Wonders of East Africa: Kenya & Tanzania Fly-In Safari

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Adult giraffe walking through tall, dry grasslands of Maasai Mara, Kenya, Africa
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Total Trip:

14 Days
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Countries Visited:

Kenya, Tanzania
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Places Visited:

Nairobi, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Ruaha National Park, Dar es Salaam
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
East Africa’s diverse natural wonders are not connected by paved roads as they are the wilderness spread across landscapes where wildlife thrives free of human contact. On your luxurious, 14-day excursion, you will witness rhinos in the Laikipia Plateau, the great wildebeest migration across the Serengeti and Masai Mara, Ngorongoro Crater, and the unique Ruaha National Park. A luxury fly-in safari enables you to connect these distant, region-wide destinations. Welcome to the best safari locations

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Day 1

Nairobi – Hotel Encounters With Giraffe

You will arrive in Nairobi, and giraffes will provide your welcome. They will wander the grounds of your hotel, sometimes poking their heads through the first-floor bedroom windows. The surrounding conservation area provides refuge for the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, and their intensely vibrant markings will be a feature of every afternoon at the hotel. The most exciting scene will be of the giraffes poking their heads through a window, although this is more common during the mornings when breakfast is served to your room. After a short airport transfer, you will have a free afternoon at the hotel with the conservation area providing comfortable and self-guided wildlife interactions.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 2 - 4

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy – Exclusive Encounters With the Big Five

From Nairobi is a short flight north to the Laikipia Plateau, which is one of Africa’s finest conservation success stories. Wildlife proliferated here for countless millennia until the sad tales of over-hunting, habitat destruction, and poaching. The recent recovery has been superb with privately operated conservancies working in partnership with each other. Various species have been re-introduced while migratory wildlife routes have been re-opened, so animals move freely between the different conservancies. The Laikipia Plateau now offers an excellent variety and abundance that is perfect for a first-time safari. The private conservancies are deliberately exclusive, providing serenity for the guests and animals. Plus, with clear rules about the number of vehicles per sighting, a conservancy like Lewa will cultivate a very personal safari experience.

Lions will walk lazily along the grasslands here, watching you drive past, and elephants will cluster around a woodland, sometimes smashing a path through the trees. Rhinos are the big highlight, and it is certain that you will see over a hundred of them grazing and browsing throughout the conservancy. Both white and black rhinos can be encountered here, which is rare in itself and there is nowhere better in East Africa for interacting with these endangered giants. Leopards will be a little harder to spot, so nighttime game drives will become an important part of your safari program. It will be after dark that this spotted hunter and with other cats are more easily encountered.

Lewa is not a particularly large conservancy, and certainly not a destination that is on the scale of the Serengeti and Ruaha, which are still to come. Safari activities will be relatively short, usually being two to three hours at a time, which will leave plenty of downtime for you at the lodge. This is a peaceful safari destination with so many animals in close proximity. With a total of two weeks on your safari, Lewa will provide an opportunity to take things slowly and gradually slide into the wildlife experience. You will enjoy intimacy with the notorious Big Five, particularly on a walking safari through rhino country with a supporting cast of animals that will help you understanding life on the savannah.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 5 - 6

Olare Motorogi Conservancy – Big Cat Experiences in the Masai Mara

With fly-in safaris, you will jump from wilderness to wilderness. The airlines do not have fixed schedules, and each day’s route is dictated by the guests that are flying. Sometimes you land in another conservancy or park that is on the way. Far from inconvenient, these short stops provide a glimpse at somewhere new and are a chance to appreciate how each destination has a landscape that is so unique. Today’s destination will be the Masai Mara. More specifically, a small Masai-operated conservancy that very close to the main reserve. It is an integral piece of the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem, but visitor access is carefully restricted. The Masai Mara National Reserve can be crowded with vehicles, sometimes up to a dozen being clustered around a rare sight. You will not have to worry about this though as you will be on Olare Motorogi, which is one of the most exclusive conservancies.

You will check in for two days, and the safari’s focus will turn to the cats. These open grasslands celebrate the rhythm of life and the constant fight for survival when competition is fierce. Thomson’s gazelle will roam in their tens of thousands, speckling the grass throughout each day. Zebras will move in large herds and will appear as a mirage of stripes that unfolds when you get closer. Wildebeest are the famous resident here, and the Masai Mara has a large population of them all year around. While the majority of visitors want to see the Mara during the great wildebeest migration, most of the animals do not migrate. Other than hyenas, predators cannot keep pace with the herds, and it is in the less abundant months when the most dramatic scenes take place.

