E15 Wild Times in Africa TOUR

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TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

The Great Pyramids & Sphinx; Donkey trek into Valley of the Kings; Deluxe Nile River cruise; Camel trek to San Simeon Monastery; Daily guided game drives through Africa's best game parks; Snows of Kilimanjaro from Kenya's Amboseli Park; Ngorongoro Crater: natural wonder

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Sun 18 Oct 2015Fri 13 Nov 2015 $9090$8490 Discounted
Sun 31 Jan 2016Fri 26 Feb 2016 $9090$8490 Discounted
Sun 16 Oct 2016Fri 11 Nov 2016 $9090$8490 Discounted

Optional Single Supplement: $1400 (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $500, if twin-sharing accommodation is unavailable.


Tour Overview


The initial portion of this wondrous 27-day adventure through three breathtaking countries, any one of which would alone warrant spending at least a couple of weeks of a tour investigating the many famous attractions, begins on the banks of the Nile, in one of the most intense metropolises on the planet: Cairo. We visit the major tourist hot-spots, like the awe-inspiring Great Pyramid, guarded by the regal sphinxe -- now a common symbol of Egypt's glory and mystery -- Karnak Temple -- which numbers among the most enriching archaeological sites in the world -- and the UNESCO Heritage Site of the Valley of the Kings, wherein lie the tombs of nearly all the pharaohs from the 18th to the 20th dynasties.

Cruising down the Nile, embarking on horse-drawn carriage rides and excursions on camel- and donkey-back enhance our experience and understanding of the history and culture of remarkable country, where spending time in small, colourful villages proves highly informative and enriching.

Crossing into Kenya, we admire the glorious natural environment that endows the country with international acclaim in no fewer than four national parks and reserves: along with stunning landscapes of semi-desert savannah plains fringed by towering snow-tipped peaks and tranquil lakes, we see elephant, giraffe, cheetah, leopard, lion, antelope and wildebeest, to name but a few of the exotic wildlife on offer in one of Africa's prime safari regions.

In Tanzania, we visit the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater and take a trip to a land of superlatives in the ultimate safari destination: Serengeti National Park. Few places can rival the Serengeti for safari experiences and then we bring our tour to an end investigating the fascinating past of the region with trips to archaeological sites of interest.

Regions visited: Middle East and East Africa
Countries visited: Egypt; Kenya and Tanzania


Testimonials


Accomodations were very good--particularly the lodges in Kenya & Tanzania.

Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrive in Cairo
Today we arrive in Cairo; transfer to our hotel.

Al-Qahira, literally "The Vanquisher" or "The Conqueror", is the capital of Egypt and the second largest city in the Muslim World, the Arab world and Africa and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life.

Overnight in Cairo.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 Cairo: Memphis & Saqqara, Great Pyramids & the Sphinx
This morning we travel to Memphis and Saqqara, chronologically the two most important sites in all of Egypt. Memphis was the capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom (ca 2700-2180 BC), and Saqqara was used as a burial place for residents of Memphis including kings, princes and nobles. Our drive this morning takes us past some small, colourful villages and plantations in the fertile Nile Valley. At the ancient city of Memphis we will see several statues in a garden-like setting, including the colossal statue of Rameses the Great.

From Memphis we travel a short distance to Saqqara, the ancient burial site. On the site, considered by many archaeologists to be one of the world's most important excavations, is the Step Pyramid, constructed by Imhotep in the 27th century BC. The pyramid began as a simple mastaba, or long, flat tomb building. Over the course of time, Imhotep added to this mastaba five times -- the pyramid eventually measured 62m (203 feet) in height!

After lunch we pay a visit to the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. Impressive in their grandeur, the pyramids are estimated to have been constructed over a period of 20 years using more than 100,000 labourers each year. The Great Pyramid of Cheops, constructed from over two million stone blocks, is 135m (443 feet) high! You may enter one of the pyramids through a long, narrow passageway and explore the deep inner chambers (extra fee applicable - ask your Tour Leader).

Later we visit the Sphinx. This feline-human was named by the Greeks because it resembled the mythical winged monster with a woman's head and lion's body. Legend has it that this "Sphinx" proposed a riddle to the Thebans and killed all who could not guess the correct answer! The Sphinx was carved from one solid piece of limestone and measures 50m (164 feet) in length and 22m (72 feet) in height.

Overnight in Cairo.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 3 Cairo - Alexandria - Cairo
Early this morning we travel from Cairo to Alexandria. The second largest city in Egypt, known as "The Pearl of the Mediterranean", has an atmosphere that is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern; its ambience and cultural heritage distance it from the rest of the country although it is actually only 225 km from Cairo (3-4 hours, depending on traffic).

