The Best of East & Southern Africa
A 18 Day Adventure
We’re not sure why, but great journeys often involve great contrasts. African Splendour is a case in point. On the full 18-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 18-day safari; otherwise, begin on Day 8 in Nairobi.
Days 2 to 4 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, getting a feel for why in 1503 António de Saldanha, the first European to visit the Cape, scrambled up Table Mountain as soon as he could: for the huge, informative views and very much for the sheer grandeur.
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Days 5 & 6 Victoria Falls
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 Johannesburg
We fly south from Zambia and Victoria Falls to Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, where we’ll take up quarters in the salubrious Saxon Hotel, located on ten marvelously landscaped acres in the serene suburb of Sandhurst.
Day 8 Nairobi
A just-over-four-hour flight takes us north to Nairobi and Hemingways, a quietly ravishing haven for lovers of old-style panache mixed with modern amenities and great cuisine, wonderfully set in the lush suburb of Karen. (And if we didn’t opt for the Southern Africa portion of African Splendour, we arrive in Africa and at revivifying Hemingways today.)
Days 9 – 11 Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater
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 horsebacking, 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-colored 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 12 & 13 The Serengeti
We feel much the same way about the Serengeti as we do about Ngorongoro, and if you’d like to read some praiseful prose about it, flip back to pretty much the same pages we referenced above.
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 14 – 16 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….Our Mara headquarters is Sir Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri, whose innovatively designed, yet very African tents “resemble the tents of our youth like a Gulfstream 650 resembles a Piper Cub,” as we said a while back. Mzuri is auspiciously set next to one in one the Mara’s prime migration pathways.
Days 17 & 18 Nairobi and 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 18 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
Camps & Lodges
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.
Johannesburg, South Africa
This luxury hotel has much to be proud of but says, touchingly, that its greatest “boast” is that the late Nelson Mandela chose the Saxon as his sanctuary at which to complete his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.
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, each honouring an African luminary, are unmatched in their intelligent, gentle luxury. Hemingways’ common rooms are reminiscent of English stately homes, yet with an African flavour.
The Manor at Ngorongoro
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.
Four Seasons Safari Lodge
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
Maasai Mara, Kenya
The inspired creation of Sir Richard Branson, Mahali Mzuri is a state-of-the-art tented camp whose futuristic, fabulously comfortable and innovative— yet very African.The camp, graced with an infinity pool and a wealth of Bransonesque touches, is located next to one of the Mara’s prime game-viewing areas, much frequented during the great migration.
Dates & RatesLand Arrangements, per person
Departs Wednesday, returns Saturday
Note: This safari also offers a shorter version starting on Day 8. If you’re interested, please call us at: 800-642-2861
|May||November||Balance of Year|
To and from Home | Every date is a guaranteed departure
Sep. 21 – Oct. 08
Sep. 28 – Oct. 15
Oct. 05 – Oct. 22
Oct. 19 – Nov. 05
Oct. 26 – Nov. 12
Nov. 02 – Nov. 19
Nov. 16 – Dec. 03
Nov. 23 – Dec. 10
Nov. 30 – Dec. 17
Dec. 14 – Dec. 31
Dec. 21 – Jan. 07
Dec. 28 – Jan. 14
To and from Home | New rates and dates may apply
Jan. 11 – Jan. 28
Jan. 18 – Feb. 04
Jan. 25 – Feb. 11
Feb. 01 – Feb. 18
Feb. 08 – Feb. 25
Feb. 15 – Mar. 04
Feb. 22 – Mar. 11
Mar. 01 – Mar. 18
Mar. 08 – Mar. 25
May 17 – Jun. 03
May 31 – Jun. 17
Jun. 07 – Jun. 24
Jun. 14 – Jul. 01
Jun. 21 – Jul. 08
Jun. 28 – Jul. 15
Jul. 05 – Jul. 22
Jul. 12 – Jul. 29
Jul. 19 – Aug. 05
Jul. 26 – Aug. 12
Aug. 02 – Aug. 19
Aug. 16 – Sep. 02
Aug. 23 – Sep. 09
Aug. 30 – Sep. 16
Sep. 06 – Sep. 23
Sep. 13 – Sep. 30
Sep. 20 – Oct. 07
Sep. 27 – Oct. 14
Oct. 04 – Oct. 21
Oct. 11 – Oct. 28
Oct. 18 – Nov. 04
Nov. 01 – Nov. 18
Nov. 08 – Nov. 25
Nov. 15 – Dec. 02
Nov. 22 – Dec. 09
Nov. 29 – Dec. 16
Dec. 06 – Dec. 23
Dec. 13 – Dec. 30
Dec. 20 – Jan. 06
Dec. 27 – Jan. 13
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.