Royal Palaces of India

Royal Palaces of India

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A 16 Day Holiday Event

India’s grand and gorgeous architectural masterworks have enchanted the West for scores of centuries. Lord Curzon, India’s most astute Viceroy, praised its temples, tombs, and palaces as “the greatest galaxy of monuments in the world.”

On this two-week journey to India’s northern heartland, we immerse ourselves in that stellar firmament, visiting the grandest of the subcontinent’s monuments— with an enthralling emphasis on its old and its new palaces, in which, enveloped in luxurious hospitality, we’re happy to say we stay. At Delhi’s Leela Palace; the fabulous Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra, where every window looks out at the nearby Taj Mahal; at the exquisite Rambagh Palace, home of Jaipur’s last reigning maharajah; at Udaipur’s lyric Oberoi Udaivilas; and the Taj Group’s majestic Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur.

Itinerary

DAY 1 En route to endlessly astounding India

DAYS 2–4Delhi’s imperial splendours

After a leisurely morning, we’ll have an orientation lunch with our Micato Tour Director. Now we’ll delve into swirlingly colourful Old Delhi, rickshawing over to Jama Masjid, one of India’s largest and most impressive mosques (it’s one of the last monuments built by Shah Jahan, whose world crowning glory, the Taj Mahal, we’ll soon see). We’ll visit Humayan’s Tomb (said to have inspired the eagerly inspirable Jahan), pay our respects at the Gandhi Museum, explore the British Raj’s imposing New Delhi edifices, and mingle with happy pilgrims at giant Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a bustling Sikh temple.

The first of our Indian palaces, the Leela, is set in the capital’s Diplomatic Enclave, and beckons with quietude, unabashed luxury, and India’s unceasingly gracious hospitality.

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DAYS 5 & 6 The soul-stirring Taj Mahal

A modern toll road takes us to Agra for a couple of days in the sweetly hypnotic aura of the Taj Mahal. Our base is the Amarvilas, a scintillating Oberoi jewel. Every window in Amarvilas looks out at the Taj, less than two thousand feet away, giving us ever changing views of humanity’s greatest artifact from our beautifully decorated, balconied rooms and from the hotel’s expansive verandahs.

We’ll make early morning and evening visits to the Taj, wandering in its gardens and under its white cloud archways. We’ll amble in fascinating Agra Fort (where Shah Jahan was imprisoned for the last years of his life, peering dolefully out at his masterpiece). We’ll visit a marble inlay studio (after seeing the exquisite Taj inlays, we’ll want to know how this marble magic works), returning to the Amarvilas for a swim in its lovely pool, dinner at its top-flight restaurant, making sure to catch a few minutes or hours to contemplate the Taj.

DAYS 7–9 Vibrant Jaipur, the beloved Pink City

A countryside drive takes us to the fabled Pink City of Jaipur. For more than half a millennium Jaipur’s Rajput maharajahs were renowned for their regal disdain for rupee-pinching. They spent, played, and built extravagantly; witness our palace, the Rambagh, home of the last of Jaipur’s rulers, Sawai Man Singh II. The Rambagh Palace, now a Taj Group property, regularly lands high on lists of the World’s Best Hotels, for its frank splendour, its traditionally noble but state-of-the-art comfy rooms, its cool marble corridors, its fountain-misted gardens, its fine dining, and, in the Taj Group custom, its flawlessly alert and cheery service.

There is much to see and enjoy in the Pink City, and with our Micato Tour Director at our side, we’ll do our best to take it all in, visiting the vast and fabulously ornate City Palace; hot air ballooning in the early morning as Jaipur awakens; rambling in the Doctor Seussian (but strikingly accurate), 280 year-old Jantar Mantar Observatory; and admiring the whimsical Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds.

We’ll wander in the mirrored mini-palaces of massive Amber Fort, lunch at the serene Samode Palace a little way out of town, and spend a late afternoon helping bathe and riding jauntily atop lovingly-cared-for elephants at a private estate, followed by dinner.

