Kenya & Tanzania Safari Under Canvas    *alt*

15 days, from £5350
Intrepid Travel
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Description

Kenya
This trip delivers adventure and comfort in equal measures. Travel through these welcoming nations, past stunning scenery, tiny farming villages and modern cities abuzz with activity. Get a dose of wildlife action on exhilarating game drives; learn about local customs and traditions on community visits; spot prolific birdlife on lakes and in rivers; and spend each night relaxing over a tasty meal in comfort accommodation. From the thrill of being on safari to the genuine, real life moments interacting with locals, this East African adventure showcases the very best of the region's culture, environment, history and traditions.

Highlights:
* Stay in a selection of rustic permanent tented camps and lodges across Kenya & Tanzania's unspoilt wilderness without sacrificing the creature comforts of home.
* Experience the thrill of sleeping 'Under Canvas' and drift off to sleep to the sounds of the African night.
* Spot endangered black and white rhino stopping for a drink in Lake Nakuru NP.
* Watch lions prowling the famous Masai Mara on a 4x4 game drive.
* Witness thousands of pink flamingos descending on Lake Naivasha, completely covering the sparkling blue waters.
* Be astounded by the vast array of wildlife in Ngorongoro Crater in open top 4x4 vehicles.
* Try to spot a rare tree-climbing lion at Lake Manyara National Park.
* Travel across the endless grasslands of the Serengeti searching for large herds of wildebeest and zebra.
* Learn the story of the large baobab trees at Tarangire National Park.

Itinerary


 Day 1 Nairobi

On arrival in Nairobi, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel by our Intrepid representative. You may wish to speak to our representative regarding any additional tours or activities that you might wish to do while you're in Nairobi. There will be a trip briefing at the hotel at approximately 6.00pm this evening. The rest of the day is spent at your leisure. Please note this is an arrival day ' you can arrive at any time. Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, was established at the turn of the 20th century by Europeans as a stores depot during the construction of the East African Railway. Without plan or design, it established itself as the capital of the British protectorate, and today has a population of around three million.


 Day 2 Lake Nakuru National Park

Depart Nairobi and head north-west towards Lake Nakuru National Park (approximately 4 hours), arriving in time for lunch. Afterwards climb into our truck for an afternoon game drive and hopefully see some pink flamingos converge on Lake Nakuru, all under the watchful eye of nearby rhinos and zebras. Lake Nakuru is a soda lake which is home to thousands of birds and if the water level is right then also pink flamingos. It has been described as the world's greatest ornithological spectacle and, in previous years, the lake is literally a sea of pink. There is quite a good chance of seeing white rhinos, whilst black rhinos may prove to be more elusive. After spending the day in the park, we return to our permanent tented camp. If there is time perhaps cool off in the pool with a cold drink. Each permanent tent has its own unique view of the area. They are all equipped with comfortable beds, verandah or private terrace and private bathroom.


 Day 3 Lake Naivasha

Enjoy a scenic drive across Kenya, travelling south along a road sandwiched between two impressive natural reserves, to Lake Naivasha (approximately 3 hrs). One of the few freshwater lakes in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha is bordered with flat-topped acacias and has floating islands of papyrus reeds. It's also home to a healthy population of hippos and a tremendous variety of birds. There is an option to venture out on a boat ride through the crater lake. Alternatively relax by the pool under the shade of an acacia tree. The permanent tents here are generous in size with polished wooden floors and private facilities.


 Day 4 Lake Naivasha

Today is free to explore at your leisure. See all that this vast lake has to offer on a waterside bike ride or opt for time on the water instead and head out on a boat trip. If hiking is more to your tastes then there are two spectacular walks to consider ' the first through the leafy hills and mountains of the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary, and the second to Hell's Gate National Park. Hell's Gate is a dry trail compared to the Crater Lake path, winding its way along scenic paths through narrow cliff breaks, and is home to rare bearded vultures. The walk can be quite challenging. Return to the permanent tented camp at Lake Naivasha.


 Day 5 Masai Mara National Reserve

We head south-west to our next destination, the Masai Mara - arguably one of the finest game reserves in Africa (300kms, approx 8-9hrs). The area is known for its rolling green plains and riverine woodlands, and amongst the many species of game, we may be lucky to observe black-maned lion, leopard and cheetah. These predators find an abundant food supply in the massive herds of wildebeest, zebra, Thomson's and Grant's gazelle that roam the grasslands. On the way pass by the remote region of Loita Hills, home of the traditional Maasai people. Here you will make a stop to visit the Maasai, known for their vibrant red dress and elaborate jewellery, and gain an insight into the culture and ancient ways of this proud East African Community. Meet your Maasai hosts and enjoy a fascinating talk, full of insights into this remarkable and ancient culture, from a local elder. Enjoy being shown around a traditional Maasai home and their cattle enclosures. Afterwards we make way to our permanent tented camp. The permanent tents here are more basic than your previous night however still have private facilities, built-in fly screens, a front verandah and are powered by a generator during the day.


 Day 6 Masai Mara National Reserve

Today we wake before dawn to start our morning game drive when the sun comes up, one of the times of the day when most animals tend to be more active. After what is hopefully an exciting morning's drive we return to camp for lunch and to relax during the heat of the day. We set off again in the afternoon and expect to return to camp around sunset. However, depending on wildlife movements, we may on occasion do a full day's game drive and in this instance we'll stop en-route for a picnic lunch.


