Essential East Africa
10 days with Intrepid Travel Rating:
Restricted to Ages 18-29
Day 1 Nairobi
Jambo! Welcome to Kenya. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early, why not check out the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum or the highly recommended Bomas of Kenya where traditional homesteads of some Kenyan tribes are displayed at an outdoor village.
Day 2 Loita Hills Maasai Experience
Depart Nairobi, with a short stop in Narok for a spot of food shopping. Continue to Loita Hills (approximately 5–6 hours), then stop, chill out and get some lunch. Today's drive crosses the Great Rift Valley, Africa's huge great divide, takes you into the remote region of Loita Hills. This is the home of the Maasai people. You will visit the Maasai, who are known for their dazzling red dress and elaborate jewellery, and gain an insight into the culture and ancient ways of this proud East African community. After setting up your tent, meet your Maasai hosts. A local elder will deliver a fascinating talk about the Maasai and what they're about. You'll be shown around a traditional Maasai home and see where the resident cattle are kept. Showers, upgrades and Wi-Fi are not available at tonight's bush camp.
Day 3 Masai Mara National Reserve
Travel from Loita to Masai Mara (approximately 1–2 hours). The road is pretty dusty when it's dry, and could be slippery and soft when wet, so the going might be slow. The Masai Mara is one of the classic African experiences – wide open plains, postcard-perfect skies and some of the world's great wild animals. After setting up camp, sit down to some lunch. Then it's time to jump back on board the truck and go for a game drive through the wilderness of the Mara. You campground tonight is located outside of the national reserve and has flush toilets and showers. There is an option to upgrade, depending on availability. Wi-fi is not available here though.
Day 4 Masai Mara National Reserve
Adventure into the reserve for a full day's game drive. You'll explore this diverse environment and most likely see a lots of different wildlife. An optional balloon ride over the Mara at sunrise is well worth considering. If you have pre-booked this activity (see the 'Important Notes' section) you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site for a safety briefing from your pilot. Then you will glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, which provides amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you will ascend, getting an overview of the enormity of the plains and the early morning movements of the teeming herds. After landing, you'll be treated to a bush breakfast, then be returned to your campsite to meet up with your group.
Day 5 Lake Victoria
Travel towards the Kenya-Tanzania border and to the shores of Lake Victoria (approximately 7–8 hours). This is not only Africa's biggest lake – it's the largest tropical lake in the world. It shares its shores with Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. You'll arrive late afternoon, in time to chill out lakeside with a cold drink and watch the sunset. Make the most of the ATM and local market to stock up for your next three days of wilderness adventures. You will camp on the shores of the lake tonight, at one of its least visited campgrounds, on the outskirts of a small town called Musoma. Depending on availability, you might be able to upgrade to a room, but no Wi-Fi is available.
Day 6 Serengeti National Park
If you choose, you can wake up early for a guided bike excursion around the town and marketplace of Musoma. It's a great opportunity to interact with the locals. Keep in mind you'll need to have your own helmet for this, because there probably won't be one available. Today you will travel from Lake Victoria to the gate of Serengeti National Park on a smooth road (approximately 3 hours) and enjoy a picnic lunch at the entrance to the park. Enter the Serengeti and take a game drive en route to your campsite. These plains – green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season – are home to thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators, so see how many you can spot. Your campsite is right in the action, within the park itself, so listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep at night. There are no upgrades or Wi-Fi available here.
Day 7 Serengeti National Park
Start the day with a game drive at dawn. You will head out while the animals are at their most active, then head back to camp for brunch at around 11 am. After spending the warmer part of the day relaxing, as the animals do, depart again in the afternoon for another adventure through the wild. You'll return in time for dinner. There's the option of an early-morning balloon ride here too, so if you didn't take one in the Mara, tomorrow's your chance.
Day 8 Karatu
Get everything you possibly can out of the Serengeti with a final game drive on your way out of the park this morning. Stop for lunch and then continue to Karatu, entering the Ngorongoro Conservation Area as you drive. Including stops the journey to Karatu will take about 4 hours, plenty of time to do a little window gazing over the vast plains. On arrival set up camp and spend the rest of the day at your own pace.
Day 9 (Ngorongoro Crater) / Arusha
If you can manage an early start, an optional visit to the Ngorongoro Crater is highly recommended. Gigantic, perfectly intact volcanic crater Ngorongoro is home to some 30,000 animals. Among these are endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. The crater floor is great for game viewing all year round, and the photo-opportunities here are next level. If you don’t wish to visit the crater head on to Mto Wa Mbu wth your crew. Here you can participate in a guided village walk or bike ride around the farming areas, milling machine, and local homes and farmlands. Mto wa Mbu offers a snapshot of small-town East African life. Join up with your other travellers at the craft market before continuing to the city of Arusha at the base of Mt Meru. The journey from Karatu to Arusha will take around 3 hours.
Day 10 Arusha / Nairobi
Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast today. A departure transfer can be booked, at an additional expense, to either Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) or Arusha Airport (ARK). Alternatively, you can continue on with our crew to finish in Nairobi.
All This Included
Got 10 days, an adventurous bent, a desire to see as much of East Africa as you can as you can and a tight budget? We’ve designed this trip just for you – it’s a memory-maker, but not a bank-breaker. With multiple 4WD safari drives in the Masai Mara and Serengeti National Parks, stops at remote market towns, spend a night in a Maasai village and another night by the largest tropical lake in the world, this tour is like a crash course in what East Africa is all about.
Hotel (1 night)
Camping (with facilities) (6 nights)
Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights)
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.