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Ultimate Africa Adventure: Southern & East Africa Deluxe Safari - 2021

Johannesburg • Kruger National Park • Victoria Falls National Park • Hwange National Park • Chobe National Park • Nairobi • Amboseli National Park • Lake Manyara • Ngorongoro Crater • Serengeti National Park • Masai Mara National Park
  • LEARN HOW TO TAKE PROFESSIONAL-QUALITY PHOTOS ON A CHOBE RIVER GUIDED PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI
  • IMMERSE YOURSELF IN AUTHENTIC BUSH LIFE DURING A STAY AT THE LUXURIOUS VANTAGE-EXCLUSIVE IGANYANA TENTED CAMP
  • WALK TO VICTORIA FALLS VIEWPOINTS TO MARVEL AT THE POWER OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST CURTAIN OF FALLING WATER
  • ENTER A “GARDEN OF EDEN” IN TANZANIA’S NGORONGORO CRATER, WHERE WILDLIFE AND MAASAI CATTLE LIVE IN HARMONY
  • SEE THE WILD ANIMALS OF THE BIG 5 IN 10 OF AFRICA’S TOP NATIONAL PARKS AND GAME RESERVES
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$15,199
  • $506
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  • 30
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  • 50
    TOURS
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This ultimate African adventure is a month of intrepid travel around 6 countries, after which you’ll join the ranks of the world’s best-traveled safari adventurers! This epic journey is designed to give you the best of southern and east Africa, all in one big adventure.

To create this masterplan, we’ve combined our Best of Africa and On Safari in Kenya & Tanzania itineraries into an expedition of grand proportions, introducing you to all the best possible animal sightings in 10 of Africa’s greatest game parks and 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You’ll recognize many park names that epitomize the African safari experience; this is your chance to visit them all: Kruger, Nairobi National Park, Amboseli, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Hwange, Chobe, Victoria Falls, and Maasai Mara.

What’s more, the east African portion of your adventure counts with a circular loop itinerary, which offers the greatest possible opportunity to see the wildebeest migration as they move across the savanna in thousands, in search of better pastures. Plus, we give you two separate opportunities for an optional hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti and/or Maasai Mara, which many Vantage travelers say is a lifetime must-do.

This trip is even bigger and better than ever before! We’ve added: an extra night in the western Serengeti, for enhanced game viewing; a stay in the luxurious and Vantage-exclusive Iganyana Tented Camp on a private concession on the outskirts of the game-rich Hwange National Park; and a new special cultural experience, where you will meet ethnic Iraqw people near Lake Manyara. In all, you'll experience 37 included features and 13 Cultural Discoveries, including a visit to a traditional mud-hut Maasai village; an exploration of the Olduvai Gorge, also known as the “Cradle of Mankind”; a tribal song and dance performance; a visit with children at a school supported by Vantage Cares; and an illuminating meal with a Zimbabwean family in their homestead.

Round out this African adventure with a 5-day pre-extension tour to Cape Town and ascend to the top of Table Mountain and reach the end of the African continent at Cape Point.

There are great savings to be had by combining these African adventures into one all-encompassing journey. Besides, you’ll make great new friendships and enjoy meaningful interactions with local cultures, thanks to a small group of just 24 travelers or less. Don’t miss this very special ultimate African adventure!

Johannesburg to Nairobi

Pre-Trip Extension

Cape Town, South Africa

FROM: $1799 PER PERSON | 6 DAYS | $300 PER DAY
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DAY 1:

Depart home for Johannesburg, South Africa

Leave your cares behind and travel to Johannesburg, South Africa, on an overnight flight, arriving on day 2.

DAY 2:

Arrive in Johannesburg, one of Africa’s most important cities

Touch down in Joburg or Jozi, as it’s affectionately known, South Africa’s city of gold. A Vantage Representative will be there to meet, greet, and escort you to your smart hotel in one of Joburg’s leafy city suburbs. Rest and recover from your journey for the rest of the day.

DAY 3:

Tour Soweto, where Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu lived

After breakfast, we head off on a guided bus tour of South Africa’s largest township, Soweto. Known before as a shanty town, Soweto now has affluent neighborhoods. You’ll sense the significance of the anti-apartheid struggle history here and as you walk along the only street in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates used to live: Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

Stop at the house in Vilakazi street where Nelson Mandela lived prior to his arrest. Walk around the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, in poignant reminder of how this 12-year old boy was killed in the struggle against apartheid. Taste township hospitality with lunch at a vibrant Soweto restaurant.

After lunch, we head back to the hotel for an afternoon of relaxation, admiring the magnificent views over the city of Johannesburg from the poolside.

We’ll get together for a tour orientation before a Welcome Dinner.

Included Features:

  • Morning Tour of Soweto
  • Visit to Nelson Mandela’s House
  • Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum visit
Cultural Discovery:
  • Traditional local lunch in Soweto

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 4:

Fly to Kruger National Park, South Africa

After breakfast at the hotel, it’s time to head to our first safari camp beside Kruger National Park. We take a short transfer to the airport and a 50-minute flight, followed by a 1-hour road transfer to our idyllic tented safari camp on the banks of the Sabie River. This is our base for exploring Kruger National Park and it’s Big 5 animals. Guest Wayne Garee said in his review, “we saw all of the Big 5 on the first 2 days of the safari. Every day we thought would be the highlight of the trip and then the next day was even better!”

