KENYA - TANZANIA ACROSS MASAI LAND

14 days safari 10 nights camping - 3 days trek (moderate effort) & Mt Lengai climb (difficult) 3 nights in lodges and guesthouses

Taking an unusual route across 2 countries this safari offers an incredible variety of landscapes and wildlife viewing, combining the best of Kenya and Tanzania game reserves, as well as rural parts of the countries. The few days of walking with Masai warriors will give you an intimate understanding of these traditional people in a dramatically beautiful and unspoilt region of East Africa.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Lake Naivasha walk on Crescent Island Sanctuary amongst wildlife 
  • hot springs & geysers of Lake Bogoria & it’s famous flamingo colonies 
  • Kericho highlands and tea plantations - Maasai Mara Game Reserve 
  • private campsite in the heart of the reserve 
  • Lake Victoria Africa’s largest lake - Serengeti National Pa
  • Special private camp site in the reserve 
  • Ngorongoro Crater and Conservation area 
  • Maasai encounter during trek to Lake Natron  
  • Lake Natron soda flats & flamingo breeding colonies 
  • Mt Lengai (Maasai mountain of God) the only active volcano in East Africa

Click to enlarge

ITINERARY

  • Day 1 Nairobi/Lake Naivasha. Camping
  • Day 2 Lake Bogoria. Camping
  • Day 3 Njoro. Cottages
  • Day 4 & 5 Masai Mara Game Reserve. Camping
  • Day 6 Lake Victoria. Lodge
  • Day 7 & 8 Serengeti National park. Camping
  • Day 9 Ngorongoro Crater. Lodge
  • Day 10 & 11 Gol Mountains. Camping
  • Day 12 Rift Valley. Camping
  • Day 13 Lengai Volcano. Camping
  • Day 14 Return Arusha or Nairobi

See photo Gallery

Day 1 NAIROBI – LAKE NAIVASHA Nairobi was established in 1896 due to the construction of the Mombasa - Lake Victoria railway line. It was on this plateau at 1600m altitude that the Masai grazed their cattle along the small river called the 'Enairobi', which means in Masai, 'cool' or 'cold'. Nairobi is now a modern city with a cool and healthy climate and a population of almost three million. It's difficult to imagine that early last century we could have come face to face with a lion or rhinoceros whilst walking down Moi Avenue. Almost two hours drive from Nairobi lies the fresh water Lake Naivasha at 1890m above sea level. The road to the region climbs over the eastern escarpment giving spectacular views of the Rift Valley before descending towards the lake. The amazing variety of both aquatic and terrestrial bird life around Lake Naivasha is one of its main tourist attractions. Over 340 bird species have been spotted in a single visit! Other wildlife species in the area include buffalo, zebra, giraffe, eland, Chandler’s reedbuck, kongoni, gazelles and hippo. A visit to Crescent Island will see us walk near the lake edge amongst giraffe and gazelle and marvel at the variety of bird life. Camp on a private farm.

