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African Splendour

The Heart of Kenya & Tanzania

Destination
Kenya: Nairobi, Maasai Mara.
Tanzania: Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti
Duration
12 Days
Door-to-door
Price
Starting from
$11,500

​Plenteous and Pithy East Africa

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.

Heart map

“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 PoxonIn a letter to her sister

Highlights

  • Focus on game activities in East Africa’s most bountiful wildlife areas, emphasizing big herds and their predators.
  • A visit to the Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakey family unearthed our ancestor, the 1.75 million year-old fossil Homo habilis.
  • Spectacular early evening sundowners, unscripted, familial visits in Maasai villages and dining in Nairobi with Micato’s founders, Jane and Felix Pinto.
  • Expert, unstinting service from your Micato Safari Director and our unique 24-hour Concierge Service.
  • Visit to AmericaShare’s soul-expanding Harambee Centre in Nairobi.

Itinerary

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Day 1 En Route

Our Micato adventure begins as we board our flight.

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 Fairmont Norfolk Hotel, for more than a century the world’s preferred pre- and post-safari stomping ground. We’ll meet sassy pachyderms at the Daphne Sheldrick elephant orphanage, 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).

Day 4 Tarangire's animal superstars and Sopa Lodge

We’ll tour the informative National Museum and after lunch fly in early afternoon from Nairobi to northern Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro International Airport. We fly onward to Tarangire National Park and the Tarangire Sopa Lodge, a classic example of 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-fulls 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 or possibly the Boma Nairobi, 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.

Camps & Lodges

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Fairmont The Norfolk

Nairobi, Kenya
The Norfolk has been a meeting place for safariers since 1904. Photos of past guests (Churchill and Teddy Roosevelt among them) remind us that this is where grand adventures begin.
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Tarangire Sopa Lodge

Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Gorgeously nestled in a quintessential African forest, Tarangire Sopa Lodge is a luxurious outpost in one of the continent’s greatest game lands.
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Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Perched marvelously on the undisturbed eastern rim of the massive crater, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge grandly overlooks one of earth’s most magical places.
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Serengeti Sopa Lodge

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Situated marvelously on the undisturbed Serengeti Plains, the Serengeti Sopa Lodge provides front-row seats to one of nature’s greatest spectacles.
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Fairmont Mara Safari Club

Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
Each exquisite tent has a private veranda with a spectacular view of the hippo-filled Mara River and the gentle chortling of the hippo pods soothes us to sleep each night.
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What's Included

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  • Luxury accommodations and all meals, including a welcome meal at the private home of Micato founders Felix and Jane Pinto.
  • A highly-credentialed Micato Safari Director and Driver-Guide during your journey.
  • A variety of activities, individualized for you by your Safari Director at every safari location.
  • 24/7 Concierge Team poised to meet last minute, unexpected, and unusual requests.
  • Every last gratuity, even substantial ones to Safari Directors, Driver-Guides, waiters, porters… and everyone else, from beginning to end of your safari.
  • Regional wine and beer at mealtimes, vehicles stocked with soft drinks and bottled water.
  • Daily valet laundry service. You can pack less and even return home with a bag of clean clothes… now that’s luxury!
  • Complimentary in-vehicle Wi-Fi as well as free Wi-Fi wherever else it exists on safari, including camps and lodges.
  • All airport transfers, game park, national park, and conservancy fees.
  • Extensive safety protocols perfected by 55 years of on-the-ground expertise.
  • Sublime safari swag! Bush hats, specially designed Micato Safaris duffels, luggage tags, document wallets, flashlights, and more.
  • For every safari sold, Micato sends an African child to school.