The afternoon is yours to spend at leisure: explore the grounds, admire the prolific birdlife, or sip a glass of fine South African wine beside the Sabie River while nibbling on macadamia nuts grown on this subtropical plantation.

Dinner is at camp tonight.

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 5:

Morning Game Drive with picnic lunch inside Kruger National Park

After breakfast at the lodge, be sure to pack your binoculars and camera for your first game drive in Kruger National Park. We’ll drive slowly along routes known for the best animal sightings in the hope of seeing lions and their preys — including antelope, buffalo, zebra, and giraffe — as well as elephants. And, if we’re very lucky, we may even spot rhinos and leopards to round out our first Big 5 spotting.

With nearly 500 species of birds in Kruger, you can start the process of selecting your favorite. Will it be a majestic bateleur eagle soaring above the floodplains, or smaller colorful little bee-eaters or lilac-breasted rollers, often perching by the roadside?

There will be time to stretch your legs at a scenic spot inside the park and eat a picnic lunch. Then, it’s a game drive back to the gate, returning to the camp for a tranquil afternoon at leisure and dinner.

Included Feature:

  • Morning game drive in Kruger National Park with picnic lunch

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 6:

Round out your Kruger safari with an early morning game drive

Lions are done with their night of hunting when the sun starts to rise. So, we will be up before breakfast and inside Kruger Park while big game are still at large. It’s the best time of the day for seeing game activity! Our eagle-eyed rangers will seek out the animals while we are still waking up!

We’ll stop for a picnic breakfast before continuing our morning game drive, leaving the park in time to be at our safari camp for lunch.

After such an early morning, you can catch up on rest during an afternoon at leisure.

Tonight, we enjoy a last evening meal at our South African safari camp.

Included Feature:

  • Morning game drive in Kruger National Park with a picnic breakfast

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 7:

Fly to Livingstone, Zambia, and transfer to Victoria Falls, Zambia

This morning we’ll check out and drive to Kruger Airport for a short flight to Livingstone, in Zambia. From here, we’ll transfer by road across the famous Victoria Falls bridge and through the border into Zimbabwe.

Enjoy lunch at our new Vantage-exclusive safari lodge The Wallow, Victoria Falls, our home for the next three nights. You can relax at the lodge this afternoon, while observing the far-off mist rising up from the torrent of water falling over Victoria Falls. We’ll get right up close to Victoria Falls soon enough, so consider taking the afternoon optional Zambezi River Cruise.

We highly recommend this 2.5-hour cruise on the mighty Zambezi, hosted by a local Zimbabwean who will offer a fascinating cultural and historic insight to the area. Float along the very same stretch of river as David Livingstone, hearing stories that you won't find in books, passed down through generations.

Dinner tonight is at the lodge.

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Optional Tour: Trails of David Livingstone - Zambezi River Cruise

Trails of David Livingstone - Zambezi River Cruise

  • Approximate Cost: $99 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 2.5 hours
  • Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • When: Afternoon tour
Although Victoria Falls is famous for its spectacular cascades, the wide and smooth stretch of the Zambezi River above them should certainly not be overlooked. On this special cultural cruise, we’ll sip sundowners and watch the sun set over this timeless waterway, while listening to a talk about the ‘Trails of David Livingstone’. Our sightseeing boat will be floating along the very same stretch of river the legendary explorer once navigated, and our third-generation Zimbabwean storyteller will reveal Livingstone lore that few history books include. After hearing these riveting tales, we’re sure to look at Livingstone’s life a little differently. Your guide will also help point out wildlife along the river’s edge, including hippos, crocodiles, and even elephants. Snacks and drinks are included.

DAY 8:

Explore Victoria Falls, visit a craft market, take an optional flight over the falls, and dinner with a local family

After breakfast, embark on a guided walk to the very edge of Victoria Falls, marveling at the immense power and majesty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the 7 Wonders of the World. With the roar of the falls, Devil’s Cataract, and the aptly named Rainbow Falls all around you, you’ll understand and hear just why Victoria Falls is known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (“Smoke that Thunders”). There are more exceptional viewing sites as we walk through the subtropical rainforest of this National Park (raincoats advised).

On our way back to the lodge, we’ll stop at Victoria Falls Craft Market, where you can barter for beautiful handmade arts and crafts and Nyami Nyami Zambezi River God totems. Lunch is back at the lodge.

After such a thrilling morning, you have the afternoon at leisure. Or, join one of two optional tour options.

The first is a “Flight of the Angels” helicopter ride over Victoria Falls. The second is the extended Zambezi Spectacular Flight tour, which also includes aerial game-viewing along the river. The falls are impressive from any vantage point, but soaring over them is an experience that promises to entrance you.