DAYS 10 & 11 Serene and graceful Udiapur

A morning flight takes us to lakeside Udaipur, beloved of Indians and internationals for its beauty and serenity, its intriguing temples, and its chromatic history—which we’ll experience in the flamboyant City Palace, hilltop home of Udaipur’s Mewar maharanas, who, like their Mughal suzerains, gracefully avoided all things frugal.

Udaipur has a Venetian feel, with homes and palaces built by the shores of Lake Pichola, and we’ll take a motor launch across the lake to our lodgings, the sublime Oberoi Udaivilas, recently ranked the planet’s second best hotel by Condé Nast Traveler, and the number one Indian resort hotel by Travel + Leisure. We luxuriate in Udaivilas’ sparkling pools, domed public rooms, in its artwork, fragrant gardens and spa, reveling in a modern palace in which India’s maharajahs, maharanas, nizams, and assorted nawabs would feel right at regal home.

DAYS 12 – 14 Umaid Bhawan, the world’s grandest palace hotel

We drive northwest towards Jodhpur, stopping for a quiet lunch at the Maharani Bagh Orchards and a visit to the Jain temple complex at Ranakpur before motoring up to the doors of the Umaid Bhawan Palace, fittingly the last and the largest of India’s great palaces.

Umaid Bhawan sits among 26 garden acres atop Chittar Hill, overlooking the city of Jodhpur. The vast palace—once the world’s largest private residence— now serves as a museum, as the home of the old ruling family, and as a uniquely stately hotel, expertly operated, as always, by the Taj Group. Our palace rooms are decorated with Art Deco themes and feature all the luxuries, amenities, and grace notes we’ve come to expect from a Taj hotel. The Umaid Bhawan is, as they say, a destination in itself, but so is Jodhpur; we’ll wander in the Old City, visit monolithic Mehrangarh Fort and the glowing marble cenotaph of Jaswant Thada, and we’ll take a jeep safari through Bishnoi villages (the Bishnoi are a religious group rooted in deep respect for nature), followed by a picnic lunch and a return to the inimitable Umaid Bhawan.

DAY 15 Return to Delhi and onward

After flying back to Delhi, we’ll have day rooms,— and night rooms, if necessary for late flights—at the splendid Oberoi Gurgaon, near Delhi’s airport.

DAY 16 Arrive Home

 

“India’s ability to exert power through the sheer charm of its civilization should not be underestimated.”

William Dalrymple

Camps & Lodges

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Leela Palace

Delhi, India

Near the center of the country's centralmost city, the Leela looks like a modern palace, and elegantly lives up to its looks with masterful service and luxe amentities large and small.

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Oberoi Amarvilas

Agra, India

Highly ranked on Travel + Leisure’s list of Top Resorts in Asia, the Amarvilas enjoys a unique position, 2,000 feet from the Taj Mahal—and each Amarvilas room looks out at the Taj in uninterrupted homage. Amarvilas is imaginatively landscaped, verdant with native trees, and lit by flaming torches.

Rambagh Palace

Jaipur, India

Promises of being pampered like a maharajah are travel clichés, but in the case of Jaipur’s Rambagh Palace reality is more regal. We are treated with exquisite courtesy and solicitude Indian royalty expected, but we enjoy royal treatment in the home of one of those luxury-appreciating potentates.

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Oberoi Udaivilas

Udaipur, India

Another Oberoi masterpiece, the Udaivilas was recently ranked #1 on the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards list of Top 100 Hotels. Condé Nast Traveler says “If there were a seven-star hotel, this would be it.” Set beside the city’s Lake Pichola, the Udaivilas is an architectural tour de force.

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Umaid Bhawan Palace

Jodhpur, India

The fabulously palatial Umaid Bhawan is still the home of Jodhpur's erstwhile royals. It's like staying in a real palace as the guest of the royal family surrounded by their books, paintings and furniture.