Day 2 LAKE BOGORIA This day we drive further north in the Rift Valley to Lake Bogoria National Reserve. Lake Bogoria National Reserve is a small reserve of only 100 square Kms. Formerly known as Lake Hannington this is one of the most beautiful of the Rift Valley lakes. The Laikipia Escarpment drops sharply into the lake on the eastern side and along the shore we find geysers spurting high in the air, and pools of hot water bubbling from the ground. Camping in the reserve.Lake Bogoria is shallow soda lake which was established as a National Reserve in November 1983. The reserve covers the whole lake and its surroundings. It is a geological wonder no-one can afford to miss. Jets of steam and boiling water shoot out of geysers and fumaroles indicating the sort of volcanic activities which created the Great Rift Valley millions of years ago. We see hot geysers shooting into the air against a background of flamingos feeding in the warm waters. Masses of pink flamingos line the shores of the lake. This reserve is a birdwatchers paradise with flamingos, pelicans, avocets, ducks, cranes and hornbills, just to mention a few. It is the best place in Kenya to see the greater kudu which lives on the western shores of the lake. There are no predators in this reserve so we can take a walk peacefully along the lake shore to observe the many different species of birds.
Day 3 LAKE BOGORIA/NJORO After a stroll along the waters edge to watch the flamingos feeding in the early morning light we leave Lake Bogoria Reserve. Passing small African farms and homesteads with neat round huts nestled on the hot dry floor of the Rift Valley the road winds up the western escarpment offering fantastic views over the immense Rift Valley far below. Upon reaching the top of the escarpment at 2000m altitude we arrive into another world of expansive green plantations of tea stretching out over thousands of hectares. The green fertile highlands of Kericho are responsible for the major part of Kenya’s famous tea production and offer a very picturesque scenery. Night at cottage located on a large farm on the countryside.
Day 4/5 MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE Leaving after breakfast and on good tarmac roads we head for Kericho where expansive green plantations of tea stretch out over thousands of hectares. The green fertile highlands of Kericho are responsible for the major part of Kenya’s famous tea production and offer a very picturesque scenery. Then crossing Kipsigis country dotted with small farm holdings and small villages of round huts with neat thatch roofs we arrive onto the plains of Masai Mara. We begin to see wildlife long before arriving at the reserve as the animals are not aware of the borders created by man. Soon the wildlife becomes denser as we arrive near to our camp. Masai Mara covers an area of some 1812 square km and is totally unfenced. The Masai are permitted to graze their cattle in the exterior section, but the interior park of 518 square km is reserved strictly for the fauna. Although these people of Nilotic origin were feared by the first explorers to the region, the proud warriors of today spend most of their time herding cattle in search of fresh pasturage. A living tapestry of grassy savannah, spreading thorn trees, rounded hills and tall gallery forests, this feast of wildlife is a paradise for wildlife observation. In addition to the wildebeest and hordes of zebra which join them in their annual migration to the ever-changing pastures, the Masai Mara supports lion, cheetah, elephant, Kongoni, Topi, Thomson’s gazelle and Defassa waterbuck, as well as eight species of primate. Game drives in the reserve. Private Camp in the reserve FB.
Day 6 TANZANIA – LAKE VICTORIA Leaving the wildlife behind us we cross again a region of traditional African farmlands to arrive at the busy border post of Serare. We meet with queues of transport lorries that are ferrying goods into central Africa and here we must present our passports for entry into Tanzania. A good tarmac road leads us into Tanzania and in a few hours we are crossing plains cultivated principally with cotton, cassava & maize. We meet our first Luo fishermen as we near the shores of Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria was discovered by Speke, the first European who was to proclaim that this vast freshwater lake was the source of the Nile. Fishing is the main activity of the Wa-Kerewe people on this immense lake of 68854 km². Overnight in a small hotel in bungalows on the shores of Lake Victoria FB
Day 7 /8 SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK Entering through the Western corridor into the most famous wildlife sanctuary in Africa with game drive on route. The Western Corridor of the Serengeti was created to ease the passage of the wildebeeste migration through the Serengeti to Lake Victoria.The Grumeti River which flows into Lake Victoria is the home to thousands of crocodiles. The crocodiles feast only once a year when the migration passes the river & the wildebeeste come to drink. Hundreds of animals lose their lives to the hungry crocs who are eager to build up a reserve for the months of drought & hunger. Serengeti National Park is one of the largest animal reserves in Africa and covers an area of 14500 km². During the annual migration we can observe immense herds of several hundred thousand animals. The last aerial census counted 1.2 million wildebeest, 700 000 zebra, 400 000 gazelle, and of course all the predators that follow and hunt the feebler of the animals. Over 2 million animals follow the rhythm of the seasons. During the few days spent here we join their rhythm and follow the procession, observing this magnificent wonder of nature. We pass through a wide variety of ecosystems from savannah dotted with acacias, to open plains with the occasional rock kopjie of Seronera. Camping in a private site among the acacia trees near the Seronera river (or other location according to the season & availability) (approx. 1.5 hr transfer + full day game drive)
Day 9 SERENGETI/NGORONGORO CRATER Ngorongoro Conservation Area was created with a separate entity to the Serengeti to protect the Masai herdsmen. The Masai had in fact found themselves thrown out of their traditional pasturelands. It was decided that to protect the ancestral rights of the Masai they should be given the right to graze their cattle in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area but not in the Serengeti. This compromise seems to be a success as we are able to observe an enormous variety of wildlife against the backdrop of some spectacular landscapes. The amateur photographer will appreciate the contrast of the cloud charged skies which surround the hill tops, the brilliant golden sunlight illuminating the vegetation on the crater floor, and the white soda lake where pink flamingos search for food. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is not only an animal reserve but also a very important location for research into the roots of mankind. At Olduvai and Laetoli, Louis Leakey discovered several Australopithecus as well as footprints that date back 3.5 million years. Crater tour ight in lodge FB (approx. full day game drive between Serengeti/Ngoro)