Tonight, you’re in for an authentic cultural treat — sharing a meal with a Zimbabwean family in their own home. Known for genuine smiles and sincere friendliness, this heartfelt encounter will truly enrich your trip. Any gifts you bring along are always most welcome, such as cans of peaches, infant formula, coloring books and crayons, or any other items.

Included Feature:

  • Guided walk to Victoria Falls viewpoints
Cultural Discovery:
  • Interact with traders at Victoria Falls Craft Market and barter for gifts
  • Enjoy dinner and conversation with a Zimbabwean family in their own home

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Optional Tour: “Flight of Angels” over Victoria Falls,

“Flight of Angels” over Victoria Falls

  • Approximate Cost: $179 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 12-15 minutes
  • Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • When: Morning Tour
When David Livingstone wrote about his first sight of the Victoria Falls, he said that “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight”. The ‘Flight of Angels’ actually gives you the chance to see the falls as an angel — or an eagle — would. The most popular of the helicopter flights, it lifts off less than two miles from Victoria Falls town center and takes you over the Zambezi River to fly a complete circuit above the Falls in both directions. The 12 to 15-minute flight gives you the best possible views of the falls, and will certainly leave you agreeing with Dr Livingstone.

Zambezi Spectacular Flight

Zambezi Spectacular Flight

  • Approximate Cost: $349 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 25 minutes
  • Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • When: Morning Tour
For a longer ride than the ‘Flight of Angels’, treat yourself to an unbelievable helicopter flight over Victoria Falls and the mighty Zambezi River. This 25-minute scenic helicopter flight over Victoria Falls guarantees spectacular views, making a complete circuit over the Falls in both directions. You’ll also fly over the zig-zagging Batoka Gorge and see the eight past positions of the Victoria Falls, carved away by the water over the millennia. Finally, you’ll fly over Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve, where you can spot wildlife from the air.

DAY 9:

Optional Elephant Encounter, primary school visit, and Vantage-exclusive 3-course bush dinner

Enjoy breakfast and a morning at leisure, or consider an optional early morning Elephant Encounter. This powerful experience allows you to interact directly with these majestic creatures, and even feed them. Being so close to them and learning about the work being done to save them is both enlightening and rewarding.

Later this morning, you’ll be warmly welcomed at Chinotimba Primary School. Through your patronage, Vantage Cares — our philanthropic arm — positively affects the lives of these children. These joyful youngsters often show their appreciation with vivacious songs and dance. Many guests cite this experience as a highlight of the trip! Lunch is back at the lodge.

For our final evening at The Wallow, we gather for a Vantage-exclusive safari cocktail party, then head out for a secret location in the bush, where a 3-course bush dinner awaits under a glittering night sky. If you hear drumming emanating from the darkness, it just might be the music and dance troupe coming to entertain you.

Cultural Discoveries:

  • Chinotimba Primary School visit
  • Starlit bush dinner and African dancing alongside the Zambezi River

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Optional Tour: Elephant, Vic Falls Wildlife Trust laboratory, and Local Village Experience

Elephant, Vic Falls Wildlife Trust laboratory, and Local Village Experience

  • Approximate Cost: $295 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3.5 hours
  • Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • When: Morning tour
Pay a visit to The Wallow, a large, thatched boma overlooking the Masuie River, which provides a magnificent setting for guests to enjoy an elephant interaction in the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary.

Arrive to fresh welcome towels and tea, coffee, croissants and muffins. After an introductory talk, you’ll notice the elephants emerging from the bush to take up their positions in front of the deck, according to hierarchy. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to get so close and to elephants, and you’ll be able to stroke them, and feed them treats. The staff are knowledgeable, and the love, trust and understanding between handlers and elephants is heart-warming to see.

You’ll then hear more about the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (a Vantage Cares program), and have an opportunity to exclusively visit the Wildlife trust’s laboratory for a lecture and firsthand experience on the great efforts that goes into wildlife conservation. The tour continues with a visit to Mpisi village, where the chief will do a presentation and take you to visit a few households. Here you’ll get to see the various huts families live in, and learn about the daily chores and work done in a traditional household. At the kraal, you’ll see their livestock and get to know about traditional animal husbandry practices.

DAY 10:

Transfer to the Vantage-exclusive Iganyana Tented Camp in Hwange National Park

After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll transfer by coach to our Vantage-exclusive safari camp on a private concession of Hwange National Park, which is renowned for excellent game-viewing.

Iganyana offers expansive views of the African savanna, crisscrossed by well-trodden animal pathways between waterholes — one of which is right in front of our camp! Throughout our 3-night stay here, we will be privileged to encounter heaps of animals, yet few other vehicles. With an incredibly high diversity of animals and birdlife, we’ll look for specialties of the area, like painted dog, sable antelope, and famous huge herds of elephants.

This afternoon, we head out on our first Hwange game drive. Have cameras and binoculars at the ready to get a taste of a really wild African safari.

After a delicious dinner, head for the campfire and contemplate the spectacular night sky of the southern hemisphere and its astounding Milky Way. You’ll be shown the Southern Cross constellation pointing the way south — just to make sure you never get lost!

