Lifestyle: For Couples, Families or Groups
An African safari is a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience that allows animal lovers to experience unforgettable encounters with endangered species. Vacation has created an 11-day itinerary that includes: heading to East Africa to see the Great Migration of the wildebeest and zebra; visiting world-renowned wildlife parks and reserves in Kenya and Tanzania, such as the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park and the Serengeti National Park; adopting and meeting a baby elephant in person; watching a pride of lions walk across the Ngorongoro Crater; participating in a traditional adumu or jumping competition with Maasai warriors – and doing it all while you relax at some of the world’s most luxurious glamping resorts in the world.
Let Vacation take care of all the details for your private safari honeymoon; an educational, but fun family trip; an extravagant destination wedding; or an adventurous vacay with friends. Our network of expert travel agents can help coordinate and plan your choice of accommodations, transportation between destinations, game drive details and more. Let us worry about the details while you embark on an 11-day private safari of Kenya and Tanzania, including 11 amazing game drives, and ways you can give back to local communities.
LUXURY SAFARI IN KENYA AND TANZANIA: 11-DAY ITINERARY
In addition to our 5 Senses interactive, Vacation recommends adding the following unique experiences to your list when visiting Kenya and Tanzania.
Day 1 – Explore Nairobi and Visit an Elephant Nursery (Kenya)
Welcome to Africa! Arrive in Kenya’s capital city and check into the Nairobi Serena. Located among the lush gardens at the edge of Nairobi’s Central Park, this hotel merges business and leisure, art and gastronomy and five-star style and service. Begin your African journey with a drink at the Ethiopian-styled Aksum Bar or make reservations for a fine-dining experience at Mandhari, where regional and international dishes are served while you enjoy a skyline view of this cosmopolitan metropolis from the restaurant’s terrace.
For an experience you’ll never forget, drive 40-minutes southeast of the city to Nairobi National Park to feed the giraffes. You can’t leave the park without visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Nursery, a safe haven for orphaned baby elephants. Animal lovers from all around the world can foster and follow their baby elephant’s journey from afar or make a journey to the nursery to meet him/her in person. When the elephants turn 2-3 years old, they are transported to one of the reintegration centers in Tsavo East National Park, where they will ultimately return to the wild. And if you miss out on spending time with these friendly creatures here, you’ll have several other opportunities to connect with elephants during your East African safari.
Day 2 – Get Your First Sightings of the Big 5 (Kenya)
Next stop… Maasai Mara National Reserve (580 square miles) – southwest of Nairobi – is Kenya’s most famous game area and home to the annual wildebeest migration between July through October. This natural event causes the animal population to increase by almost 2 million, providing a great food source for predators such as lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyena. This also sets the stage for real life scenarios, for example, a cheetah hunting and killing a wildebeest. In general, a safari may get too graphic for some travelers or families with small children. So, when planning ahead, our experts suggest that teenagers may be more appropriate for this type of trip. And people of all ages will enjoy getting their first look at the Big 5: lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and Cape buffalos. It’s a jaw-dropping sight!
After an exciting full day on a game drive, retire at the Ashnil Mara Camp that features 40 luxury tents located in the middle of the reserve. Our Vacation travel experts recommend staying here for its awe-inspiring location (on the Mara River), comfortable accommodations (four-poster bed), a sundeck to relax while watching hippos at a distance and a restaurant that serves traditional African cuisine in addition to set buffets and international food to keep diverse palates happy.
Day 3 – Participate in an Adumu While Visiting a Maasai Village (Kenya)
Wake up to the sound of nature before joining your guide on a morning and afternoon game drive. As part of the Serengeti ecosystem, the Mara – as it is called by the locals – has a large permanent population of animals even without factoring in the Great Migration.
In addition to game drives, guests – looking for an immersive experience – can explore the customs of a local Maasai village. See interesting traditions like the adumu, or jumping dance, where height is everything! Warriors jump as high as they can to demonstrate their strength and to attract a bride. Although tribesmen may pull your spouse or male family members into an impromptu competition, this traditional dance usually marks the transition of morani (junior warriors) becoming a senior warrior – after the morani lives up to 10 years in a warrior’s camp away from their home villages. It’s a cultural experience you can’t leave the Mara without witnessing yourself.
Day 4 – Explore Amboseli National Park and Give Back to a Local Community (Kenya)
After breakfast, board a plane for the quick flight to Nairobi, enjoy a short break, and arrange for your transport to drive you 3 hours and 45 minutes south to Amboseli National Park. The park is 151 square miles in size and located at the core of a 3,100-square-mile ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border. But what makes your experience here unforgettable is the picturesque views of Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa. For adventurous couples who want to hike the mountain, we recommend adding a few extra days to your itinerary when visiting Tanzania. Access to the 19,342 foot tall mountain is not really accessible in Kenya, where the views are usually better. Let one of Vacation’s travel specialists help you plan a hiking excursion to the top. And whether you're in Kenya or Tanzania, you’re sure to get some amazing selfies and Instagram-worthy shots of this snow-capped mountain.
