(Nairobi, Masai Mara)
Watch the legends of Africa come to life led by world renowned explorer Mikael Strandberg on this classic grand safari. Departs May 17th 2014 and August 10th 2014.
Prepare to behold a visual feast of the finest game parks in Kenya and Tanzania, led by the man The Explorers Club recently called, “The best contemporary explorer in the world,” Mikael Strandberg. In the early 2000’s, Strandberg lived amongst the tribes of East Africa, learning the customs, cultures, and day to day means of living of these diverse nomadic tribes-people. As a renowned lecturer and writer, Strandberg knows what it takes to survive in Africa, and has produced some thrilling internationally renowned documentaries including his African adventure simply called, “The Maasai People – 1000 Kilometres by Foot."
Discover "Africa's Eden," "The Cradle of Mankind" and what has been called "The Greatest Spectacle on Earth," with this classic safari showcasing Kenya and Tanzania. Begin your safari experience in the grassy plains of the Masai Mara, the world's top game park. The small size of the park and ability to go off road allows for face to face encounters with creatures big and small. Spot regal lions, thundering elephants, elusive leopards, sky-high giraffes, golden cheetahs, and lumbering hippos before voyaging to the Serengeti where even more world-class game viewing awaits. Your host Mikael Strandberg is no stranger to this part of the world and will truly immerse you in the spectacle that is the circle of life. Visit the Olduvlai Gorge on your way through the Serengeti game park before driving up and into Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest inactive volcanic caldera. A Natural Wonder of the World, the crater is packed with herds of zebra, buffalo, antelope, wildebeest and more. End this adventure by journeying back to Nairobi for rich cultural encounters, artisanal workshops, and a lively night of traditional music and dancing.
Featuring classic safari camps and lodges, thousands of animals, once-in-a-lifetime cultural encounters, world-class guides, mouth-watering cuisine, internal flights, 24/7 support and much more, there is no finer way to experience the magic of East Africa.
May 17th 2014 Departure: Price is $7000 per person based on double occupancy. Single supplement is $1450. August 10th 2014 Departure: Price is $8350 per person based on double occupancy. Single supplement is $2250.
Minimum group size 6, maximum group size 16. Please note departures are not guaranteed until 120 days before travel, and we advise you do not book international air until the tour has been confirmed. Deposit is due upon booking, and refundable up until 120 days before travel. At 120 days before travel, and upon departure guarantee, final payment is due. Minimum traveler age is 18.
Your host, Mikael Strandberg, was born in 1962 in Sweden and started his professional career as an explorer 25 years ago. The Explorers Club in London considers Mikael “The best contemporary explorer in the world" at the present. His expeditions have included: Chile to Alaska by bicycle (27,500 km including the "impassable" Darien Gap), Norway to South Africa by bicycle (33,000 km including pushing across Sahara Desert), New Zealand across Asia to Cairo by bicycle (90,000 km), a year with gauchos in Patagonia (3,000km by horse), a year with the Masai in East Africa (total immersion in the culture), exploration of the unknown Kolyma River in North-Eastern Siberia (3,500 km by canoe and skis - with temperatures below -60C). His Siberia expedition is globally hailed as one of the coldest ever in the history of exploration.
Mikael is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Explorers Club, Travelers Club and the Long Riders Guild. He was voted Explorer Hero by National Geographic in 2002. He's an Honorary Ambassador of his native district Älvdalen. He was awarded The Determination in the Face of Adversity medal by the Explorers Club in 2005. The King of Sweden and The Travelers Club of Sweden awarded him the prestigious Silver Medal in 2006. The Travelers Club in Finland awarded Mikael the prestigious Mannerheim Medal.
You will be meet at the exit of the jet bridge when you exit your flight and we will assist you through passport control, visa prosedures and as your collect your luggage untill we hand you over to your Guide in the welcome area of the airport. Your guide will then assist you with your luggage, and point out the sights of interest as you drive into Nairobi. He will brief you on your itinerary and settle you into your hotel.
