The Heart of Kenya and Tanzania
Plenteous and Pithy East Africa
A 12 Day Adventure
The names alone are magic: The Serengeti. Ngorongoro Crater. The Maasai Mara. We’re reminded that when we travel, we visit names as well as places—names with romantic heft, names that resound, names that may have captivated us for many years. Names like Ngorongoro. (Then again, if we’d never heard that sonorous name, and we made the exhilarating drive up the flank of the old volcano and reached its rim and suddenly beheld the green and animal-thronged crater far below, Ngorongoro would be just as utterly amazing.)
In less than two weeks, The Heart of Kenya and Tanzania introduces us—or re-introduces us—to places with famous names, but most of all, it brings us to fantastic places, fantastic in the sense that their like is to be found exactly nowhere else on earth.
Day 1 En route
Our Micato adventure begins as we board our flight to Europe.
Days 2 & 3 Nairobi explorations from the renowned Norfolk
After arrival at Jomo Kenyatta Airport, we’ll be met by our Safari Director and driven to the classic Norfolk Hotel, for more than a century the world’s preferred pre- and post-safari stomping ground. The next day we’ll tour the succinctly informative National Museum, consort with the world’s tallest terrestrial animal at the Giraffe Centre, make a pilgrimage to the home of Karen Blixen—aka Isak Dinesen, one of Africa’s supreme laureates—and have lunch at Lavington, home of Micato’s founders, Felix and Jane Pinto (be sure to ask about Jane’s adventures in the world of international table tennis).
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Day 4 Tarangire’s animal superstars and Sopa Lodge
We fly from Nairobi to northern Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro International Airport, gateway to the great game lands we’re soon to see. After lunch, we fly onward to Tarangire National Park and the Tarangire Sopa Lodge, a classic example of unobtrusive, beautifully designed modern lodge architecture.
Tarangire is an apt place to begin a wildlife safari. Home to just about all the headliner beasts, including a large and robust elephant population, Tarangire also shelters such rarities as the fringe-eared oryx and the long-necked gerenuk, a particularly winsome and creatively constructed antelope. Tarangire charms us with its exemplary African landscapes: acacia trees, brawny brown hills, sweeping vistas, clear nights of “soft velvet,” as Elspeth Huxley wrote. “[Like] a warm conservancy whose great dome was encrusted with all the diamonds in the world, and all the scents in the world were there too, changing like currents in the sea.”
Days 5 & 6 Zig-zagging into the fabulous Ngorongoro Crater
We drive from Tarangire up into the green Crater Highlands, weaving our way to our lodge, the Ngorongoro Sopa, perched at well over 7,000 feet on the rim of the fabled Ngorongoro Crater.
As geologic masterpieces go, Ngorongoro has had quite a career. It’s been a gigantic peak, perhaps a rival of Kilimanjaro, and, after it blew its snowy top in what must have been a rather impressive explosion (our forefathers over at the nearby Olduvai Gorge, busy getting their humanoid act together, probably saw it), Ngorongoro spent many millennia as an alternately quiet and occasionally bubbling lava lake. Now in an extended pacific mood, the crater is home to upwards of 25,000 personality-rich animals, who roam—as we will—over a sweetly lush area larger than 76 Central Parks.
Days 7 & 8 Game viewing and sundowners in the Serengeti
After stopping at Olduvai, the symbolic wellspring of our DNA, we drop down to the Serengeti, the known universe’s largest (and, happily for us, most wonderfully watchable) collection of illustrious mammals: elephants, giraffes, tumbling pool-fuls of hippos, elegantly slinking serval cats, zebras with incredibly muscular haunches (leading us to wonder why they were never ridden— very weak backs, that’s why), and scores of species more, all of them going about their business unconcerned by the likes of us. (“But make no mistake,” an old Africa hand once wrote, “these aren’t theme parks. The truest owners of these lands are the animals who roam them free and, if that’s their nature, fiercely.”)
We’ll soak up the essence of the Serengeti from the Sopa Lodge, set on an escarpment overlooking the seemingly limitless plains, enjoying a sundowner after a game drive, watching clouds build up as the day cools, big clouds that “look like you could scoop them up with a spoon,” Elspeth Huxley wrote.
Days 9 & 10 The Maasai Mara, big game and beauteous landscapes
We fly back to Kilimanjaro International, then to Nairobi, and on to the Kenyan section of the Serengeti– Maasai Mara ecosystem, a world treasure, one with no counterpart, anywhere. (During humanity’s tenure, the closest any place on earth has come to equaling the Serengeti’s incredible wealth of wildlife may be paleolithic Siberia, with the ancient North American Plains another contender.) The size of Vermont (with Liechtenstein thrown in for good measure), the Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem is, amongst much else, famed for the dramatic migration of its 1,000,000-plus wildebeest and 750,000-or-so zebras (and the intense attention that migration gets from predators, both mammalian and reptilian). Though the migration reaches seasonal crescendos, the movement of animals—north after the Long Rains, south as the rains return to nourish the southern plains— is more or less continual, and the sight of a two or three-mile-long train of animals on the move is extremely memorable.
Up here in the system’s north, the landscapes are grandly varied but tend to be more green (which is why the migration heads up here, in search of water), with somewhat less savannah than in the south. We’ll be staying in a characteristically attractive tented camp, either Kichwa Tembo or Fairmont Mara Safari Club, both of which take advantage of the Mara’s scenic mix. Kichwa is set in riverine forest on the banks of the Sabaringo River, and the Mara River nearly wraps around the Mara Safari Club. Both camps offer balloon excursions; wafting over the Mara in the piercingly fresh and golden morning, floating over elephants and hippos, feeling a mild and worthy intoxication-by-grandeur, is one of those things that, having done, we wonder how on earth we ever contemplated not doing.