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Rates

Departs Friday, returns Saturday
2018 Rates

Land arrangments, per person

Balance of YearDecember 15-31
Double Occupancy$17,950$21,950
Single Supplement$6,750$9,750
Internal Flights$550$600

2019 Rates

Land arrangments, per person

Balance of YearDecember 15-31
Double Occupancy$18,950$22,950
Single Supplement$6,750$9,950
Internal Flights$600$600

Jaipur/ Udaipur, Jodhpur/Delhi*

* Denotes business class when available


The Micato Kenya Elite Running Safari

The Micato Kenya Elite Running Safari

New Itinerary Enables Micato Guests to Train With Marathon Greats


If you follow the exciting world of marathon running or even if you’re just a casual observer, it’s hard not to notice a trend.

Winners sprinting straight from Kenya to the finish line.

There was a time when Kenya’s high-altitude training centers were only available to professional marathoners. But on the Micato Kenya Elite Running Safari, guests get access to the training facilities and the professional marathoners… as well as the Kenyan climate, perfect for running and, of course, safari.

Both the casual running aficionados and hardcore racers will enjoy literally running in the footsteps of champions on this 10-day itinerary. Included are training stops at two of the most lauded high-elevation running centers in the world, Eldoret and Iten, where such champions as Kenyan New York City Marathon silver-medal winner Lucas Rotich and gold-medalist Mary Keitany have trained.

Guests will meet and train with elite runners, race with up-and-coming local athletes and, if they so wish, end their marathon training by racing in a local half- or full marathon.

To keep the runner’s high going, guests will receive the ultimate reward for a race well run: A luxury safari in Kenya’s spectacular Maasai Mara Reserve. The Mara is considered the finest game sanctuary in Kenya, home to an astonishing number and variety of animals. During the Great Migration, hundreds of thousands of migratory wildebeest, gazelle and zebra move back and forth between the Mara and the plains to the south – running, not unlike the athletes that call the country home.

From $8,850 per person, double occupancy. Rate does not include international airfare. For more information contact 1-800-MICATO-1. A detailed itinerary follows.

Itinerary

Day 1 Nairobi-Eldoret

Fly from Nairobi through the stunning Great Rift Valley to Eldoret, arriving in time for lunch at the Eldoret Club, one of the premier spots for runner training in the world. We spend the afternoon here, stopping at Kipchoge Stadium, where elite runners train among school kids, and dropping in at the bookshop and office of the man for whom the stadium is named, two-time Olympic Champion Kipchoge Keino, the former chairman of the Kenyan Olympic Committee. We return to the Club in time for a run on the golf course and perhaps a swim. We have supper at the Club with a few local running celebrities as our guests, such as Keino, Patrick Sang and Moses Kiptanui. Overnight at the Eldoret Club.

Day 2 Eldoret – Kaptagat – Eldoret

After a run with a local Olympian or two, we drive to Kipchoge Keino’s nearby farm. The farm is the site of a training camp for runners from all over Africa. The centre is listed by the IAAF as one of the few High performance Training Centers in the world. Tour the camp and have lunch with the runners. After lunch, we drive 20 miles to Kaptagat, site of separate camps sponsored by Fila, Nike and Adidas. If you’ve got your running shoes, join camp athletes on a relaxed 7-mile run to picturesque Kaptarakwa on the edge of the Rift Valley. Others drive the long way around. We have tea at Kaptarakwa at the home of a prominent local runner (e.g., Sammy Kipketer, Richard Limo, John Kibowen), and return to Eldoret for supper at the home of another well known athlete, followed by videos showing highlights of some of the runners we’ve just met. Overnight at the Eldoret Club.

Day 3 Eldoret – Iten

After a morning run, we drive to the town of Iten (20 miles), bringing our running gear to visit Lornah Kiplagat’s Iten High Altitude Training Centre, the subject of a PBS documentary as well as numerous articles by running journalists from around the world. Running champion Kiplagat built the Centre in 2000 to help nurture local female runners. After lunch at the Centre, we walk to St. Patrick’s High School, founded in 1961, the alma mater of more world-class runners than any educational institution in the world. After a tour of nearby St. Patrick’s Cathedral, take an afternoon run with its athletes, then shower and change. Supper is at nearby Kerio View, a luxurious private lodge built by a Belgian industrialist and running enthusiast. The dining room overlooks a spectacular panorama of the Rift Valley. Return to Eldoret. Overnight at the Boma Hotel.

