The Best of East & Southern Africa
A 17 Day Adventure
We’re not sure why, but great journeys often involve great contrasts. African Splendour is a case in point. On the full 17-day safari (the first 6 days in Southern Africa are optional), we range through 34 degrees of latitude and four countries, but, most engagingly and contrastingly, we experience the diverse excitements of Cape Town’s urban pizzazz, the watery colossus of Victoria Falls, and the wondrous game lands of the Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem, where the wandering rains compel the planet’s most momentous movement of big, interesting mammals. (And then there’s the Ngorongoro Crater, which really can’t be contrasted with any other place, because there really isn’t any other place remotely like it, at least on our home planet.)
Those with a little less time can begin the safari on Day 8 in Nairobi before heading off to the quite engagingly contrasty Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti, and the Maasai Mara, high on the list of Africa’s supreme splendours.
Day 1 En Route
En route to Southern Africa for optional 17-day safari; otherwise, begin on Day 7 in Nairobi.
Days 2 to 4 Wonders and beauties of Cape Town and environs
After a late afternoon or early evening arrival in South Africa’s second-largest and most scenic and snazzy city, we’ll settle into Cape Town’s grande dame hotel, the pink, very pretty, much-loved Mount Nelson.
Nelly, as it’s affectionately known, lies in the centre of City Bowl, the rocky natural amphitheatre that embraces old Cape Town. During our two full days we’ll make an excursion to the area’s famed Cape Winelands, lunching at an estate and strolling through one of the Winelands’ charming villages (whose names highlight their Dutch heritage: Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek). We’ll visit Cape Point Nature Reserve and, a little farther south, the Cape of Good Hope. And we’ll take the Aerial Cableway to the top of 3,500-foot Table Mountain, centre stage of Cape Town’s amazing amphitheatre. And we’ll visit and perhaps lend a hand at beloved Rosie’s Kitchen, where Cape Town’s less fortunate find friendship and lovingly prepared meals.
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Days 5 & 6 Titanic Victoria Falls and the Royal Livingstone
A lovely flight northward delivers us to Victoria Falls, Mosi-oa-Tunya, “The Smoke That Thunders,” not the highest or the widest but the world’s grandest and most booming waterfall, a large lakesworth of water flinging itself 360 feet straight down every minute of every day, right before our delighted eyes.
We have a couple of days to appreciate the Falls’ subtly shifting moods. We’ll cruise on the Zambezi River, watching elephants and giraffes enjoying their own sundowners, we’ll helicopter over the Falls on the Flight of Angels, and we’ll wander from one misty vantage point to another, returning for sustenance and leisure to our magnificent Royal Livingstone Hotel in Livingstone, Zambia, named for the almost mythic explorer David Livingstone.
Day 7 Nairobi and the serene Hemingway’s hostelry
We fly northeast from Zambia and Victoria Falls to Nairobi and Hemingways, a quietly ravishing haven for lovers of old-style pananche mixed with modern amenities and great cuisine, wonderfully set in the lush suburb of Karen.
Days 8 to 10 Lake Manyara and the epic Ngorongoro Crater
After a private morning visit with the spectacularly cute and playful orphaned elephants of the Daphne Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a typically beautiful flight takes us from Nairobi to Lake Manyara (to which we’ll be formally introduced in a couple of days, and a pleasant drive delivers us to The Manor at Ngorongoro, a marvelous 10-cottage, 20-suite retreat set within a 1500-acre Arabica coffee estate adjacent to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Those of us who began African Splendour in South Africa will recognize the Manor’s elegant Cape Dutch style; those who haven’t will simply be charmed. Our three nights at the Manor are a rare idyl.
We’ll enjoy a restful afternoon (or a very active one; the Manor offers horse backing, mountain biking, swimming in the Manor’s pool, and estate walks, among other enjoyments), before a classic high tea and dinner in the private dining room or wine cellar.
And the next day we visit one of the earth’s natural masterpieces. We’ve got a lot of affection for Ngorongoro. Here’s the essence of the crater’s tremendous charisma: 25,000 or so large and very viewable mammals—from apex predators to galumphing hippos—inhabit the crater’s 100-square-mile floor, and zigzagging up the old volcano’s forested wall to its rim, and gazing for the first or fifth time at the lush lands and their inhabitants in the crater below, is a great moment in any traveller’s life.
