A Secluded Experience of East Africa's Most Renowned Wildlife Reserves—Including the Migration!
Day 1: Nairobi, Kenya
Our grand East Africa safari begins in the traditional safari capital of Nairobi, where we transfer to the House of Waine, located in the quiet residential suburb of Karen on the outskirts of the city. Originally built as a lavish private estate, today the stately home surrounded by lush gardens is one of Nairobi's most elegant boutique hotels, where guests enjoy personalized Kenyan hospitality. This evening, learn about the adventures ahead during a welcome dinner with our safari Expedition Leader.
Days 2–4: Lewa & Borana Conservancies—Nat Hab's Private Mobile Camp–Borana
Fly north to the renowned Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. In 2013, UNESCO extended the boundaries of the Mount Kenya World Heritage Site to include Lewa, recognizing its global significance in rhinoceros conservation. Encompassing 65,000 acres, this pioneering private project has played a critical role in rescuing the black rhinoceros from the brink of extinction. Beginning with 15 black rhinos in 1984, today the conservancy protects 62 critically endangered black rhinos—11 percent of Kenya's entire population—plus 60 white rhinos, 440 birds species and 70 mammal species. The adjacent Borana Conservancy, which has introduced 18 black rhinos, brings the total area of protected land to approximately 100,000 acres.
Nat Hab's Private Mobile Camp inside the Borana Conservancy is the ideal base from which to explore this diverse wildlife haven that shelters many of Kenya's endemic northern species, including an important population of several hundred endangered Grevy's zebra. We hope to see the legendary Big Five and much more on day and night safari drives and guided nature walks set against the backdrop of snowcapped Mount Kenya. And at the end of each exhilarating foray into the bush, we return to the comforts of our tented camp, steeped in the ambience of Africa's classic safari era.
Days 5 & 6: Mara Naboisho Conservancy—Nat Hab's Private Mobile Camp–Naboisho
Fly this morning to Nat Hab’s Private Mobile Camp–Naboisho in the Maasai Mara, one of Africa’s most legendary wildlife realms. Secluded within the private 50,000-acre Mara Naboisho Conservancy, this isolated tented camp is surrounded by all the natural wonders of the Mara ecosystem without the crowds. The conservancy, established in 2011, has made a name for itself as a place to experience the Mara’s spectacular wildlife in peaceful seclusion, and our camp is one of just a handful located within its bounds. Strict limits on guest numbers means unprecedented wildlife viewing largely in solitude, especially of the wildebeest migration that occurs in close proximity. The conservancy serves as a migration corridor for several hundred thousand animals between the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Loita Plains to the east.
A multitude of species flourishes on the conservancy, and Naboisho actually has a higher density of wildlife than the adjacent Maasai Mara National Reserve. Great herds of antelope dot the rolling plains while stands of acacia trees shelter prolific birdlife. Rich volcanic soils nurture a grassy landscape where we find more lions per square mile than anywhere else in Kenya—about 100 lions live on the conservancy, including the largest pride in the Greater Mara region. Prolific herds of elephant, giraffe and zebra are also found here. Our activities make the most of our unrivaled access to this vast, wild country. In addition to daily wildlife drives, enjoy guided bush walks, wilderness picnics, off-road safaris and night drives in search of nocturnal wildlife—exciting activities not permitted in the national reserve.
Please Note: 2018 itineraries will stay at Encounter Mara camp within the private Mara Naboisho Conservancy. 2019 departures will utilize Nat Hab's Private Mobile Camp–Naboisho.
Days 7–9: Northern Serengeti—Nat Hab's Migration Base Camp–Serengeti
Fly on to the Serengeti Plains, part of the massive Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, a sweeping sea of grass roughly the size of Maryland. The Serengeti’s reputation as one of the world’s iconic nature destinations is well deserved; staggering concentrations of hoofed game and prodigious predators engage in an ancient and epic struggle for survival. Nat Hab's Migration Base Camp–Serengeti provides a front-row view on all the action, as well as the romance of sleeping under canvas beneath starry African skies.
We spend three days in the remote northern reaches of Serengeti National Park, immersed in the phenomenon of the Great Migration. In accord with the animals' movement patterns, our mobile camp is placed in a main migration corridor for hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle and their accompanying cast of predators as the herds make their annual 1,800-mile trek from Kenya’s Maasai Mara to the southern Serengeti and back again.
On daily game drives, witness this remarkable spectacle as the enormous herds traverse the savanna while big cats and other carnivores steal behind. We may behold stunning scenes of predator-prey interaction as a lion takes down a sick wildebeest or a cheetah overtakes an infant. We track the prolific wildlife in private 4x4 vehicles, allowing for optimal mobility and proximity. Our luxury mobile camp ensures that we go where the wildlife is, yet we forsake few amenities despite the remoteness of our location. Walk-in canvas tents are reminiscent of the safari era of yesteryear, offering every comfort and superb seclusion. Each evening, enjoy dinner under a canopy of stars, followed by stories shared around a crackling campfire. Optional hot air balloon safaris with a champagne breakfast upon landing are also available (additional cost) during our stay at Migration Base Camp.
Days 10 & 11: East Central Serengeti Plains
Drive to the eastern side of the Serengeti today for a two-night stay at a remote luxury bush camp. The surrounding environs are dotted with dramatic rocky outcrops, and the sunrise over the kopjes to the east is glorious. Shaded by giant acacias, our camp lies where short-grass plains meet woodlands, and the nearby Ngare Nanyuki underground river creates pockets of permanent water that support year-round wildlife concentrations. From this private outpost we can expect unrivaled sightings of the big cats that are so plentiful in this area. Such close encounters with the Serengeti’s apex predators are sure to enthrall even the most seasoned safari traveler. Our Expedition Leader will also share some of the latest findings from cheetah research regularly conducted by scientists in this area.
Days 12 & 13: Ngorongoro Crater
Enjoy an exciting wildlife drive en route to the world-famous Ngorongoro Conservation area. Traversing the Ngorongoro Highlands, we reach the crater rim, 7,300 feet above sea level, where our secluded camp awaits. Within the steep 2,000-foot walls of the world’s largest unbroken volcanic caldera lies Africa's densest concentration of wildlife, attracted to the crater's perpetual water. On the crater floor, look for zebra, wildebeest, eland and gazelle, as well as the lion, leopard and cheetah that pursue them. We may even be fortunate enough to spy one of the few endangered black rhinos that live inside the crater. We spend a full day exploring the crater, with a picnic lunch along the way, before returning late in the afternoon to the crater rim to relax in camp and share the day's sightings around the dinner table. Our camp's optimal location allows us to arrive earlier and leave the crater floor later than other groups staying farther away—a real bonus when it comes to coveted safari time here.
Day 14: Arusha / Depart
Our Kenya and Tanzania tour comes to a close as we drive to Arusha, surrounded by coffee plantations in the shadow of Mount Meru. We have a special farewell lunch on arrival and the use of a day room at Arusha Coffee Lodge before transferring to Kilimanjaro Airport for departing flights. Those who have chosen our Tarangire extension will continue directly from Ngorongoro to Tarangire National Park for some of Africa's best elephant viewing amidst acacia woodlands studded with giant baobab trees.
Physical Rating: Easy