You will surely be ready for a good night’s sleep, but if you’re woken by the sound of lions roaring or other wild noises, think of it as a “bucket list” experience, because it doesn’t happen every day (except here in the bush)!

Included Feature:

  • Afternoon game drive in Hwange National Park

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 11:

Spot game on morning and afternoon safari drives, then hear traditional tribal stories around the campfire

Early morning is the best time to see predators. So, we’ll be up at dawn in search of lions, leopards, hyenas, and — with some luck — rare and elusive wild dogs. We’ll be enraptured by all the many animals of the bush however large and small.

Then, it’s back to the camp for lunch and a short rest before tea. After, we head out on another exciting game drive, this time lasting beyond sunset, so we can look for nocturnal animals by spotlight on our way back to the camp. During the afternoon drive, we’ll head to a waterhole to observe wildlife, taking advantage of the golden light of dusk to snap some great photographs.

With special sightings still fresh in your mind, we return to camp for dinner, often cooked over the coals by our cheerful chef. To finish off this special day, make yourself comfortable around the fireside under a dazzling Milky Way, where a local storyteller will entrance you with stories and legends from the area.

Included Features:

  • Morning game drive in Hwange National Park
  • Afternoon game drive in Hwange National Park
Cultural Discovery:
  • Local storytelling around the fireside

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 12:

Exciting last day in Hwange, Painted Dog Conservation Center visit, night game drive, and entertainment from an African dance troupe

After breakfast, we set off on foot, camouflaged in neutral-colored safari clothes, for a game walk in the wild animal country. You’ll be led by an experienced professional guide, qualified to walk with guests in the Big 5 country. On foot, we’re much closer to the sights, sounds, and smells of the bush, and you’ll learn some survival tricks and tracking skills, like identifying spoor (footprints), so you know whether it was a lion or leopard that passed this way and how long ago! Smaller creatures are exciting too, and you may even learn how to coax a ferocious little ant-lion insect out of his lair. There are many secrets of the bush to be discovered and your guide will reveal them all to you.

Before lunch, we head over to the Painted Dog Conservation Center to hear how their community awareness, education, and anti-poaching measures are helping in the conservation of this Red List Endangered species, whose numbers are declining. There are about 700 wild dogs in Hwange. If we are ever going to see them, this is the best place to do it. What a rare privilege it would be!

After, enjoy lunch at the camp and relax a little before the next exciting excursion.

By late afternoon, you’ll be in the game-viewing vehicle for another game drive — this time to see what’s out and about in the dead of night. As darkness descends, our guide’s well-trained eyes will find elusive nocturnal animals in the spotlight, including big-eyed bush babies, bat-eared foxes, spotted hyenas, chameleons, and even large spiders. Be aware that we can’t shine the light into the eyes of zebras and antelopes, as it would blind them to lurking predators — just one of the many ways that nighttime in the bush can be simultaneously serene and exhilarating.

You’ll be ready for dinner after such a great day . . . but we’ve got one last surprise for your final evening in Hwange! We’ve arranged a special performance of traditional African dance that will get your feet tapping and hands clapping.

Included Features:

  • Morning guided bush walk and visit to the Painted Dog Conservation Center
  • Afternoon/evening game drive in Hwange National Park
Cultural Discovery:
  • African music and dance performance

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 13:

Travel to Botswana’s Chobe National Park for an afternoon game drive

After breakfast, we take an easy 2-hour drive through the Zimbabwean countryside to Victoria Falls, where we stop for lunch. Then, we continue on to the Botswana border and pass through customs and immigration before arriving at our gorgeous lodge right on the banks of the Chobe River. Every air-conditioned room has river views and a private balcony!

You’ll have time to settle in before an afternoon game drive into Chobe National Park to find out why it’s so famous… which has a lot to do with elephants! And buffaloes, lions, antelopes, and the life-giving river that flows through the park.

Savor a delicious dinner while sitting beside this river of life and listen for the inimitable grunt of hippos as they proclaim the end of another spectacular African day.

Included Feature:

  • Afternoon game drive in Chobe National Park

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 14:

A sensational relaxing day cruising the Chobe River after a morning game drive

We revisit Chobe National Park this morning on an early game drive, exploring its lush riverine bush and sandy thornveld, which contain one of the largest concentrations of game in Africa. Whatever the season, large herds of elephant and buffalo are often seen near the river, while predators like lion and spotted hyena are always around. Look out for huge leguaan lizards and crocodiles sunning on the banks. Game such as kudu, warthog, baboons, and vervet monkeys find refuge in the grounds of the lodge, and elephants sometimes crash their way in, too!

Back at the lodge, there’s time to freshen up before embarking on the triple-decker Vantage-exclusive Chobe Explorer cruising boat, where you can truly relax for the rest of the day. This is your time to slow down and soak up the beauty of this incredible wetland and its abundant wildlife. Sit under shaded loungers, binoculars at the ready, to tick off some of the 460 species of birds and yet more animals.

