinos, leopards, and lions
- Stay in a range of exotic, upscale lodgings including one with spacious walk-in tents
- Visit a community project that makes exquisite jewelry from recycled materials
|Day 1||Arrive in Nairobi||Nairobi|
|Day 2||Safari in Nairobi National Park - Conservation & Culture Tour||Nairobi|
|Day 3||Fly to Tarangire National Park (Tanzania) - Game Drive||Tarangire National Park|
|Day 4||Transfer to Serengeti National Park, via Olduvai Gorge||Serengeti National Park|
|Day 5||Explore Serengeti National Park||Serengeti National Park|
|Day 6||Transfer to the Ngorongoro Crater - Game Drive||Karatu|
|Day 7||Fly to Nairobi - Depart Kenya|
Day 1: Arrive in Nairobi
Welcome to Nairobi! Upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), you will be met by a private car and transferred to your hotel in Kenya's bustling capital. Take some time to rest at your hotel.
This metro area of more than six million residents is a cultural hotbed in East Africa. If you have time, check out some of the city's infamous markets or spend some time wandering through the impressive Nairobi National Museum, which offers a range of cultural and historical exhibits.
While out and about exploring, look for cafés serving coffee made from locally-sourced beans and restaurants serving authentic Kenyan fare.
Day 2: Safari in Nairobi National Park - Conservation & Culture Tour
Today, you'll join a full-day excursion visiting some of the best sights around Nairobi!
Skip the morning trip with an early pick-up for Nairobi National Park where you'll take a half-day safari. The park offers 45 square miles (117 sq m) and 80+ species of mammals that roam free, including most members of the 'Big Five' (excluding the elephant). The park was established in 1945 as the first national park in Kenya and, today, there are lions, leopards, zebras, rhinos, wildebeest, and abundant birdlife. This is also one of the best places in Kenya to see the black and white rhinos.
In the mid-morning, you'll head to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage to see young elephants that have been rescued and are cared for until released back to the wild. There's even an option to sponsor an orphan elephant, allowing you to return to the center later in the day to help feed and tuck your adopted elephant into its bed.
Around midday, your driver will take you to the Utamaduni Craft Center, a charitable organization set in a large colonial house. Here, you'll find more than a dozen separate rooms selling all kinds of excellent artworks and souvenirs from around Africa. The on-site garden restaurant is also a great spot for lunch.
Last but not least, the afternoon is dedicated to visiting the Giraffe Center, run by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), established in 1979 to conserve the Rothschild’s giraffe. At the time of AFEW’s foundation, a mere 130 wild Rothschild’s giraffes survived in Kenya. Thanks to this organization, which breeds giraffes and releases them into the wild, that number stands around 300. You can view some of the current residents from a raised platform and help with feeding. Also onsite is a bird sanctuary and a self-guided walking trail.
The rest of the day is free time. Some optional activities include the Bomas of Kenya—a cultural center in Langata comprised of 11 life-size homesteads (bomas) representing different traditional construction styles from around the country. Daily performances include drumming and dancing representing traditions from around the country. You could also take a tour of a women's work cooperative called Kazuri Beach Factory.
When you've had your fill of activities, make your way back to the hotel. If you would like to stop along the way for dinner, your driver can assist with suggestions and making arrangements.
Day 3: Fly to Tarangire National Park (Tanzania) - Game Drive
After breakfast, your driver will pick you up to transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your early morning flight departure to Tanzania.
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be met by private car to transfer you to Tarangire National Park (118 miles/190 km), which offers diverse landscapes and animals range from swarms of yellow-breasted lovebirds to buffaloes, giraffes, and warthogs. Predators include lions, leopards, and hyenas. More than anything, though, the park is best known for its elephants.
After lunch, you’ll enjoy an afternoon game drive hunting for wildlife along the sandy banks of the Tarangire River, set against the stunning backdrop of majestic baobab trees and twisted acacias. As the sun sets, you’ll transfer to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
One option for accommodations is the Tarangire Safari Lodge, with private, spacious bungalows near a large watering hole, providing the opportunity to watch wildlife from your shaded verandah. Each unit comes with a large en-suite bathroom, a solar-heated shower, and bedding made from local textiles.