Day 4 Eldoret

A day of rest for golf, swimming and relaxing at the Eldoret Club, which, on Sunday afternoons, is a gathering spot for some of the town’s running luminaries. Supper, with a few of those luminaries, will be at the Club or the Spice Palace, a local Indian restaurant. Overnight at the Boma Hotel.

Day 5 Eldoret – Kapsait – Eldoret

Sleeping hippo and bird
Sleeping hippos and friend
We set off early, with running gear, for Kapsait, a remote village 10,000 feet up in the Cherangany Hills. Our destination is Fila’s newly built marathon training camp, which is turning out many of Kenya’s most promising young runners. We join the camp athletes for part of their mid-morning run, then join them for lunch. After a stop at the local school and Tegla Loroupe’s nearby childhood home, we take the scenic route back to Eldoret. Overnight at the Boma Hotel.

Day 6 Eldoret – Kapsabet – Nandi Hill – Kericho

After a morning run, we leave Eldoret, packed, for points south. Our first stop is Kapsabet, where we pass the childhood homes of Kipchoge Keino, Wilson Kipketer, Henry Rono, Mike Boit and dozens of other Olympic medalists and world record holders, all within a few miles of one another. This is the Kenyan equivalent of the Hollywood Stars tour. Lunch is at the home of one of the area’s runners, after which we drive – via historic Nandi Hills, site of a notorious incident in Kenya’s early colonial period – to Kericho, where we move into rooms at the Tea Hotel, a once-grand colonial establishment overlooking green hills of tea. Supper is at the hotel with local runners, such as Joyce Chepchumba, John Korir and William Chirchir. Overnight in Kericho.

Day 7 Kericho – Bomet – Maasai Mara National Reserve

We take a morning run through the tea plantations, then set off for Maasai Mara, via the village of Bomet, where we meet a few more runners for lunch. We reach Maasai Mara in time for a late afternoon game drive.Check-in at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club. Settle in and relax before we make our first game run this afternoon. Enjoy the atmosphere of the tented camp, which evokes fantasies of days gone by when intrepid adventurers travelled these plains in search of a big game.This is the Africa of your imagination, where panoramas are vast. It is a country of rolling grasslands, dense thickets of scrub, and groves of acacia woodland where predators might hide. Luxuriant forest grows along the banks of the Mara River, where hippos and crocodiles bask in the sun.The Mara is considered the finest game sanctuary in Kenya, home to an astonishing number and variety of animals. Depending on the season, hundreds of thousands of migratory wildebeest, gazelle and zebra move back and forth between the Mara and the plains to the south. We return to our lodge in time for a leisurely supper. Overnight at Fairmont Mara Safari Club.

Day 8 Maasai Mara National Reserve

A day at Maasai Mara, with elegantly prepared meals, a luxurious swimming pool and morning and evening game drives among Africa’s most spectacular wild herds and predators – a break from our steady diet of running.This is true big game country, where prides of more than twenty lions, including the majestic black-maned male, are not uncommon. Other inhabitants of the Mara include elephant, giraffe, buffalo, cheetah, leopard, hyena, topi, gazelle and black rhino, and hippos can be found along the Mara River.There is no way to predict what we might see on our game drive this morning, so keep your eyes open. The trees in the distance might turn out to be a family of giraffes. That clump of bushes, a pride of lions. And the rock that moves could be a rhino lumbering out of your way. With diligence and some luck, we may encounter a family of cheetahs, or a herd of elephants crossing the path in front of us. And large animals aren’t the only entertainment – you may be amused by a family of warthogs, startled into running as fast as their little legs will carry them, until they forget why they are rushing and stop to regroup.With morning and evening game drives, we should be able to add quite an assortment of wildlife to our own personal checklist. Overnight at Fairmont Mara Safari Club.