When you detect the delicious aroma of sizzling food, you know the traditional braai (barbeque) has been fired up on the lower deck and lunch will be ready soon. The vegetarian options are very popular, too! If you feel an afternoon siesta coming on, there’s nothing to keep you awake, except a few trumpeting elephants or grunting hippos. To complete our special cruise, we return back to the lodge, sundowner drinks in hand, to watch the sun’s golden orb sink over a watery horizon.

Vantage Exclusive:

  • River cruise and barbeque on the Chobe Explorer
Included Feature:
  • Early morning game drive in Chobe National Park

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 15:

Embark a Chobe River photo safari and learn photography from professionals

After an unhurried breakfast, enjoy a morning at leisure, or opt for our Chobe in Style luxury river cruise with an included breakfast.

Later this morning, we take to the Chobe River again for what many Vantage guests say is one of their most memorable experiences: the Chobe photography safari. We board special boats equipped with swivel chairs and state-of-the-art zoom lens DSLR cameras and a memory stick for you to take home, containing all the masterful wildlife photos you took during this excursion. We’ll be spread between three boats taking a maximum of 8 people each for individual attention and expert tuition. Take it from Vantage traveler Maureen Robb, who said, “I had never been much interested in birds, but this photographic safari changed my mind!”

The excitement isn’t over. After lunch at the lodge, you can use your newly-honed photography skills on an afternoon game drive in Chobe National Park.

Our senses saturated from a day of new adventures, we return to the lodge for a special Farewell Dinner marking your last night in Botswana.

Vantage Exclusive:

  • Chobe photographic safari on boats specially adapted for photography
Included Feature:
  • Afternoon game drive in Chobe National Park

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Optional Tour: Chobe in Style - Luxury Morning River Cruise with a 4-country lecture

Chobe in Style - Luxury Morning River Cruise with a 4-country lecture

  • Approximate Cost: $129 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 2 hours
  • Location: Chobe, Botswana
  • When: Morning Tour
Before you say your final goodbye to the Chobe River, take one last luxury cruise on its iconic dark waters. This morning, you’ll be collected at the jetty to board your luxury private boat, The Chobe Style, with comfortable lounge seaters. Choose between a water-level view on the lower deck, or a bird’s eye view on the upper deck, and settle into the luxurious leather seating. As you cruise in style past hippos, elephants, and other wildlife, a local storyteller will tell you about the history of this fabled river where four countries meet. You’ll hear some fascinating stories about the area’s journey from a war-torn region to one of the most sought-after safari destinations, the meeting of two iconic African rivers whose floods feed the mighty Victoria Falls, and much more. But, that’s not all. The gentle cruise will take you to the famous Raft Restaurant in the middle of the Chobe River, where you’ll be greeted with a traditional song by the smiling and beautifully dressed staff. Here, you’ll be treated to a private exclusive Champagne farewell with delicious hot canapés. With 360-degree views of the river and overlooking what is arguably the most game rich island in the whole of the Chobe region, you’ll enjoy your last wildlife viewing on the Chobe River in a setting and style like no other. This tour would be a wonderful treat for a loved one, or a great way for solo travelers to get to know each other. To keep this excursion as comfortable and exclusive as possible, we have limited guests to a maximum of 15 people, so make sure to book early!

DAY 16:

Transfer to Livingstone Airport, in Zambia, and fly to Nairobi, in Kenya

Transfer from Kasane to Livingstone airport across the border in Zambia for a short flight to Nairobi, Kenya. Arrive in Nairobi to a warm welcome from our Vantage representative, who will transfer us to our deluxe hotel just a few minutes’ drive from the city center.

Take the rest of the day to relax and unwind. The hotel has air-conditioned rooms, tropical gardens, a heated swimming pool, patisserie, gelateria, coffee shop, and restaurants, as well as a spa and health club. This combination of comforts should serve to refresh you before we set off on a safari tomorrow.

included meals:

Breakfast

DAY 17:

A day of close-up animal encounters: touch orphaned elephants, feed giraffes, and visit Karen Blixen’s home

Today is all about close-up animal encounters. After breakfast, we take a short drive to Nairobi National Park. Look out for animals as we drive slowly to the far side of the park!

We soon arrive at the famous Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, which is the most successful orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. Seeing these adorable babies will incite deep compassion in you! One of the orphanage’s conservationists will give us a talk about these youngsters and we’ll be able to get very close to them.

Our next stop is the Giraffe Center, which protects the endangered Rothschild's giraffe, a subspecies only found in East Africa. Here, we’ll hand-feed these gentle creatures and see how extraordinary long their tongue is — around 18-inches! Perfect for getting between acacia thorns to reach succulent leaves.

There’s no more evocative film about Kenya than Out of Africa, and we’ll stop for lunch at the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden, honoring the woman portrayed in the film by Meryl Streep. After lunch, we’ll saunter through the Karen Blixen Museum and revisit that golden era of safari, about which Blixen declared, “There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows.”

We return to the hotel to relax before our safari briefing this evening. Dinner will be served in the hotel restaurant.

