Chasing the Herds, June 2022: Kenya & Tanzania - 19 Days

Overview

Guided by Jim Heck

May 30 – June 15, 2022

$16,895

June is one of the best times for a safari! The long rains have ended, decorating the veld with a myriad of wild flowers. New calves from the great herds have been feasting on nutrient grasses for four months and are now strong enough to begin the frantic great migration north! Predators are fat and sassy. The air is fresh, there’s little dust and temperatures are wonderfully cool!

For this safari, you can choose to visit Kenya & Tanzania or just Tanzania.  The main Tanzanian safari visits several famous game parks but focuses mostly on the Serengeti. This is where the great migration is found, sustaining a greater biodiversity and range of scenery and habitats than anywhere else in Africa.

Jim’s safaris include a lot more than just animals. His passion for early man takes you into the nooks and crannies of Olduvai Gorge. His expansive knowledge of the history and politics of East Africa connects the struggles of conservation with those of modern societies. Nairobi is one of the best places for Jim to convey this rich, complex history and modern day aspirations of East Africa.

The optional week in Kenya is designed especially to show you habitats and animals that can’t be found in Tanzania! The wondrous Great Northern Frontier is an Arizona-like environment with some of the rarest and most beautiful animals and birds on earth. The 11,000-foot high Aberdare Mountain range is a highland rain forest on the equator! This lush and beautiful environment is filled with animals, rare birds and monkeys.

Accommodations for the trip vary enormously. This is because Jim won’t be constrained from visiting the locations that he insists you see! Sometimes this might mean places that “seem over the top” but there are plenty of simple ones, too. But nowhere are your accommodations anything less than totally comfortable.

Would you rather skip Kenya and just visit Tanzania?  Click here for the shorter, Tanzania-only program.

About your guide . . . . JIM HECK

Few people know Africa as well as Jim Heck. For nearly a half century he has worked, lived and guided in Africa. His popular blog, Africa-Answerman, includes investigative journalism of some of Africa’s most critical news stories as well as anecdotes and features of daily African life. His award-winning novel, Chasm Gorge, will soon be followed by a second one, The World by Ole Kulit. His companies have organized safaris into Africa for more than 10,000 visitors including most of the country’s major zoos and conservation organizations. And in 2016 he became the first American to be named an honorary senior elder by Kenya’s Maasai tribe.

Jim was the first westerner allowed to leave Addis after the Red Terror; had canoes overturned among crocs and hippos on the Zambezi; been charged by an elephant that he hit with a plate of waldorf salad; lost in the jungles of Cameroun; marooned in the Ituri Forest and rescued by Rhodesian sanction busters; and was among the few outsiders to travel through Uganda during the time of Idi Amin. Jim has never lost a client or fired a gun.

Itinerary

Day 1
NAIROBI - Sunday, May 29, 2022

The main Kenyan Extension starts tomorrow, however if you’d like to come a day early, choose this “Extra Night Nairobi” and Jim will provide you with sightseeing tomorrow. Overnight at the Hemingway’s Resort.
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Day 2
NAIROBI - Monday, May 30

If you arrive today, you’ll be personally met and privately transferred from Nairobi’s international Jomo Kenyatta Airport into the posh suburb of Karen for your overnight at Hemingway’s Resort.
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If you arrived yesterday then today will be spent sightseeing with Jim! Nearby attractions include the Karen Blixen Museum and the popular Giraffe Centre. Jim will discuss the remarkable DNA science regarding surprising historical understandings of Africa’s different species of giraffe as you hand-feed one of the rarest! Also nearby are several busy malls and the home factory of the very popular Kazuri Beads, a single-mother’s cooperative now selling worldwide. Overnight at the Hemingway’s Resort.
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Day 3
ABERDARE - Tuesday, May 31

This morning Jim takes you into the city to visit the National Museum. Nairobi city is one of the busiest and often most congested cities on the continent, so be patient as you navigate the traffic! It’s worth every minute, though, because the museum introduces you to Kenya’s many cultures, its preeminence as a place to study early man, and the turbulent story of elephants. Time for a quick sandwich in the Deli before the afternoon drive into the highlands. Arrive the Aberdare Mountains in time for dinner. Overnight at the Aberdare Country Club.
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Day 4
ABERDARE - Wednesday, June 1