Day 9 Maasai Mara National Reserve – Nairobi

Our day begins with a game run in the cool morning, when the animals are most active. It is the best time to experience the full range of wildlife in the reserve.After the morning game drive, we’re off for Nairobi. The largest city between Cairo and Johannesburg, Nairobi is a cosmopolitan capital city. Graceful jacaranda and bougainvillea line the main streets, and parks and gardens occupy large areas in the center.The city has undergone a dramatic expansion in its recent past. Today Nairobi boasts of a thriving business center, with the modern Kenyatta Conference Centre and Parliament Building, first-class restaurants and hotels. The more traditional architecture of the colonial era still survives in colorful wooden buildings with tiled roofs and arcades.We move into rooms at the Norfolk Hotel and spend the afternoon strolling or shopping downtown, with a late-afternoon run in Uhuru Park.Supper is at the superb Indian restaurant Haandi with our guests. Overnight at the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel.

Day 10 Nairobi – Depart

Today we will enjoy all that Nairobi has to offer – we will come eye-to-eye with graceful giraffes at Giraffe Centre and visit the home of Karen von Blixen, author of Out of Africa. The surrounding area, now called Karen Estates, was the site of her coffee plantation. We tour her small home and her lovely garden with beautiful views of the Ngong Hills.We will also enjoy lunch at the home of Felix and Jane Pinto, the founders of Micato Africa. Their home, in the lovely suburb of Lavington, is a gracious place to recount the myriad adventures recently enjoyed.After a farewell dinner, transfer to the airport for the flight towards home. Bid farewell to Africa knowing that this has been a journey we will remember for the rest of our life.

 

Camps & Lodges

Rates

Departs , returns

Land arrangements and private charters, per person

Double Occupancy, per personfrom $8,850
(Rate does not include international airfare)

Great Herds of Africa

Great Herds of Africa

100% School Break-Friendly


A 12 Day Holiday Event

Is it possible for your kids to go on an African safari this winter without missing school? With Micato, absolutely! On this private scheduled departure, just choose your March dates and go!

Departs March 2018

Nothing lifts youthful eyes from a smartphone quite as quickly as the real-life sight of a nearby lion majestically limbering up for her day’s work. Or a gracefully lumbering, pleistocenic rhino. Or a Maasai warrior defying gravity as he leaps skyward.

Almost as remarkable as these and the many other wondrous sights of Micato’s East Africa is that you can experience them all within the confines of a typical winter school break!

Not incidentally, when you book the Micato Great Herds of Africa safari — or any Micato safari — you do something wonderful… you send a child to school. That’s The Micato One for One Commitment.

Itinerary

Day 1 En Route

We dream of safari while we soar through the skies, bound for Africa.

Day 2 Arrive Nairobi

Lovely surprises await first-time (and returning) visitors to Kenya’s burgeoning and bustling capital city. As we drive through Nairobi we’ll bear witness to a renewed metropolis with top-shelf shops, coffee houses, and organic green grocers, superb restaurants, and fascinating people from conservationists to modern day adventurers.Our Safari Director meets us at the airport and whisks us to Fairmont The Norfolk Hotel. Whether sipping Kenyan coffee on the famed Lord Delamere Terrace and watching the bustle of Nairobi go by, or relaxing with a cocktail in the tropical garden that fills the inner courtyard with sweet scents and singing birds: this legendary safari starting point has the undeniable buzz of impending adventure.

Days 3-4 Amboseli National Park

Maasai tribesman jumping

This morning we wing our way by private plane over the scenic Athi Plains and into the bush country of Amboseli Park. Amboseli is big game country: elephant, antelope, zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and giraffe. Spectacular game runs during our stay introduce us to the intense beauty and drama that fill each day. In a lush and beautiful setting, predators stalk the herds of grazing animals, recreating the age-old drama of life and death under the African sun.

Amboseli is also home to the legendary Maasai tribesmen. Residents live in a “manyatta” or village, much as they have for centuries and we’ll see the interior of these mud-hut homes, spotless and unadorned, contrasted with the Maasai themselves, bedecked with brilliantly coloured beads and cloths.

