East Africa Starter Safari: Explore Kenya & Tanzania

Highlights

This 9-night journey is the ideal “starter” safari for travelers new to Africa who want to experience the highlights of Kenya and Tanzania. Get your feet wet roaming iconic East African grasslands in search of big game like elephant, lion and cheetah or the vast number of plains game who call the region home.

Begin in Arusha, Tanzania for a restful overnight at Arusha Coffee Lodge. At the foothills of Mt. Meru, the lodge has been designed around the original landowner’s 1900’s home within a working coffee plantation. Depending on arrival, you might enjoy a full coffee tour throughout the property; learn about the intricate process of perfecting coffee blends and savor your own freshly roasted and ground coffee drink to reenergize your senses after your international travel.

The following morning, depart for Gibb’s Farm, an oasis of wellbeing overlooking Africa’s Great Rift Valley and Ngorongoro Forest. The warm, rustic inn is comprised of a main farmhouse and 17 cottages, with architectural details we love, like original wooden beams and colorful local artwork. Indulge in the farm’s natural amenities – strolling through acres of organic fruit, vegetable and flower gardens, coffee fields, and perhaps stop to visit the milk cows. Further afield, bicycle the back roads of Karatu, learn about Iraqw culture while visiting a local family, explore centuries-old waterfalls and elephant caves, or learn about rich history and medicinal plants from indigenous Maasai healers in Ngorongoro Forest.

During your stay, spend a full day in the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to more than 25,000 larger animals - including the magnificent black-maned lion and black rhino - the Crater is iconic, and kicks of your game viewing with a robust array of Africa’s wildlife.

Continue north into the world-renowned Serengeti, which spans millions of acres with over three million larger animals roaming its landscapes. It’s known for large prides of lions, elephants and giraffes, gazelles and eland to mention just a few. This northern area is remote and hilly, dotted with kopjes prime for leopards and lions. Explore this beautiful area from Kimondo, a mobile safari camp of just eight elegant tents handcrafted from wood and canvas. The simple elegance speaks to ages past, when merchants crossed the Serengeti to trade goods between North Africa and the Eastern Coast.

Morning and evening game drives are the highlight of your time here, but community and cultural excursions are also available to enrich your experience. Visit a traditional homestead and be entertained by the local Kuria dancers, or spend the morning at the market, shopping for crafts and handmade souvenirs. This is classic tented East Africa through and through.

Enjoy your last three nights in Kenya’s Maasai Mara at Richard’s River Camp, situated right on the border of two private conservancies. Explore the classic savannah grasslands from your safari vehicle with your guide, even venturing out after dark on night drives on private land; spot-lighting the area’s nocturnal wildlife is a real thrill not to be missed. Visit a local Maasai village or get to know the bush by foot between outings. End your days around the fire with a drink in hand, recounting the Mara’s marvels each night.

Summary

  • 1 Night – Arusha Coffee Lodge – Arusha, Tanzania

  • 2 Nights – Gibb’s Farm – Ngorongoro Conservation Area

  • 3 Nights – Kimondo Camp – Northern Serengeti

  • 3 Nights – Richard’s River Camp – Maasai Mara, Kenya

Cost

Pricing starts at $9,600 per person sharing.

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Marcia Gordon