Following your afternoon game drive, retire at the lovely, eco-friendly Tortilis Camp, where guests are asked to refill their gifted, personalized water bottles instead of using plastic water bottles. In addition to its enviro-friendly efforts, high-end glamping amenities and personable staff, Tortilis Camp provides guests with an opportunity to see animals bathing and drinking from an on-site watering hole. How cool is that?! And if you’re looking for a way to give back to the local community, this camp participates in the Pack for a Purpose program. Before your trip, pack items – including general school supplies, art supplies, educational games/toys, clothing and shoes – to donate to a local Maasai school in Amboseli. You also arrange to visit the children and classrooms where you’re helping to make a difference. It’s an unforgettable experience we recommend adding to your to-do list.
Day 5 – Witness the White-Bearded Wildebeest Migration (Kenya)
Get ready to experience more of the Amboseli National Park with a morning and afternoon game drive. Cape buffaloes, zebras, wild dogs, hippos and a variety of birds are typical wildlife spotted here, but Amboseli is also home to the largest and oldest elephants in Africa… some older than 50 years old! Although the area has suffered a drought over the past couple years, it hosts its own eastern white-bearded wildebeest migration. Take it all in and experience one of Africa’s most magnificent natural playgrounds.
Day 6 – Bask in the Natural Beauty of Tanzania’s Lake Manyara (Tanzania)
Cross the border into Tanzania and check into the Lake Manyara Kilmamoja Lodge, located along the rim of the Great Rift Valley. You’ll enjoy stunning views over Lake Manyara, of Mount Meru, and on a clear day, Mount Kilimanjaro. The lodge provides village walks, Maasai culture lessons, traditional storytelling around the fireplace, and a 4- or 5-hour performance by local tribal dancers. And a romantic candlelight dinner for two (in the bush) under the stars or a private dinner on the terrace overlooking the valley makes this lodge the perfect spot for couples looking for romance. Vacation’s travel experts rave that “you will not want to leave” this luxe lodge because of its amazing accommodations that include a four-poster bed, clawfoot tub and a hammock on a private veranda.
Day 7 – Witness a Rare Blue Monkey Sighting and Visit the Award-Winning Gibb’s Farm (Tanzania)
After breakfast, go on a morning game drive in Lake Manyara National Park. This small park is ecologically diverse, with groundwater forests, grassy plains and the alkaline Lake Manyara. Watch for elephant, Cape buffalo, giraffe and baboon! The park is home to the world’s largest concentration of baboon. And keep an eye out for the blue monkeys, too. Although they are native to Central and East Africa, blue monkeys can be spotted here, along the East African Rift.
After a morning of spotting wildlife, enjoy a relaxing lunch at the beautiful, award-winning Gibb’s Farm. The farm and its 14 cottages are owned by a British family, who serve tasty dishes and salads – that included salmon and chicken – made with local ingredients and infused with African and Indian flavors. You can also take a tour of this real working farm to explore its organic 10-acre fruit and vegetable gardens and 30-acre coffee fields. We also recommend seeing the town of Karatu, the Ngorongoro Forest, an artists-in-residence program or a primary school. But for travelers who need to unwind and rejuvenate, spend time at the Gibb’s Farm African Spa. The 75-minute Arabica Coffee Scrub or the 30-minute After Safari Relaxer massage is so worth it! It’s the perfect way to spend your time before hopping on an arranged transport to Ngorongoro Crater, about 2 hours north of the farm.
Day 8 – See Lions and Rare Rhinos in Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania)
Although the descent to the Ngorongoro Crater on the rocky roads can seem a little scary, it is safe and it’s truly an amazing experience, especially when you spend more than 20-minutes looking over the Crater and see more than 20 lions popping out of nowhere. It’s an unforgettable moment everyone dreams of seeing on a safari. Moments like these are possible because the Ngorongoro Crater has the highest concentration of lions in Africa. Enjoy one of the world’s most in-tact and unchanged wildlife sanctuaries, offering guests their best chance to see the rare black rhinoceros – listed on the endangered species list.
Afterwards, enjoy a picnic cooked and served in the acacia groves. It can all be arranged through the staff at the phenomenal Serena Ngorongoro. This safari lodge is built high above the plains and into the rim of the Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Eighth Wonder of the World. It can get a little busy, but a travel agent can help you plan your private safari trip to avoid crowds. Although barely visible to the naked eye, the lodge has torch-lit walls with stylized cave paintings and 75 rooms (each with a private rock-enclosed balcony) located in a loop around the Crater’s rim. It’s a cozy, secluded getaway for couples and groups.
