East African Explorer, Sopa Lodges
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An African safari touches something deep within all of us, for it is an experience that will never be forgotten. This 13-day adventure takes you to some of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet to explore Africa’s fascinating wildlife, especially the Big Five, as well as its intriguing cultures. The safari visits five national parks, one national reserve and the conservation area that covers the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. The driver-guides are all very experienced and will certainly make this safari feel special.
Maasai Mara National Reserve: Located in the African Great Rift Valley, this is a mesmerising home of the Big Five.
Lake Nakuru National Park: Fully fenced park that is a refuge for flamingos, the black and white rhinos, and many other superb animals.
Amboseli National Park: Stunningly located at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, this national park is filled with natural surprises.
Lake Manyara National Park: The first of the Tanzanian parks and the home to tree-climbing lions and huge hippos is sure to surprise you.
Serengeti National Park: Home to millions of wild animals and setting of the great wildebeest migration every year.
Ngorongoro Crater: The planet’s largest intact volcanic caldera is a world within a world where humans and wildlife perfectly cohabit.
Tarangire National Park: Lush and green wetlands provide an ideal habitat for hundreds of species of birds.
- Operated with bilingual English-, French-, or German-speaking local driver-guide throughout the tour (The assigned local driver-guide may change during the itinerary. Airport transfers will be operated with English-speaking drivers)
- 12 night’s accommodation
- 12 breakfasts
- 12 lunches
- 12 dinners
- Arrival and departure private transfer in an air-conditioning car from/to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
- 4×4 vehicle with a pop-up roof and guaranteed window seat during game drives and all transportation throughout the tour (maximum 7 persons per vehicle) on a private basis
ENTRANCE FEES & ACTIVITIES:
- All entrance fees and activities mentioned in the itinerary: 1 game drive at Maasai Mara National Reserve (Day 2); 2 game drives at Maasai Mara National Reserve (Day 3); 1 game drive at Lake Nakuru National Park (Day 4); Boat ride at Lake Naivasha (Day 5); 2 game drives at Amboseli National Park (Day 6); 1 game drive at Lake Manyara National Park (Day 8); 2 game drives at Serengeti National Park (Day 9); 1 game drive at Ngorongoro Crater (Day 10); 1 game drive at Ngorongoro Crater (Day 11); 1 game drive at Tarangire National Park (Day 12)
- Meet & Greet
- All park and government fees
- 1 bottle of mineral water (500ml) per person per day on game drives
- Domestic flights
- International flights
- Drinks during meals (unless specified otherwise)
- Any visit not mentioned in the program
- Porterage and gratuities
- Expenditures of a personal nature, drinks and meals or items not stated explicitly in the program
- Any alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, mineral water, camera/video camera fee (if any)
- Travel Insurance or any loss or extra cost arising due to unforeseen circumstances such as flight delays, accidents, etc.
- Day 2, the tour departs from Nairobi at 07:00 am
- Day 13, the dinner is served at 07:00 pm in Nairobi. Flights to be booked 11:00 pm onwards
- Due to limited luggage space in vehicles, suitcases are unsuitable for scheduled road safaris. We recommend luggage packed in inexpensive barrel/sausage bags or soft-sided bags not exceeding 15kg and 65×46 cm. Excess luggage can be handed over to the representative at the time of briefing. It will be handed over to you on your return from the safari. Additional costs may apply to pick up drop off luggage at specific points
- No refund for unused services. Splitting of the package is not allowed
- We reserve the right to change itineraries and activities due to weather conditions, technical problems or security reasons
- Early check-in, late check-out, connecting or adjoining rooms in the hotel are subject to availability and not guaranteed
- This tour is a combination of regular tours and shared arrangements, clients may be required to change vehicles
- Park fees may change without prior notice. This is beyond our control and any increase levied will have to be covered by the client
What do I need to bring?
Passengers should bring only soft-sided bags on safari. Passengers arriving to Kenya or Tanzania may be asked to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. Travellers’ cheques are generally not accepted in east Africa. US banknotes cannot be older than 2004 and must have the latest security markings (large portrait of the president). Sun protection, sunglasses, a hat and mosquito repellent can be very useful during your stay.
Day 1 Nairobi:
- Standard Hotel Category = Safari Park Hotel or similar 04*
Day 2-3 Maasai Mara:
- Standard Hotel Category = Mara Sopa Lodge or similar 3.5*
Day 4 Nakuru:
- Standard Hotel Category = Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge or similar 3.5*
Day 5-6 Amboseli:
- Standard Hotel Category = Amboseli Sopa Lodge or similar 3.5*
Day 7 Lake Manyara:
- Standard Hotel Category = Lake Manyara Kilimamoja Lodge or similar 4*
Day 8-9 Serengeti:
- Standard Hotel Category = Serengeti Sopa Safari Lodge or similar 4*
Day 10-11 Ngorongoro:
- Standard Hotel Category = Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge or similar 4*
Day 12 Tarangire:
- Standard Hotel Category = Tarangire Sopa Lodge or similar 4*
- Once ordered, this tour cannot be cancelled or refund or amended at any circumstances.