A cheetah will hide in the grass. From a vehicle, it will be easy to spot, although the gazelle remain unaware of danger. Draped across a tree branch, you will see a leopard. As this is a private conservancy, the driver will take you off the trail, so it will become an intimate close-up sighting as the leopard descends effortlessly into the grass. Masai warriors will be your guides, and during these two days will be possible to go on a walking safari with them, crossing open plains and feeling the thrill of the wild. Two days will be plenty of time in the conservancy as you still have the Serengeti to come

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 7 - 9

Serengeti National Reserve – Immersed in the Grasslands

You will need two flights for the trip to the Serengeti. Take one to the Tanzania border, and drive across and through passport control. Then you will take a second flight into the heart of the grasslands. From the air, you will watch how herds roam. Once you are on the ground, you will listen and smell the drama, sensing how much life is just beyond the ridge. Your camp will relocate every month, moving with the wildebeest migration, so guests are always in the midst of the greatest animal abundance. While various online maps suggest the traditional migratory route, these are hugely simplistic. If you arrive two weeks late, the animals may have left. A mobile camp will be the supreme migration experience.

Check in and check out the space. Grasslands extend in all directions, and there are no fences. Every evening a roaring fire will keep the big cats away, although you are likely to hear lions after dark. During the day, you will gaze upon the grazers, immersing all your senses in the Serengeti’s rhythm of life. Now in the Serengeti National Reserve, the safari activities are restricted to daytime game drives. These usually react to wildlife movement, and the schedule will be very flexible. You can spend the full day on a drive, taking a packed lunch and snacks, or you can stick to early morning and late afternoon when the animals are at their most active.

Safaris in large parks, like the Serengeti, are always unpredictable. In smaller conservancies, the guides are aware of where particular animals like to hide. On the open grasslands, there are more animals, but there is also a huge amount of space, so guides must skillfully follow clues to bring you the best encounters. This is where mobile camps excel. As the most exclusive and revered places to stay, these camps are also where the very best guides want to work. Here, they can be tested every hour. Like you, these guides love wildlife and want to understand what is happening in the wild. Unlike you, they have decades of experience living amid these animals, so they can predict the direction that herds and predators will turn.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 10

Ngorongoro Crater – A Wildlife Eden Inside a Volcanic Caldera

After a final morning game drive, you will fly to Ngorongoro Conservation Area before descending into the crater around midday. This may seem like an odd time to start an activity, but game drives here are limited to six daylight hours per vehicle. You will enter at midday, which is when you will first explore the woodlands where elephants will be among the giants resting in the shade. Shortly afterward, you will begin roaming across the caldera floor, watching how animals emerge in the later afternoon hours. Then, you can relax until dusk.

Buffalo will graze and march, and hippos will briefly emerge, eating beside a lake before returning to the water. Flamingos will carpet one lake in pink, while hyena will be very conspicuous as they pass. Lions will continue to mark your everyday experience, and the variety of antelope will always bring a smile. The afternoon is not the best time to see the Ngorongoro Crater rhinos. Instead, the big highlight of Ngorongoro is how much diversity you can encounter in a single glance. During the afternoons in this old volcano, you can enjoy a 360-degree panorama that takes in the entire caldera. Some 30,000 animals live in that vista, and it will be amazing.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 11 - 13

Ruaha National Park – Offbeat Safari Experiences in Southern Tanzania

Today, you will venture off the beaten track to complete your safari, flying south to the vastly under-visited Ruaha National Park. This is one of East Africa’s largest ecosystems, but still, not many people safari in southern Tanzania. Getting here is arduous and long when coming by road, but your fly-in safari will do the journey in just two hours from Ngorongoro. You will touch down, and your base will be along the Great Ruaha River, which is the lifeblood of a landscape that is parched for most of the year. Animals will gather around the water, often moving with the river’s twists and turns. In Ruaha, you will not need a private conservancy to enjoy exclusivity. You can even drive a whole day and not see another vehicle, even when staying close to the river.