Your local guide will then assist you with your luggage, and point out the sights of interest as you drive into Nairobi.
Your Safari will be escorted by the Explorer Mikael Strandberg. He will join the group as you explore Maasai country and the Hadza tribe, while witnessing the best animal viewing available in Africa's top National Parks.
He was born in 1962 in Sweden, and started his professional career as an explorer 25 years ago. The Explorers Club in London considers Mikael "the best contemporary explorer in the world". His expeditions have been extensive and he has spent a year with the Masai in East Africa where he produced an internationally renowned documentary, The Masaai People - 1,000 Kilometres by Foot.
Mikael is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Explorers Club, Travelers Club and the Long Riders Guild. He was voted Explorer Hero by National Geographic in 2002. He's an Honorary Ambassador of his native district Älvdalen. He was awarded The Determination in the Face of Adversity Medal by the Explorers Club in 2005.
While you are in the care of Kensington Tours, your safety and security are our number one priority. As such, in the unlikely event of serious illness or injury, all Kensington Tours clients are covered by “Flying Doctors” Insurance policy. This emergency evacuation insurance covers the cost of the evacuation flight back to Nairobi for treatment. This insurance policy however DOES NOT cover the cost of any medical treatment received. We highly recommend travel insurance for full coverage.
The Fairmont Norfolk Hotel is situated in the centre of the bustling city of Nairobi, in Kenya, and has grown over time with the city. Surrounded by private tropical gardens, the 165 guest rooms and suites are comfortable and with all the necessities of home. Dining is offered at a number of onsite restaurants, and the breakfast buffet is especially delightful. Spend some time getting to know the city, and then escape to the tranquility of the hotel. At your pleasure enjoy the wonderful swimming pool facilities, the health club and a relaxing spa.
This morning, after breakfast, your group will head off to the Masai Mara. The drive will be about 5 to 6 hours. Head directly into the park, and check in to your hotel.
Lunch is included.
Park fees are included.
Head out this afternoon, accompanied by an experienced tracker-guide, on an exciting game viewing adventure. Search some of the areas wildlife hot-spots. Try to spot the elusive leopard; these spotted cats blends almost seamlessly into the tall grass and shrubbery, and are challenging to spot. Your guide will take you to nearby watering holes, where on a hot day, you'll spot many bird and wildlife species.
Dinner is included.
Nestled against a wooded thicket and surrounded by savannah, Mara West combines luxury accommodations with the breathtaking adventures of an unforgettable African safari. Luxury Chalets are perched in secluded spots on the edge of the Oloololo Escarpment, offering guests both panoramic views of the Masai Mara Game Reserve below and a sense of exclusive privacy. The camp is home to resident herds of gazelles, impalas and zebra, as well as an abundance of bird life, and is visited regularly by a variety of wildlife passing to and from the park. The stunning beauty of the Mara, the uninterrupted grazing of the antelope, the night calls of the bush babies, and the early morning chorus of songbirds, all this, combined with the comfortable and tasteful ambiance of the camp, is part of the Mara West experience and what makes it a unique paradise for nature lovers.
The famed Masai Mara Game Reserve was named after the indigenous inhabitants of this land, the Maasai, and the provider of life to the area, the Mara River. Game viewing is almost guaranteed at some point along the Mara River, and your experienced tracker-guide will know all the best spots to maximize your chances. Have your camera handy, as some amazing photo opportunities will present themselves; spot elephants on the river banks, and hippos wading in the shallow water.
On today’s afternoon game drive you may search for the Big 5 or expand your horizons to discover something different. Masai Mara not only has a rich mix of animals – it also has an incredible array of bird life with almost 450 different species.
Set out bright and early this morning on a "Migration" inspired game drive with your experienced guide. Your journey today will take you into the thick of the Masai Mara plains, in search of some of the many grazing species which take part in the annual migration here yearly, a traditional event that has been going on for centuries. Exceptional populations of Zebras, Gazelles, Impalas, and of course Wildebeests thunderously feed and migrate from the Serengeti and through the Mara area every year from July to October.