We head to the southwest of the city and a hill littered with the remains of ancient walls, architectural fragments and rubble on which stands Alexandria's largest ancient monument, Pompey's Pillar, rising from the ruins of the ancient and famous Serapeion (Temple of Serapis). This column of red Aswan granite with a Corinthian capital, standing on a badly ruined substructure and rising to a height of almost 90ft / 27m, is traditionally believed to have been erected by the Emperor Theodosius.

We also visit the Roman Catacombs, the last existing major construction for the sake of the old Egyptian religion. Though the funerary motifs are pure ancient Egyptian, the architects and artists were schooled in the Graeco-Roman style. Applied to the themes of Ancient Egyptian religion, it has resulted in an amazing integrated art, quite unlike anything else in the world.

Another highlight today is a visit to Bibliotheca Alexandria. Once the greatest library in the ancient world, the Bibliotheca is dedicated to "the writings of all nations." Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the modern Bibliotheka cost some USD150 million, all by donation from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iraq.

We return to Cairo in time for dinner.

Overnight in Cairo.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 4 Cairo - Aswan & Felucca Sailing
Early this morning we fly from Cairo to Aswan in Upper Egypt.*

Upon arrival we have a leisurely sail on a felucca, a traditional sailing vessel used for centuries for carrying goods and passengers along the Nile.

* NOTE: The actual order of our Aswan area sightseeing may vary depending on incoming flight schedules and other logisitical considerations.

Overnight in Aswan.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 5 Aswan: Abu Simbel & Philae Temple
Early this morning we travel by road (3 hours, each way) from Aswan across the Western Desert to Nubia, or the "Land of the Gold". Our destination this morning is the impressive Abu Simbel -- the imposing rock temples of Rameses II and his queen, Nefertari.

We have a guided tour of this site, including the interior of the colossal temples. The Temple of Rameses II, with its immense statues of the Pharaoh seated on his throne, is one of the classic images of the power of the Pharaohs. Inside the temple you will see well-preserved wall decorations and several murals. There is a wonderful relief of Rameses presenting captives to various gods, including himself! We also gain insight into the reconstruction process by visiting the interior of the artificial mountain.

We travel back to Aswan making a brief stop at the High Dam en route. Constructed between 1960 and 1971, the High Dam collects and stores water over a number of years so that the annual Nile flood can be controlled. We will have a panoramic view of Aswan to the north and Lake Nasser to the south.

This evening we will attend the Sound & Light Show at Philae Temple. The temple is situated on an island, and we have to take a boat to get to the site. It is a good idea to have a small flashlight with you.

Overnight in Aswan.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 6 Aswan: San Simeon & Nile Cruise Embarkation
This morning we will travel by small boat across the River Nile to the west bank. From here we travel by camel across the sandy desert to the Christian Monastery of St Simeon. Before we begin this easy trek our Tour Leader and camel trainer will teach you the technique of riding a camel. This is a journey that can be undertaken by anyone at any age (one rider per camel). Our trek is about 45 minutes to the monastery, and then 15 minutes back to the riverbank. Those who prefer not to ride can stay with the boat and rejoin the camel riders for our trip to Kitchener's Island.

Dating from the 6th century, and in use until the 13th century, the Monastery of St Simeon is one of the best preserved Christian sites in Egypt. Inside we will see the chapel, living quarters, kitchen and dining areas, wine press, bake area and storerooms. On our tour we will also see the remains of some Coptic frescoes -- depictions of Christ and saints as well as many geometric patterns.

From here we board our boat and ride among the islands dotting the Nile. Up the hill, above the river, is the Mausoleum of the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismailis, a Shi'ite sect based principally in India but with followers around the world. The tomb is an elegant pink granite structure of late 1950 origin.

The main island is called Elephantine Island because many of the rocks look like elephants bathing in the Nile. We will arrive at the beautiful Kitchener's Island where we will have time to stroll through the rich botanical gardens with trees, plants, and bushes.

At around midday we board our Nile cruise vessel and enjoy lunch on board. This afternoon you have a choice between a free afternoon either on board the ship (which will remain docked in Aswan until tomorrow), or in the town of Aswan, OR you can join the ship's sightseeing programme. This sightseeing will likely include the 'Unfinished Obelisk', the High Dam (already seen), and Philae temple, also already visited, but some passengers enjoy seeing it again during daylight hours.

Overnight on Nile cruise. NTS cruise (or similar).

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 7 Nile Cruise: Kom Ombo & Edfu
We will make a stop and visit the Temple of Kom Ombo. In ancient times, Kom Ombo was strategically important as a trading town on the caravan route from Nubia to Cairo. Kom Ombo, actually two temples in one, is dedicated dually to Haroeris and Sobek, respectively the god of the sky and the crocodile-headed god. Here we are able to see the remains of a mummified crocodile. Crocodiles no longer exist in the Egyptian part of the River Nile, but in Pharaonic times they lived here in great numbers and were worshipped as gods!

