Vantage celebrates its 40th anniversary this year!
This ultimate, small group African adventure is a month of intrepid travel around six countries, after which you’ll join the ranks of the world’s best-traveled safari adventurers.
Enjoy the best possible animal sightings in Africa’s greatest game parks and explore three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. What’s more, the east African portion of your adventure features a circular loop itinerary, offering the greatest possible opportunity to see the wildebeest migration as they move across the savanna in search of better pastures.
As for accommodations — they are simply the best, including stays at the luxurious Iganyana Tented Camp on a private concession on the outskirts of the game-rich Hwange National Park, and The Wallow in Victoria Falls.
In all, you’ll enjoy 42 included features and Cultural Discoveries, including a visit to a traditional Iraqw village, an exploration of the Olduvai Gorge; and an illuminating, home-hosted meal with a Zimbabwean family. Don’t miss this incredibly special ultimate African adventure!
This itinerary is a combination of: Best of Africa: South Africa, Zimbabwe & Botswana and On Safari in Kenya & Tanzania: Up Close with the Big Five.
Home comers have been known to clap or even cry as they see Cape Town’s beloved Table Mountain from the airplane window, such is the emotion roused by this city’s mother icon. It’s also been likened to a sleeping goddess, the stairway to heaven, and watcher of the south. You will experience its quarzitic energy on a trip to the top by cable car, where this long thin peninsula — with Cape Town at its head and Cape Point at its tip — spreads out before you.
Cape Town’s scenic beauty is unsurpassed. We’ll drive you along mind-blowing coastal scenic routes, through the genteel Cape Winelands for wine tasting at ancient estates, around the historic city, and jet you off on a luxury yacht motor cruise for an ocean adventure that also includes a first-hand account of life on Robben Island from one of Nelson Mandela’s former prison wardens. Remember: there’s no rush, take your cue from chilled-out Capetonians. They are so laid back that citizens of industrious Johannesburg say it’s called the Mother City because it takes 9 months for anything to happen!
Depart home for Johannesburg, South Africa
Leave your cares behind and travel to Johannesburg, South Africa, on an overnight flight, arriving on Day 2. Or, depart earlier for your pre-trip extension to Cape Town, South Africa.
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.
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.
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 its Big Five. Guest Wayne Garee said in his review, “We saw all of the Big Five on the first two 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.
Morning Game Drive with picnic breakfast inside Kruger National Park
Be sure to pack your binoculars and camera for your first game drive in Kruger National Park this morning. We’ll drive slowly along routes known for the best animal sightings in the hope of seeing lions and their prey — including antelopes, buffaloes, zebras, and giraffes — as well as elephants. And, if we’re lucky, we may even spot rhinos and leopards to round out our first Big Five spotting.
With nearly 500 species of birds, you can start the process of selecting your favorite. Will it be a majestic bateleur eagle soaring above the floodplain, 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 breakfast. Then, return to the camp for a tranquil afternoon at leisure and dinner.
Round out your Kruger safari with an early morning game drive
As the lions in the park are naturally night owls, we’ll want to catch them in action as early as possible. We will have an early morning continental breakfast in Kruger Park while predators 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 be 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 an evening meal at our South African safari camp.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. Board a special cultural cruise on the Zambezi River, sip sundowner cocktails, and watch the sun set over this timeless waterway. Learn more
Extend your safari experience in Kruger National Park and set out on an afternoon game drive. Enjoy the beautiful warm sunset as your expert guide points out the best animal sightings and be sure to keep an eye out for the Big Five. Don’t forget to bring your camera along! At the end of your game drive savor a refreshing African cocktail before returning to camp.
Due to high call volume, we recommend you visit MyPortfolio to book this Destination Enhancement. Don’t wait — these optional experiences are limited to a select number of guests and are selling out fast!
Fly to Livingstone, Zambia, and transfer to Victoria Falls
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 the Lookout Café before heading to The Wallow, Victoria Falls safari lodge, 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.
Engage with local residents with a primary school visit and lunch with a local family, plus visit Victoria Falls
We'll start the day with a visit to Victoria Falls Craft Market after breakfast, followed by a visit to the 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 have cited this experience as the highlight of the trip.