We stay at the idyllically rustic Tortilis Tented Camp. Kilimanjaro dominates the view from every direction…animals are seen browsing in the grasses and drinking at the waterhole directly outside. And, nestled comfortably under huge spreading acacia trees are the thatch-covered tents. The luxurious tents are spacious and each has a private veranda from which to enjoy the view, as well as an en suite bathroom with plenty of hot water. Dinner here is exceptionally good—fresh and delightful, with vegetables and herbs grown right at the camp. Truly special, you are sure to revel in the experience of sleeping under canvas and waking to the beauty of Amboseli.

Days 5-7 Loisaba Conservancy

We take to the skies for a private flight to the familiar Loisaba Conservancy. Nestled on an escarpment overlooking the magnificent patchwork of Laikipia, Loisaba Camp was designed to relish the breathtaking views. Spacious, airy tents have floor-to-ceiling doors and windows, polished floors and minimalist but sophisticated Africana furnishings.

The Loisaba Conservancy is not only some of the wildest and most unspoiled terrain in Kenya, it is also home to a vast bevy of animals, from elephant and rhino to dikdik, reticulated giraffe, eland, hartebeest, gerenuk, warthog, impala, Grants gazelle, cape buffalo and bush buck. Two species of zebra graze the plains: Burchells and the rare Grevy. Lion, leopard and cheetah reside on the conservency as well, and the occasional sighting of the elusive and magnificent greater kudu is a rare treat.

We may start the day on horseback, trotting through grasses that glisten with dew. Or perhaps we’ll prefer a long morning trek or drive across the savannah, ending in a splendid breakfast on the banks of the river. Or bunker down in the camp’s inconspicuously located and comfortably furnished ‘wildlife blind’ in the rocky outcrops, providing wonderful and rare opportunities to view animals at astoundingly close quarters.

Night game drives are another energizing option conducted by moonlight and spotlight, tracking rarely seen, nocturnal game. And being as it’s New Year’s Eve, your nighttime game run will naturally end with a celebration like no other, with tables, chairs, linen, china, silver, drinks, food, and flowers seamlessly arranged deep in the savannah for your exclusive New Year’s celebration in the bush… an indelible way to mark a moment in time in the timeless wilderness.

Days 8-10 Maasai Mara Game Reserve

group of lions in tree

This morning we fly by private flight to Maasai Mara, winging our way over the scenic Great Rift Valley and the unspoiled savannah that the Mara shares with the legendary Serengeti. A country of rolling grasslands, dense thickets and groves of acacia woodland, the Mara is home to an incredible variety of wildlife. Deep forest grows along the Mara River and its tributaries, where many hippos and crocodiles bask lazily in the sunlight. Here we find the largest population of lions in Africa, warily eyed by their neighbors, the stunning Coke’s hartebeest, large herds of topi and the stately Cape buffalo. Black rhino are also to be found. Huge herds of elephant often block the roads. Glorious creatures are so bountiful that it is difficult to decide where to look first!

This is also the home of the Maasai people. The Maasai guarding his cattle is an enduring and proud figure across the plains of East Africa. The warmth and hospitality of these ancient people, once considered fierce warriors will touch your heart. As will our accommodations at the utterly glorious Sand River, a gorgeous camp on the banks of the Maasai Mara’s famed Sand River. Each tent is painstakingly appointed to give guests a feel for a by-gone area of safari – with luxurious four poster beds and elegant furnishings. The camp’s ideal location allows guests a front row seat to exceptional game-viewing with large concentrations of big cats roaming nearby.

During our stay we see the Mara not only from the ground, but from the air, as we take an early morning hot-air balloon safari. We’ll drift serenely over the great herds as birds of prey swoop past. The beauty of the wilderness as seen from the early morning African sky is an unparalleled experience. Upon our descent, a sumptuous champagne breakfast is served on the plains that you just so recently observed from your perch high above.

In the afternoons extensive game runs are planned. The sheer enormity of the Maasai Mara offers endless opportunities for excitement, including one of the most glorious evening events of the safari—sundowners on the Mara Escarpment, where cocktails await us deep in the bush. Soon the natural world is a dark velvet cape all around us with only the firelight and the stars in the ancient African sky to light the night.

Day 11 Depart Nairobi

We fly back to Nairobi in the morning and spend our last day in Africa at the Micato-AmericaShare Harambee Community Centre, a multi-building oasis of calm and purpose in the midst of the Mukuru slum.