From Kom Ombo we continue along the River Nile toward Edfu. As the largest and most completely preserved Pharaonic temple, albeit Greek-built, Edfu is dedicated to the god Horus. Construction of this temple began under Ptolemy III Euergetes I in 237 BC. We will allow time to explore this massive and impressive site, enclosed by walls and flanked by two large pylon gateways. Here we will also be able to see a Nilometer -- an ancient technique of measuring the Nile's water fluctuations and setting the level of taxes.

Overnight on Nile cruise. NTS cruise (or similar).

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 8 Nile Cruise: Luxor Temple
Overnight or early this morning we will have arrived at Luxor.

Today we visit Luxor Temple. The temple was dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut, and Chons and was built during the New Kingdom, the focus of the annual Opet Festival, in which a cult statue of Amun was paraded down the Nile from nearby Karnak Temple to stay there for a while, with his consort Mut, in a celebration of fertility. Luxor temple is considered one of the largest ancient Egyptian temple complexes situated on the eastern bank of the river Nile. At the entrance is a huge tower built by King Ramses II.

Overnight on Nile cruise (docked at Luxor). NTS cruise (or similar).

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 9 Luxor: Cruise Disembarkation & Valley of the Queens
Today we disembark our cruise and move to our hotel in Luxor.

This morning we make an excursion the Valley of the Queens.* After crossing the Nile we will board our bus for the short journey to visit this wonderful necropolis on the western shore of the Nile.

The Valley of the Queens was used as a burial site for the royal women of the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties. Ancient Egyptians called this place "Set Neferu" meaning Seat Of Beauty, and today only a few of the eighty tombs are open to the public. We will visit 3 tombs. The Valley of the Queens holds far more than graves of queens.

As well as our visit to the Valley of the Queens we will also have a guided tour of the workers' village and the Madinat Habu temple. Madinat Habu, also known as the temple of Rameses III was known in ancient times as Djanet, and according to ancient belief, was the place were Amon first appeared. Both Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III built a temple dedicated to Amon here, and later Rameses III constructed his larger memorial temple on the site.

* Due to periodic and unannounced closures of the tombs at the Valley of the Queens, your Tour Leader may substitute the Tombs of the Nobles, which may be of more interest.

Overnight in Luxor.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 10 Luxor: Valley of the Kings
Early this morning we cross the River Nile by boat to the West Bank where the wealth of antiquities is outstanding. On the other side we will meet our transport for our excursion into the Valley of the Kings.

We will accomplish part of our journey today by donkey. We'll "saddle-up" and begin a leisurely ride through the New Gourna Village and into the countryside. Avoiding the busier road, we will witness quiet village life along the way for about 40-45 minutes before re-uniting with our road transport for the final leg into the Valley of the Kings.

Once in the isolated valley, dominated by large pyramid-shaped mountains, we will have a guided tour of three of the many tombs that are here. The valley was the burial ground for kings throughout the New Kingdom. Note that some of the tombs have steep stairways and all are quite dark inside (you might find a pocket flashlight useful).

We then proceed to the funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut -- the first woman to rule as pharaoh! We have a tour of this impressive complex, discovered in the mid-19th century and still under restoration.

After our tour we return by minibus through the countryside back to the river and the East Bank.

Tonight you may choose to visit the Sound and Light show at Karnak Temple (optional).

Overnight in Luxor.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 11 Luxor: Karnak Temple
This morning we visit one of the most fantastic archaeological sites in the world: Karnak Temple.

Karnak was built, added to, dismantled, restored, enlarged and decorated during its colourful history of over 1,500 years. At certain points in Egyptian history, this temple was the most important in all of Egypt. When we arrive at the temple you will be awed by the grandeur of the tremendous pylon gateway and the Avenue of 1,000 Sphinxes that originally ran all the way to the Nile and Luxor Temple! We will have a guided tour of the complex, massive by any standard.

During free time this afternoon, we suggest a visit to the excellent Luxor Museum.

Overnight in Luxor.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 12 Luxor - Cairo, Egypt - Overnight Flight to Kenya
This morning we fly to Cairo and proceed to the famous Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, where we see some of Egypt's most beloved treasures. Among the 100,000 pieces housed on the museum's two floors is the famous exhibit of Tutankhamun whose tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. The tomb and treasures of this young Pharaoh, modest by Pharaonic Egyptian standards, is perhaps the best preserved of the discovered tombs. We also see archaeological relics from the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom and Greco-Roman periods. Our tour today is fully guided by our English-speaking guide. We also allow some time for you to explore the treasures on your own (Mummies Room: approx US $10 extra cost).