Kenya is a magical country filled with outstanding wildlife and diverse landscapes, but what truly makes it such a special place are the local people. The Masai have lived in close harmony with the land for centuries.
Start with a visit to the Kensington Funded School and Dormitories. You will then see the benefits tourism can have in the lives of children, through education.
Visit the full-time AMS health clinic to see how a medical facility runs in a developing country.
Then visit the local manyatta where you will learn about how the Maasai tribe has lived for centuries in mud huts, hpw they build fires, cook for the village and perform dances.
End the day with a nature walk, your Masai guide will explain local uses for different plants while you walk amongst the giraffe and antelope.
This is a great cultural overview that will help you understand day to day life of the Masai people.
You’ll depart the Masai Mara Game Reserve today and drive towards the Isebania border crossing. Upon arrival, your guide will arrange the necessary documentation for your entry into Tanzania. Once in Tanzania, you’ll continue onward towards the Serengeti, making a stop along the way to enjoy a boxed lunch by Lake Victoria. Also stop by a fishing village to catch a glimpse of daily, local life.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be aware that this is a long drive and specifically when in Kenya, the road may be unfinished and rather rough. Upon entry into Tanzania, you’ll notice an improvement in comfort. The approximate travel time can range from 6 to 9 hours depending on road conditions, traffic and weather.
A boxed lunch is included.
Get ready for an afternoon to remember as you set out accompanied by an experienced tracker-guide into the seamlessly never-ending expanses of the Serengeti. The park is world renowned for its healthy stock of resident wildlife species, in particular the African Big 5 which or course includes buffalos, elephants, rhinoceros, leopards and lions. Very few black rhinoceros still live within the confines of the park grounds; however spotting one of these creatures would be considered a very rare privilege. The Serengeti is also home to the largest population of lions and giraffes in all of Africa. Heavy concentrations of topi, gazelle, waterbuck and Coke’s hartebeest provide an ample food source for local carnivores including cheetah, hyenas and African wild dog. The park is also home to some 500+ species of birds, including ostrich, crowned crane, marabou stork and secretary bird, which are the most sought after photogenic birds on the planet.
The Kirawira Camp is considered to be one of the leading lodges of the Serena Group’s luxury venues and was rated, as an exclusive tented camp overlooking the Serengeti National Park’s most stunning views. The 25 well-appointed tents, each furnished in colonial-style decor and with exotic hues and fabrics, are the least of prizing glories in this internationally recognized escape. Dining is a topic to be taken seriously, where English breakfasts and five-course gourmet service dominate. Of course, the surrounding wilderness must be absorbed. This is a complete occasion, where one may spend the day on a dusty safari game drive and pass the evening in the lap of lavish treatment by diving into a plunge pool.
This morning’s African adventure begins with an exploratory game drive through Tanzania’s oldest and most recognized National Park, the Serengeti. This dynamic location offers the most expansive game viewing in Tanzania, and is considered by many as the best game viewing location in all of Africa. From predators to prey, great herds of grazing herbivores to cunning packs of carnivores, life on the plains of the Serengeti can best be defined as a complete “circle of life.” A photographic dream will unfold before your eyes as giraffes and elephants feast on tasty shrubbery, whilst impalas, gazelles and buffalos run through the plains.
Spend the day taking in the spectacle of the famous wildebeest migration. This annual migration through the Serengeti and Masai Mara is one of the safari highlights of Africa. The wildebeest migration moves in a basic clockwise direction throughout the year from June/July through to Sep/October. Sightings cannot be guaranteed as the herds move according to their food sources, and migration movements can be erratic. The herds are accompanied by zebra and Thomson's gazelle, and are stealthily hunted by local predators such as leopard, lion and hyena.
The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. The essential features of climate, vegetation and fauna have barely changed in the past million years. Some patterns of life, death, adaptation and migration are as old as the hills themselves. Head out into this magnificent park to track animals and take in the breathtaking beauty of this unchanging landscape.
