Jambo! Welcome to Kenya. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for this, consider arriving a day early so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have these to give to your leader. If you arrive early, why not check out the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum or the highly recommended Bomas of Kenya where traditional homesteads of some Kenyan tribes are displayed at an outdoor village.
Depart Nairobi, with a short stop in Narok for a spot of food shopping. Continue to Loita Hills (approximately 5–6 hours), then stop, chill out and get some lunch. Today's drive crosses the Great Rift Valley, Africa's huge great divide, takes you into the remote region of Loita Hills. This is the home of the traditional Maasai people. You will visit the Maasai, who are known for their dazzling red dress and elaborate jewellery, and gain an insight into the culture and ancient ways of this proud East African community. After setting up your tent, meet your Maasai hosts. A local elder will deliver a fascinating talk about the Maasai and what they're about. You'll be shown around a traditional Maasai home and see where the resident cattle are kept. Showers, upgrades and WiFi are not available at tonight's bush camp.
Travel from Loita to Masai Mara (approximately 1–2 hours). The road is pretty dusty when it's dry, and could be slippery and soft when wet, so the going might be slow. The Masai Mara is one of the classic African experiences – wide open plains, postcard-perfect skies and some of the world's great wild animals. After setting up camp, sit down to some lunch. Then it's time to jump back on board the truck and go for a game drive through the wilderness of the Mara. You campground tonight is located outside of the national reserve and has flush toilets and showers. There is an option to upgrade, depending on availability. WiFi is not available here though.
Adventure into the reserve for a full day's game drive. You'll explore this diverse environment and most likely see a lots of different wildlife. An optional balloon ride over the Mara at sunrise is well worth considering. If you have pre-booked this activity (see the 'Important Notes' section) you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site for a safety briefing from your pilot. Then you will glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, which provides amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you will ascend, getting an overview of the enormity of the plains and the early morning movements of the teeming herds. After landing, you'll be treated to a bush breakfast, then be returned to your campsite to meet up with your group.
Travel towards the Kenya–Tanzania border and to the shores of Lake Victoria (approximately 7–8 hours). This is not only Africa's biggest lake – it's the largest tropical lake in the world. It shares its shores with Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. You'll arrive late afternoon, in time to chill out lakeside with a cold drink and watch the sunset. Make the most of the ATM and local market to stock up for your next three days of wilderness adventures. You will camp on the shores of the lake tonight, at one of its least visited campgrounds, on the outskirts of a small town called Musoma. Depending on availability, you might be able to upgrade to a room, but no WiFi is available.
If you choose, you can wake up early for a guided bike excursion around the town and marketplace of Musoma. It's a great opportunity to interact with the locals. Keep in mind you'll need to have your own helmet for this, because there probably won't be one available. Today you will travel from Lake Victoria to the gate of Serengeti National Park on a smooth road (approximately 3 hours) and enjoy a picnic lunch at the entrance to the park. Enter the Serengeti and take a game drive en route to your campsite. These plains – green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season – are home to thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators, so see how many you can spot. Your campsite is right in the action, within the park itself, so listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep at night. There are no upgrades or WiFi available here.
Start the day with a game drive at dawn. You will head out while the animals are at their most active, then head back to camp for brunch at around 11 am. After spending the warmer part of the day relaxing, as the animals do, depart again in the afternoon for another adventure through the wild. You'll return in time for dinner. There's the option of an early-morning balloon ride here too, so if you didn't take one in the Mara, now's your chance.
Enjoy a game drive on your way out of the park today. After lunch you will enter the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Next stop: the crater rim (approximately 3 hours). Your campsite overlooks jagged volcanoes and rolling grasslands thousands of feet below. Camping locations don't get much better than this! Your campsite has flush toilets and hot showers available, but no WiFi or optional upgrades. It can get very cold on the crater rim, especially in winter (June to August) when temperatures drop below zero. Even in the summer months it can be surprisingly chilly at night, so don't forget your warm clothes.
A gigantic, perfectly intact volcanic crater, Ngorongoro is home to some 30,000 animals. Among these are endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. The crater floor is great for game viewing all year round, and the photo-opportunities here are next level. This optional activity is highly recommended. You'll then head to Mto Wa Mbu for a look around town and craft market before continuing to your campsite (approximately 5–6 hours). A small village community that's off the tourist trail, Mto Wa Mbu is an interesting snapshot of small-town African life. Your campsite is in Meserani, on the outskirts of Arusha, and has flush toilets and showers. Upgrades to rooms are possible, depending on availability, but there is no WiFi.
Set off nice and early this morning, around 7.30 am, heading for the border with Kenya and then on to Nairobi (approximately 7–8 hours). When you get to Nairobi, you'll be dropped at the finishing point hotel. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but this can be arranged when you book this trip. You can also choose to finish your trip in Arusha this morning if you like.