We then proceed to Islamic Cairo where we will tour the Citadel, begun by Saladin in the 12th century. Today the Citadel's buildings are mainly from the Ottoman period, and are truly grand. From the Citadel, actually a complex of three mosques and four museums, we enjoy an amazing view of Cairo spread beneath the hilltop. Here we will see the fabulous Mosque of Mohammed Ali, also known as the "Alabaster Mosque."

Later this evening we fly to Nairobi,* arriving the following morning (dinner on flight).

* NOTE: This flight is NOT included in the Land Price. Call us for an all inclusive air price from your town or city. Our air prices are based on a routing with KLM / NW Airlines.

Overnight flight to Nairobi.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch

Day 13 Arrival in Nairobi, Kenya
Today we arrive in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Part of Maasai land when the British arrived, this modern capital grew with the development of the railway. Derived from a Maasai word meaning "Cold Water," Nairobi is a pleasant mix of colonial British with modern and traditional African influences. This evening we enjoy dinner at the famous Tamarind Restaurant.

Overnight in Nairobi. Nairobi Hilton (or similar).

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 14 Nairobi - Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Today we travel from Nairobi, through the "White Highlands," so called because of the large number of Europeans who settled here, northwards to the lower slopes of Mt Kenya, rising to 5199 m (16,728 feet), Africa's second highest peak. Our drive will take us into the Central Highlands, the heartland of the Kikuyu people. This is a very fertile region, well-watered, intensively cultivated, and thickly forested. The land was coveted by the Europeans who began arriving in ever-increasing numbers once the railway through the area was completed. The settlers established coffee and tea plantations on the eastern slopes of Mt Kenya and cultivated wheat on the western slopes.

Our destination is Sweetwaters, a luxury tented camp clustered around a water hole and set in the pristine calm of the private Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a non-profit organization supporting endangered species, tourism and community outreach. Ol Pejeta is East Africa's largest Black Rhino sanctuary, the only place in Kenya to see chimpanzees, and holds some of the highest predator densities in Kenya.

This afternoon we'll enjoy our first game drive within the conservancy.

Overnight at Sweetwaters Camp.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 15 Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Ol Pejeta is a mosaic of grass plains, wooded grassland, acacia woodland and evergreen thicket extending for over 350 square kilometers. The conservancy boasts an astounding variety of animals, including the "Big Five."

We will have morning and afternoon game drives today, as well as a chance to visit the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary -- the only place in Kenya where this highly endangered and remarkably intelligent species can be seen. The facility was initially established to receive and provide lifelong refuge to orphaned and abused chimpanzees from West and Central Africa. Here the chimpanzees are carefully nursed back to health so they can enjoy the rest of their days in the safety of a vast natural enclosure.

Overnight at Sweetwaters Camp.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 16 Ol Pejeta - Great Rift Valley - Lake Nakuru National Park
This morning we travel to Lake Nakuru, a shallow soda lake in the Rift Valley. The Rift Valley was created millions of years ago under the strain of enormous volcanic eruptions which resulted in a giant split in the earth's surface from Syria to Mozambique. Lava flowed into the valley, forming escarpments on either side of the gigantic trough which can be up to 80 km (50 miles) wide, big enough to be visible from space. At the lake, depending on the water levels, we may have the opportunity to see up to two million flamingos, in addition to the over 340 species of birds that have been recorded in the Rift Valley!

Lake Nakuru is very shallow and can fluctuate up to five metres (12 feet) each day. When the water is low, you can see a white band of crystallized soda along the shoreline. This is also one of the best places in Kenya to view the rare White Rhino as we explore the park on our afternoon game drive.

Overnight in Lake Nakuru National Park.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 17 Lake Nakuru - Maasai Mara National Reserve
Early this morning we depart from Lake Nakuru National Park and continue our journey through the Rift Valley, passing by Lake Naivasha and nearby Mount Longonot, a relatively young volcanic reminder of the Rift's violent past. We arrive at our lodge (via bad road) in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in time for lunch.

The Maasai Mara is a natural extension of the Serengeti eco-system and has an amazing concentration of wildlife. The largest population of lions in Kenya is found here, along with large herds of plains game. The Maasai Mara may also be the best place in Kenya to view cheetah. Later this afternoon we enjoy another game drive.

Time-permitting, we will stop and visit a Maasai village to witness the local way of life and meet its residents. If time does not permit, we will visit the village on our way back to Nairobi.

