East Africa Family Safari
From Nairobi you drive overland to Tanzania where there are fabulous game viewing opportunities in the great Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro National Park. Your overland journey continues through villages and towns soaking up the local culture with school and community visits enroute. Reaching the coast at Dar es Salaam you take the ferry to the exotic spice island of Zanzibar.
Take an overnight flight to Kenya arriving the following morning.
Jambo! Welcome to Kenya.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 2.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Nairobi - which takes its name from a Maasai phrase meaning 'place of cool waters' - has a cosmopolitan atmosphere. There are plenty of good bars and restaurants, while markets and shops have most things you could want or need, as well as various arts and crafts from the region.
If you arrive early, you can head out and explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa) or Bomas of Kenya where traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes are displayed in an outdoor village.
Stay in a simple hotel with swimming pool, restaurant and en suite bathrooms.
Kivi Milimani Hotel (2 nts) - Swimming Pool - (B)
You leave Nairobi early as you have a relatively long drive day ahead today. You overland through Kenya and cross the border into northern Tanzania on our way to Arusha.
Situated at the base of Mt Meru, Arusha is the safari capital of Tanzania and there's plenty to see and do. There are lots of good bars and restaurants. Markets and shops have most things you could want or need alongside various arts and crafts from the region.
Our campsite is in Meserani, on the outskirts of Arusha, and has flush toilets and showers.
The following morning you take a camel ride or walk to a Maasai village.
A Maasai guide takes us through the Maasai Cultural Museum first so that you understand what you are seeing in the village. The village is a real village - not fixed up for tourists. While there you will also visit a free clinic, AIDS orphanage and free education centre set up by students from Nottingham University.
After lunch you head back to our campsite to prepare ourselves for our safari.
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts) (Bx2Lx2Dx2)
Rise early and leave the truck behind, putting camping and personal gear into six-person jeeps and heading out for our excursion into the Serengeti. You spend the morning travelling into the park and the afternoon game driving.
The wide, open plains of the Serengeti - green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season, and home to thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators - are perhaps the quintessential image of Africa. Flat and rolling with long grasses and dotted with acacia trees, the plains get their name from the Maasai word Siringitu - 'the place where the land moves on forever'.
Game viewing in the Serengeti is amazing and as you camp out at night, don't be surprised to hear lions in the distance as you recount your wildlife sightings from the day. In normal circumstances, you would expect to see the Big Five during our stay in the Serengeti.
For an unforgettable experience, you might like to do an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Serengeti. As the balloon only holds 16 people, places are limited and need to be arranged in advance. Please inquire when booking your trip to secure this optional activity.
If you have pre-booked this activity, you'll be picked up and driven to the launch site where you receive a safety briefing from your pilot and help inflate the balloon. You'll then float over the Serengeti as the sun comes up gaining an overview of the immensity of the Serengeti, seeing the abundance of wildlife in their early morning activity and sometimes descending to tree height for amazing wildlife photography opportunities. Upon landing, you'll be treated to a five-star bush breakfast before being returned to your accommodation.
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.
Our campsite is within the Serengeti itself so listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep. The bush camp is quite basic with drop toilets and cold showers.
You'll notice many Maasai villages in the region of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. While it's of course fascinating to visit different cultures, past experience has shown that these villages exist primarily as tourism businesses offering somewhat contrived performances of their traditional ways. You'll be charged an entry fee of approx US$20-35 and the Maasai will try very hard to sell souvenirs to you. While many clients still enjoy the experience, others have found it artificial and uncomfortable. We recommend our travellers bypass this activity as our Kenyan colleagues observe that it negatively impacts the Maasai culture and travellers' perception of this culture.
Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts) (Bx2Lx2Dx2)
Ngorongoro Crater / Mto Wa Mbu
This morning you spend game driving out of the Serengeti as you head towards the Ngorongoro Crater where you descend into the crater in our jeeps for more game driving.
A huge, perfectly intact volcanic crater, Ngorongoro is home to some 30,000 animals including endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. The crater floor offers excellent game viewing all year round and the photographic opportunities here are unrivalled.
You have lunch in the crater and depart late afternoon for our campsite in the village of Mto Wa Mbu.
A small village community, Mto Wa Mbu offers an excellent way to get a close-up look at life in an African town away from the main tourist trail.
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt) (BLD)
Today you journey from Mto Wa Mbu to Marangu in the foothills of Kilimanjaro.
The small village of Marangu is located on the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro. The fertile fields are irrigated by streams that are fed by Mt Kilimanjaro's glaciers.
Camp in the grounds of the Marangu Hotel, a beautiful turn-of-the-century farmhouse set in 12 acres of delightful tropical gardens. Upgrades are available on request and the hotel also has a great bar and pool.
If the morning is clear you should have excellent views of Kilimanjaro. After breakfast, you have a short drive to the village of Mshiri where you will visit the Village Education Project.