Ruaha will provide drama and scale. The lions can be aggressive, and the elephants can be rowdy. Giraffes will swing their necks, antelope will lock horns, and hippos will charge around as fierce nighttime calls perforate the air. Three days will be the minimum because it is such a large park. Each day, you will explore a different area, but you will always return to the riverbank and wildlife around your lodge. You have already been close to all the different animals, and with these three days in Ruaha, you will be in search of dramatic behavior and safari scenes that few people ever have the privilege to witness.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 14

Ruaha to Dar es Salaam - Departure

After a relaxed morning around the camp, you will fly to Dar es Salaam, which is Tanzania’s largest city. Your international departure will set off from here.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Allow Masai warriors to guide you around the Masai Mara on foot, just one aspect of the exclusivity in Olare Motorogi Conservancy
  • Explore the wildlife drama of Ruaha National Park, which is vast and mostly inaccessible and is located far from the tourist trail
  • Descend into Ngorongoro Crater and feast your senses on a playground of animal activity
  • Follow the great wildebeest migration by staying at a mobile camp in the Serengeti
  • Become acquainted with all of Africa’s most famous animals at your first safari stop, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, in the Laikipia Plateau
  • Fly between destinations for spectacular views that will take your breath away
  • Partake in a game drive after dark, walk amid rhinos, and learn how to track wildlife with indigenous guides
  • Bask in photography huts, enjoying superb intimacy with the giants
  • Luxuriate at some of East Africa’s finest accommodations where the premium is always on the best possible location for wildlife encounters
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Detailed Description

Africa is enormous, and some of its national parks are larger than the state of New Jersey. Certain conservation areas are larger than Florida and getting to the safari destinations is not always straightforward. These are wildernesses without paved roads and natural habitats that have thrived because they were never impacted by human developments. Furthermore, Africa’s best safari destinations are not found in the same place. They are interspersed across a continent that is triple the size of the United States. This presents two options: visiting destinations that are close to each other or connecting the very best destinations using safari flights.

With a fly-in safari, you travel from wilderness to wilderness. Essentially, you never leave the wild. Touch down on dusty airstrips, escape in otherwise inaccessible camps where people can only ever be visitors, and surround yourself with Africa’s greatest wildlife populations. Inaccessibility and exclusivity is one aspect of the appeal here. While the Masai Mara and Ngorongoro are famous and popular, gaining access to destinations like Ruaha National Park provides a new dimension to the safari experience. The camps you use are positioned in the most wildlife-rich areas, and these are often far away from the main park entrances. So, not only do you fly to distant destinations, you fly directly to the best safari locales.

Two weeks provides time to cover five different destinations at a very relaxed pace. These can be consolidated into ten or twelve days if you have less time. As with all fly-in safaris, the itinerary is very flexible, so there is a large degree of possible customization. You will take an international flight into Nairobi and spend your first evening with giraffes poking their heads through your bedroom window. Fly north on day two where you will spend three days in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. With a huge Big Five population in a relatively compact space, this private Laikipia conservancy is an ideal first-time destination. You enjoy intimate encounters with everything on the tick list, including East Africa’s largest black and white rhino population.

Lewa eases you in, and then Olare Motorogi in the Masai Mara illustrates wildlife intimacy. Big cats lurk in the grasslands, prowling after zebra, wildebeest and Thomson’s gazelle. Masai warriors lead you on walks, teaching you how to track wildlife and stay safe in the wild. Personal encounters continue through the night as you listen to the percussion of moving hooves. You will cross the border, and you remain in the same ecosystem: the Serengeti-Masai Mara. Now, the experience is all about scale. Stay at a mobile camp that tracks the great wildebeest migration, surrounding yourself with a population of more than a million large mammals. By flying into a mobile camp, you can immediately access where the migration is located rather than guessing its location and wasting valuable time.

Following is Ngorongoro Crater, and the flight will provide absolutely stunning views of the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Spend the afternoon on the caldera floor you’re your senses immersed in 30,000 animals. End in Tanzania’s wild frontier, spending three days on safari in Ruaha National Park. Rugged dusty plains are populated by nomads and wandering herds, which will prove an added intensity to the encounters since you are so far from human populations. Spend your days here driving and walking close to the Great Ruaha River, discovering the unique form of theater that exists in Africa’s remote wonders. Once your safari has finished, a light aircraft will you directly to Dar es Salaam where you will connect to your outbound flight. 

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Starting Price

$6295 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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What's Included

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.

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