DestinationSouth Africa: Cape Town. Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls.
Kenya: Nairobi, Maasai Mara.
Tanzania: Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti
The Best of East & Southern Africa
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 5 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 7 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.
Feeling the cool wind of the night and smelling the good smell of Africa, I was altogether happy.Green Hills of Africa
- A magnificent and varietal passage through fabled East and Southern African landmarks: buzzing and beautiful Cape Town, epic Victoria Falls, and the legendary game reserves of East Africa.
- A sterling collection of carefully curated hotels, camps and lodges, including the Belmond Mount Nelson in Cape Town, the famed Royal Livingstone at Victoria Falls, the stunning Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, and Sir Richard Branson’s personal camp in Kenya.
- A rich variety of experiences: wine tasting in the gorgeous Cape Winelands, exploring the wondrous Cape Point Nature Reserve on the continent’s southern tip; land and air views of stupendous Victoria Falls; eventful game drives and walks in the heart of East Africa’s big game country.
En route to Southern Africa for optional 17-day safari; otherwise, begin on Day 7 in Nairobi.
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 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. During our two full days we’ll make an excursion to the area’s famed Cape Winelands, lunching at an estate and strolling through the Wineland’s charming Dutch and French Huguenot towns of Stellenbosch and 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 one of Micato-AmericaShare’s inventive and inspiring programmes in Cape Town.
A lovely flight northward via Johannesburg 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.
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.
We fly west from 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 G650 resembles a Piper Cub,” as we said a while back. Mzuri is auspiciously set next to one of the Mara’s prime migration pathways.
Now— these are thrilling safari words!— into the Serengeti, amazing in its enormity, its almost infinite skies and long, golden reaches, its million-year quiet. We’ll make far-ranging game drives on the great plain and in its riverine forests, based from the stunningly deluxe Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, set on rocky bluffs, giving us vast, endlessly stimulating views.
A typically spectacular flight and pleasant drive deliver 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 idyll.
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-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 regretfully getting ready to head home.
After flying back to Nairobi, we’ll relax in full service, meals-included day rooms at the Fairmont Norfolk hotel or the Four Points by Sheraton at the Nairobi Airport, 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.
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|Jan. 01 – Jan. 17||May 21 – June 06||Aug. 06 – Aug. 22||Oct. 22 – Nov. 07|
|Jan. 08 – Jan. 24||May 28 – June 13||Aug. 13 – Aug. 29||Oct. 29 – Nov. 14|
|Jan. 15 – Jan. 31||June 04 – June 20||Aug. 20 – Sep. 05||Nov. 05 – Nov. 21|
|Jan. 22 – Feb. 07||June 11 – June 27||Aug. 27 – Sep. 12||Nov. 12 – Nov. 28|
|Jan. 29 – Feb. 14||June 18 – July 04||Sep. 03 – Sep. 19||Nov. 19 – Dec. 05|
|Feb. 05 – Feb. 21||June 25 – July 11||Sep. 10 – Sep. 26||Nov. 26 – Dec. 12|
|Feb. 12 – Feb. 28||July 02 – July 18||Sep. 17 – Oct. 03||Dec. 03 – Dec. 19|
|Feb. 19 – Mar. 07||July 09 – July 25||Sep. 24 – Oct. 10||Dec. 10 – Dec. 26|
|Feb. 26 – Mar. 14||July 16 – Aug. 01||Oct. 01 – Oct. 17||Dec. 17 – Jan. 02|
|Mar. 05 – Mar. 21||July 23 – Aug. 08||Oct. 08 – Oct. 24||Dec. 24 – Jan. 09|
|May. 14 – May. 30||July 30 – Aug. 15||Oct. 15 – Oct. 31||Dec. 31 – Jan. 16|
|Jan. 07 – Jan. 23||May 27 – June 12||Aug. 12 – Aug. 28||Oct. 28 – Nov. 13|
|Jan. 14 – Jan. 30||June 03 – June 19||Aug. 19 – Sept. 04||Nov. 04 – Nov. 20|
|Jan. 21 – Feb. 06||June 10 – June 26||Aug. 26 – Sept. 11||Nov. 11 – Nov. 27|
|Jan. 28 – Feb. 13||June 17 – July 03||Sept. 02 – Sept. 18||Nov. 18 – Dec. 04|
|Feb. 04 – Feb. 20||June 24 – July 10||Sept. 09 – Sept. 25||Nov. 25 – Dec. 11|
|Feb. 11 – Feb. 27||July 01 – July 17||Sept. 16 – Oct. 02||Dec. 02 – Dec. 18|
|Feb. 18 – Mar. 06||July 08 – July 24||Sept. 23 – Oct. 09||Dec. 09 – Dec. 25|
|Feb. 25 – Mar. 13||July 15 – July 31||Sept. 30 – Oct. 16||Dec. 16 – Jan. 01|
|Mar. 04 – Mar. 20||July 22 – Aug. 07||Oct. 07 – Oct. 23||Dec. 23 – Jan. 08|
|Mar. 11 – Mar. 27||July 29 – Aug. 14||Oct. 14 – Oct. 30||Dec. 30 – Jan. 15|
|May 20 – June 5||Aug. 05 – Aug. 21||Oct. 21 – Nov. 06|
Price Per Person
Land Arrangements, Per Person (2022). Note: This safari also offers a shorter version starting on Day 7.
|Jan – Mar||May||November||Balance of Year|
East Africa Only
Land Arrangements, Per Person (2022).
|Jan – Mar||May||November||Balance of Year|
Bring the Kids! Please contact us for child pricing.
Ask us about a private vehicle for your Classic Safari.