The Harambee Centre comprises a beautiful, 13,000-volume library for all of Mukuru as well as a Learning Resource Centre; a basketball court, a freshwater well; the Gorretti Nursery School, which cares for upwards of 250 children; a cottage factory for Huru International, which manufactures reusable sanitary pads that thus far have been distributed in Huru Kits to more than 130,000 Kenyan girls; and much more. Many—approximately half—of Micato travellers choose to spend an extra day in Nairobi to visit here, and they often cite it as the highlight of their trips. While here you’ll not only see the Centre’s wonderful resources but will meet our indefatigable AmericaShare staff and some of the unforgettable, wonderful students who have benefited from travellers like you.

This evening as you wing you begin your journey home you’ll no doubt be reminiscing about your journey through the savannahs and your close encounters with the Great Herds of Africa. As you recall your splendid sojourn—wilderness and wildlife, villages and cities—your fondest safari memory may very well be the warmth and kindness of the African people. Be assured that you live in their memories too, and all of us look forward to welcoming you back to Micato’s Africa someday.

Day 12 Arrive Home

 

Camps & Lodges

Rates

Departs , returns

Land arrangements and private charters, per person

Double Occupancy, per adult$16,550
Double Occupancy, per child 16 + younger$12,145

The Ultimate Winter Break Safari

The Ultimate Winter Break Safari

Exclusively for Your Family and Friends


A 11 Day Holiday Event

We’ve crafted The Ultimate Winter Break Safari with two main goals. First, to provide a wondrous, classically inclusive introduction to the great, abounding gamelands of Kenya, and to weave into the African experience many imaginative, enchanting special activities hand-tailored for you and your family. We’re in Africa, after all, where family is seen as the essential bedrock of a rich life.

Itinerary

DECEMBER 22 En route

We board our flight and enjoy the anticipation of Africa.

DECEMBER 23 & 24 Nairobi

We’ll be met by our Micato Safari Director and whisked away to a place Hemingway spent many Hemingwayesque hours, the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel. Now a jewel in the Fairmont crown, the Norfolk has been a reigning East African landmark since the early 1900s. Whether sipping Kenyan coffee on the famed Lord Delamere Terrace and watching the bustle of Nairobi go by, or relaxing with a cocktail in the tropical garden that fills the inner courtyard with sweet scents and singing birds: this legendary safari starting point has the undeniable buzz of impending adventure.

We’ll explore the illuminating National Museum, visit the Giraffe Centre to hand-feed endangered Rothschild giraffes, and pay our respects at the newly renovated home of Karen Blixen (who, Hemingway said more than once, should have received the Nobel Prize for literature instead of him). In 1937, Baroness Blixen (under the pen name Isak Dinesen) published Out of Africa, which many of us consider the most heart-stirring book ever written about the continent. Amid this survey of quintessential Nairobi we’ll have a welcoming lunch at Lavington, the home of Micato’s founders, Felix and Jane Pinto.

DECEMBER 25 & 26 Elsa Kopje in the great Meru gamelands

We fly 200-plus miles north by private bush flight to the Meru National Park, in many ways the embodiment of the Africa we’ve been carrying around in our imagination since we were children.

A less-visited, very African part of Africa, Meru rises on the broad northeastern slopes of Mount Kenya, in the country’s Central Highlands, straddling the equator at mile-high elevations. Meru National Park’s classic bush landscapes support a healthy and varied faunal population, including elephants, hippos, bush pigs, cheetahs, stately elands, simultaneously dainty and massive giraffes, hartebeest, Cape buffalos, Grevy’s zebras, and more than 427 bird species.

And there are rhinos. Within 32 square miles of protected sanctuary we’ll hope to chance upon mini-crashes. Thankfully for us and this treasured population there are more than 70 rhino, white and black.

Meru was also the home of Elsie the Lioness, who achieved great fame decades ago when Born Free, a book (and a memorable song) about her adoption by the George and Joy Adamson and their attempt to acclimate her to a natural lion’s life, became something of a worldwide sensation. This is an old story worth revisiting, good reading on a still and serene Meru afternoon graced with birdsong.

