Africa, home to our ancestors, home to some of the largest herds of animals in the world and home to friendly people, happy to share their traditions and knowledge. Since 1982, International Expeditions has been guiding small groups of adventurers eager to experience a wildlife safari in East Africa. And that tradition continues, with a variety of activities and itineraries to suit travelers of all ages.
Masai Mara is a short plane ride from Nairobi. It is part of the Great Rift Valley that stretches from Mozambique in the south to Somalia in the north. The wildlife viewing begins the moment you get off the plane and continues as you make the short journey to the lodge. The picturesque Mara Serena Lodge is perched high on a hill overlooking Masai Mara. The lodge is crafted in plaster and wood to reflect the designs and heritage of the Masai people. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a game drive; You can relax by the pool or discuss the days animal sightings over a cold drink.
The guides chosen for International Expeditions safaris are among the best. They have a vast knowledge of the mammals, birds and plant life - and years of experience that helps them see things that you would easily miss. But it is hard to miss some of the larger animals, Masai Giraffes elegantly walking through the grass. Massive Elephants foraging for food while the young males tussle with each other - honing their skills for the day they too become fully grown bulls. In a watering hole, Hippos, the most dangerous animals in Africa, escape the heat of the day alongside one of the continents other most deadly creatures, Nile crocodiles. And even at the lodge there’s plenty to see with a troop of baboons foraging for food in the field below, or a charming little Hyrax, just off the path to the rooms. At night - the sounds of the plain will lull you to sleep.
There’s also the option to take a hot air balloon ride over the plain. It’s an early morning start as balloonists prefer the calmer air at sunrise. It’s a magical experience to watch the animals as you drift above the vast plains. After touchdown, a traditional Champagne toast, followed by a an elegant breakfast in the middle of a remote grassy field.
On a termite mound, a pride of lions, eyeing the distance for a potential - while the cubs doze beside the matriarch of the pride. A black Rhinoceros and her baby - Hunted almost to extinction by poachers, rhinos are watched closely by park rangers entrusted with their protection. The park fees that visitors pay help to finance this important work.
The Maasai are a pastoral, nomadic people who have lived on the plains for centuries. Every few years they burn down their village - pack up their few belongings and herd their cattle and goats to new grazing lands. A visit to a Maasai village gives a glimpse into this slowly vanishing way of life. As the children are sent to school and learn modern ways, less of them are attracted back to their traditional ways of life. Hearing their songs and watching them dance under an African sky is a moving experience.
Near the Tanzanian boarder, Amboseli National Park is known for the herds of elephants that live there. The watering holes and lakes draw animals from many miles away to the life giving water. Just getting to the lodge is an adventure. A stop for a troop of baboons on the side of the road and then another stop waiting for hundreds of zebra to cross the road. The Amboseli Serena Safari lodge is an oasis of comfort in the middle of a huge game reserve. And after dinner, a remarkable sight, as a herd of elephants pass single file through the grounds while Maasai villagers entertain the guests. An early morning game drive offers a glimpse of Mt Kilimanjaro in neighboring Tanzania. And the morning light is perfect for photographing wildlife against a dramatic sunrise.
The landscape of Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park features rolling hills DOTTED with MASSIVE BAOBAB TREES - which are an important source of water for animals during the dry season. For the elephants, the tall grass provides plenty of feeding opportunities and for the visitors, lots of photography opportunities. And there’s a huge variety of birds and other animals in the park to view. On a cliff overlooking the Tarangire river is the Tarangire River Camp. The luxurious tents are built on raised platforms, but inside there’s all the comforts of home.
Ngorongoro Crater is a volcanic crater that dates back almost 3 million years. The caldera is a mile high and the edge of the crater is over 8000 feet high. The crater provides a well protected area for wildlife. As a conservation area, there are no human settlements in the 100 square miles of the crater. There’s a very healthy population of lion’s here. And they don’t seem to care about the presence of wildlife enthusiasts or the clicking of cameras.
Serengeti National Park is most famous for the annual migration of the Wildebeests and Zebras. But any time of year is great for wildlife viewing in the 5700 square miles of the Serengeti. International Expeditions has it’s own private tented camp that moves two or three times a year to stay close to the movements of the wildlife. The tents are spacious and comfortable, with their own bathrooms and showers. There are butlers to take care of all your needs, including laundry. And delicious meals are shared in the dining tent. The word Serengeti comes from the Maasai and means “the place where the land runs on forever”. The plains are interrupted with “Kopjes,” small outcroppings of granite rocks. The kopjes provide great hiding places for Leopards and their prey. Leaving Serengeti by plane gives you one last chance to see the varied landscapes on the one hour flight between the Serengeti and the city of Arusha.
International Expeditions' travel professionals have been organizing trips to Africa since 1982 and work with some of the best guides and outfitters in Africa. IE has a range of itineraries to Kenya and Tanzania as well as other unique travel experiences to Africa.