Day 10 GOL MOUNTAINS Morning game drive before crossing into Masai country. The Gol Mountains form the escarpment of the western wall of the Rift Valley. This higher altitude makes it a greener area where Masai herdsmen graze their cattle. It will be also the starting point of our trek. Camping. (approx. full day game drive including on route to Gol)
Day 11 GOL MOUNTAINS TREK The Masai are of Nilotic origin and once these warriors frightened even the bravest explorers, but today they live a peaceful existence principally caring for their enormous herds of cattle. We meet them grazing their herds and perched on the top of the highest granite rock they keep guard over the plains for any lion or other possible threat to their cattle. Accompanied by our Masai guides, with lunch and water for the day’s journey, we set off to cross this small chain of mountains. The large valleys that cut through the mountains are gathering points for wildlife in search of water and grazing. Even the large predators are attracted during February and March when the young wildebeest are born. The peaceful cohabitation between the Masai and this wildlife is spectacular, and it’s not unusual to find herds of zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and cattle grazing together. Passing Masai villages we frequently meet with the warrior herdsmen. A river has cut a deep gorge in the escarpment wall and in some places we walk in narrow canyons of basalt barely a few meters wide and towering a hundred meters above our heads. The river at this stage flows permanently and occasionally we have to walk waist deep in the clear water. It’s a refreshing and cool moment we enjoy to its fullest, knowing that quite soon we will reach one of the hottest places in Tanzania. Later strolling easily on the high plateau we appreciate the rock formations and views of the surrounding mountains. Our vehicles meet us in the evening to set up camp. Camping FB (approx. 5 hrs trek including stops depending on clients capacity)
Day 12 TREK RIFT VALLEY ESCARPMENT We follow an important track used by the Masai from Lake Natron during the dry season when they herd their cattle up onto the high lands for grazing. In turn the Masai from the highlands herd their cattle down onto the salt plains of Natron. Descending the escarpment towards Lake Natron, the path is rough and the vegetation changes rapidly. Incessant meetings with the Masai slows our progression, as we make way for their herds of goats and cattle to pass on this steep and rocky pathway. Even for the Masai of Natron the environment is inhospitable and tough. Deep down on the floor of the Rift Valley, the giant fault that cuts its way across the African continent, the world continues to evolve. Several other volcanoes rise from the plains and Gelai dominates at some 3000 metres over Lake Natron. This lake was discovered by English geologist named Gregory and is certainly the most spectacular in the Rift Valley. An enormous pan of pink soda stretches for over 30 kilometres. All around the edge of the lake there is hot salty water bubbling from the ground at temperatures exceeding 50° C. These springs produce a microscopic aquatic life that feeds a variety of local bird species, along with a number of migratory birds. A species of perch, "Tilapia Grahami" manages to survive in these extreme conditions, breeding in puddles of fresh water. Areas more concentrated in soda are favourable for the reproduction of algae that flamingos feed upon. It's not unusual for the flamingos to number into the hundreds of thousands. Camping. (approx. 4 hrs trek including stops depending on clients capacity)
Day 13 TREK LENGAI VOLCANO The active volcano Ol Donyo Lengai is the sacred mountain of the Masai. Lengai means God in Maa language and on the summit, protected from the vapour and heat of the volcano, resides 'Ngai'. We start our climb at 1am to the summit of Lengai at 2800 metres above sea level. The climb is a steep one that we attempt in the moonlight, so that we'll reach the summit in time to watch the sun rise on Kilimanjaro 200 km away. From the jagged crater rim we have a spectacular view over Natron and the surrounding volcanoes and escarpment. We follow our guide carefully down into the caldera where the volcano is active and lava flows regularly from small eruptive cones. We make a weary descent back to our vehicles and after some brunch to regain our energy head cross the Rift Valley towards Longido. Lengai is one of the most difficult mountains to climb in the area, not because of the technical difficulty but due to the steepness, hot climate and loose volcanic gravel. (approx 5 hrs climb & 2 hrs descent depending on clients capacity) A walk up fast flowing refreshing clear river with visit and swim in astonishing palm oasis is offered to those not wanting to attempt Lengai. (approx. 2 hrs + swim – need sandals or shoes for walking in water) Camping (approx. 2 hrs road transfer in the afternoon)
DAY 14 RETURN TO ARUSHA OR NAIROBI After the dusty track of Longido we meet a good tarmac road that takes us to Namanga and the border post once again. For clients ending in Arusha you will be dropped at your hotel. (approx. 2 hrs transfer) For clients going back to Nairobi, with formalities to cross the border completed, we head on and after a last glance over Hemmingway's Africa we find ourselves once again amongst the hustle and bustle of city life. After saying our farewells to the group with whom we have shared so many memorable experiences you will be dropped at your hotel. (approx. extra 2.5 hrs transfer)

2014 Departure dates

 

Departures on request & private groups are welcome

FAMILY FRIENDLY SAFARI 10% Reduction for children up to 12 yrs sharing with parents

Seasons

LOW SEASON March/April(Exept Easter week end)* May*/June*/Nov*/1 to 20 December
MID SEASON Jan/1 to 7 July/27 August to end of Sept/October/Easter week end
HIGH SEASON February/8 July to 26 August/20 Dec to 4 January

* Beware of rain

Include

- Transport in 4WD safari vehicle with roof hatches
- Experienced African Latitude driver-guide and cook;
- Full board except meals in Arusha and Nairobi;
- Treated drinking water
- All camping equipment including tables, chairs, igloo-type tents, mattress, wash bowls, bush toilet & shower (water supply permitting)
- Traditional Masai guide for trek;,br.-Special camp private campsites in Serengeti subject to availability;
- One Ngorongoro Crater Visit;
- Transfer between Nairobi, Arusha & Namanga will be by regular shuttle bus.

Exclude

- Drinks, sleeping bag, personal torch and personal toiletries. (all these can be provided on request)
- Tips & items of a personal nature, ie. laundry etc.
- Optional activities at Lake Victoria;


AdmirorGallery, created by Kekeljevic & Vasiljevski.
 

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