Day 1 : ARRIVAL NAIROBI
Upon arrival in Nairobi, you will be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy an afternoon at your own leisure, perhaps taking advantage of the facilities of the hotel and its landscaped gardens. A visit to Nairobi city centre, which is just a few kilometres away, is also an option.
Overnight in Nairobi.
Day 2 : NAIROBI – MAASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE (285kms – 5 hrs)
Leaving Nairobi very early in the morning, we will travel towards Kenya’s fertile highlands and head down the Rift Escarpment on a road built by Italian prisoners during World War II. Keep an eye out for the charming chapel they built at the foot of the escarpment. As you head across the valley to Narok, pass the futuristic Longonot earth satellite station and then travel through the hypnotising fields of wheat and barley. Reach Maasai Mara and the Mara Sopa Lodge in time for lunch, and perhaps, a siesta. Afterwards, it’s time for the first game drive of the tour. At Mara Sopa Lodge, the accent is on both the indigenous Maasai people and the fabulous wealth of wildlife, birdlife, and natural flora seen in every direction. The lodge is located in the Oloolaimutia valley and built into the surrounding hillside landscape. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Overnight in Maasai Mara.
Day 3 : MAASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE (5-6 hrs on game drives)
Have an early, delicious breakfast. Then, enjoy a magnetising morning game drive. The Maasai Mara National Reserve is home to millions of wild animals, including the fabled Big Five of lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes and black rhinos. There are also antelopes, gazelles and wildebeest, among many other fascinating species. Return to the lodge for lunch, and perhaps a siesta, before setting off for an afternoon game drive and a visit to the Maasai Village. Return to the lodge as the sun sets. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Overnight in Maasai Mara.
Day 4 : MAASAI MARA – LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK (315kms – 6 hrs)
Bid farewell to the Maasai Mara after breakfast and travel across the ‘breadbasket’ of Kenya. Wheat and barley plantations dominate the landscape as you head north to Narok, the district headquarters of this part of Maasailand. Cross the vast plains on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, keeping an eye out for herds of giraffes and gazelle as you head up the Mai -Mahiu. Arrive at Lake Nakuru at about midday. The waters often have a shimmering pink colour, from the thousands of flamingos that line its shores. After lunch, depart for an afternoon game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park. Like all the beautiful flamingos, both black and white rhino are being carefully protected and given a new lease of life in this fully fenced 188 square kilometre park. The rhino population numbers more than 50 and continues to grow. The Rothschild’s giraffe is another rarity, and the park has its fair share of buffaloes, leopards, zebras, elands, waterbucks, and lions. Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge is located on a range of hills that form the western limits of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and offers spectacular views over the vastness of Africa. The lodge overlooks Lake Nakuru, as well as its surrounding National Park and it is a paradise for bird-watchers and wildlife lovers alike. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Overnight at Lake Nakuru.
Day 5 : LAKE NAKURU – AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK (405kms – 7 hrs)
Rise early for breakfast before continuing the adventure with a drive south for a boat ride on Lake Naivasha, which provides a habitat for hundreds of bird species and hippos. The lake is located at one of the highest elevations in the Rift Valley, which we leave behind as the tour proceeds towards Nairobi for a picnic lunch. Head south to Amboseli National Park, arriving at Amboseli Sopa Lodge by late afternoon. The lodge lies at the heart of Amboseli National Park, which is itself at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. This area is considered one of the best spots for viewing elephants at close range. Amboseli Sopa Lodge provides an unequalled base from which to explore the park and to take some great photos of this stunning snow-capped mountain. The lodge is also close to where Ernest Hemingway lived while writing his famous story, ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’. Here you can enjoy your own private veranda, as well as several bars, a superb pool framed by Kilimanjaro, a TV lounge and many other small niceties that contribute to making this a stunning location. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Overnight at Amboseli.
Day 6 : AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK (5-6 hrs on game drives)
Feast on breakfast in preparation of a morning and afternoon spent on game drives in Amboseli National Park. Most of the park consists of a partially dry lake bed of evaporated salts and fragile grassland with patches of acacia woodland. You can see most types of game in the park, including rhinos, giraffes, gazelles, lions, cheetahs and leopards. Birdlife is prolific, too, especially around the swamp areas. This entire experience is carried out under the shadow of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, which rises some 5,000 metres above the national park. There is a picnic lunch at the park, before returning to the lodge, later in the afternoon. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Overnight at Amboseli.
Day 7 : AMBOSELI – LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK (350kms – 6.5 hrs)
After breakfast, make the short journey to the border with Tanzania and then on to the city of Arusha for lunch. In the afternoon, depart Arusha and pass through the Maasai Steppe, a landscape dotted by many picturesque tribal villages as well as maize, coffee and banana plantations. Turn north-west at the town of Makuyuni and continue through a scenic escarpment that brings you to Lake Manyara Kilimamoja Lodge. Perched on the edge of the Rift Valley and boasts magnificent panoramic views over the valley and Lake Manyara in the distance. All suites offer incredible views of the surrounding areas, set in a verdant garden scene. The African-style lodges are grouped around a dramatic infinity pool and boast a beautiful outdoor fireplace and relaxation areas. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Overnight at Lake Manyara.