Day 9 – Commune with Nature in the World-Famous Serengeti National Park (Tanzania)
Sit back and relax during your two-hour ride from the Ngorongoro area to the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania’s largest and most famous park. This park is the size of Switzerland and home to the annual Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra, but it’s also an ideal spot for game viewing throughout the entire year. Keep your eyes opened for the unexpected! One of our well-traveled Vacation experts, who has been on a few safaris, told us this was the first time she’d ever seen lion cubs. You may be lucky enough to spot them, too! Get your smartphone or camera out because you’ll catch postcard perfect shots of lions hanging out underneath trees to keep cool.
While you’re here, stay at the Kirawira Serena Camp, overlooking the Savannah for you to continue your wildlife watch from one of the 25 spacious, luxury tents. This camp also features elegant dining tents, 5-course lunches and dinners and a central fire pit to watch the sun set.
Day 10 – Take a Guided Tour to Explore More of the Serengeti (Tanzania)
One day isn’t enough to explore roughly 5,700 square miles of the Serengeti, so we recommend taking another round of morning and afternoon game drives so you can search for leopards, rhinos, and an abundance of other animals such as cheetahs, giraffes, gazelles and elands. A travel agent can help arrange other excursions offered through Kirawira Serena Camp Groups, including a cruise around Lake Victoria to see fishermen pulling in their catch of the day; a guided 3- to 4-hour mountain bike trip through Masamba and Mwaburugu for exposure to the local culture; or a guided 3-hour walk to see more than 240 species of indigenous birds in their natural habitat.
Day 11 – Shop for a Popular Violet Gemstone in Arusha (Tanzania)
Take a 2-hour flight from Serengeti National Park to Arusha, Tanzania, as the final stop of your 11-day safari. There are several must-do activities while you are here. Visit the National Natural History Museum, which contains exhibits and artifacts from the Australopithecus people, human ancestors that lived over 2 million years ago. Dine at a local eatery to sample traditional dishes like ugali (stiff maize meal polenta) with meat sauce, beans and greens; nyama ndizi (a soup of meat and bananas); or kuku choma (barbecue dishes) served with French fries and a cold beer. Stop by the Maasai Market to buy local handmade crafts for souvenirs. And if you want to buy a pair of Tanzanite earrings, you should wait to buy them at the reputable Cultural Heritage Center, where items featuring the violet gemstone are offered at various price points – $50 USD up to millions of dollars. The Center has a large handicraft store and art gallery, too. Go ahead and splurge on something to remember your luxurious journey through East Africa… you’re worth it!
THE FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Our Vacation expert tips will help you start the process of planning your sensational trip to Kenya and Tanzania. Take a look at these quick facts about these two countries’ weather, currency, airfare and other factors you may need to consider before booking your trip.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
- Late June to October (Dry Season) is the best time for wildlife viewing in parks and reserves, including Maasai Mara National Reserve (Kenya), Amboseli National Park (Kenya), Lake Manyara National Park (Tanzania) and the Serengeti National Park (Tanzania).
- Visit in October to avoid crowds that usually converge on Maasai Mara between July and August to see the wildebeest migration. You can still catch some of the migration in Tanzania.
- Washington, DC (IAD) to Nairobi (NBO) – average round-trip fare is $1,000, but can range between $800 - $1,200
- LA (LAX) to Nairobi (NBO) – average round-trip fare is $1,200, but can range between $800 - $1,400
Climates in both countries fluctuate depending on elevation. Here’s a quick snapshot:
- Nairobi, Kenya: Average High: 77°F (25°C), Average Low: 55°F (12°C)
- Maasai Mara, Kenya: Average High: 79°F (26°C), Average Low: 53°F (11°C)
- Serengeti, Tanzania: Average High: 66°F (19°C) Average Low: 61°F (16°C)
- Arusha, Tanzania: Average High: 78°F (25°C), Average Low: 61°F (16°C)
- 1 U.S. Dollar (USD) = 2,259.35 Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
- 1 U.S. Dollar (USD) = 101.05 Kenyan Shilling (KES)
Google Currency Converter
English is spoken fluently in both countries, but it never hurts to learn a couple Swahili phrases to converse with locals while traveling.
Hello and How are you? = habari (inf), hujambo (sg), hamjambo (pl)
Good, Thank You! = nzuri (reply to habari), njema (reply to habari), sijambo (reply to hujambo), hatujambo (reply to hamjambo)
Goodbye = kwaheri
Do you speak English? = Unazungumza kingereza?
How much is this? = Hii ni bei gani?
Please = tafadhali
Thank You = asante, asante sana (sg), asanteni (pl)
inf = informal
sg = speaking to one person
pl = speaking to a group
ARE YOU READY TO TRAVEL TO KENYA AND TANZANIA?
BOOK YOUR EAST AFRICA SAFARI NOW!
Inspired to travel to Kenya and Tanzania for a life-changing safari? One of Vacation’s on-call specialists can match you with an Africa specialist who will plan a vacay you will love based on this itinerary or a customized one based on your allotted vacation days, interests, budget and group size.