The Lion Thing
Nairobi to Zanzibar – the ugly duckling becomes a swan. Watch the Big 5 being all scary-like in Lake Nakuru, then meet the cute kiddliwinks of the New Hope Children’s Centre. Masaii warriors might look scary but they’re super friendly in real life. What definitely isn’t scary is hanging in a hammock in Zanzibar with a cocktail – if you think it is we can’t help you.
We highly recommend putting The Lion King soundtrack on your iPod. It might sound dagghy, but when Elton starts belting out “Circle of Life” as the sun dips down over the savannah you'll thank us.
Day 1 - Nairobi
Ditch your watch, you're on Africa time now. Meet the rest of the group tonight and find your seat buddy for the trip to Arusha tomorrow morning.
- Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm.
- Perhaps explore the bars, restaurants, markets and shops during any free time you have
- Optional visits to the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa) or Bomas of Kenya
Day 2 - Lake Nakuru
Pitch tents alongside Lake Nakuru then head out on an afternoon game drive. We guarantee there is absolutely nothing that you would rather be doing today. Nothing.
- Drive north-west past great views of the Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha and Elementaita to Lake Nakuru National Park
- Visit the New Hope Children's Centre - an orphanage that assists the less fortunate in society and gives them hope
- Along with the other members of the Big Five, Lake Nakuru harbours many rhinos and will be the best chance to get a great picture of these beasts
- Our camp just outside the park has flush toilets and showers. There is no option to upgrade to a room tonight and WiFi is not available
Day 3-4 - Lake Naivasha
Visit a village then head to Lake Naivasha. This place is a paradise for snorers. "What? Someone was snoring last night? It wasn't me. Must've been those pesky hippos."
- Head off to a nearby village with a local guide - a great opportunity to interact with local villagers
- Drive from Lake Nakuru to your camp near Lake Naivasha (110 km, approx 3-4 hrs)
- Perhaps hire bikes, a boat, or visit the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary or Hell's Gate National Park near Lake Naivasha
- Our campsite is basic with showers and flush toilets. Depending on availability there is an option to upgrade to a room. WiFi is available at the bar and there is an opportunity to access an ATM and a market during the day to stock up for the remainder of the trip
Day 5 - Loita Hills
Travel across the Great Rift Valley floor to Loita Hills, right in the heart of Masai country. Camp among the friendly, semi-nomadic tribes. Let an elder show you the ropes and perhaps pick up some cooking tips (helpful if you live on a diet of ramen noodles and packet pasta).
- Depart Lake Naivasha and stop in town to do a spot of food shopping, taking a lunch break en route to the camp site at Loita Hills (220 km, approx. 5-6 hours)
- Today's drive crosses the Great Rift Valley and journeys into the remote region of Loita Hills Visit the Maasai people and gain an insight into their ancient culture
- Receive a talk from a local local elder and be shown around a traditional Maasai home and cattle enclosures
- Spend the night in a bush camp with drop toilets and bush shower facilities. There is no upgrades available or access to WiFi
Day 6-7 - Masai Mara National Reserve
Visit a local Masai village and recreate your favourite "Oh, what a feeling" Toyota moment when you jump with the warriors. You can also spot lions, herds of elephants and perhaps even a stealthy cheetah during safaris through the reserve.
- Drive from Loita to Masai Mara (approx. 1-2 hours)
- Set camp (outside the park) and have lunch before reboarding the truck
- Enjoy an entire day to explore the surrounds and view a multitude of wildlife
- Perhaps embark on an optional balloon ride over the Masai Mara at sunrise - pre book to guarantee availability
Our campground has flush toilets and showers. There is an option to upgrade tonight (depending on availability) however there is no WiFi available
Day 8-9 - Nairobi
Leave the open expanses of the African bush behind. Travel through Masai farmlands on the journey back to Nairobi. Keep eyes on the landscape at all times - you don't want to miss a thing.
- This is a combo trip so some members of your group will bugger off today, and you'll get a few new ones. It's good to mix things up.
