Surfing the Great Rift

Elephan-freaking-tastic
Game drives in the Masai Mara
Game drives in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Serengeti
Grub's up
Kenyan street art
Lake Naivasha's hippos
Masai Mara's mammal migrations
The 'Garden of Eden' of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ngorongoro Crater
The flamingos of Lake Nakuru
The Masai will make you jump, jump
  • Don’t cry when you leave Nairobi – you’ll be back here in two weeks. Perve at the pretty pink flamingos in Lake Nakuru, loiter in the Loita Hills and rub shoulders with warriors in the Masai Mara. Lake Victoria’s mad big – look at it and you’ll see. Serengeti and Ngorongoro are a paradise for both animals and animal wannabes alike.

    Don't leave East Africa with trying: chipsi mayai (omlette stuffed with chips), nyama choma (barbecue) or ugali na mchicha (starchy stuff with spinach). Wash it down with a Kili or Serengeti beer or maybe a shot of konyagi (local gin) if you're brave.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Nairobi

    No activities planned, so head to the Kenyatta market and grab some choma from one of the little stalls at the entrance.

    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

    Settle in for a full day of game drives. This means wildlife. Lake Nakuru is a soda lake (not that kind of soda) which is usually full of flamingos. These creatures aren't born fabulous, they actually start life a boring grey but gradually turn pink from all the plankton.

    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
    Camp just outside the park

    Day 3-4 - Lake Naivasha

    Drive to Lake Naivasha for a boat cruise and a wander with zebras and giraffes. Meet the locals and camp by the lake. It's the stuff dreams are made of.

    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 or visit the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary or Hell's Gate National Park near Lake Naivasha

     

    Day 5 - Loita Hills

    Head across the Great Rift Valley floor to Loita Hills. Camp with the friendly and semi-nomadic Masai people and learn about their ancient culture from a local elder. He's like the wise African grandfather you never knew you wanted.

    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

    Day 6-7 - Masai Mara National Reserve

    After passing the Masai mamas selling their goods at the gate ("mzungu, mzungu" means "foreigner, foreigner", by the way), it won't take long for your first wildlife sighting.

    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

    Day 8 - Nairobi

    Today, we head back to Nairobi. Take a break from pitching tents and relax at a hotel. Take a refreshing dip in the pool and enjoy a cool drink or go for a walk around the town and meet some local people.
     
    As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary, meet your new fellow travellers, and collect the next part of your kitty.
     
    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.
     
    Stay in a simple hotel with swimming pool, restaurant and en suite bathrooms.

    Day 9 - Kisii

    Head through the Great Rift Valley and stop for supplies in Kisii before the safari excursion. You can't prepare yourself for the amount of awesome you're about to be subjected to. So just sit back and let it happen.

    Board your safari truck and travel west

    Cross the scenic Great Rift Valley on the way to the tea-growing highlands

    Pass through the ancient homeland of the Maasai, keeping a look out for the tall, graceful tribesmen

    Stop for a picnic lunch in the town of Narok

    Make a final stop near the hilltop town of Kisii, your last chance to stock up on supplies before heading into the wilderness

    Today's drive will take about 8-9 hours (310 km) and the roads are pretty rough

    Day 10 - Lake Victoria

    Camp on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake. It's just like camping beside other lakes, only better.

    Travel towards the Kenya-Tanzania border and the shores of Lake Victoria (250 km, approx 7-8 hrs)
    Spend time at a soapstone carving cooperative
    Perhaps hire bicycles or even a boat - on which you can visit a local island
    Stop by an African market place and interact with the locals, or just relax by the lakeside
    Spend the night camping on the shores of the lake
     

    Day 11-12 - Serengeti National Park

    Don't be that person who is constantly shoving and elbowing their way into the prime wildlife position, just wait your turn. If you forgot to bring your binoculars you'll be kicking yourself by now.

    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 and perhaps hear lions off in the distance
    An optional sunrise balloon ride makes for an unforgettable memory
     
    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.

    Day 13 - Ngorongoro Crater

    Your big truck gets a rest today as we take 4WDs down to the crater floor. With pop-top roofs and easy access to your driver (and all their stories), you'll love this change for the day.

    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

    Day 14 - Meserani

    Take a final 4WD excursion across the Ngorongoro Crater. Press on to Mto Wa Mbu, browse the markets and camp in Meserani.

    Drive out of the crater and head to Mto Wa Mbu for a look around the town
    Continue on to your campsite (140 km, approx 5-6 hrs)
    Get a close-up look at life in an African town away from the main tourist trail

    Camp overnight in Meserani

    Day 15 - Nairobi

    Head back to Nairobi, travelling through Arusha en route. Nyama Choma Place on Milimani Road is the perfect spot for a final group barbecue.

    S
    et off early, heading for the border with Kenya and on to Nairobi (390 km, approx 7-8 hrs)
     
    This is a transport day to Nairobi. You can finish your trip in Arusha this morning if you wish to travel further in Tanzania or catch a flight.
    On arrival in Nairobi you'll be dropped at your finishing point hotel. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but we are able to book you additional accommodation in Nairobi. Please ask at time of booking.
     