On today’s afternoon game drive you will search for the Big 5, and expand your horizons to discover something different. The Serengeti not only has a rich mix of animals – it also has an incredible array of bird life with almost 450 different species.
Your African journey continues as you head toward the overwhelming large Ngorongoro Conversation Area. You’ll depart the Serengeti National Park grounds at a somewhat slower pace, as to get in some more game-viewing. We will stop briefly at the Olduvlai Gorge where you’ll have an opportunity to marvel at the panoramic view from their lookout point. A stop for a picturesque picnic is also scheduled. Upon your arrival at the conservation area, you’ll head towards your overnight accommodation whilst taking in the overwhelming size of the Ngorongoro crater. The approximate travel time may vary between 5 and 6 hours depending on weather conditions and accounting for the length of stops you’ve made along the way.
The massive Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge is often referred to as “The Cradle of Mankind”. Beginning in the eastern Serengeti plains, the gorge is roughly 48 kilometers long. As a result of millions of years of natural erosion, this gorge boasts a steep-sided ravine which cuts and stretches its way through the Great Rift Valley along eastern Africa. The gorge is named after a commonly used plant by the Masai people.
The Kitela Lodge is a small, exclusive lodge situated on top of a valley overlooking a coffee plantation, the Eastern wall of the Ngorongoro crater and a beautiful waterfall. The Lodge consists of twenty spacious suites in cottages built in the style of an old colonial farm offering guests a relaxing, quiet atmosphere surrounded by beautiful gardens. Located on site is a heated swimming pool and soothing spa.
Today, we will explore one of the most recognized wildlife conservation areas in Tanzania. Depart your camp or lodge after breakfast, driving approximately 20 to 30 minutes towards the Ngorongoro Park Gate. From there it will be another 20 minutes to reach the crater rim itself. The Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera. This geological masterpiece was formed as a result of an extremely large volcanic explosion. The crater is roughly 20 kilometers wide and some 2000 feet deep, making the trip from crater floor to rim around 45 minutes by 4x4. The extremely fertile crater floor is the reason why there is such a highly concentrated amount of wildlife grazing here. Over 20000 mammals call the crater home, including some of the only remaining black rhinos in the world. The crater floor also boasts one of the highest carnivore densities in the world including large prides of lions, packs of hyenas and solitary predators like cheetahs and jackals. A keen eye, and expertly recommended search patterns from your guide may help you spot some of the less common species like leopards, servals, and bat-eared foxes.
Depart early this morning, around 6:30 am. You will reach the village by 9:00 am before the sun is too strong. Meet the local Hadza or Dorobo tribes people, and depart on foot to track small game. Your guide will accompany to translate into English. Bow and arrow are used in the hunt, and you can try your hand at archery practice. After a short hunt try some bush meat and see a traditional dance. After lunch, visit another tribe called the Datoga or Barbaig. See the work of a local blacksmith where spears, rings, earrings and local silver is forged and worked. You will return to camp in the late afternoon, for some down time this evening.
A boxed picnic lunch is included.
From Ngorongoro, you will drive you to Arusha. This drive will take approximately 2.5 hours.
Take your flight from Arusha to Nairobi today. The flight duration is approximately 2hrs. This flight may stop in Kilimanjaro prior to departing Tanzania on the way to Nairobi.
An airport transfer will be provided in Nairobi.
Tonight is your final evening as a group; say goodbye to your fellow travelers, and enjoy a festive meal at the Carnivore restaurant. The Carnivore first opened in 1980 and is a meat specialty restaurant. Commonly referred to as the ultimate 'Beast of a Feast' - here you will enjoy a variety of meat roasted over charcoal and carved at your table. Meats commonly include beef, chicken, and options to try game meat such as crocodile or ostrich. Set in attractive tropical gardens, the restaurant remains a local attraction for international visitors.
Depart from Nairobi international airport - end of itinerary.