We’ll sojourn at our delightful lodge, situated near the Adamson’s original camp, that bears the name of their beloved lioness. Game drives in Meru introduce us to its fabulous plentitude of large (and cunningly small) mammals, who are just the headliners in a fabulous cast of very natural, very intriguing characters.

DECEMBER 27 & 28 African elegance at Loisaba Tented Camp

Next, we make our way by private flight to the singular Loisaba Conservancy. A 56,000-acre private reserve on the Laikipia Plateau, Loisaba’s grassy plains and forested valleys are ideal for diverse game. In the luxurious setting of Loisaba Tented Camp our gracious hosts and experienced guides create a warm home-away-from-home feel.

The conservancy is not only some of the wildest and most unspoiled terrain in Kenya, it is also home to a vast bevy of animals, from elephant and rhino to dikdik, reticulated giraffe, eland, hartebeest, gerenuk, warthog, impala, Grants gazelle, cape buffalo and bush buck. Two species of zebra graze the plains: Burchells and the rare Grevy. Lion, leopard and cheetah reside on the ranch as well, and the occasional sighting of the elusive and magnificent greater kudu is a rare treat.

The astonishing flora of Loisaba is not just for spectators. Should we wish it, we’ll partake in exhilarating activities: camel safaris along the plains led by local tribal guides, horseback riding amid zebra and elephants, biking excursions, and more…the pursuits are as plentiful as the game! And being as Loisaba is owned by The Nature Conservancy, it’s with diligence that revenues support wildlife conservation and nearby tribal communities.

DECEMBER 29 & 30 The Maasai Mara’s luxurious Angama Mara 

We fly south by private plane to the Maasai Mara, the northern reaches of the Serengeti–Maasai Mara ecosystem, earth’s richest wildlife habitat. Perched high above the astoundingly game-rich plain on three of the Mara’s signature rocky outcrops, called kopjes—many scenes from Out of Africa were filmed on one of Angama Mara’s beautiful kopjes—Angama Mara offers an unending cavalcade of views and carefully curated safari delights; it’s the kind of place that dramatically evokes a common African sensation: the feeling of somehow returning, of coming home again.

And it’s a great jumping-off place for extraordinary game drives in the mixed land- and waterscapes of the Mara. We’ll visit a traditional Maasai village as we wend our way through this natural wonderland, the kind of place that moved Hemingway to write, “I loved this country and I felt at home and where a man feels at home, outside of where he’s born, is where he’s meant to go.”

Making our time in this idyllic place utterly complete is an astonishing balloon excursion. 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.

DECEMBER 31 Return to Nairobi and on to home

We affectionately say goodbye to the great Maasai Mara, and fly to Nairobi, where we’ll rest up in day rooms at the Boma Nairobi before our late evening flights.

JANUARY 1 Homeward connections in Europe

 

Camps & Lodges

Fairmont Norfolk hotel

Fairmont Norfolk Hotel

Nairobi, Kenya

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.

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Elsa's Kopje

Elsa's Kopje

Meru National Park, Kenya

Named for the orphaned lioness of “Born Free” fame, Elsa’s is sculpted into Mughwango Hill in the heart of Meru. Each cottage has a large bedroom, open sitting room, veranda and spacious bathroom, and vast, varied, and heartlifting African views.

Loisaba Tented Camp

Loisaba Tented Camp

Laikipia, Kenya

On an escarpment overlooking magnificent Laikipia, Loisaba has airy tents with floor-to-ceiling doors and windows and sophisticated Africana furnishings. Horse and camel rides, bush walks, and more await in the Loisaba Conservancy, quite literally in our backyard.

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sunset at Angama Mara

Angama Mara

Masai Mara, Kenya

On the edge of the Great Rift Valley, Angama has modern, elevated tented suites that bestow heavenly views of the Mara. From our private deck we might take our coffee at sunrise before our Maasai naturalist escorts us on a walking safari to explore the nearby wilderness.

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Rates

Departs Sunday, returns Monday

Kindly contact us for rates.