We’ll descend to the crater and excitedly roam from morning to afternoon, stopping at mid-day for a charmingly luxurious bush lunch, before heading back to a serene evening at the Manor.
Now we encounter Lake Manyara. Africa is blessed with epic lakes (Tanganyika is the world’s second deepest; all the Rift Lakes are gigantic stunners), but many, including Ernest Hemingway, consider the smaller gem of Lake Manyara—with its diamond-white alkali rim, its million or so coral-coloured flamingos, and the deep sapphire waters at its centre—the loveliest of all. After a relaxed (or active) morning at the Manor, we’ll embark on a fine afternoon of game viewing around the lake (many tree-climbing lions frequent Manyara’s Africa-embodying scrublands, mahogany forests, and bird-thronged marshlands). And after cocktails and canapés in the bush, we head back to the Manor for a final night before venturing to another masterpiece, the Serengeti.
Days 11 & 12 A lightening of spirit in the storied Serengeti
We feel much the same way about the Serengeti as we do about Ngorongoro, which is to say: rapturous. We give the world’s greatest wildlife habitat much praise throughout most of our Classic Safari descriptions (see The Heart of Kenya and Tanzania, and The Micato Grand Safari, for instance)
We’ll make far-ranging game drives in the Serengeti based from the stunningly deluxe Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, elevated above the great plain, giving us vast, endlessly stimulating views.
Days 13 to 15 Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri in the Maasai Mara
Leaving the Serengeti, we fly via Arusha and Nairobi to the Maasai Mara, the northern, more verdant section of the single most salubrious wildlife habitat on this or any known planet, the Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem.
Game drives in the Mara are especially fruitful. And our Mara headquarters, auspiciously set in one of the Mara’s prime migration pathways, is a jewel: Sir Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri, whose innovatively designed, yet very African tents resemble the tents of our youth like the Metropolitan Museum of Art resembles a humble craft fair.
Days 16 & 17 Return to Nairobi for flights home
After flying back to Nairobi, we’ll visit the Micato-AmericaShare Harambee Centre in the afternoon, relax in a day room at Hemingways or the equally refreshing Boma Nairobi, have a quiet dinner, and head out to Jomo Kenyatta Airport for our late evening flights home, where we arrive, tired but exalted, on Day 17 of this mightily splendid safari.
“Feeling the cool wind of the night and smelling the good smell of Africa, I was altogether happy.”
— Ernest Hemingway,
Green Hills of Africa
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
"Nelly", as it’s affectionately known, lies in the centre of City Bowl, the rocky natural amphitheatre that embraces old Cape Town. The hotel was built to host wealthy Europeans and still preserves traditions such as afternoon tea service. The luxurious rooms are appointed with antique furnishings, high ceilings and canopied beds.
Royal Livingstone Hotel
An old-fashioned, colonial-style redoubt, fully up-to-the-second, one of T+L’s Best Hotels in the World, the Royal Livingstone would be a sought-after destination even if it weren’t within strolling distance of ceaselessly stunning Livingstone.
Set in lush gardens in the pacific Nairobi suburb of Karen, Hemingways has created an excited stir in East Africa’s travel world. Its 45 gorgeous rooms are unmatched in their intelligent, gentle luxury. Hemingways’ common rooms are reminiscent of English stately homes, yet with an African flavour.
The Manor, much admired for its cuisine and thoughtful service, offers a wealth of activities, from horsebacking, mountain biking and swimming, to estate walks and recreative spa lounging.
The Manor at Ngorongoro
Already well supplied with safari-style elegance, the rebranded Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti is a delightful escape in the heart of the Serengeti. Spacious, lavishly appointed rooms feature original artwork and private decks.
Four Seasons Safari Lodge
Maasai Mara, Kenya
The inspired creation of Sir Richard Branson, Mahali Mzuri is a futuristic state-of-the-art tented camp that is fabulously comfortable and innovative — yet very African.The camp, graced with an infinity pool and a wealth of Bransonesque touches, is next to one of the Mara’s prime game-viewing areas.
