Journeys of freedom & discovery. Travelling in purpose-built trucks or 4x4s you’ll see all the highlights but also get far off the beaten track. Led by a professional crew or driver, groups help with the cooking & setting up camp, enjoying a real hands on experience.
Our Basic tours offer superb value and are ideal for those who are happy to forgo some creature comforts in favour of an authentic and fun experience. Under the leadership of a fully trained tour leader, you will enjoy all the highlights and freedom of independent travel with the convenience, security and companionship of a small group. All accommodation is based on twin share. If you are a solo traveller you will share with another solo traveller of the same sex. Single supplements are available on some trips. If you are interested in booking a single supplement please contact us to check availability.
Jambo! Welcome to Kenya.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Nairobi - which takes its name from a Maasai phrase meaning 'place of cool waters' - has a cosmopolitan atmosphere. There are plenty of good bars and restaurants, while markets and shops have most things you could want or need, as well as various arts and crafts from the region.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader.
If you arrive early, you can head out and explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa) or Bomas of Kenya where traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes are displayed in an outdoor village.
Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)
Board our safari truck and travel west. Crossing the incredibly scenic Great Rift Valley on the way to the tea-growing highlands is a fantastic introduction to the beautiful landscapes of Kenya. Pass through the ancient homeland of the Maasai, keeping a look out for these tall, graceful tribesmen dressed in distinctive scarlet robes tending to their prized herds of cattle.
Stop for a picnic lunch in the town of Narok.
Make a final stop near the hilltop town of Kisii, our last chance to stock up on supplies before heading into the African wilderness. Today's drive will take about 8-9 hours (310 km) and the roads are pretty rough.
Camp with hot/cold showers and flush toilets. If we arrive late, you may be accommodated in very simple shared rooms with en suite (bedding provided).
Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Travel towards the Kenya-Tanzania border and the shores of Lake Victoria (250 km, approx 7-8 hrs).
Lake Victoria is Africa's biggest lake and the world's biggest tropical lake. Its shores are shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
There are plenty of activities to choose from around Lake Victoria. You may wish to hire bicycles for a fascinating local experience from handlebar height, visit an African market place for a chance to interact with the people of Musoma or you may prefer to just chill out with a cold lakeside drink.
Spend the night camping on the shores of the lake - at one of its least visited campgrounds on the outskirts of a small town called Musoma.
Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Cover the 100 km from Lake Victoria to the gate of Serengeti National Park on a smooth road before enjoying a picnic lunch at the entrance to the park.
The next 120 km is completed through the Serengeti and the driving will be slow as we game drive our way to the campsite.
The wide, open plains of the Serengeti - green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season, and home to thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators - are perhaps the quintessential image of Africa. Flat and rolling with long grasses and dotted with acacia trees, the plains get their name from the Maasai word Siringitu - 'the place where the land moves on forever'.
On our second day here we awaken at dawn to begin our game drive. We will head out while the animals are at their most active and head back to camp for brunch around 11am. After spending the day relaxing (just like the animals do) we head out again as the day begins to cool for our dusk game drive, returning in time for another delicious camp dinner.
Our campsite is within the Serengeti itself so listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep. The bush camp is quite basic with drop toilets and cold showers.
For an unforgettable experience, you might like to do an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Serengeti. As the balloon only holds 16 people, places are limited and it is recommended you book this activity in advance. Please inquire when booking your trip to secure this optional activity.
If you have pre-booked this activity, you'll be picked up and driven to the launch site where you receive a safety briefing from your pilot and help inflate the balloon. You'll then float over the Serengeti as the sun comes up gaining an overview of the immensity of the Serengeti, seeing the abundance of wildlife in their early morning activity and sometimes descending to tree height for amazing wildlife photography opportunities. Upon landing, you'll be treated to a five-star bush breakfast before being returned to your accommodation.
Please note that we offer this activity as a pre-booked service which will guarantee you a spot in a balloon. If you choose to wait and book this activity locally on the ground you may get a better price. However this is a popular activity and places are limited. It is at your own discretion if you wish to pre-book this service with us or try and book it locally while you are on your trip.
You'll notice many Maasai villages in the region of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. While it's of course fascinating to visit different cultures, past experience has shown that these villages exist primarily as tourism businesses offering somewhat contrived performances of their traditional ways. You'll be charged an entry fee of approx US$20-35 and the Maasai will try very hard to sell souvenirs to you. While many clients still enjoy the experience, others have found it artificial and uncomfortable. We recommend our travellers bypass this activity as our Kenyan colleagues observe that it negatively impacts the Maasai culture and travellers' perception of this culture.
Accommodation: Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)
Game drive out of the park and enter Ngorongoro Conservation area after lunch. Our destination today is the Ngorongoro Crater rim ( 80km, approx 3hrs ).
Our campsite on the rim of the crater 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. It also has drop toilets and cold showers.
It can get very cold on the crater rim, particularly during the winter months of June to August where temperatures drop below zero. Even in the summer months it can be surprisingly chilly at night so bring a jacket and come prepared.
Accommodation: Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
A huge, perfectly intact volcanic crater, Ngorongoro is home to some 30,000 animals including endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. The crater floor offers excellent game viewing all year round and the photographic opportunities here are unrivalled.
Drive out of the crater and head to Mto Wa Mbu for a look around the town before continuing on to our campsite (140 km, approx 5-6 hrs).
A small village community, Mto Wa Mbu offers an excellent way to get a close-up look at life in an African town away from the main tourist trail.
Our campsite is in Meserani, on the outskirts of Arusha, and has flush toilets and showers.
Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Set off early, heading for the border with Kenya and on to Nairobi (390 km, approx 7-8 hrs).
This is a transport day to Nairobi. You can finish your trip in Arusha this morning if you wish to travel further in Tanzania or catch a flight.
On arrival in Nairobi we'll be dropped at our finishing point hotel. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but we are able to book you additional accommodation in Nairobi. Please ask at time of booking.
Important: Please don't book any flights until after 6pm this evening.
International flights, departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Overland journeys are all about freedom and discovery. By travelling in a purpose-built truck you’ll see all the must-see highlights but also get far off the beaten track. These are real adventures where itineraries are changeable and the number of nights in hotels or camping can vary. The tours are highly inclusive and very much hands on. Led by professional crew, groups consist of up to 22 adventurous passengers, sharing the cooking, food shopping and setting up camp.
This tour is operated by our partners Intrepid.
A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.Please click here for more information.
We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
You will need to take cash to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. These include food, drinks, optional sightseeing, tips, laundry, souvenirs and possible delays. If in doubt, bring more than you think you will need. It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the time; providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy, your insurance company will make reimbursement later
You must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information.
Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.For further information about responsible travel please click here.
At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.
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