Romantic East Africa Safari: Gorillas, Serengeti and Zanzibar Luxury Escape

A 14 day trip to Rwanda & Tanzania 
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Handcrafted with couples in mind, the white sands of Zanzibar, the gorillas of Rwanda and a safari in the Serengeti are three destinations that will celebrate your romance as part of an East African escape. Evocative and enchanting, you will travel through the landscapes of a dream and mix the region’s three most notable highlights. With a private guide and light aircraft connections, you can move at a relaxed pace with exclusive wildlife highlights and a private piece of Africa made for two. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Zanzibar, Stone Town, Serengeti National Park, Kigali, Volcanoes National Park

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: East Coast Zanzibar – Into White-Sand Paradise

Exotic colors flutter on the skies as you arrive in Zanzibar. The Indian Ocean will exhibit all of the colorful hues to look a bit like a beach vacation cliché. The open beaches, which stretch onwards beyond the horizon, provide mile after mile of white sand backdropped by short craggy cliffs. At high tide, the beach becomes private as it is only accessible through your boutique resort. At low tide, the whiteness is engulfing as the ocean retreats to leave a mirage. From the airport in Stone Town, it will be a one-hour transfer to the east of the island, the most untouched area of Zanzibar. There is hardly any development here with just a handful of small resorts alongside a restaurant that is perched onto a rock out in the ocean. Check in, and the rest of the day is at leisure, with a welcome dinner at the resort where your feel will rest in the soft sand as you eat.

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer, dinner

Days 2 – 4: East Coast Zanzibar – A Dreamy Luxury Escape on the Indian Ocean Island

Wake to the soft sounds of the lulling surf as the waters are warm and shallow here, a tropical bath that available throughout the day. Palms rise above the rustic-red cliffs that separate the beaches at high tide, and this scenery is distinctive to Zanzibar. Many African safaris end with a spell on the beach so that tranquility can follow adventure, but beginning your day on the inviting white sand is just as enduring, probably more so for a romantic break. You will enjoy four days of quiet time with just the two of you for lazy days, serene hours of quiet and a chance to unwind together. By the end of your stay, you will be full of energy and ready to jump into the grasslands for your safari.

Your villa stands over the sand, with barefooted access to the beach. While the beach is not designated as private, this part of the island is very tranquil, and it is rare that there are more than a couple of footprints beside yours. The resort has an excellent restaurant, and you can walk at low tide to a handful of other restaurants that are located along on the beach, as well as take a boat to The Rock, Zanzibar’s pre-eminent fine dining stop, built onto a lonely ocean rock. Over these three days, you can easily do nothing and not feel guilty. Activities are easily arranged and can be added to your itinerary. Swimming with wild dolphins is one, although you will need to be leaving an hour before sunrise as the mammals only play in the island’s southern bay at dawn. Monkeys roll around the island’s central forests, and the nearby beach in Paje is one of the best in the world for learning to kitesurf.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch

Day 5: Stone Town – Exploring the Culture and History of Zanzibar

Enchanting smells and sounds float through the labyrinth of Stone Town. Squid is barbecued on an outdoor stand, a fruit seller calls for customers, church bells chime before the Islamic call to prayer rings throughout the ancient city. It is easy to get lost as you follow your senses and explore to find a store of vintage trinkets, beautiful wooden doors synonymous with the island, the fusion of Arabic and African design. A local guide will take you on a walking tour that will reveal the salubrious history and the painful tales of prosperity funded through slave trading. From late afternoon, you are free, and Stone Town is a wonderful place to take a stroll, especially just after dusk, when a lantern-lit market fills the square, and the charm of the past is in full swing.

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

Day 6: Serengeti – Beautiful Aerial Journey and First Game Drives With the Wildebeest

Small aircraft hop across Tanzania to connect the many national parks. The flight from Zanzibar to the Serengeti is one of the longest journeys possible, and the plane usually touches down a couple of times on route to drop off and pick up passengers. Rather than an annoyance, the flight is a very enjoyable way to see a little more of the country as the dusty airstrips are surrounded by elephants, buffalo, and landscapes as unique as Zanzibar’s beaches. After soaring above Ngorongoro, you will descend onto the grasslands, admiring the patchwork of life down below as you descend. At first, all you will see are dark clumps. Descend further, and they become herds with the wildebeest scattered over many square miles while the zebra are all huddled together in their effective camouflage.

Touch down and set off on a game drive with a stop for a picnic lunch with a view over the plains. Now you can really make out the landscape and how the animals scatter over thousands of square miles of lush grass. Stimulated by volcanic soil, the nutrients in this grass are the reason the Serengeti supports the largest population of wild mammals on the planet with around 2 million a conservative estimate. On this first game drive, you will be taking in the scale of it all, as well enjoying the first close-ups of the predators, lions and hyenas are particularly easy to find. As you settle back in and relax at your camp, you can keep watch of the wildlife until the elephants become silhouetted and in the distance, the roars of lions keep you company through the evening.

