Kenya & Tanzania - Mega Wildlife Safari 2019
May 2019 (18 days)
Dates2 May 2019 - 19 May 2019
Tour LeaderTo be announced
Tour Size6 Participants & 1 Rockjumper Wildlife guide.
Start LocationKilimanjaro International Airport to Arusha
Flight Cost (Approximate)Not Applicable
Spaces AvailableSpaces Available
End LocationMt Kenya to Buffalo Springs National Reserve
Type of TourWildlife
Lion, Leopard, African Buffalo, Elephant, Spotted Hyena, Masai, Reticulated and Rothschild’s Giraffe, Cheetah, Serval, Hippopotamus, Black and White Rhinoceros, Bat-eared Fox, Kongoni, Bohor Reedbuck, Kirk’s Dik-dik, Grevy’s Zebra, Lesser Kudu, Gerenuk and Beisa Oryx, Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Kori Bustard, Grey Crowned Crane, Secretarybird, Bateleur, Southern Ground Hornbill, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Vulturine Guineafowl and Golden-breasted Starling, Mount Kilimanjaro, Rift Valley, Wildebeest migration, Olduvai Gorge, Mt Kenya, Maasai ai and Samburu tribes, African curios
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Day 1: Arrive in Kilimanjaro and transfer to Arusha
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be met before your 45 minute transfer to your conveniently located lodge on th e outskirts of Arusha. Here you can rest and recuperate after your long travels before beginning your action-packed African adventure! Tonight there will be a welcome dinner during which your Rockjumper guide will brief you on the upcoming tour.
Day 2: Arusha to Ngorongoro Crater via Lake Manyara
Our 2.5 hour route today winds up the famous Great Rift Valley where we will visit Lake Manyara before climbing the sides of the valley, on our journey, to arguably the most famous reserve on the continent, Ngorongoro Crater!
One of Lake Manyara’s main attractions is the vast numbers of Greater and Lesser Flamingos and the lake holds some of the largest concentrations of these birds of any of the East African Rift Valley lakes. The park was originally set up to protect the Elephant herds that have given fame to the area. Lake Manyara is home to large herds of Buffalo; Cheetah, Maasai Giraffe, Hippo and Impala also make the area home.
At the entrance to the Ngorongoro reserve we find ourselves on the slopes of the world’s largest volcanic caldera; here we enter a lush, green forest as we make our way towards the crater rim. On arrival at the crater rim, 2 hours from Lake Manyara, we will be treated to one of the world’s most spectacular views as the floor of the vast caldera opens below us. Even from this distance we can easily see larger mammals such as Elephant and Buffalo as they move about on the crater floor. We then wind our way along the crater rim to our incredible lodge located on the edge of the crater, where we will spend two memorable nights.
Day 3: Ngorongoro Crater
At dawn we begin a thrilling day in one of the world’s most spectacular wildernesses as we descend 600m into the Ngorongoro Crater itself. This is deluxe big game territory and a photographer’s dream! Most of the animals here are extremely relaxed and habituated to the presence of human admirers, while the high crater walls – usually cloaked in a white frosting of clouds – make for dramatic views.
The crater floor is an ecological microcosm of sub Saharan Africa complete with forests, lakes, grasslands, swamps and rivers and supports a staggering 30,000 large animals!
Huge concentrations of Blue Wildebeest and Burchell’s Zebra are supplemented by smaller numbers of African Elephant (we can expect to find some of the crater’s famous Giant Tuskers), African Buffalo, Black Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Topi, and Thomson’s and Grant’s Gazelles. Predators abound here and these include Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Bat-eared Fox, and both Golden and Black-backed Jackal.
For those of you who are interested in birds the crater will not disappoint and we may enjoy viewing vast rafts of Greater and Lesser Flamingos on Lake Magadi, giant Common Ostrich striding over the grasslands, regal Kori Bustard (the world’s heaviest flying bird), the supreme Grey Crowned Crane, Lilac-breasted Roller, and a whole plethora of raptors that include the unique Secretarybird and the majestic Verreaux’s Eagle. In the evening, we will ascend back to our scenic lodge on the crater rim.
