Day 1 - Arrive Nairobi, Kenya
Arrive in Nairobi and transfer to your hotel. A microcosm of the African continent, this capital city is your gateway to a dramatic procession of natural spectacles in Kenya and Tanzania, among the most thrilling destinations in the world.
Day 2 - Amboseli National Park
Drive to Amboseli National Park, known for its thriving big game population. From a distance, take in views of the highest mountain in Africa, the snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, with its impressive Uhuru Peak soaring to 19,341 feet. Arrive at your luxury lodge set beneath acacia trees in the shadow of Kilimanjaro. After lunch, explore the acacia woodland, freshwater swamps, scrub brush and open plains in search of wildlife. Part of the park is composed of a dried-up lakebed, where mirages rise from the shimmering heat. This evening, share in a special welcome dinner with your fellow guests.
Day 3 - Amboseli National Park
Spend the day on early morning and afternoon game drives, crisscrossing the landscape in search of elephants, zebras and wildebeests along the saltpan trails. Prepare for predator sightings, as opportunistic animals begin roaming the plains in search of prey.
Day 4 - Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania
Travel by road to Arusha, crossing the border of Tanzania. After stopping for lunch in Arusha, continue to the village of Mto wa Mbu, where you Ride Like a Local on a tuk-tuk, viewing rice fields and the local community as you go. Afterward, browse the colorful stalls of the village market, as merchants display locally grown rice and bananas in a variety of colors. Later, continue to your lodge, located in a picturesque region of the Great Rift Valley. On arrival, settle in, freshen up and relax a bit before gathering with fellow guests for a hearty dinner.
Day 5 - Ngorongoro Crater
Set out this morning on a game drive in Lake Manyara in search of nonchalant baboons; dik-diks, which forage for food beneath acacia trees; and large herds of buffalo, wildebeests and zebras, who gather on the grassy, sun-drenched plains. Along a narrow belt of acacia woodland, you may even spot the region’s storied tree-climbing lions, who ascend branches for a cool breeze. After a farm-fresh lunch, travel to the Ngorongoro Crater, ascending its outer wall through dense vegetation. Ngorongoro is the largest unbroken ancient caldera in the world, and a likely place to view lions, elephants, hyenas and gazelles. This afternoon, participate in a Chef’s Table demonstration in the hotel kitchen, at which you prepare and sample local dishes.
Day 6 - Ngorongoro Crater
Wake to explore this “Lost World” of animals; its prairies are an ideal spot to see buffalo and elephants. Bird lovers can view flamingos, when in season, and countless other species on the crater’s 100-square-mile floor. You may even see the rare black rhino. Following a picnic lunch, visit a Maasai village to gain a better understanding of the nomadic cattle-herders’ daily life and culture. Experience an artisan visit here when you witness a demonstration in traditional beadwork and crafts.
Day 7 - Serengeti National Park
Drive to vast, wildlife-rich Serengeti National Park, stopping en route for a privately guided tour of Olduvai Gorge, where ancient fossils offer insight into humankind. Pass through a spectacular mix of savanna grassland and volcanic hills, before dropping steeply downward into the gorge. Visit the small museum, take in views from the lookout point and examine the excavations, which revealed 3.7-million-year-old footprints and the skull of a 1.8-million-year-old man. Continue to your lodge, which is framed by commanding views of this land of lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, giraffes and topi. The park also serves as a setting for the Great Migration when it passes through each year. Enjoy your rondavel room with private balcony and unique decor styled to showcase cultural heritage and traditional art.
Day 8 - Serengeti National Park
Spend your day in true safari country, searching for the “Big Five” (lions, leopards, Cape buffalo, elephants and rhinos), along with giraffes, gazelles and zebras. Along the rivers, plains and rocky outcroppings, you may also spot some of the Serengeti’s more diminutive denizens, such as leopard tortoises and rhinoceros beetles.
Day 9 - Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
Fly to the vast Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya’s finest wildlife spectacle. The unending landscape hosts some 400-500 bird species, 95 animal species and all of the great predators, including the country’s largest lion population. The Mara lies within the territory of the Maasai, who help administer the park and protect it from poachers. After familiarizing yourself with your luxurious tented accommodations, ideally situated at the confluence of the Mara’s four game-viewing regions, take a drive through the famed reserve.
Day 11 - Masai Mara Game Reserve
Spend the next two days exploring a region bestowed with over 500 square miles of savannas, woodlands and tree-fringed rivers. Watch as the resident wildlife amble out with wide, purposeful eyes as the sun begins to set. You may observe crocodiles as they bask in the sun; see ever-alert hippos wallow in muddy, cooling water; and catch the antics of mischievous monkeys overhead. Watch, too, as massive African elephants rustle along the forest edge and lanky, graceful giraffes snatch leaves from branches high above. During one of your mornings in the Mara, you may choose to go on a hot air balloon ride, for an additional cost, floating peacefully above the game-dotted plains. One evening, enjoy a Scenic Sundowner experience, sipping traditional cocktails while marveling at the incredible atmosphere just before dusk. You may also choose to visit with students at a local school (when in session), for a glimpse of Africa’s bright future. On your final evening, attend a memorable farewell dinner and toast your unforgettable African adventure with your fellow guests
Day 12 - Depart Nairobi
Return to Nairobi. Spend the afternoon at leisure in a reserved dayroom before your international departure flight home.