Dates & RatesLand Arrangements, per person
Departs Thursday, returns Saturday
Land Arrangements, per person (2017)
Note: This safari also offers a shorter version starting on Day 7. If you’re interested, please call us at: 800-642-2861
|May||December 15-31||Balance of Year|
To and from Home | Every date is a guaranteed departure
Jun. 08 – Jun. 24
Jun. 15 – Jul. 01
Jun. 22 – Jul. 08
Jun. 29 – Jul. 15
Jul. 06 – Jul. 22
Jul. 13 – Jul. 29
Jul. 20 – Aug. 05
Aug. 03 – Aug. 19
Aug. 10 – Aug. 26
Aug. 17 – Sep. 02
Aug. 24 – Sep. 09
Aug. 31 – Sep. 16
Sep. 07 – Sep. 23
Sep. 14 – Sep. 30
Sep. 28 – Oct. 14
Oct. 05 – Oct. 21
Oct. 12 – Oct. 28
Oct. 19 – Nov. 04
Oct. 26 – Nov. 11
Nov. 02 – Nov. 18
Nov. 09 – Nov. 25
Nov. 23 – Dec. 09
Nov. 30 – Dec. 16
Dec. 07 – Dec. 23
Dec. 14 – Dec. 30
Dec. 21 – Jan. 06
Dec. 28 – Jan. 13
To and from Home | New rates and dates may apply
Jan. 11 – Jan. 27
Jan. 18 – Feb. 03
Jan. 25 – Feb. 10
Feb. 01 – Feb. 17
Feb. 08 – Feb. 24
Feb. 15 – Mar. 03
Feb. 22 – Mar. 10
Mar. 01 – Mar. 17
Mar. 08 – Mar. 24
May 24 – Jun. 09
May 31 – Jun. 16
Jun. 07 – Jun. 23
Jun. 14 – Jun. 30
Jun. 21 – Jul. 07
Jun. 28 – Jul. 14
Jul. 05 – Jul. 21
Jul. 12 – Jul. 28
Jul. 19 – Aug. 04
Aug. 09 – Aug. 25
Aug. 16 – Sep. 01
Aug. 23 – Sep. 08
Aug. 30 – Sep. 15
Sep. 06 – Sep. 22
Sep. 13 – Sep. 29
Sep. 20 – Oct. 06
Sep. 27 – Oct. 13
Oct. 04 – Oct. 20
Oct. 25 – Nov. 10
Nov. 01 – Nov. 17
Nov. 08 – Nov. 24
Nov. 15 – Dec. 01
Nov. 22 – Dec. 08
Nov. 29 – Dec. 15
Dec. 06 – Dec. 22
Dec. 13 – Dec. 29
Dec. 20 – Jan. 05
Make it Private
African Splendour can be transformed into a fully private trip for a family or a group of friends. You’ll have your own Tour Director and your pick of departure dates. Contact our experts or your travel advisor to find out how to make this tour a private journey.
Options & Extensions
While you’re in the area, you might be interested in these fine extensions. Our travel specialists can work them into your itinerary.
An angel's eye view of a heavenly landscape
It is an effortless feeling usually reserved for dreams… natural, feather-light, exhilarating. There, looking out over a stunning landscape, from your peerless perch, in the calming silence of the African dawn… it’s hard to imagine it getting any better. And then, the star of the show—quite literally, in fact—pokes out from under its terrestrial cloak.
An Opportunity to Change a Life
Every Micato traveller is given the opportunity to change the course of a life. We invite guests to spend an extra day in Nairobi and visit one of our AmericaShare projects in the slums, learn of the challenges, meet the orphaned and vulnerable children and be inspirited to help.
A Rare and Breathtaking Experience
The soft mists prevail here as they did when Dian Fossey wrote her legendary book Gorillas in the Mist. And the creatures that drew Dr. Fossey are the same ones which beckon to us: rare and endangered Mountain Gorillas.
Exploring the Isles of Spices
Zanzibar. It’s perfumed air caresses travellers with scents of the spices that have grown in abundance throughout the island since time began. Exotic and enchanting, this Indian Ocean isle allures travellers with a personality and pace all its own—just a short hop from mainland Tanzania, but a world away. The name alone conjures a romantic daydream. Meandering streets are lined with whitewashed houses and reminders of Swahili influence; the air is redolent of the spices grown here for centuries. From the lush Jozani Forest to bustling Stone Town, Zanzibar is an island paradise ripe for exploration.