Days 11 & 12 Back to Nairobi and thence to home
We fly back to Nairobi in the morning for some relaxation and maybe a swim or a nice lunch on the Lord Delamere Terrace at the Norfolk, and perhaps a visit to the Micato AmericaShare Harambee Centre, a guaranteed spirit-lifter before our late evening flights.
Already nostalgic for safari life, we arrive home.
“All our lives we’ve seen these animals in captivity or on a screen. Now we see them in wilderness, propelled by the force of their evolution; at last they’re able to tell us what they are, who they are.”
— Mary Marenko Poxon,
In a letter to her sister
Fairmont Norfolk Hotel
The essence of luxury since 1904, the Norfolk is the legendary hotel from which many safaris have embarked. The spirit of past adventurers such as Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway linger romantically in the air here.
Tarangire Sopa Lodge
Built to blend in with its vast and beautiful surroundings, Tarangire Sopa Lodge is hidden among the kopjes, ancient baobabs, and grasses of Tarangire National Park—home to the greatest concentration of elephants in Africa.
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
Set on the crater’s rim, Sopa is an architectural marvel. Its suites include a large solarium overlooking the crater, and the lodge’s overall design reflects the vastness of the Africa bush; huge walls of glass—in both the public areas and the stylishly decorated guest suites—frame and bring into the heart of the lodge ever-surprising views of the Ngorongoro Crater and its luminous sunsets.
Serengeti Sopa Lodge
Magnificently styled after a traditional Maasai manyatta, or village, Sopa Lodge fits in with the Serengeti’s sun-bleached colours; floor-to-ceiling windows bring the spectacle of the savannah into the lodge, and guest suites contain private sitting areas and balconies opening over the “warm ocean of life” that is the Serengeti.
Maasai Mara, Kenya
This romantic camp reflects the ambience of Kenyan safaris of the 1920s and ’30s. Set in a lush riverine forest in the midst of a game-rich private conservancy, Kichwa’s tented suites are classically elegant. Each has a private deck overlooking what we think is one of Kenya’s most stunning landscapes. The exceptional service add luster to Kichwa’s terrific reputation.
Fairmont Mara Safari Club
Maasai Mara, Kenya
Brilliantly renovated, the Mara Safari Club is a jewel in the Mara. Magnificent tents feature lush appointments, four-poster beds and private verandas overlooking hippos bobbing in the river. The main lodge is Africa at its most elegant with stunning artwork and dramatic architecture.
Dates & RatesLand Arrangements, per person
Departs Monday, returns Friday
Land Arrangements, per person (2017)
|May||November||Balance of Year|
To and from Home | Every date is a guaranteed departure
Jun. 19 – Jun. 30
Jun. 26 – Jul. 07
Jul. 03 – Jul. 14
Jul. 10 – Jul. 21
Jul. 17 – Jul. 28
Jul. 24 – Aug. 04
Jul. 31 – Aug. 11
Aug. 14 – Aug. 25
Aug. 21 – Sep. 01
Aug. 28 – Sep. 08
Sep. 04 – Sep. 15
Sep. 11 – Sep. 22
Sep. 18 – Sep. 29
Sep. 25 – Oct. 06
Oct. 09 – Oct. 20
Oct. 16 – Oct. 27
Oct. 23 – Nov. 03
Oct. 30 – Nov. 10
Nov. 06 – Nov. 17
Nov. 13 – Nov. 24
Nov. 20 – Dec. 01
Dec. 04 – Dec. 15
Dec. 11 – Dec. 22
Dec. 18 – Dec. 29
Dec. 25 – Jan. 05
To and from Home | New rates and dates may apply
Jan. 08 – Jan. 19
Jan. 15 – Jan. 26
Jan. 22 – Feb. 02
Jan. 29 – Feb. 09
Feb. 05 – Feb. 16
Feb. 12 – Feb. 23
Feb. 19 – Mar. 02
Feb. 26 – Mar. 09
Mar. 05 – Mar. 16
Mar. 12 – Mar. 23
May 14 – May 25
May 28 – Jun. 08
Jun. 04 – Jun. 15
Jun. 11 – Jun. 22
Jun. 18 – Jun. 29
Jun. 25 – Jul. 06
Jul. 02 – Jul. 13
Jul. 09 – Jul. 20
Jul. 16 – Jul. 27
Jul. 23 – Aug. 03
Jul. 30 – Aug. 10
Aug. 06 – Aug. 17
Aug. 20 – Aug. 31
Aug. 27 – Sep. 07
Sep. 03 – Sep. 14
Sep. 10 – Sep. 21
Sep. 17 – Sep. 28
Sep. 24 – Oct. 05
Oct. 01 – Oct. 12
Oct. 08 – Oct. 19
Oct. 15 – Oct. 26
Oct. 22 – Nov. 02
Oct. 29 – Nov. 09
Nov. 12 – Nov. 23
Nov. 19 – Nov. 30
Nov. 26 – Dec. 07
Dec. 03 – Dec. 14
Dec. 10 – Dec. 21
Dec. 17 – Dec. 28
Dec. 24 – Jan. 04
Dec. 31 – Jan. 11
Make it Private
The Heart of Kenya and Tanzania 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.
Cosmopolitan and captivating
A beautiful mix of natural and man-made pleasures, Cape Town is Africa’s treasure for good reason. This perfect post-safari sojourn yields a winning blend of top city sights, sophisticated dining, luscious winelands, and more.
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.