November 08, 2012
"I am a world traveller and this was one of my Top 3 vacations ever! Kensington Tours did a great job with EVERY little detail, from the planning to being met and catered to every step of the way. Our favorite lodges were Tau Pan in the Kalahari, Botswana & Moon Mountain in Sossusvlei, Namibia. We especially loved the Batswana people and all the animals we saw at Camp Moremi on the Okavanga River. The highlight of our trip was actually our stay in Swakopmund when we stayed on the South Atlantic & went for an exciting boat ride to see all the sealife up close and personal (like a seal coming onboard the boat!), a rollar coaster dune ride in a 4 X 4!! the balloon ride over the red sand dunes over Namibia and several champagne brunches in the middle of the desert. Also, will never forget all the sundowmer game drives which ended with our favorite cocktail, watching the sunset with wildlife close at hand!
Unforgettable. Thanks Ivona for planning it all!"
October 26, 2012
"35 Goose Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773
Re: Steven Weru Kinyua, Kenya tour guide
We recently returned from a wonderful 8 day tour of Kenya with Steven, he is an exceptional individual. But one example: As we returned to the Samburu lodge from our first game drive, Steven pointed out a young, sick-looking lion in the shade of a tree. We observed it momentarily and soon returned to the lodge for dinner.
The next day Steven mentioned he had reported the weak young lion to the local Samburu ranger. Steven explained that due to the arrival of a new alpha male in his pride the young lion had likely been chased out before he was able to hunt for himself. He further explained that the young lion would be welcome back in a week or two, if he were alive. I pursued the full story w/Steven. The ranger Steven had reported the weak lion to had been unresponsive, indicating he would do nothing. Steven, unsatisfied w/that response told the ranger to report it to the Head Park Ranger, or he would. The Head Ranger agreed with Steven's analysis of the situation; bought 10 kilos of meat for the young lion; and directed his staff to feed it appropriately.
Steven understood the workings of that lion pride, and has an exceptional knowledge of all the wild animals of Kenya. Furthermore he has a passion for their well-being. He would not accept a lazy, disinterested response from the local ranger. During our trip in Kenya I had occasion to speak to groups of secondary school students. I related Steven's actions as an excellent example of a Kenyan's knowledge, passion and commitment.
One day Steven pointed out a cheetah. We saw the cheetah w/a young impala in its mouth. After the cheetah had choked the young impala, Steven explained the mother cheetah was calling her cubs --it was thrilling to see the 3 cubs come tearing across the plain creating a mini-dust storm in their wake. The mother gave the kill to her cubs. Steven explained they had to learn to open it up. Shortly she sent them off the kill, twenty paces or so, then froze, looking westerly. A lion, smelling the kill Steven explained, was moving off to the north about a 1000 yards away. Intent on the lion the mother cheetah remained frozen in place (as we're the cubs, mimicking their mother). After the lion passed the mother called the cubs back to the kill. Not 15 minutes later the lion came back, followed by yapping jackels, this time moving off to the east of the cheetahs. As soon as the lion appeared, the mother cheetah repeated her previous actions, sending off the cubs and freezing over the kill, intently watching the lion. Steven explained that the jackels were distracting the lion from the kill, knowing if the lion found the kill, nothing would be left for them. Again the lion passed off to the southeast, never able to find the cheetah kill.
This summary highlights events that played out over a 90 minute period. In that time several tourist rovers and vans came, took pictures of the cheetahs, and left. None of those tourists had a complete explanation of the scene that was playing out before us. Game-viewing w/Steven is a rich experience, a clear cut above the average.
In our time w/Steven we had lengthy conversations about the pluses and minuses of grass-burning, the challenges of maintaining wildlife corridors, park encroachment by locals, roadway underpasses for big game, etc. in addition we discussed ukabila and other political challenges facing Kenya. Steven Kinyua is an exceptional Kenyan guide. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and made our Kenya safari a wonderful learning experience we will cherish for years.
Mark Masterson, Ed.D."
Irene Saurwein ,
April 21, 2014
"I thought that both Raymond and Mike were outstanding guides. Our trip was wonderful. The only point I want to make that the food at the Farm House was not very good. Pretty disappointed. Our stay at the Serena in both locations was great. Overall great trip that we will never forget."