Day 8 : LAKE MANYARA – SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK (250kms – 5 hrs)
After breakfast in Lake Manyara National Park, indulge in a thrilling game drive. This park is famous for its varied birdlife – notably flamingos – in the wet season and large mammal viewings in the dry season. Tree-climbing lions, large-tusked elephants, and one-and-a-half-tonne hippos are counted among the denizens of this fascinating park. Return to the lodge for lunch and then head to the north of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, driving across the hilly countryside of the highlands. From here stretch the vast plains of the Serengeti, where you’ll hopefully start spotting game well before you enter the park. Accommodation is at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge, which is in the Nyarboro Hills, the only development for tourists in this section of the park. The area’s year-round water and the acacia woodland create an ideal environment for the wide variety of wildlife seen in the immediate vicinity of the lodge. Looking out over the seemingly endless Serengeti plains, this hillside lodge is a tranquil oasis of 79 suites, each with a private veranda offering wonderful views over the plains. As the sun sets, you may enjoy sundowner cocktails by the pool, and in the evening, after a four-course dinner, traditional dancers entertain guests. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Overnight in Serengeti.
Day 9 : SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK (5-6 hrs on game drives)
The Serengeti is famed for being home to millions of animals and the annual Great Migration of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles but the dramatic landscapes in which the wildlife prowls are themselves worthy of admiration. Riverine forests and woodlands, rocky outcrops called kopjes and a volcano are just some of the backdrops in which the animals can be spotted during the morning and afternoon game drives. With some luck, here you will see the Big Five and, with great luck, the harder-to-spot species grouped as the Little Five: the ant lion, the rhino beetle, the elephant shrew; the buffalo weaver; and the leopard tortoise. Birds and reptiles are also plentiful in Serengeti National Park. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Overnight in Serengeti.
Day 10 : SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK – NGORONGORO CRATER (200kms – 4 hrs)
Take to the road after breakfast for a breath-taking drive to Ngorongoro Crater. There will be a pause along the way for a picnic lunch while viewing game in the Serengeti plains. Continue with a short visit of a Maasai Village, on your war to the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, which is located at Lemala Hill, the highest point on the crater’s rim at the eastern end thus enjoying the kaleidoscope of colours of sunset to the west every evening. You can enjoy the sunshine during most of the year, even when it gets nippy (June-July), and must take care when sunbathing by the pool due to the altitude. Meals feature international and Tanzanian dishes. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Overnight in Ngorongoro.
Day 11 : NGORONGORO CRATER (150kms – 5-6 hrs game viewing)
A spellbinding experience awaits you this morning as you explore what is considered to be the world’s largest wildlife zoo. After breakfast, descend through the early morning mists to the basin of the crater, some 600 metres below the rim, for a picnic lunch. The Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and due to its size – it has a diameter of 19km – and diversity, the crater floor features distinct areas that range from forests, swamps, lakes and springs to open grasslands and sandy dunes. The crater has traditionally been inhabited by the Maasai people, who share it with more than 25,000 wild animals, including black rhinos, wildebeest, zebras, eland, gazelles, lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, hyenas, jackals and cheetahs and more. It’s an awesome wildlife experience. Return to the lodge in the late afternoon. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Overnight in Ngorongoro.
Day 12 : NGORONGORO CRATER – TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK (200kms – 4 hrs)
Depart the Ngorongoro Crater after breakfast and head southeast towards Lake Manyara, Mto Wa Mbu village and Tarangire National Park. Through the highlands and the Karatu district, pass scenic wheat plains and coffee plantations, journeying down a spectacular escarpment before arriving at the park and on to Tarangire Sopa Lodge. Enjoying a game drive en-route. After lunch, and perhaps a swim, the remainder of the afternoon is spent on a game drive in the park, which is home to one of the greatest concentration of elephants in Africa and other game, including the elusive leopard, zebras and tree-climbing lions. More than 550 bird species can be spotted here as well. Surrounded by ancient baobab trees, Tarangire Sopa Lodge is almost hidden among the kopjes of the national park. The pretty gardens feature a large, circular pool with a central island, a pool bar and elegant wooden loungers. A broad veranda wraps itself around the lodge and offers prime viewing over a waterhole below, which is filled during the dry season and becomes a magnet to wildlife. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Overnight in Tarangire.
Day 13 : TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK – DEPARTURE NAIROBI (160km – 3 hrs)
Say goodbye to Tarangire after breakfast and drive to Arusha, arriving in time for lunch. Continue to Nairobi in the afternoon and onto a central Nairobi restaurant for dinner, before transfer and drop-off at Nairobi Airport. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included. Flights to be booked from 11:00 pm onwards.