Day 4: Ngorongoro to Serengeti
We have a long drive today, approximately 4 hours, and will depart Ngorongoro early for the magical Serengeti. We will enjoy a packed lunch and plan to arrive at the gates of this famed park in the early afternoon. This area is home to the Maasai people: tall, proud, nomadic warriors famous for their legendary prowess in battle and single-handed acts of bravery when fighting wild animals. Once entering the Serengeti section we will embark on the incredibly scenic drive through to our lodge. With game abounding we are sure to enjoy some memorable sights on the way.
Days 5 – 7: Serengeti
Extending for an incredible 15,000km², the Serengeti is one of the world’s largest natural sanctuaries and the number and diversity of animals we can expect to see during our time here is impressive. Most of the park consists of grasslands (the word “Serenget” means “Endless Plain” in Maasai), interspersed with Acacia woodlands and rocky outcrops. There is little permanent water here and this fact, combined with a fairly regular rainfall pattern, has resulted in the world-famous Wildebeest migration. Up to two million large ungulates move between the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara in Kenya.
The Serengeti is a veritable wildlife feast offering superb birds (over 550 species have been recorded in the park!), and a host of resident wildlife. We hope to see lazing prides of Lions, Leopard, Cheetah, skulking Spotted Hyena, Jackal and the endearing Bat-eared Fox. In addition, several species of smaller cats may also be seen including Caracal, Serval and African Wild Cat. Ungulates also abound and in addition to Wildebeest, huge numbers of Plains Zebra, African Buffalo, Giraffe, Warthog, Thomson’s and Grant’s Gazelle, Impala, Topi, Kongoni, Kirk’s Dik-diks, Klipspringer, Roan, Oribi, Defassa Waterbuck, Bohor Reedbuck and Eland may be enjoyed. No safari would be complete without encounters with African Elephant and Hippopotamus and we can expect good sightings of both of these iconic African mammals.
Star birds include three Tanzanian endemics; Grey-breasted Spurfowl, Fischer’s Lovebird and Rufous-tailed Weaver – all of which are common here. In addition we should see both Oxpecker species, the stunning Blue-capped Cordon-bleu, and the aptly named Beautiful Sunbird. For a more complete Serengeti experience we will stay at two different lodges in different regions of this vast park.
Day 8: Serengeti to Ngorongoro Highlands Crater via Olduvai Gorge
Today after a final morning in the Serengeti we depart for our 4 to 5 hour drive to a delightful colonial estate on the outer rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. We travel via the world-famous Olduvai Gorge, known as “the Cradle of Mankind”. As a result of massive geological activities over the eons, Olduvai provides a unique record of countless years of fossilized creatures and plants in a series of stratified rock-layers. Most famous of all discoveries, which revolutionized thinking on hominid evolution, have been those of Australopithecine hominid remains found by the Leakey family. We will visit the excellent museum at the site and beside replicas of the hominid fossils, we can marvel at genuine fossils of extinct animals that used to inhabit the region, from River Elephant and Giant Swine to Short-necked Giraffe! In the mid afternoon we will arrive at our accommodation where we can enjoy a relaxing afternoon.
Day 9: Ngorongoro Highlands to Amboseli in Kenya
After breakfast we begin the journey north and drive towards Namanga, the border crossing into Kenya. Upon clearing customs and bidding farewell to Tanzania, we will proceed to our next lodge set in the heart of Amboseli National Park; en route during this 6 to 7 hour journey we will undoubtedly find a host of African wildlife and if we are very lucky, catch our first Kenyan glimpses of the lofty Mount Kilimanjaro.