Francis Quinn ,
April 21, 2014
"The Mbugani Camps were nice but the beer was warm and they don't have ice. The owner was a great guy. Enjoyed Mara West. The staff and food were great. The second evening the loud mouth owner conducted a business meeting on the front porch disrupting a peaceful cocktail hour. It was totally inappropriate since he was very loud and discussed his business dealings with Kensington with others. They also need an ice machine. They ran out every night. Albert is probably the best guide I have ever had. Very knowlegeable. Mike was great too. Fabulous trip. You guys did a great job. We had a wonderful time."
Shayna Maislin ,
April 21, 2014
"Our party of 4 believe that we were given incorrect information regarding the type of suitcase that we should purchase for this trip. We were advised to buy a suitcase that was soft sided and no wheels. We arrived in Africa to see many others going on Safari with suitcases that had wheels. It was difficult for us to manouever our bags. I would highly recommend the tour guide that we had in the Serengetti . He was extremely knowledgeable, very helpful and courteous. We learned a great deal from Wasari . Our tour guide in the Mara was just ok . It would have been great to have the tour guide that we had in Serengeti for the complete trip. We understood that he could have crossed over from Tanzania into Kenya to get us . There was one flight within the country that we felt we may have been better off driving. We all believed that our Sales consultant could have spent more time with us on the phone going over the itinerary and guiding us through some of the decisions that we were making. For example Lake Manyara was not really necessary and perhaps we could have used that extra day in Zanzibar . These are some of the decisions that we felt our consultant could have assisted us with . We all agree that Kensington has first class staff working for them in Africa. All the camps that we stayed at were absolutely beautiful except perhaps for the one in Lake Manyara. All in all it was a spectacular trip!"
Jeanne Tarvin ,
April 21, 2014
"The tour was absolutely fabulous. It all started with the planning. Kathryn graciously accommodated our tight schedule and multiple needs, including a mid-trip change in plans. The tour guides and drivers were all great and extremely knowledgeable. The accommodations and meals were fantastic. I was apprehensive about going to China not knowing the language but it worked out great!"
Frank Manna ,
April 21, 2014
"Our guided transfers were exceptionally accommodating even though our flights were considerably delayed. The Annavillanas Jungle Lodge was spectacular for location, accommodations and food. The Rio Carnival experience was unique and unforgettable and our seats were wonderful. Loved the location of our hotel in Rio.......right on the street of Copacabana Beach.......fantastic. The only negative during our entire trip was the routing of the airline flights. Was there no way to avoid the flight from Rio to Manaus and then Manaus to Rio for our flight home. We seem to have travelled 2000 miles to the same starting location. Next time I would appreciate a more thorough exploration of all possible routes that would be more expedient and less strenuous for the travelers. I realize that there are limitations but I rely on Kensington to assist me in making the best decision for my wife and me."
Michael Melvin Marsh ,
April 21, 2014
"The trip was very special and i credit Sunita Singh for helping to make it such. We worked on the itinerary for three months and she was very helpful, knowledgeable and present."
Lucy Gilkes ,
April 21, 2014
"The whole trip was wonderful but the guides were what made it for us. They were knowledgeable and thoughtful a pleasure to spend time with."
Janine Chey ,
April 21, 2014
"Our trip to Masai Mara via Kensington ran very smoothly. We stayed at the Mara West Lodge. Beautiful location atop a ridge overlooking the Masai Mara plains. Our luxury tents were quite comfortable and the staff/service at the lodge were great. Meals were very nice especially the daily soups. Our guide, Steve, was also great...so knowledgeable and eager to show us many interesting things. He planned our daily game drives and took us on a nature hike one afternoon. He clearly knows and understands this ecosystem. He has an amazing eye, finding animals in fields of tall grasses. Our entire family had an amazing time, trip of a lifetime...would love to go back!"
Stay in the know: Subscribe to our newsletter to have our hand-picked trips & specials delivered to you!
Please enter a destination