Overnight in the Maasai Mara.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 18 Maasai Mara National Reserve
The Maasai Mara National Reserve consists of rolling grassland and is located at the northern end of the Serengeti Plain. Considered the best of Kenya's parks, it is on the pathway of the yearly wildebeest migration, which comes north from Tanzania about the end of June and returns to Tanzania around the end of September. "The Mara" sustains all of the "Big Five" -- lion, elephant, leopard, rhinoceros and buffalo -- as well as an astonishing wealth of herding animals and other wildlife. You can see the stately Maasai men and youth along the road tending their cattle and goats.

We have a full day in the reserve, with morning and afternoon game drives.

In the Mara you will also have an optional opportunity to ascend over the northern Serengeti at daybreak in a hot air balloon (optional expense). From over 300 m (984 feet) above, you will be able to view the vast land and the myriad animals that inhabit the Maasai Mara.

Overnight in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 19 Maasai Mara National Reserve
We enjoy another full day with game viewing in Maasai Mara. Depending on the season and current game locations and viewing conditions, we may divide our day into morning and afternoon drives, or take our lunches with us in order to venture further into the reserve if conditions warrant.

Overnight in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 20 Maasai Mara - Nairobi
After breakfast we depart for Nairobi. En route, just outside the capital, we visit the Karen Blixen Museum. Baroness Karen Blixen-Finecke emigrated from Denmark to Kenya in 1918 and, in 1937, wrote under the pseudonym, Isaac Dineson, "Out of Africa." The novel tells the tale of the Baroness's experiences on a Kenyan farm. Her home is now a museum, restored to the style in which she maintained it.

Overnight in Nairobi.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 21 Nairobi - Amboseli National Park
Today we travel south from Nairobi to the Amboseli National Park. Just across the border from Tanzania, this park is situated on the African plain at the foot of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, the continent's tallest mountain at 5894 m (19,300 feet). Here the cone-shaped mountain seems to hover majestically over the shimmering African plains.

The Amboseli National Park is also famous for its large herds of elephants. Here they cover themselves in red dust, giving them an even more imposing appearance. On this afternoon's game drive we hope to view animals grazing on the open plain with Mt Kilimanjaro providing the classic backdrop (weather permitting).

Overnight in the Amboseli National Park.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 22 Amboseli, Kenya - Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania
This morning we cross the border into Tanzania and travel to Lake Manyara National Park via the town of Arusha, the starting point for the northern safari routes of Tanzania.

Manyara is the smallest of the northern parks in Tanzania (330 sq km, of which two thirds is the actual lake) hosting a wide variety of vegetation, ranging from savannah to ground water forest to riparian habitats. The park is host to thousands of pelicans, ibis and flamingo that can be heard from afar. Other common visitors to this beautiful lake are hippos and the majestic African fish eagle, which can be seen swooping down from its perch to snatch a fish from the still waters of the lake.

After lunch at our lodge we will have an afternoon game drive in the park, located at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment and comprising of forest, woodland, grasslands, and swamps. Wildlife interest at Lake Manyara is not confined to bird life only; animals such as buffalo, elephant, giraffe, impala, hippo and a great variety of smaller animals also inhabit the park.

Overnight at Lake Manyara.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 23 Lake Manyara - Serengeti National Park
This morning we enter the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a beautiful rolling landscape with periodic views over the Ngorongoro Crater. Before descending onto the Serengeti Plain, we'll stop at a viewpoint overlooking the crater. The name "Serengeti" derives from a Maasai word meaning "Land-without-end." This is a land of superlatives, both in the vast landscape that surrounds you and the incredible biodiversity it supports. It is here that you have a chance to witness one of the most compelling natural dramas on earth -- the annual migration, a sight
unparalleled anywhere in the natural world. Our afternoon game drive provides an excellent introduction to this fantastic landscape and the biodiversity it supports.

Overnight in the Serengeti National Park.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 24 Serengeti National Park
Today we have a full day of game viewing on the Serengeti. We will visit the "kopjes," a series of low, incongruous hills dotting the open landscape that often provide a vantage point for hungry predators contemplating the endless stream of hoofed animals parading past them. Depending on the season and the timing of the rains, up to 1.5 million wildebeest and a half a million zebra embark on a single-minded and perilous quest for water and grazing land. Following this spectacle, of course, are the meat-eating opportunists, hoping to capitalize on the physical toll this journey exacts on the desperate grazers. Even outside of "migration" time, large herds are still seen as they bear their young and feed, gaining strength for their annual return to the park's northern reaches. Resident species that do not migrate make for rewarding animal viewing in any season.

It may be possible to take an optional hot-air balloon safari over the plains at daybreak. Speak to your booking agent at the time of reservation.

Overnight in the Serengeti National Park.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 25 Serengeti - Olduvai Gorge - Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Travelling back to Ngorongoro today we make a stop at Olduvai Gorge, site of the Leakey excavations in the 1960s and 70s that established this region as the prehistoric habitat of some of the earliest species of hominids with some finds dating back 1.8 million years. Experts in the life sciences have argued that the Olduvai contribution to the story of human origins remains unsurpassed by any other prehistoric site in the world. A small museum on site outlines the
unique geological and human history of the area.

