Big Cats - East Africa 2023
Lions - Leopards - Cheetahs - And lots of action
If there are 7 or fewer trip members, a nominal fee of $900.00 per person will be added to the total trip cost.
Single supplement: $1700 (If you are willing to share a room, please let us know and we will do our best to find a roommate for you for the trip)
Many have heard it said that “Africa is magic”. We know this to be true and are thrilled for the opportunity to show you just how true this is. We would like to start by introducing you to Tanzania and Kenya - two countries filled with a beautiful diversification of landscapes, wildlife, plant life and fascinating cultures. For the next two weeks, you will embark on a safari, a Swahili word meaning “long journey” and that is what we will be on from the moment we set foot on this continent. This will be an African safari at its absolute best; with an abundance of wildlife, intense action and loads of excitement. But the greatest feature of this trip which will be responsible for creating this excitement is this - Big Cats in East Africa. And lots of them!
Our safari starts by taking us to Ndutu in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, one of the best places in Africa to see cheetahs hunting. We have chosen this time of year during the Great Migration because this is when over 1.5 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras and Thompson gazelles gather at Ndutu, the southern-most point of the Great Migration route. It is specifically here, that nutrient-rich short grasses on the plains of Ndutu draw the massive herds who will give birth en masse within an approximately one month time period. This birthing time draws predators - the big cats. It is an amazing spectacle filled with action, beauty and excitement.
Our next destination reached by safari vehicle is the central Serengeti. The Serengeti is known for lions and that is what we hope to find. We will have a good chance of finding tree-climbing lions and leopards on rocks as we drive over the vast plains of the Serengeti.
Finally we will fly to the Maasai Mara in Kenya, the northern extension of the Serengeti. At this time of year this wildlife rich reserve is not nearly as crowded with tourists allowing us to have the big cat sightings to ourselves or perhaps with only a few other vehicles. Although the large wildebeest herds have not arrived yet in February there is plenty of prey to feed the big cats that are residents here all year long. In fact, there are always famous iconic resident cats in the Mara that are known by name and reputation. Your Wild Focus safari guides will acquaint you with them during the safari.
Your group is sure to experience the magic that this wild continent stirs within each of us. Coming to Africa reminds us of what it is to be a part of a greater world - a world where being wild is to be free and at home. Africa will change you forever. This is a promise that we will keep!
Please read the REVIEWS of our previous Kenya expeditions!
Letters correspond to points on the map in the map tab.
Letters correspond to points on the map in the map tab.
Day 1: February 15Arrival at Kilimanjaro International airport and transfer to your hotel; dinner is on your own as this is a travel day.Overnight at Arusha Coffee House
Day 2: February 16After breakfast, we will drive south to the southern most point of East Africa’s Great Migration route to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We will be directly adjacent to the Serengeti and at times will drive directly along the border when we are following the cats. It is a nice drive through the Tanzanian countryside and we will arrive at our lodge in time for lunch. After lunch, resting up and afternoon tea/coffee, we will have our first game drive of the safari. We will now ease into our new safari routine in East Africa.Overnight at Ndutu Luxury Tented Lodge - Seronera (B,L,D)
Day 2: February 16
Day 3-5: February 17-19We will spend the next three days in the Ndutu Conservation Area. Each year, between January and March, the massive herds of over 1.5 million wildebeest along with hundreds of thousands zebra and Thompson gazelle come to this area. They are drawn by nutrient rich short grass plains for their calving season. The calving peaks in mid-February so we have chosen the right time to experience this natural spectacle of new birth. Because of the calving, many predators such as lion, cheetah, hyena, and leopard are also drawn to Ndutu making for exciting action and fascinating predator behavior. Most notably, cheetah hunting is at its best in Ndutu and our camp is ideally located in the midst of all this action. Here in Ndutu, we are not restricted to driving on roads. Off-road driving is another factor that makes our time here so special where we can find our own action and have it to ourselves on these boundless plains of wildlife. This is by far the best place in the world for big cat action.We will start our days before sunrise with hot coffee /tea. We want to leave camp at first light when the predators are moving so that we are able to observe the hunt. In lieu of having a hot breakfast in camp, we want to be where the action is and so we will take our breakfast ‘a la fresco’ in the fresh air of the plains amidst millions of wildebeest. This will be our daily routine. If however, anyone would like to sleep in and have a hot breakfast in camp, you are welcome to do so - at the peril of missing out on the best action a safari can offer!!We will return to camp for lunch each day unless something spectacular is happening in which case, we will have lunch delivered to us! We will rest up in the afternoon before our afternoon tea/coffee. Then we will head back out in the late afternoon in search of more big cat action. Some afternoons will be spent discussing photography - either going over your images of the day and/or having personal photography instruction. After our evening game drive, we will return to camp to enjoy a drink by the fire before a delicious dinner.Overnight at Ndutu Luxury Tented Lodge - Seronera (B,L,D)
Day 6-8: February 20-22After our last game drive in Ndutu, we will leave our beautiful camp and move on to our next bush camp in the Serengeti, an ecosystem spanning approximately 12,000 square miles (30,000 km) including the Serengeti National Park and several game reserves. The Serengeti is renowned for its large lion population and is one of the best places to observe prides in their natural environment. Approximately 70 large mammal and 500 bird species are found there. East Africa’s Great Migration loops in a clockwise direction mostly in the Serengeti and it is here where we will spend the next two days looking for more predators on these vast wide open plains.Overnight at Ole Serai Luxury Camp - Seronera (B,L,D)
