The Masai Heartlands

The Masai Heartlands

From $ 3,720 AUD

Description

Watch the wonders of Kenya and Tanzania unfold before you on this incredible 15-day overland adventure with Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel. Head deep into the heartland of the Maasai tribespeople and the finest game parks in eastern Africa. Travelling through the acclaimed Masai Mara and the vast Serengeti plains to the stunning lakes of the Great Rift Valley and the dramatic scenery of the Ngorongoro Crater, you’ll spot a wealth of exotic predators and peaceful herbivores. Follow in the footsteps of the Maasai with local knowledge each step of the way, leaving you with memories of Africa to last a lifetime.

Trip Name
The Masai Heartlands
Last Updated
2020-01-21
Days
15
Capacity
22
Highlights
  • Spend the night in a Maasai village to learn about life from community elders, visit a widows’ community and maybe even learn to throw a spear.
  • An early morning game drive through Lake Nakuru National Park might be your best chance of seeing black and white rhinoceroses in the flesh.
  • Take a cooking class in a small village and learn some Kenyan recipes, then share your creations at a camp dinner under the stars.
  • Explore the Serengeti National Park in depth – with two early-morning and two late-afternoon game drives through this spectacular wildlife arena, you’ll have the best chance to spot the Big Five.
  • Swap the safari vehicle for two wheels on a guided biking adventure near Lake Victoria, stopping to shop for local wares and meet townsfolk at the Mwigobero Market.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. ROAD CONDITIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE IN AFRICA: Roads in Africa are often in very poor condition, which makes it hard on our vehicles. Our vehicles are serviced regularly and are generally in good condition, but breakdowns can and do happen. Sometimes the going on this trip is quite tough, the distances covered fairly large and some of the roads and tracks are not exactly smooth or free from dust, but the rewards are exceptional. The travelling times indicated in our Essential Trip Information is just a rough guide and is dependent on various factors that may be outside our control, such as road conditions, weather and time spent at borders. DRIVE TIMES: The travel times listed in the day to day itinerary are a guide only. Please be aware that delays may occur and please be patient - it's all part of the experience afterall! Additionally, the travel times do not include time spent on game drives as these can vary with each departure. URBAN ADVENTURES: Join us for the Best. Day. Ever. Urban Adventures are for those who want to get away from the tourist crowds and really connect with a city, with a local by their side. The experience can be as short as a couple of hours, or as long as a whole day, but in every case our Urban Adventures tours take travellers to interesting places to experience local culture and see what makes a place unique. If you are travelling before or after your trip with us and would like to book an Urban Adventure in advance, please contact your booking agent or use this link: http://www.urbanadventures.com/?aff=2226. While on tour with us, your leader can assist in booking other Urban Adventures.