Called the 'eighth wonder of the world' and stretching across some 8300 sq km, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area boasts a blend of landscapes, wildlife, people and archaeology that is unsurpassed in Africa. The volcanoes, grasslands, waterfalls and mountain forests are home to an abundance of animals and to the Maasai. Ngorongoro Crater is one of the world's greatest natural spectacles and its magical setting and abundant wildlife never fail to enthrall visitors.

Balance of the day at leisure to enjoy our lodge overlooking the crater.

Overnight in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 26 Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Today we enjoy a half-day tour in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.* After an early breakfast we descend into the crater far below for a game drive in this incredible setting, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We explore the Ngorongoro Crater, 20 km (13 miles) wide and 700 m (2,300 feet) high where we may see the "Big Five" as well as many herbivores like wildebeest, gazelle, zebra and hippopotamus, as well as thousands of flamingos on Lake Magadi.

* In order to reduce congestion and stress on wildlife, the Tanzanian government limits
visitors to half-day visits of the crater. Depending on what time "window" we are assigned, our excursion may take place first thing in the morning, or later in the afternoon (both of which are equally advantageous for game viewing, given the relatively mild climate at this altitude).

Overnight in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 27 Ngorongoro - Arusha - Depart
This morning we descend the Ngorongoro Highlands, retracing our steps back to Arusha via a lunch stop at Gibb's Farm. Founded during German colonial times and still privately owned, Gibb's Farm is now a small hotel perched on the outer slopes of the Ngorongoro Highlands, surrounded by coffee plantations with long views over lush and beautiful agricultural country.

We pass again through the town of Mto Wa Mbu ('Mosquito Creek'), famous for its lively cosmopolitan atmosphere and red bananas, which taste the same as regular bananas but their skins are a startling bright red. We continue to Arusha to connect with homeward evening flights.

LAND ONLY PASSENGERS need to take into account our morning journey when booking their flights out of Arusha (JRO). Your departure should occur no earlier than 6:00 pm.

SAFARI NJEMA!

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Safir Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Cairo
Country: Egypt

The Safir Hotel Cairo is ideally located at the city centre. The hotel boasts 267 renovated guest rooms & suites,
... modern amenities to guaranty guest’s comforts.




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Iberotel Aswan

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Aswan
Country: Egypt

Iberotel Aswan lies in the heart of the city Aswan, just a few minutes away from the Nile. All the
... comfortable guest rooms have stylish furnishings with a spectacular view of the Nile. The hotel is equipped with two restaurants and bars, a bowling alley and a swimming pool.


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NTS Miss Egypt

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Aswan
Country: Egypt

Location: Nile Cruise from Aswan to LuxorThe NTS Miss Egypt features 66 cabins and a crew of 100. The vessel
... 72 m long, 14.5 m wide. Each cabin is 21 square meters with panoramic window equipped with: Private marble bathroom (vertical shower cabin), hair-dryer, colour TV, central air conditioning, mini bar, safe box. The ship has a swimming pool and jacuzzi.
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Sonesta St George

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Luxor
Country: Egypt

Welcome to five-star splendor on the banks of the Nile in a city of ancient pharaonic treasures, the Sonesta St.
... Hotel Luxor redefines magnificent contemporary style. The hotel is luxurious, sophisticated and above all, elegant.

Come and enjoy a sweeping terrace with majestic views of the Nile, a grand entrance of polished marble and handsomely appointed furnishings with exquisite detail, a sumptuous health spa, an array of fine dining choices and every amenity to please the most discerning traveler. With the mystical Nile just a whisper away and the temples of Luxor and Karnak preserved in time, experience a city of fascinating antiquity and indulge in the rich splendor of the Sonesta St. George Hotel Luxor.

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Sarova Lion Hill Lodge

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Nairobi
Country: Kenya

Set on a plateau above Lake Nakuru, the lodge has 67 chalets all overlooking the lake. It is the perfect
... to experience one of the world's largest ornithological spectacles, the pink flamingo, or a rich concentration of wildlife including black and white colobus monkey and black and white rhino. Private shower, verandah, tea / coffee making facilities.


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Maasai Mara Sopa Lodge

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Maasai Mara
Country: Kenya

Located on the slopes of Oloongams Hills, it is one of the first lodges to be built in the Maasai
... Game Reserve. Guests are drawn to this lodge built in an ethnic design, surrounded by a rich landscape, covered in fauna, from huge desert cacti to sweet smelling jasmine flowers, all within the fabled Maasai Mara game reserve. 50 traditional round buildings with thatched roofs, each with 2 rooms with private bath.