- You'll be back in the comfort of a hotel tonight with WiFi access and a bar
Day 10 - Arusha
Cross the border and explore the city of Arusha, the safari capital of Tanzania. Not that there's elephants and lions roaming the streets, you need to venture out a little further for that. If you do see a lion, we'd suggest alerting the authorities.
- Depart early for Arusha on our overland truck, a drive of about 8-9 hours (300 km)
- The trip includes a border crossing from Kenya into Tanzania so be sure to have your passport handy
- Camp overnight in Meserani, on the outskirts of Arusha, with access to flush toilets, cold showers, and upgrades possible
Day 11 - Mto wa Mbu
Visit Mto wa Mbu and have a chat with the locals, peruse their handicrafts and feel totally and completely stoked to have been given that opportunity.
- Drive for 1.5hrs to reach the village of Mto wa Mbu
- Join the local community on an optional guided stroll around the farming areas - including visits to a kindergarten, milling machine, local homes and farmlands
- Perhaps visit the markets for some wood carvings or local artwork
Depending on the following day's schedule, either stay here for the night or travel further west to the village of Karatu. Both camps have flush toilets, showers and upgrades available
Day 12-13 - Serengeti National Park
There are no fences around our campsite, so you might wake up in the morning to find lion footprints alongside your tent. Bet that's never happened on a weekend camping trip with dad.
- Rise early and leave the truck behind to head out for your excursion into the Serengeti View plenty of animals and birdlife, from members the Big Five to perhaps some creatures you don't expect
- Camp out at night (with flush toilets and showers) and perhaps hear lions off in the distance
- An optional sunrise balloon ride makes for an unforgettable memory - pre book to guarantee availability
You'll notice many Maasai villages in the region of the 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.
Day 14 - Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Crater is about 19km wide, so it's slightly more than just a hole in the ground. It's your best chance of seeing endangered black rhino so keep your peepers peeled. Then it's back to Arusha for a hot shower.
- Rise with the sun and leave the Serengeti for Ngorongoro Crater, home to some 30,000 animals (approx 3 hrs drive)
- After a picnic lunch, descend onto the floor of the crater for a safari lasting four-five hours
- Depart the crater in the afternoon and relive the safari experience at the bar. Upgrades and Wifi are available
Day 15 - Marangu
Visit the new school at the Amani Children's Home and stay in Marangu overnight. It's a wholesome day.
- Climb high onto the slopes of Kilimanjaro to the village of Marangu, via Moshi (270 km, approx 5-7 hrs)
- Meet the kids of the Amani Children's Home in Moshi
- Drive on to the village of Marangu and set up camp for the night. The camp has shared facilities but no upgrades or WiFi available
Day 16-17 - Usambara Mountains
Learn all about the Chagga people, eat a Chagga meal, then head into the Usambara Mountains. There's plenty of relaxing or exploring to be here. It all depends on if you're an explorer or a relaxer, really.
- 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 Walk around the Chagga shamba (farm) and sample the local Chagga food
- Visit nearby waterfalls and stop for views of the plains below
- Gain views of Kilimanjaro, weather permitting
- Head into the remote Tanzanian mountains (265 km, approx 7 hrs)
- Visit some of the Usambara Mountains' small communities and to the Irente viewpoint
- Make the most of a stop off at a cultural and ecological project based an Irente farm and enjoy a picnic lunch
- Stay in the old German colony of Lushoto, in the grounds of one of the earliest hotels in Africa. It also has access to WiFi and upgrades possible
Day 18 - Dar es Salaam
Set up camp at a beach on the outskirts of Tanzania's tropical port city, Dar es Salaam. It's a nice change from all the safari stuff.
- Head to the coastal city of Dar es Salaam (380 km, approx 9-11 hrs)
- Enjoy the coastal vibes of Dar, and perhaps spend time relaxing or swimming in the ocean
- Our camp has flush toilets, showers and upgrades possible
Day 19-22 - Zanzibar
Take a ferry to Zanzibar, visit Stone Town, tour spice plantations, hit the white sand beaches, swim, snorkel, dive, relax under a coconut palm. Repeat until your time runs out. That's how you do Zanzibar.