The day is spent game viewing in Aberdare National Park . Jim takes you into the west side entrance through beautiful tea plantations so that Jim can explain why Kenya exports more tea than any other country. The enormous Aberdare has all the big-game but is notable for its rare monkeys and high altitude birds and antelope. By the end of the afternoon the safari arrives at The Ark tree hotel. Here the traditional format for game viewing is upended as the animals come to you! The lodge is built over a natural water hole and salt lick. Flood lights which don’t seem to bother the animals come on at dusk and a never-ending parade of Africa unfolds throughout the night. There’s a buzzer which you can activate near your bedside to wake you to anything spectacular, but many find it difficult to leave the viewing areas for the sleep which comes so easily in the cold mountain air.
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Day 5
SAMBURU - Thursday, June 2

Game view very early out of the park through ranching country towards Mt. Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain. This is one of the most spectacular drives on safari! Round Mt. Kenya through massive wheat and cut flower farms. To the right of the road are the often striking views of glaciers and far below to the left is the seemingly endless desert that stretches for nearly 300 miles to the Ethiopian border. The descent from the mountain onto the desert is breath-taking. In a mere 40 minutes the safari leaves the cool, moist farmlands for an area similar to Arizona, much hotter and peppered everywhere with cactus. At the base of the mountain is the important Arab town of Isiolo bustling with colorful markets and mosques. After that it’s desert. At first you wonder why on earth you’re traveling through this desiccated landscape. But after a short while the road crosses the Ewaso Nyiro river which flows off the Aberdare and blooms the desert in this magnificent area! Enormous amounts of big game – much of it extremely rare – is found here. At the entry to the Kalama Conservancy Jim dismisses his own drivers and vehicles and you’ll transfer into the open Landrovers with Samburu guides from the reserve. It’s a short ride to Samburu Saruni Lodge for lunch. Then in the afternoon the local guides will drive you around this enchanting reserve with its rare game and spectacular scenery. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
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Day 6
SAMBURU - Friday, June 3

The lodge is less than five miles from the border of Samburu National Park where you travel for morning game viewing. Samburu is a strikingly beautiful wilderness in a Mohajve desert cut by the great Ewaso Nyiro. Huge palms rise from the banks and palmetto forests stretch out from the water’s edge. Elephant, impala, waterbuck and all the cats are here. More importantly there are extremely rare animals that can’t be seen in Tanzania: the reticulated giraffe and the Grevy’s zebra – there are less than 3,000 left in the world. Other species unlikely to be found in Tanzania include the beautiful gerenuk and oryx. Since our lodge is just outside the reserve a number of other activities are possible, including camel rides and night time game drives. Activities, meals and overnight at Saruni Samburu.
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Day 7
TARANGIRE - Saturday, June 4

Early game viewing to the airstrip for the morning flight back to Nairobi-Wilson. Here you will leave Kenya and fly to Tanzania. (The international flight from Kenya to Tanzania is not included in the land price but is often conveniently bundled into your international air fare.)

The Tanzanian safari begins with a midafternoon flight from Kilimanjaro airport into Tarangire National Park. Tarangire is the land of baobabs and anyone who has read the Little Prince will immediately be transported into the fantasy worlds that Tarangire emulates so well! This is also Africa’s best elephant park and includes a huge resident population of very wild elephant. Game view to our first camp in the remote center of the park. Dinner and overnight at Nyikani Camp.
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Day 8
TARANGIRE - Sunday, June 5

Beautiful landscapes of rolling hills, deep valleys and intriguing swamps are all near camp. With its formidable sand rivers Tarangire is actually more like a southern African park than East African so provides the opportunity to find some unusual wildlife like kudu and roan. But no matter what the feature of your day will be elephants. See Jim’s blog for many posts about his feeling there are now too many elephants in northern Tanzania. He’ll also use the big Silale Swamp to recount the exciting tale of Stanley finding Livingstone. Meals and overnight at Nyikani Camp.
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Day 9
NGORONGORO - Monday, June 6

