Explore the Serengeti National Park in depth, with two early-morning and two late-afternoon game drives through this spectacular wildlife arena. Take a mind-blowing safari across the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater in an open-roof 4WD for a chance to see the endangered black rhinoceros. We include an acclimatisation day at Horombo Hut to give you the best chance of reaching the summit.. Travelling with experienced guides, the best of the mountain, and porters, you’ll be in good hands, with one guide for every two passengers.
Encounter some of Africa’s most iconic natural wonders on this 15-day Lonely Planet Experience, powered by Intrepid. Safari across the vast Serengeti savanna and the floors of Ngorongoro Crater in search of the Big Five, then conquer Africa’s highest peak on an epic trek to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. This is a trip for active travellers who appreciate the bounty of nature – get ready for thrills, challenges and self discovery on a journey that takes you through the literal highs and lows of Kenya and Tanzania.
Breakfast Included: 14 Lunches Included: 12 Dinner Included: 13
Jambo! Welcome to Kenya. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, and you can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important briefing. If you arrive early, perhaps head out and explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum or the highly recommended Bomas of Kenya, where traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes are displayed in an outdoor village.
Board your safari vehicle and travel west (approximately 8–9 hours). Today’s destination is near the hilltop town of Kisii, which will be the last chance to stock up on supplies before heading into Tanzania. Crossing the incredibly scenic Great Rift Valley on your way to the tea-growing highlands is a fantastic introduction to the landscapes of Kenya. You will pass through the ancient homeland of the Maasai. Keep a look out for these tall tribesmen dressed in distinctive scarlet robes as they tend to their prized herds of cattle. The roads on the way are pretty rough, but there will be chances to stop and stretch your legs, including a local homestead lunch in the town of Kaprong. The food for the lunch is grown and sourced locally, plus the lunch is a great way to learn from and interact with the women from the local village.
Travel towards the Kenya–Tanzania border and to the shores of Lake Victoria (approximately 7–8 hours). This is not only Africa's largest lake – it's the largest tropical lake in the world. Its shores are shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The guided bike excursion is a great activity to stretch the legs, learn about the town, visit an African marketplace and meet some locals. Or you can simply chill out on the lakeside sand with a cold drink. Make the most of the ATM and local market to stock up for your next three days of adventuring in the wilderness. 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.
Serengeti National Park
Travel from Lake Victoria to the gate of Serengeti National Park on a smooth road (approximately 3 hours). Enter the Serengeti and enjoy a game drive and picnic lunch en route to your campsite. The wide-open plains of the Serengeti see myriad colours during the year – green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season – but one thing is a constant: this never-ending landscape is home to thousands upon thousands of animals travelling as herds across the plains. This region gets its name from the local Maasai word ‘siringet’, meaning the place where the land moves on forever, and you’ll begin to understand why on your game drive today. Enjoy a picnic lunch, then head to your campsite which is right in the action – located within the park itself! At night, listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep.
Serengeti National Park
Start the day nice and early 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. This morning, there’s also the option of a balloon ride over the park today. If you have pre-booked this activity, you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site. After a safety briefing, glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, where you’ll get some amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you will ascend, getting an overview of the vastness of the plains and the early morning movements of the herds. After landing, dig into a delicious bush breakfast, then return to your camp. After spending the warmer part of the day relaxing with your herd – just as the animals do – depart again at dusk for another adventure through the wild, returning in time for dinner.
Enjoy a leisurely game drive and picnic lunch on your way out of the park today. Soak up final views of the animals and landscapes that make the national park such an incredible spot, before entering the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Your destination today is the rim of the crater about 3 hours away. Your campsite overlooks jagged volcanic peaks and rolling grasslands thousands of feet below – you can be sure that there are few campsites in the world with a better view than this!
Ngorongoro Crater – Mto wa Mbu
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 offers excellent wildlife viewing all year round, and the photo opportunities here are unrivalled. Later, join the local community for a guided afternoon stroll around the farming areas, milling machine and local homes before enjoying a traditional meal. Your campsite this evening is located in Mto wa Mbu.
Bidding farewell to your truck and crew, this morning we make our way back to Arusha where will catch a morning shuttle bus from Arusha to Marangu in the foothills (1300 m/4500 ft) of Mt Kilimanjaro (approximately 4 hours). This section of the trip is unaccompanied by a leader. The shuttle departs from the Impala Hotel at around 9 am once your group drops you off. In the early evening there is a group meeting and kit inspection by an experienced Kilimanjaro climber.
Stop into one of the offices of the Intrepid Foundation-supported Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project. Learn how various projects support the people who are helping you tackle Mt Kilimanjaro, making sure these hardworking individuals are fairly compensated and safe while they work. Not only will you gain an appreciation for the work of the folks who make the trek possible, but you’ll also be able to walk easier with the knowledge you’re supporting ethical trekking. Continue to Marangu Gate, the entrance of the Mt Kilimanjaro National Park (1860 m) and meet your guides and porters. With introductions and assignment of porter loads taken care of, it’s time to embark on the trek of a lifetime.
Your second day on the mountain involves another long hike over a slightly steeper stretch. The total distance from Mandara to the Horombo huts is 12 kilometres (approximately 5–7 hours). Today you will see the rainforest give way to open and rolling alpine meadows dotted with giant heather trees. Once out of the forest canopy, the twin snow-tipped peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi lie directly ahead. These are two of the three great cones of Kilimanjaro (the other being Shira). During the day’s walk we will traverse several ravines before reaching the hut, which is set in a rocky valley. There is time to enjoy a wide variety of vegetation and changing landscapes on the way to Horombo Hut (3780 metres). We will spend the next two nights here at the hut.
After breakfast, walk towards Mawenzi Hut, passing the unusual Zebra Rocks on the way. It’s a steep climb up a grassy slope, but well worth it: the views over the area towards Kibo are second-to-none. Afterwards, return to Horombo for lunch. Spend the afternoon relaxing and acclimatising to the altitude, or ask your guides about short walks in the area. Take advantage of the rest day here and drink plenty of water – the next couple of days will be pretty intense!
Kibo Hut / Mawenzi Peak
Today you’ll walk the 10 kilometres or so from Horombo to Kibo Hut (approximately 5–7 hours). As the journey progresses you will notice the landscape gradually becoming more rugged and rocky, and the air noticeably thinner. We will have to soften our pace a little to accommodate these environmental changes. Marvel at giant groundsels and lobelias while you travel across the sparse moorland. Skirt Mawenzi Peak and marvel at the stark lunar landscape of the Saddle, reaching Kibo Hut in afternoon (4740 m), take the opportunity to have an early night in preparation for a very early (or late?) wake-up call.