- Catch a ferry to the 'Spice Island' of Zanzibar (approx 90 mins)
- Explore Stone Town on foot, taking in the bazaars, shops, mosques, palaces, courtyards and myriad alleyways
- The first nights accommodation is in lodge while the remaining two are in bungalows. An ATM is available at the lodge and both accommodations have WiFi
- Perhaps enjoy a sundowner whilst overlooking the seafront, or sample one of the local seafood curries
- Drive to the spice plantations and enjoy a guided tour, with the opportunity to buy some spices to take home
- Perhaps try snorkelling or simply relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree
- Optional visit to Prison Island
This trip now finishes in Zanzibar at the Safari Lodge.
Your leader can help you organise the return leg of the ferry if you wish which costs approximately 35USD. Ferries depart Zanzibar for Dar Es Salaam daily at 0730hrs, 0930hrs, 1230hrs and 1530hrs and take approx. 2hrs. Please allow enough time to get back to the mainland if you need to catch your departing flight from Dar Es Salaam. Speak to your leader about the best way to do this.
- There are no activities planned for the final day
- Checkout time at our hotel in the Northern Beaches is 10:00am
- After checkout we make our way back to Stonetown where this trip finishes. We should arrive back at Safari Lodge by around 12:00pm.
**This trip is run by our sister company Intrepid**
What to Know
On this trip you will be accompanied by 3 crew members - Group Leader, Cook and Driver.
Amani Children's Home visit, Irente - walk & local lunch, Lake Nakuru - Game drive, Lake Nakuru - Village walk, Loita Hills - Cultural talk and village visit, Masai Mara - Game drive, Ngorongoro Crater - Game drive, Serengeti - Game drive, Usambara Village Education Project visit, village walk & lunch, Visit to New Hope Children's Centre, Zanzibar Spice tour
21 breakfasts, 16 lunches, 15 dinners
- International flights, airport transfers, departure taxes, visas, insurance (compulsory on all trips), meals not listed, any optional tours or activities during free time, camera fees, excess baggage charges, tips and items of a personal nature.
It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure.
Geckos strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items.
Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables.
A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure.
While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Geckos makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them.
Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time.
Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING CONDITIONS:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
UNFENCED CAMP SITES:
On some trips where you will be staying within a national park, please note that at times you will stay in unfenced camp sites. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules that must be adhered to. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 08 Aug 2015 - 29 Aug 2015 4 places left US $4,135 Book Now 22 Aug 2015 - 12 Sep 2015 Available US $4,135 Book Now 05 Sep 2015 - 26 Sep 2015 3 places left US $4,135 Book Now 03 Oct 2015 - 24 Oct 2015 Available US $3,830 Book Now 14 Nov 2015 - 05 Dec 2015 Available US $3,830 Book Now 26 Dec 2015 - 16 Jan 2016 Available US $3,830 Book Now 16 Jan 2016 - 06 Feb 2016 Available US $3,830 Book Now 27 Feb 2016 - 19 Mar 2016 Available US $3,830 Book Now 14 May 2016 - 04 Jun 2016 Available US $3,830 Book Now 11 Jun 2016 - 02 Jul 2016 Available US $3,830 Book Now 02 Jul 2016 - 23 Jul 2016 Available US $3,650 Book Now 16 Jul 2016 - 06 Aug 2016 Available US $3,795 Book Now 30 Jul 2016 - 20 Aug 2016 Available US $3,795 Book Now 13 Aug 2016 - 31 Aug 2016 Available US $3,940 Book Now 13 Aug 2016 - 03 Sep 2016 Available US $3,940 Book Now 20 Aug 2016 - 10 Sep 2016 Available US $3,940 Book Now 27 Aug 2016 - 17 Sep 2016 Available US $3,940 Book Now 10 Sep 2016 - 28 Sep 2016 Available US $3,985 Book Now 10 Sep 2016 - 01 Oct 2016 Available US $3,830 Book Now 24 Sep 2016 - 15 Oct 2016 Available US $3,830 Book Now 08 Oct 2016 - 26 Oct 2016 Available US $3,830 Book Now 08 Oct 2016 - 29 Oct 2016 Available US $3,830 Book Now 12 Nov 2016 - 03 Dec 2016 Available US $3,830 Book Now
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