Day 10: Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park lies at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak at 5,895m, and the world’s highest freestanding mountain. Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peaks dominate every aspect of this park and form a stunning backdrop to the wildlife found here. During our exploration of the park’s open plains, swamps and lakes, we will once again have the opportunity to enjoy superb game viewing. Amboseli is particularly well known for its huge population of African Elephant which are part of the longest-standing elephant and conservation research program in the world. Here we should find the localized Yellow Baboon (as opposed to Olive Baboon that dominates most of East Africa) and if we are fortunate, Serval.
Day 11: Amboseli National Park to Mt Kenya
After breakfast in Amboseli, we depart for our 7 to 8 hour journey north, making our first stop in Nairobi, the largest city in East Africa. Situated at 1,700m, the climate here is pleasant and it’s touted as “The Green City in the Sun”.
After lunch, we continue further northwards into a remote area of the grand Mt Kenya where we will check in to our lodge that is nestled in the forests on the mountain slopes, within the national park. This comfortable lodge which will be our base for tonight is perfectly situated for our exploration of Mt. Kenya.
Day 12: Mt Kenya
The geographical focus of the central highlands is Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa with a snow-capped peak rising to 5,199meters above sea level. Mammals are well represented here and we will look for Guereza Colobus, Blue Monkey (the attractive local race is called Syke’s Monkey), Harvey’s Red Duiker and Bushbuck. One of the major attractions here is the waterhole located alongside the lodge which usually produces a host of animals including
large numbers of African Elephant, African Buffalo, Bushbuck and Waterbuck. If we are fortunate we may even spot families of the secretive Giant Forest Hog!
Day 13: Mt Kenya to Buffalo Springs
This morning we depart Mt Kenya, and take a 4 hour drive northwards, to the Samburu district. Today, near the town of Nanyuki we cross over the Equator; here we will take some time to visit the assemblage of curio stores that exhibit an incredible assortment of arts and crafts. In the afternoon we will arrive at the town of Isiolo, gateway to the arid-zone reserves of Shaba, Samburu and Buffalo Springs. Our final destination is Buffalo Springs.
Day 14 & 15: Buffalo Springs National Reserve
During our time here, in addition to searching for big game, we will encounter some odd variations of well known mammals making this an essential and very rewarding addition to this East African exploration. The stunning Reticulated Giraffe and the very attractive Grevy’s Zebra will certainly be highlights for us and we are sure to see the bizarre, giraffe-necked Gerenuk and Beisa Oryx.
Day 16: Buffalo Springs National Reserve to Lake Nakuru National Park
After an early breakfast, we will move onwards to Lake Nakuru National Park in the Great Rift Valley, located 6 to 7 hours away. Originally declared a national park because of its vast flamingo population, Lake Nakuru is also known for supporting populations of both species of Rhinoceros, creatures that we will not have seen often during this tour.
The levels of the blue-green alkaline waters of the lake vary and this, with other accompanying environmental changes causes considerable variation in the flamingo population. However, when they are present en masse the lake turns a gorgeous rosy pink and the Lesser Flamingos usually form a “pink wall” along the entire length of the lake. Our lodge offers a unique vantage point overlooking this spectacle. After arrival in the afternoon, we will take a game drive through the park.
Day 17: Lake Nakuru National Park
We have a full day to explore this reserve. Game drives through the reserve often produce good numbers of big game and African Buffalo, Plains Zebra, glamorous Rothschild’s Giraffe, several antelope species and both Lion and Leopard may be found. Besides the flamingos, other waterbirds abound and we can expect to find both species of African Pelican, the regal African Fish Eagle and noisy groups of Pied Kingfisher.
Day 18: Lake Nakuru National Park to Nairobi and depart.
After some final game viewing at our ideally located lodge, we will climb the walls of the Great Rift Valley back up to the fertile highlands. Upon arrival in Nairobi, after a 3 hour journey, we will transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for departure after this amazing wildlife tour!