Day 6-8: February 20-22
Day 9: February 23We will have our last morning game drive in the Serengeti on our way to an airstrip where we will fly to the border of Tanzania and Kenya. We will transfer by car over the border into Kenya and then take another short flight directly to a bush airstrip in the Maasai Mara. We will drive a short distance to our next bush camp and will arrive in time for lunch. After our afternoon tea, we will have our first game drive in the Maasai Mara and settle into our daily safari routine.Overnight Mara Bush Camp (B,L,D)
Day 10-12: February 24-26Being contiguous with the Serengeti in Tanzania, Kenya’s Maasai Mara was named in honor of its people, the Maasai. It’s world-renowned for its exceptional populations of lions, leopards, cheetah and elephants. The migration occurs in the Mara only during the months between July and September, but there are still large herds of wildebeest, zebra, Thompson’s gazelle, kopi, impalas duikers and other antelope. The Mara is the northernmost section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem and covers 580 square miles of this ecosystem including seasonal riverlets. Hippos and crocodiles are found in large groups in the Mara and Talek rivers.In the Mara, the landscape becomes somewhat more hilly and has 16 different species of acacia trees distributed throughout. The central Mara has sweeping plains while the Mara river is edged by a dense riverine forest. Even when the migration is in full swing in Tanzania, unlike the Serengeti, the Mara has plenty of resident game meaning that wildlife viewing is not as seasonal as the Serengeti.Here we will find some very famous prides of lions with iconic males boasting large manes and scarred faces. At the time of writing this itinerary, a coalition of five cheetah males has been making a name for itself throughout the plains. As you can see, we will continue to see predators galore during our three days in the world famous Maasai Mara. We will also spend an afternoon (before our game drive) visiting a very authentic Maasai village. It will be a fantastic experience with the Morani warriors dressed in their beaded finery. We will have a chance to buy beautiful beadwork made here in this village and the photography opportunities will be unusual and interesting.Overnight Mara Bush Camp (B,L,D)
Day 10-12: February 24-26
Day 13: February 27After either a last game drive or a relaxing morning in camp with a hot breakfast, we will depart camp and take a charter flight to Nairobi. We will fly over the Mara and bid farewell to East Africa, undoubtedly home of big cats. We will arrive at Wilson Domestic airport and will be transferred to Four Points Sheraton. We will have access to day rooms until 6:00pm. We will then take a hotel shuttle to the airport to connect with our international flights home.Breakfast only included - travel day
We look forward to seeing you on your next Wild Focus Expedition!
- Pick up / drop off in Arusha / Nairobi as per the itinerary
- Two Wild Focus Expedition Safari Leaders
- Unlimited game drives as per the above itinerary
- Experienced, English speaking driver/ guide (member of the Kenya Professional Safari Guide Association with Bronze / Silver Badge)
- Transportation and exclusive use of 2 custom built safari 4 x 4 Landcruisers with pop-up roof hatches and custom windows ideal for photographers
- All park entrance fees to National Parks / Reserves mentioned
- 1 night on Bed & breakfast basis at ARUSHA COFFEE LODGE
- 4 nights on Full board accommodation at LAKE NDUTU LUXURY TENTED LODGE
- 3 nights on Full board accommodation at OLE SERAI LUXURY CAMP (SERONERA)
- 4 nights on Full board accommodation at MARA BUSH CAMP
- Lunch at a local restaurant in Arusha on the last day
- Mineral water during game drives
- Use of day rooms at the Four Points Sheraton in Nairobi on the last day
- On DAY 09: Fly from Serengeti to Maasai Mara (two airlines will be involved plus a 1 hour road transfer across the border)
- On DAY 13: Fly from Maasai Mara to Wilson Airport, Nairobi
- International airfare to and from Nairobi
- Change of itinerary
- Visa fees
- All beverages (unless where mentioned as included)
- Change of itinerary
- Optional hot air balloon rides over the Maasai Mara with champagne breakfast ($450 per person)
- Any items of personal nature such as beverages, laundry, telephone calls
- Tips / gratuities for your driver / guide and camp / lodge staff
- International travel insurance / medical / cancellation insurance
- Any extras not mentioned in the included list such as extra meals and activities
Our Kenya and Tanzania safaris will be in permanent to semi-permanent tented camps. All of our tents are en suite, are designed to the highest standards, and are comfortable with hot showers and an adjoining toilet. All of our camps will have separate lounge and dining areas which add to the excitement and ambiance of being on safari. It should be noted, however, that there are no fences around our camps, and animals of all sizes are sometimes encountered within the camp boundaries. Please be assured that you will be safe at all times. Our Expeditions Leaders and camp staff will be there to assure your safety.
From May through August, temperatures are very comfortable. Mornings can be quite cool to cold while warming up as the day continues. Nights can be cold and midday temperatures range from 70ºF (20ºC) to 80ºF (26ºC0. Our Handbooks provide more detailed information about clothing and trip preparation.
We recommend that our travelers bring an adventurous spirit, as you will often enjoy the closest animal encounters.
Jami Tarris & Theo Allofs
Kenya’s and Tanzania's fascination lies in the richness and diversity of its natural and cultural history. Wherever you look you find excitement, colorful tribes, wildlife wonders, majestic landscapes. It is a photographer’s and adventurer’s paradise. We fell in love with both countries over twenty years ago and have discovered its beauty during our travels from the south to the far wild north of the country. There is no better place to observe and photograph big cat action than in the places we have selected for you on this safari.
Wild Focus Expeditions provides specialized, small group photography tours. Our photography expeditions are designed to get participants into distinctive, engaging locations around the world at the optimum times for photography. Our photo tours are created by our team of photographers who want to experience and photograph the world's top wildlife, nature and traditional cultures locations.
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