With the Indian Ocean to the east and smaller countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi to the west, Kenya and Tanzania are meccas for wildlife and natural beauty. Widely known areas such as Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park have no shortage of natural landscapes to admire, and these destinations have long influenced travelers to veer off the beaten path and seek out the uniqueness in experiences that showcase the heart of this area.
Each safari lodge and camp is incomparable; setting guests up for breathtaking game viewing with a range of accommodations and styles, but also steering away from the typical. We put together a list of some of our standout safari experiences across these two countries: many of these camps pair well together and provide an opportunity to see the area's cultural and topographic diversity.
Walking Safaris with Local Tribesmen
An unforgettable and unique way to connect with local people and wildlife more intimately, a walking safari guided by a local tribesman gives you the opportunity to listen, learn, and converse about life in a traditionally nomadic tribe. Your guides serve as wildlife trackers while sharing their knowledge of the land, wildlife, and culture. Learn about traditional hunting and tracking techniques, spot wildlife up close, and interact with local communities. You may also have the chance to witness traditional dances and ceremonies, visit local villages and markets, and learn about the challenges facing these communities and their efforts to conserve the environment and protect wildlife.
Probably the most widely known tribe throughout Africa, the Maasai, inhabits parts of Kenya and Tanzania. They are known for their distinctive dress including bright red shukas (cloths) and beaded jewelry. Traditionally a pastoral people who rely on cattle for their livelihood and cultural identity, they have a deep spiritual connection to their land and their animals.
Partake in one of these walking safaris led by a Maasai warrior at Mara Nyika Camp, a luxury tented camp located in the heart of Kenya's Maasai Mara ecosystem situated in an exclusive 20,000-hectare the private Naboisho Conservancy, or in northern Tanzania visiting a tribe that's considered one of the last hunter-gatherers in Africa, the Hadza/Hadzabe tribe, with walking safaris from Mwiba Lodge, located in a private 129,530-acre wildlife reserve adjoining the southern Serengeti.
Hot Air Balloon above The Great Migration
The Great Migration in East Africa is a large-scale movement of wildebeest, zebras, and other ungulates across the Serengeti ecosystem. The migration typically takes place from June to November each year, and involves around 1.5 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras, and other antelopes. The animals migrate in search of food and water, and their movement is driven by seasonal rains and changes in vegetation. During the migration, the animals face many challenges, including crossing crocodile-infested rivers and avoiding predators such as lions and hyenas. The Great Migration is considered one of the most spectacular wildlife events on the planet and draws visitors from all over the world to witness the incredible sight of thousands of animals on the move.
Witnessing this spectacle is nothing short of magnificent, but viewing it from above is unimaginable. At Angama Mara, you can see it for yourself in a hot air balloon.
Angama Mara is located in the heart of Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve. With stunning views over the Mara Triangle, the lodge features 30 tented suites, each with its own private deck overlooking the plains. Providing guests with a luxurious and comfortable stay in the African wilderness, and a perfect launching point to gain a unique perspective from up above.
In Tanzania, Serengeti Balloon Safaris offers a similar experience, beginning early in the morning, just before sunrise, where guests are picked up, listen to a safety briefing, then take off into the sky soaring above the vast plains of the Serengeti. The experience lasts for approximately one hour before the hot air balloon lands and guests are treated to a champagne breakfast in the bush.
Camel & Horseback Safaris
Not-your-traditional safari, there are two exceptional tour operators, in particular, that take safari and game viewing to a whole new level. Get out of the open-aired vehicle, and onto a horse or walk with camels for a rare safari experience.
Karisia Walking Safaris specializes in walking safaris supported by camels. The trips offer a unique perspective on not just the animals, but getting up close and personal with the natural world, tuning into all your senses and experiencing the country in vivid and exciting detail. Camels carry gear from campsite to campsite, led by experienced local guides. You can hike through the bush, discover hidden waterfalls, and spot wildlife along the way. This immersive and sustainable safari experience is perfect for those looking to connect with nature in a meaningful way.