Day 1 - Nairobi
Jambo! Welcome to Kenya, your Lonely Planet Experience begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive with time to spare before the meeting, consider getting to know the city on an Urban Adventure like the ‘Nairobi Experience’. This optional 4-hour tour is a great way to get a feel for Nairobi, and includes lunch at a local restaurant. After the welcome meeting, perhaps join your new travel companions for an optional group dinner.
Day 2 - Lake Nakuru National Park
Drive north-west past splendid views of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha and Elementaita to Lake Nakuru National Park (approximately 3–4 hours). Situated in the heart of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru National Park is a great location for spotting wildlife, which you will do in an early morning game drive tomorrow. For now, head to a nearby village with your leader. This is a fantastic opportunity to interact with the local folk and get a feel for everyday life here. Enjoy a cooking class and return later in the evening to share the results for dinner.
Day 3 - Lake Naivasha
Wake early for breakfast and head into the Lake Nakuru National Park for a game drive in the overland vehicle. Along with the other members of the Big Five, Lake Nakuru is home to rhinos, and there will be a good chance of spotting and photographing one of these magnificent beasts. Return to camp for lunch before driving to your camp near Lake Naivasha (approximately 3 hours). One of the few freshwater lakes in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha has floating islands of papyrus reeds and a border of flat-topped acacias. It's also home to a healthy population of hippos and a tremendous variety of birds.
Day 4 - Lake Naivasha
Enjoy a free day to choose from a variety of optional activities available around Lake Naivasha. Perhaps venture to Hell's Gate National Park, which boasts beautiful cliffs, gorges, rock towers, volcanoes and a range of geothermal phenomena. Another great choice is to take a boat trip across Lake Naivasha – perhaps the best way to take in the atmosphere of this lush area. If you're looking for something active, why not hire a bike for the day and make some of your own discoveries, venturing beyond the cacti and olive trees.
Day 5 - Loita Hills Maasai Village
Depart Lake Naivasha, making a short stop in Narok to do a spot of food shopping. Continue to Loita Hills (approximately 5–6 hours), home of the Maasai people, stopping for lunch en route. We’ll be camping at Tepesua Village, which is known for championing Maasai women’s health and education. Arrive and be welcomed by traditional Maasai warrior song and dance, then your host will explain the details of Maasai warrior training. Take a walk to the community village which was founded to alleviate the poverty of Maasai widows, who traditionally are not allowed to inherit property. The village offers support, safety and economic growth through the ‘Tepesua Widows Income Project’. Spend the evening around a campfire and learn more about their age-old culture and traditions as you share stories with Maasai warriors into the night.
Day 6 - Masai Mara National Reserve
Today you’ll travel from Loita Hills to Masai Mara (approximately 1–2 hours). The road is dusty when dry, and could be slippery and muddy when wet, so the going may be slow. The Masai Mara is the quintessential African experience, with sparse open plains, dramatic skies and some of the world's most tremendous animals. After setting up camp, sit down to some lunch. Then it's time to jump in 4WDs and go for a game drive through the wilderness of the Mara.
Day 7 - Masai Mara National Reserve
Venture into the Masai Mara National Reserve for a full day's game drive in 4WDs. You'll explore this diverse environment and most likely see a multitude of wildlife. An optional balloon ride over the Mara at sunrise is available today. If you have pre-booked this activity you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site for a safety briefing from your pilot. Then you will glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, to get some amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you will ascend, getting an overview of the enormity of the plains and of the early morning movements of the teeming herds. After landing, you'll be treated to a bush breakfast, then be returned to your campsite.
Day 8 - Nairobi
Today, head back to Nairobi, and take a break from pitching tents and instead, relax at a hotel. Take a refreshing dip in the pool and enjoy a cool drink or go for a walk around the town and meet some local people. If you’re feeling energetic, 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. Keep in mind that, this evening, there will be another briefing to welcome new travellers joining you for the next stage of your adventure.
Day 9 - Kisii
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.
Day 10 - Lake Victoria
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.
Day 11 - 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.
Day 12 - 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.
Day 13 - Ngorongoro Crater
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!
Day 14 - 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.
Day 15 - Arusha / Nairobi
Set off early this morning, around 7.30 am, heading for the border with Kenya after passing through Arusha to say goodbye to some travellers. You also have the option to travel back to Nairobi if it is more convenient for you (approximately 7–8 hours). On arrival, you'll be dropped at a centrally located hotel, and with no accommodation provided for tonight, you are free to leave at any time. If you would like to extend your stay in Nairobi, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
01-02-202015-02-2020AUD $ 3,980-
15-02-202029-02-2020AUD $ 4,015-
11-04-202025-04-2020AUD $ 3,830-
02-05-202016-05-2020AUD $ 3,830-
30-05-202013-06-2020AUD $ 3,985-
13-06-202027-06-2020AUD $ 3,985-
20-06-202004-07-2020AUD $ 4,025-
01-07-202015-07-2020AUD $ 3,985-
04-07-202018-07-2020AUD $ 3,985-
11-07-202025-07-2020AUD $ 4,135-
15-07-202029-07-2020AUD $ 4,135-
18-07-202001-08-2020AUD $ 4,135-
25-07-202008-08-2020AUD $ 4,135-
01-08-202015-08-2020AUD $ 4,135-
05-08-202019-08-2020AUD $ 4,135-
08-08-202022-08-2020AUD $ 4,135-
15-08-202029-08-2020AUD $ 4,135-
22-08-202005-09-2020AUD $ 4,215-
29-08-202012-09-2020AUD $ 4,135-
05-09-202019-09-2020AUD $ 3,985-
12-09-202026-09-2020AUD $ 3,985-
19-09-202003-10-2020AUD $ 3,985-
26-09-202010-10-2020AUD $ 3,985-
03-10-202017-10-2020AUD $ 3,830-
10-10-202024-10-2020AUD $ 3,830-
17-10-202031-10-2020AUD $ 3,830-
31-10-202014-11-2020AUD $ 3,720-
14-11-202028-11-2020AUD $ 3,720-
05-12-202019-12-2020AUD $ 3,720-
19-12-202002-01-2021AUD $ 3,720-
26-12-202009-01-2021AUD $ 4,065-
02-01-202116-01-2021AUD $ 3,980-
09-01-202123-01-2021AUD $ 3,905-
23-01-202106-02-2021AUD $ 3,905-
06-02-202120-02-2021AUD $ 3,720-
20-02-202106-03-2021AUD $ 3,720-
03-04-202117-04-2021AUD $ 3,720-
01-05-202115-05-2021AUD $ 3,720-
05-06-202119-06-2021AUD $ 3,720-
12-06-202126-06-2021AUD $ 3,720-
26-06-202110-07-2021AUD $ 3,720-
03-07-202117-07-2021AUD $ 3,720-
10-07-202124-07-2021AUD $ 3,720-
14-07-202128-07-2021AUD $ 3,720-
17-07-202131-07-2021AUD $ 3,720-
21-07-202104-08-2021AUD $ 3,720-
24-07-202107-08-2021AUD $ 3,720-
31-07-202114-08-2021AUD $ 3,720-
07-08-202121-08-2021AUD $ 3,720-
11-08-202125-08-2021AUD $ 3,720-
14-08-202128-08-2021AUD $ 3,720-
18-08-202101-09-2021AUD $ 3,720-
21-08-202104-09-2021AUD $ 3,720-
28-08-202111-09-2021AUD $ 3,720-
04-09-202118-09-2021AUD $ 3,720-
11-09-202125-09-2021AUD $ 3,720-
18-09-202102-10-2021AUD $ 3,720-
25-09-202109-10-2021AUD $ 3,720-
02-10-202116-10-2021AUD $ 3,720-
16-10-202130-10-2021AUD $ 3,720-
06-11-202120-11-2021AUD $ 3,720-
20-11-202104-12-2021AUD $ 3,720-
04-12-202118-12-2021AUD $ 3,720-
11-12-202125-12-2021AUD $ 3,720-
18-12-202101-01-2022AUD $ 3,720-

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights),Camping (with facilities) (8 nights),Hotel (2 nights),Basic Hotel (1 night)

Transport

Overland vehicle,4x4 Safari Vehicle

Map