    Important: Please don't book any flights until after 6pm this evening.


    **This trip is run by our sister company Intrepid**

  • What's Included

      • On this trip you will be accompanied by 3 crew members - Group Leader, Cook and Driver.

      • Included activities:

        Kisii - Soapstone carving cooperative, Lake Nakuru - Game drive, Lake Nakuru - Village walk, Loita Hills - Cultural talk and village visit, Masai Mara - Game drive, Mto Wa Mbu - Market Visit, Musoma - Market visit, Ngorongoro Crater - Game drive, Serengeti - Game drive, Visit to New Hope Children's Centre

      • 14 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 12 dinners

    Not Included

    • 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.

    Safety Information

    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.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: 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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    SWIMMING POOLS: 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.

    BALCONIES:
    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

    SEAT BELTS:
    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.

     

  • Map Itinerary

  • Trip Dates and Prices

    Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price Kitty Payment Total Price
    04 Oct 2014 - 18 Oct 2014 Fully Booked
    US $1,315 On Sale
    Sale: US $1,183
    US $915 US $2,098 Contact Us
    18 Oct 2014 - 01 Nov 2014 2 places left
    US $1,275 On Sale
    Sale: US $1,147
    US $915 US $2,062 Book Now
    15 Nov 2014 - 29 Nov 2014 Available
    US $1,275 On Sale
    Sale: US $1,147
    US $915 US $2,062 Book Now
    29 Nov 2014 - 13 Dec 2014 Available
    US $1,275 On Sale
    Sale: US $1,147
    US $915 US $2,062 Book Now
    13 Dec 2014 - 27 Dec 2014 Available
    US $1,275 On Sale
    Sale: US $1,147
    US $915 US $2,062 Book Now
    20 Dec 2014 - 03 Jan 2015 3 places left
    US $1,275 On Sale
    Sale: US $1,147
    US $915 US $2,062 Book Now
    03 Jan 2015 - 17 Jan 2015 Available US $1,315 US $915 US $2,230 Book Now
    24 Jan 2015 - 07 Feb 2015 Available US $1,315 US $915 US $2,230 Book Now
    14 Feb 2015 - 28 Feb 2015 Available US $1,265 US $915 US $2,180 Book Now
    28 Feb 2015 - 14 Mar 2015 Available US $1,315 US $915 US $2,230 Book Now
    28 Feb 2015 - 14 Mar 2015 Available US $1,315 US $915 US $2,230 Book Now
    14 Mar 2015 - 28 Mar 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    11 Apr 2015 - 25 Apr 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    11 Apr 2015 - 25 Apr 2015 Available US $1,230 US $915 US $2,145 Book Now
    16 May 2015 - 30 May 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    16 May 2015 - 30 May 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    06 Jun 2015 - 20 Jun 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    06 Jun 2015 - 20 Jun 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    13 Jun 2015 - 27 Jun 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    13 Jun 2015 - 27 Jun 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    27 Jun 2015 - 11 Jul 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    27 Jun 2015 - 11 Jul 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
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    11 Jul 2015 - 25 Jul 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    18 Jul 2015 - 01 Aug 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
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    01 Aug 2015 - 15 Aug 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    08 Aug 2015 - 22 Aug 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    15 Aug 2015 - 29 Aug 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    22 Aug 2015 - 05 Sep 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    29 Aug 2015 - 12 Sep 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    05 Sep 2015 - 19 Sep 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    12 Sep 2015 - 26 Sep 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    12 Sep 2015 - 26 Sep 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    19 Sep 2015 - 03 Oct 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    26 Sep 2015 - 10 Oct 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    26 Sep 2015 - 10 Oct 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    03 Oct 2015 - 17 Oct 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    10 Oct 2015 - 24 Oct 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    10 Oct 2015 - 24 Oct 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    24 Oct 2015 - 07 Nov 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    24 Oct 2015 - 07 Nov 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    14 Nov 2015 - 28 Nov 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    28 Nov 2015 - 12 Dec 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    28 Nov 2015 - 12 Dec 2015 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
    19 Dec 2015 - 02 Jan 2016 Available US $1,275 US $915 US $2,190 Book Now
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    Kitty payment is required in cash. It needs to be paid before the end of your trip, in the local currency stated above. It is generally paid on Day 1, and covers most on-ground expenses. Kitty payments calculated using exchange rates valid on 1 Jan 2013.

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Surfing the Great Rift

    Suzanne - , 19 Dec, 2009
    5
    Overall Rating

    i can't pin it down to one thing as it was great, but the sun rise over the crater was a fantastic site as was the sun setting on lake victoria.

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15 days
$1147
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Nuts+Bolts

#GAEA
- 22
4WD vehicle, Overland vehicle
1 night Dormitory, 2 nights Basic hotel, 11 nights participatory camping
Nairobi
Nairobi

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