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.
Ol Donyo Lodge, situated in the heart of the Chyulu Hills in southern Kenya, offers a wide range of activities including horseback safaris, for you horse lovers. The lodge is set on 275,000 acres of private wilderness and boasts breathtaking views of Mount Kilimanjaro. Ol Donyo Lodge also has a unique sleepout experience, where guests can spend a night under the stars on a private platform overlooking a watering hole.
Coffee Farm Stay
Gibb's Farm is a beautiful and historic lodge located on the outer slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater in the heart of Tanzania's coffee country. Founded in the 1920s as a coffee plantation, the lodge is an idyllic retreat for exploration. Recline with a cup of freshly roasted coffee overlooking the Great Rift Valley in lush surroundings.
The lodge features 20 beautifully decorated cottages, each with its own private veranda and fireplace. The cottages are designed with comfort and luxury in mind, including en-suite bathrooms and beautiful furnishings. The lodge also has a spacious main area with a lounge, dining area, and a beautiful infinity pool. Enjoy a wide range of activities, including tours of the coffee plantation and gardens, guided nature walks, birdwatching, baking classes, coffee picking and roasting, and tours of the nearby village, Tloma.
Restore Cheetah Population
Namiri Plains is a luxury safari camp positioned along the Ngare Nanyuki River in Tanzania’s eastern Serengeti. Before Namiri Plains was built, these grasslands were closed for 20 years to allow the cheetah population to restore. This ongoing conservation initiative aims to protect cheetahs and other big cats in the area.
As it’s one of the few locations in the eastern Serengeti with permanent underground water sources, game viewing is excellent. The seasonal riverbed is where plains game, such as zebras or reedbuck, come to quench their thirst. The grasslands around Namiri are vast and unspoiled. The nearest other camps are over an hour’s drive away so you can experience the vast plains all to yourself.
The camp features ten spacious and beautifully designed tents, each with its own private veranda and en-suite bathroom. The tents are designed with luxury and comfort in mind, including comfortable bedding, indoor and outdoor showers, and beautiful furnishings. The camp also has a spacious main area with a lounge, dining area, and a beautiful infinity pool.
Uber Luxe - For Families
The brand new Jahazi Suite at Mara Plains is a private, intimate, two-bedroom exquisite tented suite built entirely under canvas. It is on raised, recycled railway sleeper decking and offers guests incredible views of the steady stream of wildlife parading past whilst discreetly tucked away under the tree canopy. This award-winning luxury safari camp is located in the heart of the Maasai Mara ecosystem in Kenya on the 33,000-acre private Olare Motorogi Conservancy, and Mara Plains is the only Relais & Chateaux accredited property in the Masai Mara.
Central to the Jahazi Suite at Mara Plains is an indoor dining area leading out to a prominent private outdoor verandah. Ceiling fans in the guest’s bedroom and careful tented suite design maintain a comfortable climate for rest and relaxation. A short walkway leads off the main area to a private swimming pool.
Uber Luxe - For Couples
Singita Sabora Tented Camp is visionary and luxury camp set in 350,000 acres of protected wilderness in Singita Grumeti. A destination perfect for travelers yearning for an African safari infused with the continent’s contemporary energy and enveloped in unrivaled levels of comfort. It features mindfully created interiors with a rich combination of textures, forward-thinking and functional aesthetics, and a modern interpretation of the quintessential elements of a romantic tented safari.
Each suite includes a private meditation deck, an outdoor sala with daybeds, a private fitness area, and a lifestyle unit with a perfectly curated in-room pantry and dining space. A unique ‘Guest Deli’ featuring wicker baskets and fridges filled with gourmet delights allows guests to pick and choose treats to enjoy in the privacy of their suites or picnic spots around the camp. The tents are elegantly designed with luxurious furnishings and amenities, including indoor and outdoor showers. The camp's main area includes a lounge, dining area, and a beautiful infinity pool, all with stunning views of the surrounding wilderness.
Interested in one of these experiences? One of our Travel Designers would love to chat with you! Email us at email@example.com.