 Day 7 Masai Mara National Reserve

If you missed out on seeing one of the Big 5 (lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinoceros) yesterday, never fear! This morning is free to head out on an optional 4x4 game drive, a safari balloon ride or to just relax before the included afternoon game drive. Each day on the reserve is a shifting narrative, with new encounters and stories to be found as you cruise across the plains. An optional balloon ride over the Masai Mara at sunrise is an unforgettable experience. If you have pre-booked this activity (please see 'Important Notes') you will be picked up and driven to the launch site, receive a safety briefing from your pilot and help inflate the balloon. You then glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, providing amazing wildlife photography opportunities; sometimes ascending to get an overview of the enormity of the Masai Mara plains and the early morning movements of the teeming herds. Upon landing you'll be treated to a bush breakfast before being returned to your vehicle. Please note if you are taking a balloon ride over the Mara you will be taken to the launch place from our camp before dawn and returned to the group when you have finished your ride. Please note that we offer this activity as a pre-booked service which will guarantee you a spot in a balloon. If you choose to wait and book this activity locally on the ground you may get a better price. However this is a popular activity and places are limited. It is at your own discretion if you wish to pre-book this service with us or try and book it locally while you are on your trip.


 Day 8 Nairobi

After breakfast, return to Nairobi, arriving in the late afternoon (240 km, approx 7-8 hrs). This evening is free to soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Nairobi.


 Day 9 Lake Manyara National Park

This morning, jump back on the overland vehicle and head for Arusha, Tanzania (approximately 7 hours). Meet up with fellow group members, then head on to Lake Manyara. Keep an eye out for spectacular views of Mt Meru as you leave Arusha and head towards Lake Manyara permanent tented camp. All safari tents have hot showers, toilet, built-in fly screens and a private front verandah that is great for watching the sunset. There is also a pool for a late afternoon or early morning dip. Lake Manyara National Park is renowned for its black-maned, tree-climbing lions and large herds of buffaloes and elephants, not to mention the flocks of flamingos and pelicans that can be found on the shores of the lake itself.


 Day 10 Serengeti National Park

Today you will wake early for a game drive of the Lake Manyara area before leaving for the wide open plains of the Serengeti. To reach the Serengeti you must travel through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, skirting the Ngorongoro Crater before entering into the Serengeti. You will spend the afternoon on a game drive covering the more southern regions of the Serengeti before reaching your camp site for the evening. Your tented camp for the next 2 nights is set against a backdrop of savannah and skies. Traditional Meru tents, each have ensuites, and private verandahs overlooking the impressive plains of the Serengeti. The camp has a cozy dining room tent, with interior and exterior areas, and also organises camp fires to unwind under the stars.


 Day 11 Serengeti National Park

The seemingly endless Serengeti Plains capture the essence of Africa. They are home to massive numbers of grazing animals and also various predators, and the interaction between the many species often provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the world. Today you will start around sunrise for a morning game drive and follow that up later on with an afternoon game drive, as the animals tend to be more active in the cooler hours of the day. You will usually return to camp during the hotter hours in the middle of the day, where you will enjoy a hearty meal, relax and maybe take a siesta. Depending on wildlife movements and opportunities for sightings, the drive may continue through lunch and last all day. In this case, you will return to camp in the late afternoon.


 Day 12 Ngorongoro Conservation Area

This morning you will have time to further explore the Serengeti and perhaps visit Simba Kopjes, an outcrop of rocks favoured by lion and cheetah, who can often be seen basking in the morning sun. You will spend your time game viewing and will stop for a picnic lunch on the drive from Serengeti National Park back toward the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Located on a hilltop with beautiful views of the valley, the permanent tented camp is built out of locally sourced materials. Each tent has private facilities and balcony.


 Day 13 Ngorongoro Crater

Today you will explore the world-renowned Ngorongoro Crater, widely regarded as a microcosm of natural habitats in Africa and often touted as a veritable Garden of Eden. Within this crater lies every type of ecosystem, including riverine forests, open plains, freshwater and alkaline lakes. Ngorongoro Crater is the remnants of an ancient volcano caldera, and within its 300 square kilometres is a remarkable concentration of wildlife. The scenery is spectacular as you descend almost 600 metres down to the crater floor. There is every chance that you will see a considerable variety of wildlife in this compact area, including the highly endangered black rhinoceros. In the afternoon you will leave the crater and return to camp for a second night. (National park regulations stipulate that vehicles are only allowed a maximum of six hours in Ngorongoro Crater.) The late afternoon can be spent relaxing at the camp, soaking up the wonderful scenery.


 Day 14 Tarangire National Park

Head to Tarangire National Park passing through Mto Wa Mbu before reaching - your final Tanzanian national park. Tarangire National Park lies to the south of the Masailands and is defined by large open savannahs dotted with acacia woodland and large baobab trees. With the presence of the Tarangire River, this park forms a refuge during the dry season for many migratory animals, ensuring that Tarangire's wildlife concentration is second only to that of Ngorongoro Crater. At Tarangire you will enjoy an afternoon game drive en route to your tented camp set in a typical African thorn-tree bush landscape, right next to the Kwakuchinja Wildlife Corridor. The corridor is used by the animals to migrate from Tarangire to Lake Manyara in search of water and grasses. During the migration periods, you may be lucky enough to witness the migration of zebras, wildebeest and elephants right from the veranda of your tent. Canvas tents with permanent thatched ramadas have ensuite bathrooms with each shower being fed by 15L tank filled manually by lodge staff. This is the real African bush experience!


 Day 15 Arusha

Enjoy an early morning game drive in Tarangire National Park before returning to Arusha in time for lunch. It is then time for fond farewells. A departure transfer can be booked, at an additional expense, to either Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) or Arusha Airport (ARK). Please esnure you do not book flights to depart prior to 5pm.


Tour Map