Kenya & Tanzania Safari: Wildebeest Migration Plus Zanzibar

A 14 day trip to Kenya & Tanzania 
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Lions gaze upon zebra herds, and hyenas track ebullient wildebeest as drama and charm play out on the grasslands. On the move are 2 million mammals, and you track their journey, exploring the secrets of the great wildebeest migration. Exclusive experiences enhance your connection, including a walk with Masai warrior guides and going off trail to find leopards and cheetahs. Also, on this safari is a day in Ngorongoro Crater before you culminate your vacation on a white sand beach in Zanzibar.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Nairobi, Mara North, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Stone Town, Jozani Forest, Pingwe, Zanzibar Town

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Nairobi – Welcomed to East Africa by Giraffe

Giraffes will crane their necks through your hotel window, which will prove an unforgettable introduction to East Africa. Endangered Rothschild giraffes will roam the grounds, and they are partial to meeting guests sometimes in the afternoon but most commonly over breakfast. The hotel and conservation project have helped to preserve this rare giraffe subspecies, as well as provide extremely intimate encounters for the guests. You will land in Nairobi where you will be transferred to your hotel, and the afternoon and evening will be at your leisure. You can explore the Giraffe Centre without a guide for your first dose of East African wildlife.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Nairobi – Easing Into It In Nairobi National Park

Your first day on your safari will bring excitement. You will arrive with perceptions of animals and experiences, but it is never quite what you imagine. Safaris are not a checklist exercise, and it is more important to slow down and to really understand that this is the wild. Nairobi National Park may be backdropped by city towers, but it is only partially fenced and offers a diverse safari welcome. You can spot rhinos on the open savanna, watch elephants swing their trunks, and surround yourself with buffalo. You will get to know what it is like on a game drive, including the leisurely pace and how to best take photos. Wildlife is not overly abundant here, but there is a wonderful diversity of life and a very easy introduction to the safari experience.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Mara North – First Impressions of the Grasslands

On a short safari, you will swap Nairobi for the Masai Mara. Your aircraft will touch down directly in Mara North, which is the far north of the Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystem. This is a private conservancy that is adjacent to the Masai Mara National Reserve. Access is restricted to guests staying in the conservancy, and the rules are different. Here, you can go on game walks, and most importantly, you can drive off the trails. This is essential for close-up encounters with the big cats, particularly leopards and cheetahs. Having fewer guests also provides exclusivity.

On an afternoon game drive, you will gain more first impressions. Open grasslands will be punctuated by sun-scorched rocks where lions will lazily watch you pass. Thomson’s gazelle will skip cheerily across the plains, and elephants will be conspicuous. There will be a moment where time stands still, and through the grass, you will identify moving spots. Going off the trail, you will get closer, and you will witness a leopard prowling towards the gazelle, moving beautifully with its cloak of camouflage. Every wildlife sighting will be special. Some, like leopards, really make your heart stop, and it is these experiences that make Mara North so unforgettable.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4: Mara North – Full Day in the Masai Mara National Reserve

Wake early for a full day adventure in the Masai Mara. Entering the main national reserve, you must stick to trails. These grasslands are packed with life every month of the year. Wildebeest cross the river around late July and early August, but this is not the best time to visit. Crowds detract from the experience, and many visitors wait three to four days just to see a crossing. While 2 million mammals make up the migration, these are just wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, and spotted hyena. These animals have the stamina to travel, and they are joined by vultures in the air.

The other predators cannot keep up. Furthermore, they must stay at home to protect their territories. Hyenas are unique in that they will allow rivals to pass through but not stop in their territory. Lions trying to follow the wildebeest will be quickly rebuffed by other prides. So, your experience in the Masai Mara always brings many species of animals every month of the year. During today’s full-day game drive, you will trace the Mara River curves, stopping for a picnic beside a pod of rowdy hippos. You will visit waterholes to see intense daily dramas as you search for big cats around the kopjes. Most impressively, you will begin to appreciate the phenomenal scale of the ecosystem and the abundance of the large mammals that live here year-round.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Mara North – Walking With Masai Warriors

Tentative footsteps will take you into lion country. Masai warriors will your guides. If you look up ahead, you will be able to spot an elephant herd on the move. Zebra and wildebeest will also be very close. You will be silent and unthreatening, so these animals will not run. Even buffalo can be encountered from close quarters. It will be frightening at first, but the Masai have coexisted with these animals for many generations. They know how to interpret animal behavior and plot a safe route. So, you will walk, feeling a deep connection with the Masai Mara grasslands and experiencing the thrill of the plains. Walking with Masai is just one exclusive activity at your Mara North camp. Also, today there will be an opportunity for a nighttime game drive and an afternoon drive that will focus on the cheetah.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Serengeti – Tracking the Wildebeest Herds

You will travel by land to the Serengeti, which will prove to be an adventurous journey that showcases how the landscape changes. There are more kopjes and undulations in the Masai Mara, which means more hiding places for predators. South of the Mara River, it is very flat. It is so flat that there is sometimes a mirage that appears along the horizon. When driving south, it will seem like there are no animals. For an hour, there may be nothing, just lush, high-rising grass and the occasional elephant. Soon, you will cross a ridge, and you will suddenly be confronted by hundreds of thousands of wild mammals.

