Africa, Kenya, Tanzania
Zanzibar, Kendwa, Ruaha National Park, Gombe National Park, Serengeti National Park, Amboseli National Park, Mount Kenya National Park
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Handcrafted to celebrate wildlife diversity, this two-week safari offers a very authentic journey through East African nature. You will track chimpanzees in remote Congo Basin forests, discover the Serengeti’s wildebeest herds, snorkel around Zanzibar, and safari on the majestic Ruaha savannah. This is not a classic safari itinerary to Tanzania and Kenya. The focus of this safari is on rare nature and unique wildlife, specifically of the kind that cannot be experienced outside East Africa.
Kendwa – Open Beaches and Laid-Back Hours
Kendwa is as laid-back as anywhere along the Indian Ocean. Its long white beach is backdropped by squat cliffs and indigenous forest. Dunes rise in some places, and when walking upon them, it can seem like you are on a deserted island. You can look out from your lodge to witness the Indian Ocean as it glistens blue. In fact, you can look out from anywhere in Kendwa, and there will not be much other than the ocean. Nearby Nungwe is a more popular destination in the north of Zanzibar. Kendwa’s beach is contiguous with Nungwe’s, but there are fewer resorts and far fewer people. It is a more exclusive base for exploring Zanzibar’s marine life, and after an airport transfer, today will be at your leisure. There are some local snorkeling spots that can be accessed directly from the beach.
Day 2 - 3
Kendwa – Zanzibar’s Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Highlights
Zanzibar offers superb Indian Ocean diving and snorkeling, especially at sites around the more sheltered north and west of the island. Over these two days, you can customize an ocean safari with an opportunity to dive, snorkel, or do a bit of both. Your guide knows a wide range of spots to consider, but areas with large swells are not for inexperienced swimmers or divers. If you are up for it, these areas can offer some stunning moments with dolphins and large game fish. Other snorkeling and diving sites can be accessed directly from the shore, so you can enjoy easy encounters with turtles and a diverse range of tropical fish.
You can also scuba dive if you are not a qualified diver. On a single day introductory course, you will learn the basics of remaining safe in the water before diving to a depth of around ten meters. Just to snorkel here is spectacular, especially at sites that feature slow drifts and deep reef walls. Here, you can literally drift along the Indian Ocean, admiring large and small creatures as they rise from the depths. These customizable wildlife highlights will be complemented by your time on the ocean. You will be cruising in a traditional wooden dhow. While the engine is used to get out to marine sites, you can cruise back with the wind ruffling the sail.
Day 4 - 5
Ruaha National Park – Immersed in Untouched East African Wilderness
The landscape will change dramatically when you fly to Ruaha this morning. Turquoise waters will be replaced by khaki-toned savannah, and instead of white sand, you will gaze upon swirls of dust that have been created by elephants and rambling antelope herds. Ruaha is pure wilderness, and large parts of it remain unknown, even to researchers and local tribes. While it can initially seem like jumping into the safari deep end, the beauty of Ruaha is visiting areas that rarely ever see vehicles. The wildlife is not accustomed to human contact or safari vehicles, so you can admire very natural reactions. In particular, you will witness the Big Five acting aggressively, and while this can be frightening, it is also a majestic display of power.
Of course, you will be safe in Ruaha although you should note that walks are not allowed due to the abundance of dangerous animals. You will be staying at a camp along the mighty Ruaha River, which is a place where animals come to drink amid danger. Lions and leopards hideout close to the water before striking in the cool hours of dawn and dusk. These predators can be encountered from close quarters, and you can often witness a hunt taking place or at least a carcass being devoured by hunters or scavengers.
These two days will involve quite a bit of driving as you explore some of the park’s depths. It will be a safari expedition of bumping around virgin trails as Africa’s most iconic wildlife makes an appearance. In this part of Tanzania, it will be hot and dusty and sometimes even a little uncomfortable. Unfortunately, that is the small price to pay when you can explore such a vast and unspoiled land. Most visitors to Tanzania safari in the north, which is where the Serengeti and Ngorongoro are situated. This park in the south and is one of Africa’s ultimate destinations, and here, you can have the safari all to yourself.
Day 6 - 7
Gombe National Park – Chimpanzee Encounters Along Lake Tanganyika
By staying off the beaten track, you will fly west to Gombe, which is a luxuriant jungle that is draped along Lake Tanganyika. On a clear day, you can look across the lake to the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is an indication that Gombe is located in an area that is completely different from the Ruaha savannah. This is a wild and mystical Congo Basin world, where colobus monkeys swing past the lodge and macaques peek down from the trees. Almost a dozen different primates live in the forest, and you can see them at different elevations along trails that must be reopened by the guide’s machete. The big highlight in Gombe is the chimpanzees, and you will have one afternoon and one full-day to find them.
Unlike elsewhere in East Africa, the Gombe chimpanzees have not been accustomed to human presence. This does make them a little harder to find, but a team of trackers will venture out before you, so you can usually walk directly to where the chimps are located. Non-habituated chimps will eye you with intense curiosity. You will be new to them, just as they are new to you. Their behaviors and interactions can make for spectacular scenes, especially as you appreciate how similar these mammals are to people. Even without the chimpanzees or all the other monkeys, Gombe is a stunning place to explore. It is also a jungle where you can forge new paths and feast on both smells and sounds.