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Mara Serena Lodge

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Maasai Mara
Country: Kenya

Located at the very centre of the famous ‘Mara Triangle' of the world-renowned Masai Mara National Reserve, the Mara Serena
... Lodge is the ultimate safari destination. Set high on a bush-cloaked hill with long views over the savannah and down to the winding coils of the hippo-filled Mara River, it stands centre-stage to one of Africa's most dramatic wildlife arenas, with a ringside seat for the ‘greatest wildlife show on earth', the legendary migration of the wildebeest.

Styled to echo the circular motif of a traditional Maasai manyatta, our Masai Mara lodge blends international sophistication with raw African beauty, while featuring twin rows of individual rooms, each with its own view of the famous Mara River. The central bar and dining areas enjoy spectacular views, as does the rock-surround swimming pool. Each uniquely-presented room is accommodated in its own stand-alone modular unit, with uninterrupted views, private balcony and spacious seating area. Activities include two daily game drives in custom-built traditional safari vehicles, ‘sundowners' in the bush, breakfast by the hippo pool, lunch in the wilderness, dinner in the bush, balloon safaris or relaxation and reinvigoration in the panoramic new Maisha Safari Spa and Gym.

World renowned for the breathtaking spectacle of ‘the greatest wildlife show on earth', the awe inspiring annual migration of the wildebeest, the Mara is Kenya's most visited protected area. Technically an extension of Tanzania's renowned Serengeti National Park, the Mara constitutes only 4% of the entire Serengeti ecosystem but its rolling grasslands, meandering rivers and towering escarpments offer one of the world's most rewarding and evocative wildlife arenas.

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Lake Manyara Serena Lodge

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Lake Manyara
Country: Tanzania

Standing high on the bluff above Lake Manyara's gleaming alkaline waters, the Lodge commands panoramic views across the volcano-studded floor
... the Great Rift Valley. The circular, closely-thatched rooms echo the traditional Maasai 'Boma' style of construction. Each room has a private veranda and breathtaking views of the shimmering lake.


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Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Serengeti National Park
Country: Tanzania

Scenically located in a glade, known as ‘the place of the klipspringer' (mbuzi mawe), and guarded by three million year-old
... towers, this luxury tented-camp in the Serengeti is unique. Cleverly located on one of the main annual migration corridors for over one million wildebeest, half a million zebras and gazelles, and their accompanying cast of predators it is also located at the very epicentre of one of the world's most famous national parks.


Our tented camp is located in the Western Serengeti, 335 kms from Arusha. By road: transfers by road from Arusha take approximately 8-10 hours.By air: the camp is adjacent to both the Seronera and Lobo airstrips and a ‘meet and greet' and transfer service is offered.

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Serengeti Migration Camp

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Serengeti National Park
Country: Tanzania

This luxury camp is hidden amongst the rocky outcrops, or kopjes, in Northern Serengeti, exuding decadence reminiscent of Old Africa.
... lavish and spacious tents on wooden decks with either king or twin beds, comfortable leather armchairs, coffee and writing tables. The tents are en-suite with showers and double vanities, surrounded by a verandah with rocking chairs.


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Serengeti Sopa Lodge

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Serengeti National Park
Country: Tanzania

Nestled in the acacia woodland on the edge of the escarpment overlooking the plains of the south-western Serengeti. 69 standard
... all with 2 queen size beds, carpeted, and tastefully furnished with local fabrics and pictures. The rooms have en-suite bathrooms and hairdryers.


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Gibbs Farm

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Country: Tanzania

Immerse yourself in the peace and serenity of Gibb’s Farm. Overlooking the centuries-old Great Rift Valley and Ngorongoro Forest, Gibb’s
... was one of the first guesthouses in Northern Tanzania. Established as a coffee farm in the late 1920s and refurbished as a warm, rustic luxury inn, Gibb’s Farm is a welcome retreat for a few days’ respite while on safari or for an extended vacation or honeymoon getaway.

The main farmhouse and 17 cottages offer the warmth and charm of another era, with all of the modern amenities you could ask for. Inside, beautiful architectural details, such as the farmhouse’s original wooden beams, and colourful artwork reflecting the inspirations of local African artists greet you. Outside, the farm’s organic vegetable and terraced flower gardens provide a wonderful sanctuary for afternoon tea or a quiet walk to impart a sense of contentment and well-being.

Beyond the farm’s coffee fields, Ngorongoro Forest and the local village beckon. Experience a sense of place as you bicycle the back roads of Karatu, learn about Iraqw culture while visiting a local family or explore centuries-old waterfalls and elephant caves. To calm and restore, Gibb’s Farm offers indigenous Maasai healing treatments in the privacy of your room. After a full day of adventure, Chef Lisa Campbell’s delicious organic cuisine—fresh from our gardens, bakery and dairy—will replenish you.