Following the primary school visit you will be treated to an authentic Zimbabwean meal hosted by a local family in their own home, a heartfelt encounter that will truly enrich your trip. Any gifts you bring along are always most welcome, such as canned peaches, coloring books and crayons, or anything else. After lunch, we'll head to Victoria Falls National Park for a guided visit. Highlights of the park include the Main Falls, Devil's Cataract, and Rainbow Falls. Afterward, we will return to the lodge where you will have time to relax before dinner.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. See the Zambezi River from a new perspective with a choice of two optional helicopter tours. Learn more
When writing about his first time seeing Zimbabwe’s spectacular Victoria Falls, David Livingstone said “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.” This optional ‘Flight of Angels’ helicopter excursion actually gives you the chance to see the falls from a bird’s-eye view. This, the most popular of local helicopter flights, lifts off less than two miles from the town center of Victoria Falls and takes you over the Zambezi River to fly a complete circuit above the Falls in both directions. The approximately 15-minute flight gives you the best possible views of the falls, and will certainly leave you in agreement with Dr. Livingstone.
**Park Conservation Fee of USD $18 pp must be payable direct onsite.
For a longer ride than the ‘Flight of Angels,’ treat yourself to an unbelievable helicopter flight over both Victoria Falls and the mighty Zambezi River. This approximately 25-minute scenic flight 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 eight past positions of the Victoria Falls, carved away by water over the past millennia. Finally, you’ll fly over Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve, where you’ll be able to spot wildlife from the air.
Enjoy a Vantage-exclusive three-course bush dinner
Following breakfast at the lodge, you’ll have the day at your leisure to spend as you wish. Tonight, our final evening at The Wallow, we’ll gather for a Vantage-exclusive safari cocktail party, then head out to a secret location in the bush, where a three-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.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. Take part in a powerful experience with an early morning elephant encounter and hear about the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Learn more
Pay a visit to The Wallow, a thatched boma overlooking the Masuie River, which provides the perfect setting for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: interacting with elephants in the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary. Upon arrival, enjoy fresh tea, coffee, croissants, and muffins. After an introductory talk, you’ll be able to interact with these majestic animals up-close and feed them treats. The knowledgeable staff have formed a strong bond with the animals in their care, and you’ll see firsthand the love, trust, and understanding between the handlers and the elephants. Later, hear more about the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (a Vantage Cares program), and enjoy an exclusive visit to the Wildlife trust’s laboratory and learn about the great effort that goes into wildlife conservation. Your tour will continue with a visit to Mpisi village, where the chief will do a presentation and take you to visit a few households. You’ll get to see the various huts families live in, and learn about the daily life in a traditional Mpisi household. At the kraal, you’ll see their livestock and get to know about common animal husbandry practices.
On this special cultural cruise, we’ll sip sundowners and watch the sun set over the timeless Zambezi River, while listening to a talk about the ‘Trails of David Livingstone.’ Our sightseeing boat will float along the very same stretch of river once navigated by the legendary explorer, and our third-generation Zimbabwean storyteller will reveal Livingstone lore that few history books include. After hearing these riveting tales, you’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.
Transfer to Iganyana Tented Camp in Hwange National Park
After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll transfer by coach to Iganyana Tented Camp on a private concession of Hwange National Park, which is renowned for excellent game viewing.
Spot game on 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.
Enjoy an exciting last day in Hwange with a game drive and entertainment from an African dance troupe
You’ll have breakfast and a morning at leisure at the camp today. Later, enjoy lunch before heading out for a game drive. By late afternoon, you’ll be in the game-viewing vehicle 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. This is just one of the many ways that nighttime in the bush can be simultaneously serene and exhilarating.
After such an enjoyable day, you’ll be ready for dinner and one last surprise for your final evening in Hwange: a special performance of traditional African dance that will get your feet tapping and hands clapping.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. Join a morning guided bush walk and visit to the Painted Dog Conservation Center. Learn more
Set off on foot, camouflaged in neutral-colored safari clothes, for a morning safari walk. You’ll be led by an experienced guide, qualified to lead guests in Big Five country. You’ll get much closer to the sights, sounds, and smells of the bush on foot; and learn some survival tricks and tracking skills, like identifying footprints. There are many secrets of the bush to be discovered and your guide will reveal them all to you.
Before lunch, head over to the Painted Dog Conservation Center. You’ll hear how community awareness, education, and anti-poaching measures are helping in the conservation of this IUCN Red List species, whose numbers are declining. There are about 700 wild dogs in Hwange and this is the best place to see them. This is a rare privilege indeed.
Travel to Botswana’s Chobe National Park for an afternoon safari river cruise
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 safari river cruise on the mighty Chobe River, where you will find out why it’s so famous . . . which has a lot to do with elephants! Get your cameras ready for the famous Botswana sunset as we cruise back to the lodge after an exciting safari on the water.
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.
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, warthogs, 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 (barbecue) 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.