Dates & Rates

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2020 Dates

To and from Home | Every date is a guaranteed departure

Jan. 01 – Jan. 12

May 20 – May 31

Aug. 05 – Aug. 16 Oct. 21 – Nov. 01
Jan. 08 – Jan. 19 May 27 – June 07 Aug. 12 – Aug. 23 Oct. 28 – Nov. 08
Jan. 15 – Jan. 26 June 03 – June 14 Aug. 19 – Aug. 30 Nov. 04 – Nov. 15
Jan. 22 – Feb. 02 June 10 – June 21 Aug. 26 – Sep. 06 Nov. 11 – Nov. 22
Jan. 29 – Feb. 09 June 17 – June 28 Sep. 02 – Sep. 13 Nov. 18 – Nov. 29
Feb. 05 – Feb. 16 June 24 – July 05 Sep. 09 – Sep. 20 Nov. 25 – Dec. 06
Feb. 12 – Feb. 23 July 01 – July 12 Sep. 16 – Sep. 27 Dec. 02 – Dec. 13
Feb. 19 – Mar. 01 July 08 – July 19 Sep. 23 – Oct. 04 Dec. 09 – Dec. 20
Feb. 26 – Mar. 08 July 15 – July 26 Sep. 30 – Oct. 11 Dec. 16 – Dec. 27
Mar. 04 – Mar. 15 July 22 – Aug. 02 Oct. 07 – Oct. 18 Dec. 23 – Jan. 03
Mar. 11 – Mar. 22 July 29 – Aug. 09 Oct. 14 – Oct. 25 Dec. 30 – Jan 10

2021 Dates

To and from Home | Every date is a guaranteed departure

Jan. 06 – Jan. 17

May 19 – May 30

Aug. 04 – Aug. 15 Oct. 20 – Oct. 31
Jan. 13 – Jan. 24 May 26 – June 06 Aug. 11 – Aug. 22 Oct. 27 – Nov. 07
Jan. 20 – Jan. 31 June 02 – June 13 Aug. 18 – Aug. 29 Nov. 03 – Nov. 14
Jan. 27 – Feb. 07 June 09 – June 20 Aug. 25 – Sep. 05 Nov. 10 – Nov. 21
Feb. 03 – Feb. 14 June 16 – June 27 Sep. 01 – Sep. 12 Nov. 17 – Nov. 28
Feb. 10 – Feb. 21 June 23 – July 04 Sep. 08 – Sep. 19 Nov. 24 – Dec. 05
Feb. 17 – Feb. 28 June 30 – July 11 Sep. 15 – Sep. 26 Dec. 01 – Dec. 12
Feb. 24 – Mar. 07 July 07 – July 18 Sep. 22 – Oct. 03 Dec. 08 – Dec. 19
Mar. 03 – Mar. 14 July 14 – July 25 Sep. 29 – Oct. 10 Dec. 15 – Dec. 26
Mar. 10 – Mar. 21 July 21 – Aug. 01 Oct. 06 – Oct. 17 Dec. 22 – Jan. 02
Mar. 17 – Mar. 28 July 28 – Aug. 08 Oct. 13 – Oct. 24 Dec. 29 – Jan. 09

Price Per Person

Land Arrangements, Per Person (2020)

  May November Balance of Year
Double Occupancy $9,850 $10,750 $12,150
Single Supplement $950 $950 $1,250
Internal Flights $1,650 $1,650 $1,650

Options and Extensions

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Namibia

We savour the ultra-dramatic Namib desert, based from the innovative luxury of the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, a jewel in Namibia’s diadem of outstanding lodges and camps.
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Cape Town Sojourn

A beautiful mix of natural and man-made pleasures, Cape Town is Africa’s treasure for good reason. This perfect post-safari extension offers a winning blend of top city sights, sophisticated dining, luscious winelands, and more.
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Victoria Falls

A handy safari extension to Victoria Falls, a marvel of all earthly marvels, a sight that might not change a life, but will spark an enduring part of it.
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Zanzibar

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Tanzania Spectacular

Tanzania Spectacular
Destination
Tanzania: Arusha, Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti
Duration
10 Days
Door-to-door
Price
Starting from
$10,050
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