Surround yourself with the rich traditions of East African life, exclusive to Gibb’s Farm, and share an eternal sense of history and community. Generations of local families have helped to create a truly special and authentic experience, based upon East African traditions and hospitality. Gibb’s Farm’s deep and long-standing connection to the community continues to inspire excellence and the farm’s sustainable, renewable practices serve as a model for living in harmony with nature.

During your stay you will often hear the Swahili word “karibu,” expressing the genuine, innate pleasure we take in welcoming our guests—an attribute at the heart of our hospitality.

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Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Country: Tanzania

Perched on the jagged rim of the crater, wreathed in morning mist, camouflaged in river-stone and cloaked in indigenous creepers,
... Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is a triumph of ecological and architectural fusion. Lit by flaming wall-lanterns, clad in gigantic volcanic boulders and decorated by the iron spears, bright-beaded robes and intricately carved artifacts of the Maasai, the Lodge is a unique blend of world-class luxury, timeless volcanic splendour and ethnic style.


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Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Country: Tanzania

Facing the always magnificent sunsets to the west, and located at the highest point on Ngorongoro crater’s entire rim, Ngorongoro
... Lodge stands well over half a kilometre above the crater floor and offers unparalleled views across this enormous caldera.

Themed around traditionally circular African houses with conical roofs, and decorated with examples of Africa’s rich tapestry of artistic traditions by way of rich woodcarvings and sculptures, the lodge harmonizes perfectly with its dramatic surroundings. But the drama does not just stop with the great outdoors: it also flows through the split level interiors of the main building which all offer an unsurpassed generosity of space while somehow managing to combine an almost magically welcoming ambience of both warmth and cosiness.

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Arusha Coffee Lodge

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Arusha
Country: Tanzania

Arusha Coffee Lodge is located within one of Tanzania's largest coffee plantations. It is designed around the original plantation house
... one the feel of the long bygone days. The rooms have mosquito netting hanging from a spacious wooden frame. The decor is inspired by the concept used in plantation houses: fire places, wooden floors, low lighting, and woven floor rugs. The bathroom is spacious, with basin, bath tub, shower, hairdryer and bath robe.

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Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

In Egypt breakfast and dinner are included daily; all meals on the cruise. In East Africa most meals are included. All transport (flight Cairo-Nairobi NOT included for land only customers), accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. In East Africa, two bottles of bottled water per person daily. Gratuities for driver-guides, restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates.

Exclusions

Tour Leader gratuities, some lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international (if applicable) and domestic air taxes, visa fees, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Cairo-Nairobi flight NOT included for land only customers. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, visas, and locally paid departure taxes.

Seasonality and Weather

This tour is offered twice a year, in late winter and fall, when temperatures are comfortable in Egypt. In East Africa Nov-Feb coincides with the "short rains" when landscapes are green and many animals are giving birth but do not interfere with our activities or transport (we avoid Apr/May which is very rainy).

Transport and Travel Conditions

EGYPT: Over two weeks we travel by bus, felucca sailboat, luxury cruise boat, horse carriage, plane, donkey, and camel. Distances covered are not great and roads are good. The tour is not strenuous though it is busy; you must be steady on your feet and be able to endure some heat and some extensive archaeological sites. EAST AFRICA: Some road journeys are very long and very rough, possibly dusty. In Kenya we travel via well-maintained, rugged minivan with six passengers each. At the Tanzania border we switch to 4x4 Land Rover / Land Cruisers. The same vehicles, with roofs that pop up, will be used for our game drives in parks and reserves. Please note that air-conditioned safari vehicles are non-existent in East Africa.

Accommodation

EGYPT: Hotel accommodation used on tour is on average, 4-star (some 5-star). Most properties have outdoor swimming pools. Single rooms are limited and possibly smaller than twins. The cruise vessel is very comfortable with full air-conditioning, twin-berth, outside cabins with en suite bath / toilet. EAST AFRICA: Hotels and lodges used are 4-5 star properties with hot water, electricity, mosquito netting, dining areas, bar, swimming pools. Remote lodges are not air-conditioned though many are at higher elevations where heat is not a factor. Hotel porter service is available throughout (see 'Inclusions'). Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins. Many lodges are quite spread out and you will need to be able to walk up to 10 minutes from public areas to your room.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, local driver-guides, local guides at various locations.

Kenya / Tanzania: Groups of six or fewer participants (one vehicle), will be led / guided by one of our local driver-guides. Only multi-vehicle groups will be assigned an Adventures Abroad Tour Leader.

Group Size

10-21 (plus Tour Leader)