Included Features:

  • Visit the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
  • Hand-feed giraffes at the Giraffe Centre
  • Visit the Karen Blixen museum

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 18:

Arrive in Amboseli National Park and take an afternoon game drive

After breakfast, we step aboard our safari vehicles for our first experience of rural African roads — a bit bumpy in places. But we are in 4x4s that have been specially built for adventure. So, Amboseli National Park, here we come!

The most iconic image of East Africa is that of elephants or giraffes wandering across Amboseli’s savanna, with Mount Kilimanjaro towering in the background. Given a clear day and animals in just the right spot, you too may be able to view such remarkable image.

We arrive at our Amboseli lodge in time for lunch. Relax and settle in before meeting on the veranda for a safari briefing.

Then, it’s time for our first game drive within this national park, renowned not just for large herds of elephants, but big old tuskers. While runoff from Mt. Kilimanjaro provides permanent water rising to the surface in swampy springs, the terrain can turn from lush grasslands to dusty plains depending on local rains. Amboseli comes from the Maasai word meaning “salty dust,” and is sometimes referred to as “Amboseli powder.” What you can be sure of is big skies and far horizons, dotted with plentiful game like impala, wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, giraffe, and lion, epitomizing everything good about an East African safari.

We return to our charming lodge for dinner and a good night’s sleep.

Included Feature:

  • Afternoon game drive in Amboseli National Park

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 19:

Explore Amboseli and spot wildlife on two game drives

We take our cue from the animals and rise early today for a morning game drive to catch a glimpse of big game before they sleep off the heat of the day. Then, we’ll head out again for an afternoon game drive, when animals wake and head to the waterholes.

With 1,700 elephants in this park, it’s impossible not to see them on a game drive. There are more than 420 species of birds too, including 10 varieties of eagles and 12 types of heron. It’s fun to see how many of each you can spot.

Your guides are experts at spotting even the most elusive wildlife and positioning the vehicle to give everybody great photo opportunities. Their knowledge and understanding of wildlife, ecology, and the local tribes will certainly enrich your tour.

During the morning, we stop at a Maasai village and find out how, despite western influences, a traditional mud-hut way of life remains intact. Robed in red and with their spears and rungu (knobkerry) always in hand, the Maasai warriors will perform their traditional jumping dance, revealing how high they can leap. A lifestyle where drinking milk mixed with fresh cow’s blood is part of their diet — this is just one revelation of how different the Maasai existence is to your own.

Lunch is back at the lodge, with afternoon snoozing time factored in before the late-afternoon game drive. A delicious 3-course dinner awaits you this evening.

Included Features:

  • Morning game drive in Amboseli National Park
  • Afternoon game drive in Amboseli National Park
Cultural Discovery:
  • Visit a Maasai village

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 20:

Drive from Kenya to Tanzania and onto Lake Manyara, stopping for a Tanzanite Experience and a visit the Shanga Riverhouse

After breakfast, we leave Amboseli and cross the border from Kenya into Tanzania. Our destination is Lake Manyara National Park. Our drive may be long, but we’ll stop for a break in Arusha — Tanzania’s safari gateway town — with a stop at the Tanzanite Experience. This precious stone, only discovered in 1967, is found only in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro and ranges from palest blue to violet. The Maasai have an age-old affinity with the color blue, which is regarded as sacred, healing, and, above all, representative of new life. Many people now see a precious tanzanite as the ultimate adornment.

We’ll have lunch at the Shanga Riverhouse in Arusha and explore their community project, which employs people with disabilities to create unique and high-quality handmade jewelry, glass, and homeware incorporating recycled materials. Their shop is full of beautiful African arts and crafts made right here.

After lunch, it’s less than a 2-hour drive to our luxury lodge inside Lake Manyara National Park, where the Rift Valley escarpment towers 1,950 feet high. All the bedrooms are spread along a cliff edge, with incredible views from your private veranda across the rift valley to the vast Lake Manyara below.

Dinner tonight is at the lodge.

Cultural Discovery:

  • Lunch and visit to Shanga Riverhouse community arts and crafts project

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 21:

Visit a local village and embark on an afternoon safari for tree-climbing lions

After breakfast, we visit an Iraqw village for a fascinating insight and interaction with this Cushitic-speaking ethnic group, who have assimilated many foreign influences into their culture and speak a fascinating linguistic mix.

We’ll have a leisurely lunch back at the lodge, then take our window seats for an afternoon of game viewing in Lake Manyara National Park. We can expect to see buffalo, Masai giraffe, gazelle, and impressively tusked elephant. The park often shimmers in a heat haze created by the soda lake, which attracts masses of birdlife, including huge flocks of flamingoes. The park’s other claim to fame is tree-climbing lions (lions are not usually found in trees), and we’ll see if we can find them.

Enjoy a delicious dinner at the lodge.