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer, flight, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 7 – 9: Serengeti – Following the Herds: Immersed in the Drama and Charm of the Serengeti Grasslands

A leopard prowls at sunrise, blurring into the grass as she stalks Thomson’s gazelle. There is a sentinel on alert, ears pricked upwards to listen for danger, but so far the predator has gone undetected. You stop and watch, the hunt playing out elegantly and slowly as the leopard must get within a few meters to strike. On another game drive, it might be the lions that you follow as four lionesses brazenly wander through the grass. Their tactics are different, harassing a zebra herd into a panic, forcing them to gallop away into the ambush lain by the rest of the pride. Dust spirals, shouts echo, and blood covers the mane of the large male.

On these bountiful plains, there is always drama. It may seem that the predators have a huge menu to eat, but there is incredible competition here. Leopards, cheetahs, and lions all have their realms, protecting pieces of the grasslands against rivals. Hyenas roam, allowed to pass by others so long as they do not stick around. On a Serengeti safari, you are engulfed in them all as following the herds is an easy way to track the predators. Other animals are around with both elephants and giraffe that rove past your camp while herds of buffalo, boisterous as they march are nearby.  Grant’s gazelle, jackals, and baboons, all coexist on the plains and bring memorable scenes.

Over these three days, you will have a private guide, and the game drives are tailored to suit your mood. Early starts are recommended as the dawn hours are when the predators are most active. There is always time to relax at the camp in the middle of the day, when the heat forces most animals to rest, other than the ubiquitous wildebeest that continue marching and grazing. From a central Serengeti location, you can explore in many directions and follow the movement of the herds dependent on their migratory patterns. Back at the camp, your safari experience always continues as the grasslands sing a lullaby that can never be forgotten with the escapism of the plains as romantic and private as anywhere you can imagine.

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

Day 10: Kigali to Volcanoes National Park – Watching the Mist Swirl Over the Forest

A last morning in the Serengeti will bring one more game drive, perhaps to follow one of the lions pride you have been tracking over the last few days. You might also opt to sleep in, waking later and taking breakfast as the zebra are skipping past. There is a light aircraft flight that will take you to Rwanda’s capital Kigali, where you are greeted by a guide and transferred north to Volcanoes National Park. The afternoon is quiet and leisurely, with mist swirling over the gorillas’ realm and even on short walks around the camp, you will start to soak up the atmosphere of this volcanic forest and perhaps even spot the strange monkeys that also occupy this corner of the world.

What’s Included: accommodation, flight, airport transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 11 – 12: Volcanoes National Park – Stunning Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda’s Untouched Land

The trail is steep and muddy, with overhanging branches that must be sliced clear by the guides’ machete. The feeling is dark and mysterious, and it makes sense to you that only this peculiar realm could support such remarkable creatures. Trekking uphill, you will follow the radio calls of the tracker up ahead as you approach the giants of the rainforest. You can sense them, and it will feel as though you can smell them. Slowly, slowly, slowly you can walk closer, and one of them will come out to greet you, a blackback with powerful arms and a fierce stare. He will watch you for a second that feels like a lifetime as you return his gaze. The guide will push you closer and then the whole troop will come into view, a dozen or so wild mountain gorillas foraging in the clearing in front of you.

Goosebumps will cover your arms, and it will be hard to know where to look because so much happening and you are so close! Just seven meters might separate you from these critically endangered primates, and only roughly 1,000 of them remain in the wild. Follow an infant as it crawls across the clearing and plays in the trees. Watch the gorillas that gnaw on bark, emerging and disappearing behind a tree trunk. Finally, you will catch a view of the silverback, dwarfing the rest in size, a great icon of our planet crawling along just a few meters away. It feels like the ground is vibrating such is the force of this arms and knuckles coming down.

You will spend an hour with a gorilla troop and then trek back through the jungle to the trailhead to return to the lodge. The next day you will return and visit another of Rwanda’s mountain gorilla troops. Walking hand in hand through the forest, you will be more ready for the experience and now able to take in more of the intricacies. For an hour, you can admire the gorillas as the intensity of the experience is almost surreal. As you return to your suite at the lodge, there will be a warm bubble bath waiting, perfect for soothing the muscles after the adventure on muddy trails.

What’s Included: accommodation, gorilla trekking, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 13: Volcanoes National Park to Kigali – The Inviting Splendor of Rwanda

Rwanda always leaves an impression as green hills that twist to villages of red mud bricks as vibrantly-dressed locals wave from the side of the road with an enthusiasm and positivity that most visitors never expect. Rwanda is a country that feels alive, and it is well worth spending a full day to appreciate it all. On this private tour for two, you will journey back to Kigali and can customize a program of stops with your guide, including some of the genocide memorials, traditional markets, and local villages. There will be many opportunities to meet the people should you wish. Lunch is included, and as the sun sets over the capital city, you will be enjoying drinks at Rwanda’s most iconic five-star hotel, the terrace an ideal place to toast to your two-week romantic East African escape.

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

Day 14: Kigali – Departure

Depart East Africa from Rwanda’s main international airport and enjoy full use of the hotel’s facilities before departure.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$7,345
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

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.