Day 8 - 9
Serengeti National Park – Surrounded by Wildebeest and Zebra
The Serengeti is not off-the-beaten-track. This is one of the most studied ecosystems in Africa and one of the world-famous destinations that introduced safari to the rest of the world. You can still enjoy lots of space here because the entire Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem covers an area larger than many US states. It is home to Africa’s largest population of wild mammals, notably a combined 2 million zebra, wildebeest, and Thomson’s gazelle. Whatever the month and wherever the migration, you cannot visit the Serengeti and avoid these thousands of animals.
Wildebeest have ebullient characters and are brilliant to watch in the early morning, especially when they rut, gallop, and boast with their incredible energy. Zebras are cute, huddle together in large herds, and nestle on each other’s backs. Thomson’s gazelle jump clear of the Serengeti grasslands, bounding around puckishly in an effort to impress. Animals tend to cluster together in the Serengeti, so you can go a while without seeing much other than giraffes and elephants that never seem to leave the horizon. Then you can cross a ridge and view thousands of hooves and plenty of paws. Buffalos also march in huge numbers here, and they can often block the trail, so you must wait 30 minutes or longer for them to move.
All these ungulates attract predators, and that is why the Serengeti is such a fabulous destination. Lions prowl the plains, and you can sometimes witness many prides on a single drive. Leopards mostly lurk around the trees and high grass, but you should be able to get close to them over these two days. Hyenas are all around, and you can spot rarer cats such as cheetahs on regular occasions. Over these two days, you will explore large areas of the Serengeti, following wildlife storylines in a place of abundance. Each evening, you will camp on the grasslands, relax around a fire, and watch animals as silhouettes in the distance.
Day 10 - 11
Amboseli National Park – Kilimanjaro, Elephants, and Lively Waterholes
Amboseli is a very relaxed safari destination, especially after where you will have just been. You will fly to the Tanzanian border by light aircraft, cross into Kenya, and then continue for less than an hour to Amboseli. The elephants wander lazily here and are backdropped by the imperious cone of Mount Kilimanjaro. Wildlife can also seem inconspicuous at times, but your guide will lead you on a tour of the swamps and watering holes, where most of the animals spend their days. These watering holes get lively, especially around dawn and dusk. Predators hang out nearby, and although they rarely attack at the watering hole, they follow ungulates to and from water. In particular, you can witness lionesses on the move, prowling about with frightening intent.
This is a small national park with a life that revolves around a few specific areas. In Ruaha and Serengeti, you need long game drives in order to get around and see as much as possible. Now in Amboseli, you will have short morning and afternoon game drives, which will be complemented by plenty of downtime at your camp. From your private balcony, you can gaze upon Mount Kilimanjaro and then readjust your focus to find a buffalo or zebra as it grazes not far away.
Day 12 - 13
Mount Kenya National Park – Walking With Monkeys in Volcanic Forest
From arid plains to the volcanic rainforest, the landscape will transform once more. Mount Kenya is one of the finest places in Africa for walking safaris. Monkeys populate the forest along with endangered macaques and forest-dwelling antelope. Like Gombe, the trails are mostly untouched, twisting around Mount Kenya but also rising toward its summit. While conquering the mountain can be tempting, most of the wildlife is found at lower altitudes, where the forest meets savannah and provides a haven for a diverse variety of animals.
These two days will be very flexible. You can venture out on full-day walks with options for adventurous and difficult hikes and options with gentler trails that are better for people with a lower level of fitness. Colobus monkeys and buffalos march these trails as you explore the lower-altitude forest. Vervet monkeys may hang around your camp, and a couple of very rare macaque species can make for excellent focal points during your walks. You will also have the spellbinding frame of a snow-capped, African volcano. Mount Kenya is Africa’s second-highest mountain and is just as impressive as Kilimanjaro, especially when you walk and witness wildlife beneath its glistening snow.
Nairobi – Departure
From Mount Kenya, you will board your final safari flight. After cruising alongside Africa’s second-highest mountain, you will transfer to Nairobi Wilson Airport. From here, it will be a short transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your flight out of Africa. After two weeks on safari, you will have encountered the complete range of East African wildlife from chimpanzees to dolphins to wildebeest.
- Track rare chimpanzee troops during two days in remote Gombe, where the mystical forest meets the shores of Lake Tanganyika
- Explore the magnificent Serengeti grasslands during a two-day safari with Africa’s largest mammal herds
- Discover vibrant Indian Ocean waters with two days of scuba diving and snorkeling around Zanzibar
- Enter the unknown and spend two days on an overland safari adventure through Ruaha, which is one of Africa’s largest and most untouched savannahs
- Traverse volcanic forests and come face to face with many different monkeys, which will be your iconic experience from Mount Kenya National Park
- Marvel as elephants walk beneath Mount Kilimanjaro and discover the drama of Amboseli’s watering holes
$6,575 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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