Included Features:

  • Afternoon game drive in Lake Manyara National Park
Cultural Discovery:
  • Interaction with Iraqw villagers

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 22:

Tour Gibbs Farm coffee plantation and arrive at Ngorongoro Crater

Today, we head for the world famous Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the world’s biggest intact caldera, a collapsed volcanic crater covering over 100 square miles with a concentration of about 25,000 large mammals, including a very healthy population of black rhinos (all monitored to prevent poaching), giant tusker elephants, black-maned lions, cheetahs, pink flamingoes flocking to the soda lakes, and red-robed Maasai herding cattle alongside predators and prey. Get ready to visit an unforgettable place!

We have time to stop for a tour and lunch at Gibbs Farm, which grows, processes, and roasts Arabica coffee and cultivates organic fruit and vegetables to supply its guest house and kitchen. Where better than this award-winning plantation to have lunch and feast on their farm-to-table bounty?

After lunch, we drive into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to our spectacular safari lodge, perched on the rim of the crater. No lodges are allowed on the crater floor — that’s set aside for animals and Maasai — so we’ll look down from above until tomorrow.

Enjoy a memorable dinner tonight, with sensational views.

Cultural Discovery:

  • Visit to Gibbs Farm coffee plantation and organic fruit and vegetable garden

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 23:

Spend the day exploring the Ngorongoro “Garden of Eden”

You are in for a magnificent full-day safari in what is Africa’s veritable “Garden of Eden.” We’ll drive deep down into the crater and explore the soda lakes, grasslands, swamps, and patches of forest, fed by springs and streams. There are thousands of animals in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, living peacefully alongside the cattle-herding Maasai. We’ll stop for a picnic lunch and see if we can clock up the Big 5 before returning to the lodge in late afternoon. We’ll toast this amazing experience with a cocktail party and dinner tonight.

Included Feature:

  • Full-day game drive safari inside the Ngorongoro Crater

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 24:

Visit the “Cradle of Mankind” and arrive in the famous Serengeti National Park

Our journey through this part of Tanzania is all within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which is of global biodiversity importance. The area includes the Ngorongoro Crater, where we start the day; the Olduvai Gorge, known as the “Cradle of Mankind,” where we stop en route; and the famed Serengeti migration preserve, where we end our day.

From here, we continue into Serengeti National Park, whose seasonal grasslands are the driving force behind the migration of thousands of wildebeest and other grazing animals. Migration sightings depend on the time of year and rain levels, but there are plenty of resident animals to keep us busy on game drives.

We’ll stop in the Serengeti for a picnic lunch, then spot game all the way to our lodge in the very heart of the park, where we’ll freshen up and relax before dinner.

Included Features:

  • Picnic lunch in Serengeti National Park
Cultural Discovery:
  • Visit the Olduvai Gorge “Cradle of Mankind”

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 25:

Sensational optional balloon ride and two game drives in Serengeti, the “big cat country”

Spend the early morning at leisure or join an optional bucket-list opportunity to rise before dawn and take flight in a hot air balloon, floating effortlessly over the Serengeti at the whim of the wind. Such is the skill of the pilot that one moment you’ll be sky high, and the next you’ll be skimming the tree tops, all the while spotting game from above. Within seconds of landing, the crew following your progress in support vehicles will carve a meadow in the grass and set up tables for a scrumptious champagne breakfast to toast the morning’s new experiences.

After breakfast, we’ll all go on a morning game drive through a section of the park renowned for abundant game and famed big cats like lion, leopard, and cheetah. We return to the lodge for lunch. Then, we’ll head out again later in the afternoon for another game drive and stop for sundowner drinks to watch the Serengeti savanna turn golden in the setting sun.

Included Features:

  • Morning game drive in Serengeti National Park
  • Afternoon game drive in Serengeti National Park

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Optional Tour: Serengeti Balloon Safari with Champagne Breakfast

Serengeti Balloon Safari with Champagne Breakfast

  • Approximate Cost: $549 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 - 5 hours
  • Location: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
  • When: Early morning tour

One of the most magically memorable of the Serengeti experiences, a balloon safari allows you to drift in silence above the splendor of the plains. Awakened by an early morning cup of tea, you’ll be driven to the balloon take-off point. There, you’ll meet your fully qualified balloon pilot and watch as the team inflates the enormous rainbow-colored balloon.

As dawn breaks and the balloon slowly rights itself, you’ll be helped into the wicker basket. Then the sandbags are cast off and the balloon rises majestically into the cool of the morning air and floats in whichever direction the winds of the morning take you. You may dip down to visit the hippo pools of the Grumeti River, or float just above the tree-tops to enjoy a bird's-eye view of the wildlife theater as it is enacted below you.

After a 45-minute flight, your balloon will descend to the plains, where the ground crew will greet you with a glass of chilled champagne. Then you’ll be treated to a full English breakfast, which is traditionally cooked on the burners of the balloon. After breakfast, enjoy a leisurely game drive back to the lodge.


DAY 26:

Enjoy a classic safari experience in a tented camp in the Serengeti

We’ll explore a different section of the Serengeti today on a morning game drive to our next safari camp in the far west of the park. The western terrain has two rivers feeding verdant plains, woods, hills, and rocky outcrops, and it’s from an elevated hilltop position that we look out from our camp to sweeping views of the Serengeti. Our lodge also replicates the colonial luxury of an old hunting lodge, with a gorgeous little swimming pool. Massages are offered on your private balcony.