This is where your camp is: in the midst of the great wildebeest migration. By moving with the migration, the seasonal camp ensures visitors are always in the heart of the action. So, it will not matter the time of year. Most of the herds are in the Serengeti from November until July, so if you visit from August to October this entire safari excursion will be the same. During these months, the Serengeti camp sets up around the southern bank of the Mara River. Not every wildebeest makes the river crossing. Often the weak and sick are left behind, which become easy prey for resident cats. You will arrive at your camp today, and the experience will all be about abundance with such a profusion of life spilling out all around you.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Serengeti – Predator Versus Prey on the Open Plains

Hyenas will move through the grass at dawn. They are quick as they scamper across open grasslands on the trail of wildebeest. While some wildebeest gallop and run enthusiastically, others struggle to keep up. The weak will be left behind, and this is why spotted hyenas follow the migration. Later on your drive, you may find a lion pride with a zebra carcass. The great wildebeest migration is defined by predator and prey battles, so it is impossible to predict what you will encounter. Staying amid the herds ensures that you are alert to the most evocative animal encounters possible.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Serengeti to Ngorongoro Conservation Area – Completing the Journey Across the Serengeti Ecosystem

You will complete your journey as you drive south across the grasslands. Giraffes and elephants will watch you pass, cheetahs will hide in the grass, buffalo herds will huff as you stop beside them, and warthogs will scurry away from the water as hippos barrel into the water. You will now be accustomed to the key players of the landscape. Wildebeest will stretch out as hundreds of thousands of them cover an immense distance while zebra cluster together in tight herds, so their black and white stripes appear as a blur to predators. You will exit by crossing the Ndutu Plains and ascending into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where your lodge will be perched on the crater rim.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Ngorongoro Conservation Area – Dramatic Encounters in Ngorongoro Crater

Descending into the world’s largest volcanic caldera, you will find a wildlife Mecca. Giant elephant bulls will roam past you with horns so long they curl skywards. One lake has been painted pink by flamingos while another is dominated by hippo antics. Lions will be up to their usual tricks, chomping into zebra after using the morning mist as a hunting veil. Some 30,000 animals live in this crater, and as the mist clears, you will appreciate the grandeur. In one glance, you can view the entire caldera floor with perhaps ten different animal species in your 360-degree panorama. After ascending to the lodge for lunch, the afternoon will be left free with views into the crater being ideal for some tranquil safari reflections.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: Stone Town – Alluring Culture on Zanzibar Island

You will fly directly to Zanzibar and spend the day in Stone Town where a thousand years of history and culture play out on its mazy streets. Sounds will echo down lanes of coral houses, and smells entice with everything from stone-baked bread to small barbecues and intoxicating spices. At the Old Fort, you will hear tales of Zanzibar’s history from Omani rulers to Chinese traders and Arabian influence. The House of Wonders will share more modern stories, mostly from the 16th to 19th centuries. There is a majestic beauty at the Sultan’s Palace, which is a beautiful Zanzibari style. You will finish your alluring day at Darajani Market, which is the main bazaar that proves to be a hive of activity late in the day with everything from slabs of meat to sandals and spices.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 11: Stone Town to Jozani Forest to Pingwe – Culture, Colobus Monkeys and the Beach

You will continue your cultural exploration this morning, focusing on Zanzibar’s role in the slave trade. It can be tough viewing, especially when hearing the stories or visiting Tippu Tip’s House. These stories are balanced by the Zanzibar of today, which is an exotic and enchanting maze that will be a delight to explore on foot. After lunch, you will drive to Jozani Forest and Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park where endangered red colobus monkeys will swing through the trees. They are plentiful on the island and are quite a sight with strange white faces that peer curiously to their human visitors down. Jozani is on route to your beach villa in Pingwe, which is where the culture and safari will fade away into white sand escapism.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Days 12 – 13: Pingwe – Lazy Days on the White Sand

Pingwe is located on Zanzibar’s less developed southeastern coast. At low tide the beach will appear to be endless, stretching some 30 miles towards the island’s tip. Coral cliffs backdrop the sand and are beautifully carved by Indian Ocean waves. High tide brings water against these cliffs, dividing the beach into a series of coves. Your hotel will have one of these, and it is rare that anyone else will be on the sand. With so much space and so few people, this side of Zanzibar is just like the Indian Ocean island promise.

These two days will be at your leisure, and the main highlight will be just relaxing. After some busy days on your safari, it is nice to have downtime before your journey home. The safari will have relaxed you and helped you connect to the natural world and leave your modern stresses behind. Zanzibar will complete your feeling of personal serenity with little but the Indian Ocean and white sand to keep you company. So, laze beneath the palms, sip cocktails on the sand, and reflect on your safari that took you across Tanzania and Kenya.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 14: Pingwe to Zanzibar Town – Departure

From Pingwe, it will be a one-hour transfer to Zanzibar’s airport and your outbound flight.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Price 

Your custom trip package will include accommodations, transportation within the country, guided tours and activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24x7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.