After an early breakfast game view along the fabulous Tarangire sand river. Buffalo, zebra, giraffe and hartebeest are common, framed by some of the most enormous baobab trees on the continent. Leave the park at its northern gate and head towards Ngorongoro over the Great Rift Valley. The Rift is one of the few geological features that is easily spotted from outer space, a huge cleavage in the continent. Jim gives you a quick overview of the ancient geology of East Africa which has led to the rich biomass that resulted in the evolution of man. Continue into agricultural highlands and stop at the main town of Karatu for a deli lunch. By mid-afternoon you reach the mighty Ngorongoro. The views as you round the rim of the crater leave people breathless. Arrive Sanctuary Camp for dinner and overnight. Jim loves this camp because it’s so close to the crater floor!
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Day 10
NGORONGORO - Tuesday, June 7

Dawn game drive in amazing Ngorongoro Crater National Park. The 102 sq. mile crater is a volcanic caldera that is one of the most spectacular sites in the world. The crater floor is dense with animals including Africa’s greatest concentration of cats and its largest number of free-ranging black rhino. There’s a reason to get down early! Enjoy a special picnic breakfast on the crater floor before returning to camp for a late lunch. This afternoon relax in camp or visit the Endulen Highlands to hike up nearby Olmoti Volcano! Meals, dinner and overnight at Sanctuary Camp.
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Day 11
SERENGETI: Southwest - Wednesday, June 8

Leave the crater after breakfast for what many consider the most exciting drive of the safari into the remote southeastern lands of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. All civilization is left behind! First stop is Olduvai Gorge where so many precious finds of early man were found. Jim gives you a short lecture and updates you on the exciting current knowledge about early man. Afterwards Jim navigates to the sacred Maasai site of Shifting Sands, where a hill walks across the veld! After that it’s strictly off-roading! Spectacular scenery as you enter the Lemuta Plains, a domain of the few remaining traditional Maasai people. From time to time Jim is able to introduce you to these proud herders. Few guides or drivers are capable of navigating these remote and wondrous lands. Sometimes it’s wall-to-wall animals, including the hundreds of thousands of Thomson’s gazelle which don’t migrate. From time to time Jim spots a pond resting on the plains, and his vehicles slowly search for the hyaena hiding in wait. Lunch is taken atop one of the billion-year old kopjes, or rocky outcrops, that is the trademark of this ancient, fecund land. The views leave people breathless. By the end of the afternoon the safari reaches the southwest lakes, a relatively small area in the middle of the vast Serengeti: It looks out of place, but in fact has an incredibly strategic value for the great migration, and that’s why Jim brings you here. The two large lakes, Masek and Ndutu, are an important watering station for the great herds. Meals and overnight Ndutu Lodge.
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Day 12
SERENGETI: Southwest - Thursday, June 9

The entire day is spent game viewing. The lakes are surrounded by thick acacia woodlands filled with leopards and lions, and the plains outside the forests are one of the finest places in Africa to find cheetah. Normally at this time of the year the migration will already have moved north, but it is so weather-dependent that a season a bit wetter than usual would mean the masses of herbivores are still right outside the lodge. Calving normally begins the end of February and by March nearly a quarter million wildebeest are born. It takes them 3-4 months to grow strong enough to start running. The particularly good nutrient grasses of these specific southern Serengeti plains provide their best fodder. Meals and overnight at Ndutu Lodge.
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Day 13
MORU - Friday, June 10

After breakfast drive over the great Kusini Plains and possibly into the Kekesio Valley where wild dog live! Enjoy a picnic lunch on the plains before continuing in the afternoon into the Moru Kopjes which many believe is the most beautiful area of the Serengeti. Moru is distinguished by these huge granite boulders that form all sorts of beautiful formations, set about a few meadows, small streams and thick forests. Dinner and overnight at Asanja Camp.
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Day 14
MORU - Saturday, June 11