We’ll have lunch at the camp, then enjoy an afternoon game drive to see what animals and birds are to be found in this more rugged area of the Serengeti.

You’ll get a sense of Out of Africa tonight, when the camp’s colonial theme continues at dinner in the opulent dining tent, with its Edwardian-styled furnishings and waiters in Swahili white robes and turbans.

Included Features:

  • Morning game drive in Serengeti National Park
  • Afternoon game drive in Serengeti National Park

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 27:

A full-day of exploring the legendary Serengeti

Ernest Hemingway once said, “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.” These sentiments are shared by all our safari adventurers, especially today, because we’ve added an extra night for you here in the glorious Serengeti!

Every day brings special moments and new sightings, so we’ll see what the western Serengeti has to offer us on morning and afternoon game drives. We’ll be back at the camp for lunch, with time to relax by the pool, have a massage, or take an afternoon snooze.

Dinner will be a culinary surprise, at the camp or even in the bush.

Included Features:

  • Morning game drive in Serengeti National Park
  • Afternoon game drive in Serengeti National Park

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 28:

Visit a local fishing village on your way to the famed Maasai Mara

Today, we’ll drive from Tanzania’s Serengeti into Kenya’s Maasai Mara, with a morning game drive along the way.

After lunch, we’ll stop to meet the folks of a fishing village on Lake Victoria — Africa’s largest freshwater lake and source of the ancient Nile. Being a fisherman is a tough life, with no guarantees of a good catch. We’ll have a chance to ask some questions and find out what life is like on the banks of this gigantic tropical lake, inhabited by crocodiles and hippos.

Our East African safari continues on its circular route, which takes us north across the Kenyan border into the Maasai Mara National Reserve today. The landscape is an extension of the Serengeti and, when wildebeest migrate, they go from one to the other across the notorious Mara River, with its huge hungry Nile crocodiles.

Our very special lodge for tonight looks down on the Mara River from atop a hill, commanding far-reaching views over this savanna, made famous on the big screen in Out of Africa.

We’ll dine tonight in the Maasai-inspired dining room, decorated with traditional Maasai motifs, whose inside and outside seating has views down to the river and beyond.

Included Features:

  • Morning game drive in Serengeti National Park
  • Afternoon game drive in Maasai Mara National Park
Cultural Discovery:
  • Interaction with locals at a fishing village on Lake Victoria

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 29:

Explore the Maasai Mara on game drives and consider another incomparable balloon safari

This morning, you have a second chance at a once-in-a-lifetime optional balloon ride over the Maasai Mara. Enjoy the serene elation of floating silently over the open savanna and tree-lined Mara River as the sun comes up. Hold on tight as you come down to earth, where a splendid champagne bush breakfast is set up wherever you land, amongst whatever animals are around.

For the rest of the day, we’ll explore the Maasai Mara on a morning and afternoon game drive and see which of the Big 5 we can spot.

Lunch and dinner are at the lodge today.

Included Features:

  • Morning game drive in Maasai Mara National Park
  • Afternoon game drive in Maasai Mara National Park

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Optional Tour: Masai Mara Balloon Safari with Champagne Breakfast

Masai Mara Balloon Safari with Champagne Breakfast

  • Approximate Cost: $549 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 - 5 hours
  • Location: Masai Mara National Park
  • When: Early morning tour

Enhance your African safari tour by floating above it all as you embark on the balloon ride of a lifetime. This one-hour flight, starting early in the morning, will give you a bird’s-eye view of the best east Africa has to offer, in the magnificent setting of the Great Rift Valley just as the sun begins the rise. A champagne breakfast in the bush after you land adds to the buzz you’ll get from the early morning air, and the sense of serenity that comes from drifting silently above one of the world’s most beautiful wildernesses. A morning game drive back to your lodge offers an excellent opportunity for wildlife viewing, as early morning is the ideal time to see wild animals on the plains.


DAY 30:

Drive to Nairobi and a Farewell Dinner amongst friends

Enjoy your final breakfast on a safari before settling back into the 4x4 for a day’s drive back to Nairobi, where we began this extraordinary adventure. The lodge will pack us a picnic boxed lunch, which will sustain us during the journey to Kenya’s capital. Tonight, we’ll gather for a Farewell Dinner where we’ll recall our most vivid safari memories.

Included Feature:

  • Farewell Dinner at your hotel

included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 31:

Farewell Africa — time to go home

What a grand adventure you’ve had, with animal sightings and memories to last a lifetime. Enjoy breakfast and still have time for some last-minute gift shopping at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

You can now consider yourself amongst the most experienced of safari travelers, having visited 10 national parks and reserves in 6 countries in a month of intrepid travel across southern and east Africa. You’ve seen wildlife in great abundance and experienced landscapes that will make your heart yearn for Africa forevermore.

included meals:

Breakfast

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or local representatives at the destination.

Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.

Note: That hotel ratings are based on the hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.

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