Take a walking tour of Mshiri Village, the base for the Village Education Project, and witness the day-to-day life of the Chagga people, long established as crop-growers on the fertile slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro. Walk around their shamba (farm) and have the chance to sample the local Chagga food, which is very filling. For more information on the Village Education Project visit www.kiliproject.org.
Visit nearby waterfalls and stop to admire the view of the plains below. If the weather is clear, get a view of Kilimanjaro - the magnificent snow-capped mountain and Africa's highest peak at 5,895 m (19,340 ft).
You make our way back to camp late afternoon.
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts) (Bx2Lx2Dx2)
It's time to get off the well-beaten track and head into the remote Tanzanian mountains (265 km, approx 7 hrs).
The Usambara Mountains are a lovely unspoilt area of Tanzania. Unlike the coast and the north, very few tourists visit this area so it has a freshness that can be hard to find elsewhere. The mountains are located in the north-east of Tanzania, between Kilimanjaro and the Indian Ocean, and overlook the vast Masai steppe. They are wonderfully lush and green and the area has been dubbed the Galapagos of the plant world. The forests stretch across the mountains and are ideal for easy hikes and guided walks. As beautiful as the place is, its real jewels are the local people and villages.
Our base is the old German colony of Lushoto where you stay in the grounds of one of the earliest hotels in Africa. Our campsite has flush toilets and showers.
Explore the beautiful Usambara Mountains and experience this area's gentle hospitality on a visit to some of its small communities. From our base, take a walking trip out to the beautiful Irente viewpoint. Pack some water and snacks in a day pack for the trip. On the way back, visit a local cultural and ecological project based at Irente farm and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts) (Bx2Lx2Dx2)
Dar es Salaam
Leaving the mountains behind, a long travel day takes us further south towards the coastal city of Dar es Salaam (380 km, approx 9-11 hrs).Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's old capital, means 'Haven of Peace'. Many of its buildings display Arabian influence and the port area is fascinating to visit with its ocean-going dhows and inshore ngalawas (out-rigger fishing canoes).Stay at the stunning palm-fringed Kipepeo Beach beside the ocean. This beautiful site is idyllic and a perfect place to acclimatise to the humid Indian Ocean. Take the opportunity to relax or perhaps visit a local village. The beach really is a beautiful spot which has not been overdeveloped by commercial tourist hotels. The small beach bar, restaurant, campsite and chalets are laid out along a white sand beach. It's an open beach and each day camels, cows and goats are herded along the sand.Our second day here is free to try some of the optional beach activities on offer.Camping (with facilities) (2 nts) (Bx2Lx2Dx2)
Catch a ferry to the 'Spice Island' of Zanzibar (approx 90 mins). The ferry is quite comfortable with airline-type seats and there are toilets on board. When you reach Zanzibar you must clear customs and immigration after which you will make our way to your hotel.
Filled with idyllic beaches, winding cobblestone alleyways and fragrant bazaars, Zanzibar's rich history involves everything from slave traders to Arabian sultans and fruit exporters. The sight of traditional dhows sailing along the coast invokes images of what the island was like back in the days of Livingstone.
The hotel is situated near Stone Town. It has a large pool, good restaurant and bar facilities as well as plenty of beach frontage - an ideal place to relax after an overland trip.
After breakfast the following morning you set off on a guided spice tour.
Drive to the spice plantations where you'll receive a guided tour and the opportunity to touch, smell and taste various spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger, as well as teas made with these spices. At the end of the day there will also be an opportunity to buy some of the locally grown spices.
The following day is free. There are numerous other activities available including a tour around this historic island, a dhow trip, a boat trip to snorkel with dolphins, and the opportunity to scuba dive.
Mtoni Marine Hotel (3 nts) - Swimming Pool - (Bx3)
Dar es Salaam
Reboard the ferry and return to the beach outside Dar es Salaam.
Trip ends in Dar es Salaam and there is no accommodation included tonight. Those on group flights will take an overnight flight back to London arriving the following day.
Serengeti & Ngorongoro
One of Africa’s first game parks, well known for the animal migration that takes place across its savannah plains, the Serengeti offers a great chance to see giraffe, wildebeest, lion, cheetah and leopard. Ngorongoro Crater is a unique wildlife experience watch out for rhino as you descend to the crater floor. See hippos splashing in their pools and maybe cheetah hiding in the grasses.
Beaches and Island Relaxation
There is plenty of time for beach fun as you camp on the mainland coast just outside Dar es Salaam. Then you take a ferry across to exotic Zanzibar island with idyllic tropical beaches and oozing with history of days gone by where sultans lived in grand palaces and ships sailed laden with cargos from slaves to spices. Enjoy the beaches and relax in comfort by your hotel pool.
Our East Africa Family Safari trip is just one of our many Africa Family tours. To find out more visit our Africa Family holidays page.
Transport - Overland truck, ferry
Accommodation - Camping (with facilities) (9 nts), Hotel (5 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)
Meals - 16 breakfasts, 11 lunches & 11 dinners