Embark a Chobe River photo safari and learn photography from professionals
After an unhurried breakfast, enjoy a morning at leisure, or opt for our Four Corners of Africa private 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. 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 dinner marking your last night in Botswana.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. Take a fascinating Chobe River cruise to the only international quadripoint in the world. Learn more
Take the opportunity for one last fascinating cruise on the Chobe River’s iconic dark waters. Depart from your lodge for a short drive to your private boat for a once-in-a-lifetime excursion unavailable anywhere else in the world. While there are many tripoints in the world, the Four Corners of the World — where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe all meet — is the only international quadripoint. Your boat will take you to a spot where you’ll be able to view all four countries at once, plus you’ll see the impressive Kazungula Bridge that joins Botswana and Zambia. A local storyteller will convey the history of the fabled rivers that feed Victoria Falls, and you’ll hear some fascinating stories about the area’s journey from a war-torn region to one of the world’s most sought-after safari destinations. While on board, you’ll enjoy a continental breakfast as you cruise along the mighty river.
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.
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 are — 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.
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.
Explore Amboseli and spot wildlife on a morning game drive
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. 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.
Lunch is back at the lodge, with the afternoon at your leisure. A delicious three-course dinner awaits you this evening.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. Visit a Masai village and learn about the traditional mud-hut way of life. Learn more
Head out on an afternoon game drive in Amboseli National Park, led by expert guides. Their knowledge and experience will come into play when spotting the elusive wildlife that calls this park home.
Later, stop at a Maasai village and hear how, despite western influences, the traditional mud-hut way of life remains intact here. Robed in red, with their spears and rungu (knobkerrie) always in hand, the Maasai warriors will perform their traditional jumping dance, revealing how high they can leap. This enlightening experience will reveal just how different the Maasai existence is to your own.
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.
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 the 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.
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.
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 Five before returning to the lodge in late afternoon. We’ll toast this amazing experience at dinner tonight.
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.
Explore sensational Serengeti on an afternoon game drive
Spend the early morning at leisure, with breakfast and lunch at the lodge. This afternoon we’ll head out on a game drive through a section of the park renowned for abundant game and famed big cats like lions, leopards, and cheetahs. Sit back and watch the Serengeti savanna turn golden in the setting sun.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. Set out on a breathtaking hot air balloon safari and champagne breakfast. Learn more
Join an optional bucket-list opportunity when you rise before dawn and take flight in a hot air balloon, floating effortlessly over the Serengeti at the whim of the wind. Your skilled pilot will have you sky high one moment and skimming the tree tops the next, 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. This extraordinary experience is one that should not be missed.
Enjoy a classic safari experience in a tented Serengeti camp
Following breakfast this morning we’ll check out and enjoy a morning game drive en route to our next safari camp. 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.
Upon arrival, 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. Tonight, you’ll savor dinner in the opulent dining tent, with its Edwardian-styled furnishings and waiters in Swahili white robes and turbans.
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 a morning game drive. 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.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. Enjoy an afternoon game drive with sunset African sundowner cocktails. Learn more
Bask in beauty of a golden sunset and the natural symphony of the Serengeti’s nocturnal wildlife on this incredible afternoon game drive. An afternoon safari is a more peaceful experience and, as the heat of the day abates, animals come out of hiding, ready to start their nighttime activities. Your expert guide will select the best spots for animal viewing and taking in the vast landscape before you. You’ll also enjoy refreshing African sundowner cocktails and snacks, making your experience even more special.
Visit a local fishing village on your way to the famed Masai Mara National Reserve
Today, we’ll drive from Tanzania’s Serengeti into Kenya’s Masai 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 Masai 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 Masai-inspired dining room, decorated with traditional Maasai motifs, whose inside and outside seating has views down to the river and beyond.
Explore the Masai Mara on an afternoon game drive
Savor a morning at leisure in the Masai Mara with time to indulge in your lodge’s luxury amenities. Later, enjoy lunch at the lodge and take in another game drive this afternoon to see which of the Big Five we can spot. Dinner tonight will be at the lodge.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. Make the most of your time in the Masai Mara with an optional hot air balloon ride over the savannah. Learn more
Enhance your African safari even further by embarking on the hot air balloon ride of a lifetime. This one-hour flight, starting early in the morning, will give you a bird’s-eye view of the magnificent setting of the Great Rift Valley, the best east Africa has to offer, just as the sun begins the rise. After landing, a champagne breakfast in the bush 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 additional wildlife viewing, as early morning is the ideal time to see wild animals on the plains.
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.
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.
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.