Moru is excellent for resident leopard, elephant and buffalo. Black rhino are also being reintroduced here. Jim gives a short lecture atop one of these giant boulders called the “Singing Rock.” It’s one of the most historic places in the Serengeti, originally sacred Maasailand. Then Jim takes you to see ancient cave paintings! (In 2019 Jim was throwing rocks and shouting to make sure the caves were safe before letting the rest of the group join him when a mother lion appeared from within the cave with her cubs!) Meals and overnight at Asanja Camp.
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Day 15
SERONERA - Sunday, June 12

The traditional June movement of the great migration often splits at Moru, some moving due north and tens of thousands of others moving into the western corridor. Today Jim takes you into the western corridor where there are opportunities to see the rare Chaka baboon as the road travels along the Grumeti River. It’s also a great place for lion and begins to show the transition from the plains to the woodlands of the north. By afternoon the safari reaches the very center of the park, Seronera, which is always chock full of game. This is where most of the researchers and much of the park administration is located. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the welcome center before afternoon game viewing that ends at camp just above a beautiful valley. Dinner and overnight at Nyikani Camp.
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Day 16
SERENGETI: Far North - Monday, June 13

The day is spent game viewing northwards as the safari completes its comprehensive journey that will have traversed the Serengeti from its furthest southern to furthest northern point! The plains are now left behind and replaced by thick bush and woodlands filled with impala, buffalo, giraffe and hartebeest. The altitude has increased, there are fewer areas of nutrient grasses and the herds at this point move pretty rapidly heading to the great grasslands of Kenya’s Maasai Mara. But first they have to cross a number of rivers, including the Grumeti, Balaganjwe and finally the beautiful Mara itself. Our lovely camp is situated near the Mara River! Dinner and overnight at Kichakani Camp.
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Day 17
SERENGETI: Far North - Tuesday, June 14

The final day of game viewing follows the twists and turns of the mighty Mara River. Hippos fill the river which is lined with exotic birds and some of the largest crocodile on earth. They wait twice annually for the great migration and if you’re lucky Jim will find a place on the river where hundreds and sometimes thousands of wildebeest crash across. The pandemonium is monstrous, as giant croc battle one another for their twice annual meal. Of course nothing can ever be guaranteed in the wild and the weather governs everything. In addition to potential river drama the veld at the point has changed and the grasslands once again dominate the landscape with all the beautiful wildlife that cover the Serengeti. This evening around the camp fire Jim debriefs you forging many of the most lasting memories you’ll take home. Meals and overnight at Kichakani Camp.
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Day 18
KILIMANJARO - Wednesday, June 15

After breakfast the safari retraces its route slightly to the beautiful Lobo Kopjes where there’s a good airstrip. Fly straight back to Arusha, replacing a ten-hour drive. New vehicles will take everyone shopping and to the interesting Arusha Cultural Center which is actually a museum of African art. After lunch continue to Kilimanjaro airport for dinner and overnight at Airport Planet Lodge.
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Day 19
KILIMANJARO - Thursday, June 16

EWT organizes all the formalities of testing and documentation that you need for travel in the time of Covid. Today is intentionally left free presuming that testing at Kilimanjaro Airport’s health stations will be needed. Your rooms are available until 6 p.m. when the lodge transfers you to the airport to begin your journey home.
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Cost Includes

  • Accommodations and meals as named
  • Transport in specially outfitted 4x4 safari vehicles with pop-top roofs operated by professionally-trained, English-speaking driver/guides
  • All government fees including park entrance fees, property accommodation fees, transport fees and V.A.T.
  • One regional commercial flight in Kenya from Samburu to Nairobi-Wilson and two regional commercial flights in Tanzania from Kilimanjaro airport to Tarangire and from Seronera to Arusha
  • Comprehensive guiding by Jim Heck after a minimum of six persons have reserved. If fewer reserve the trip will be guided by someone else.

Additional Expenses Not Included

  • All international air fares
  • The air fare from Kenya to Tanzania
  • Visas and exit fees
  • Tipping (Jim Heck does not accept tips)
  • The costs of obtaining requisite inoculations and documentation
  • Some meals and most beverages
  • Any costs associated with health documentation regarding Covid-19 or any other pandemic