Day 4: Transfer to Serengeti National Park, via Olduvai Gorge
After breakfast, it's time to drive to Olduvai Gorge as you make your way to the Serengeti National Park (137 miles/220 km).
Olduvai Gorge is the history-changing archaeological site made famous by the Leakey family. More specifically, it is in this place where Mary Leakey discovered a fossil of a 1.8 million-year-old ape-like skull, named Lucy. During your stop, you can explore the remarkable documentation of ancient life, in which layers of volcanic deposits were laid down in orderly sequence over almost 2 million years.
Then, proceed to Serengeti National Park, one of the world's most magnificent natural landscapes wherein the harmony of nature can be appreciated as nowhere else on earth. Known to the local people as 'Siringet,' which means 'the place of the endless plains,' the park is world-renowned for its healthy populations of resident wildlife species, in particular, the Big Five consisting of buffaloes, elephants, rhinoceroses, leopards, and lions.
Although sightings are considered a rarity, a small group of black rhinoceros also live within the park grounds. Dense concentrations of topi, gazelle, waterbuck, and Coke's hartebeest ensure that local carnivores, including cheetah, hyenas, and African wild dogs, are ever-present. The park is also home to more than 500 species of birds, including ostriches, crowned cranes, marabou storks, and secretary birds—some of the most sought-after and photogenic birds on the planet.
One option for lodging in the area is the Serengeti Heritage Camp for travelers seeking an authentic African camp ambiance. Sitting snugly in a clearing surrounded by Acacia trees are 13 spacious walk-in tents, each equipped with running water, flush toilets, and hot/cold water showers. The eco-friendly camp runs entirely on solar energy for electricity and hot water supply. A backup generator is available only to ensure electricity supply throughout rainy days.
Day 5: Explore Serengeti National Park
Today you'll have the entire day to enjoy morning and afternoon private game drives in the central Serengeti, known for predators such as leopards, lions, and cheetahs, along with giraffes, zebras, hippos, baboons, wildebeests, warthogs, gazelles, crocodiles, and numerous bird species.
If you happen to be traveling from December to March, you may catch some large herd action during the Serengeti Migration. Enjoy!
Day 6: Transfer to the Ngorongoro Crater - Game Drive
Today, you'll transfer to Tanzania's prehistoric Ngorongoro Crater (41 miles/66 km)—a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Deep within its immense walls is a breathtaking blue-green landscape dotted with plains, lakes, and forests.
The crater formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed on itself some two to three million years ago. It is 2,000 feet deep (609 m), and its floor covers 100 square miles (259 sq km). This incredible natural amphitheater is teeming with massive bull elephants, leopards, rhinos, wildebeests, buffalo, and the highest concentration of lions in Africa. Enjoy a day of game driving before transferring to your lodging.
One option for accommodations in the area is the Bougainvillea Safari Lodge, a small sanctuary where safari travelers can take a break from the dusty roads and enjoy fresh country cuisine, a garden environment, and stellar Tanzanian hospitality. The lodge is 100% Tanzanian owned, with all staff living in the nearby town and surrounding villages. The cottages are in the property's lush landscapes, with a coffee garden and pool area. Each room comes with a mosquito-netted bed, a dressing area, a fireplace, a large bathroom and shower, and a veranda from which to enjoy the views.
Day 7: Fly to Nairobi - Depart Kenya
It's time to say goodbye! At the designated time, you'll transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport (149 miles/240 km) for a flight to Nairobi where you'll connect to your departure flight. Safe travels!
If you have time in the morning, consider visiting Shanga, a social enterprise since 2007 that employs people with disabilities to create unique, high-quality, handmade jewelry, glassware and homeware using recycled materials (great for souvenirs). Products are sold in Tanzania and all over the world, with profits being reinvested back into the employment of disabled people.