- November 4 - Arrive Nairobi
- Welcome to Nairobi. The largest city between Cairo and Johannesburg, Nairobi is a modern, cosmopolitan capital. Graceful jacaranda and bougainvillea line the main streets, and parks and gardens occupy large areas in the centre. Located in the fertile highlands at 5,000 feet, it has a delightful climate, with warm sunny days and cool nights.
The city has undergone a dramatic expansion in its recent past. Today, you will see a thriving business center, with the modern Kenyatta Conference Center and Parliament Building, first-class restaurants and hotels. The traditional still survives in colourful wooden buildings with tiled roofs and arcades from the colonial era.
Your Olivia Safari Director will meet you after you pass through customs at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and you will be transferred to the Fairmont-Norfolk Hotel. A dedicated Airport Team will coordinate and handle all the arrivals. Olivia-Micato porters will expedite luggage at the airport for you.
Enjoy a cool drink in the vehicle while you transfer from the airport to the hotel, where you will be pre-registered for check-in. You will be greeted with a welcome drink and a welcome package. Your complimentary Olivia Safari vest will be waiting for you in your room.
Should you have any queries, your Olivia-Micato Safaris Concierge staff will be at their desk in the lounge to answer all your questions.
The recently-renovated Fairmont Norfolk is a world-famous Tudor-style hotel featuring 120 rooms. Since its opening on Christmas Day in 1904, Norfolk has delighted generation after generation of visitors with its service, luxurious style and unfailingly high standards. In the early days, this was the stomping ground of the big White Hunters and adventure seekers and has been featured in numerous safari movies.
- November 5 - Nairobi
- After an early morning breakfast at your hotel, your Olivia Micato Safari Director will give you a Safari Briefing where you will have a chance to ask all the questions you have about your upcoming safari. You will also be properly welcomed with an authentic safari hat and a hand-carved animal necklace.
Visit to Karen Blixen Estate
Karen Estates was the home of Lady Karen von Blixen, author of the book Out of Africa, from 1917 to 1931. The National Museums of Kenya restored this lovely home to commemorate Karen Blixen's fascinating life. By the window in the panelled room, she wrote her letters from Africa; outside the front door, she hung the lantern signifying to Denys Finch-Hatton that she was home; and, from the veranda, she viewed the Ngong Hills.
Visit to Giraffe Centre
Continue to Giraffe Centre, resting within 120 acres of primeval forest, only eight miles from Nairobi. It is home to the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), devoted to the preservation of endangered Rothschild giraffe. The center raises and relocates the giraffes to the wild.
In addition to a multitude of other good works, AFEW brings thousands of African school children, many of whom would otherwise never see a wild animal, to the center for educational programming. You will have the rare treat of hand-feeding these gentle giants while facing them eye-to-eye from an elevated viewing platform.
We will then visit the Dame Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Featured on “Oprah” a few years ago, it was established by Dame Daphne Sheldrick adjacent to her home on the edge of Nairobi National Park. An engaging world-class conservation figure, her late husband was the first Game Warden of Tsavo National Park and in his memory she initiated a memorial foundation and animal orphanage. Mrs. Sheldrick is the premier authority on the successful raising of milk-dependent infant elephant and rhino orphans, and their re-releasing into the wild. Out visit will coincide with the animals’ 11:00am feeding.
Lunch at Gemini Desai
Gemini is one of Kenya’s most renowned jewelry designers, crafting remarkable pieces of wearable art from exotic beads. Gemini travels the world in search of beautiful beads, both old and new, and is an authority on the history and significance of beadwork throughout the ages. From the ancient trade beads of Marco Polo to traditional Maasai marriage necklaces, beads have played an important role in countless cultures.
Gemini opens her home exclusively to Olivia travelers – a unique chance to meet a fascinating Kenyan woman operating a cottage-industry-turned-international-business, to learn about the history of beads, to buy some beautiful and unique gifts to bring home and to enjoy luncheon in her garden.
- November 6 - Nairobi - Ngorongoro Conservation Area
- After an early breakfast, you’re off on safari!
A charter flight will take you to Kilimanjaro Airport in northern Tanzania. After clearing immigration formalities, you will continue on a charter flight to the airstrip at Lake Manyara.
Enjoy lunch at the Lake Manyara Serena Lodge before driving two hours to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and your lodge.
Camouflaged in river-stone and cloaked in indigenous creepers, the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is a triumph of ecological and architectural fusion. Blending seamlessly into its environment and affording endless vistas of the crater below, the boulder-built lodge hugs the crater rim, linked by rope-lashed timber walkways that skirt the roots of ancient, liana-hung trees.
Strung around the crater rim, each with its own rock-enclosed balcony, the rooms feature brass lamps, embossed leather headboards, wildwood mirrors, Maasai carvings and flamboyant prehistoric wall motifs. Each room draws on a cave-grey, indigo-blue and jasper-red colour-scheme and enjoys uninterrupted views over the Crater's unmatched splendor.
- November 7 - Ngorongoro Conservation Area
- Journey by 4-wheel-drive vehicle into one of the world’s largest calderas – nine miles in diameter and 2,500 feet deep. Spend the morning tracking animals on the floor of the crater. Declared a sanctuary in 1928, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area contains within its borders 30,000 mammals, including the last population of black rhino in northern Tanzania and all the “big five” game animals. Diverse habitats of forest, swamp, grassland and lake make it an exciting area to explore.
After a day of adventure and a privately catered picnic lunch on the crater floor (subject to the approval of park authorities), return to your lodge. Then relax on the terrace, cocktail in hand, while the fiery sun makes its dramatic exit and spreads its glow over the crater.
- November 8 - Ngorongoro Conservation Area - Serengeti National Park
- After breakfast, drive to Serengeti National Park. Stop en route to visit Olduvai Gorge, where for more than 50 years the Leakey family has been uncovering fossils of humans and animals, including the fossil of Homo habilis (handy man), the first tool user, thought to have lived 1.75 million years ago. The area has yielded abundant specimens dating back at least two million years, including the remains of prehistoric elephants, giant horned sheep and enormous ostriches.
With its vast rolling plains, flat-topped acacias and huge herds of animals, the Serengeti is just what you expect Africa to be. It is an amazing wildlife spectacle, with herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle covering the plains from horizon to horizon. The Serengeti is the first, largest and most famous of Tanzania’s national parks. An estimated three million large animals inhabit 5,700 square miles, an area the size of Connecticut.
Stop for a picnic lunch, and then continue on your game drive. Here, most ostrich and Grant’s gazelle are semi-migratory. Topi, hartebeest, impala and African buffalo are resident woodland creatures. Giraffe browse alone or in small groups wherever they find trees and shrubs. Bohor reedbuck and waterbuck restrict themselves to the dense vegetation near watercourses. We may even see the end of the Wildebeest migration.
You’ll arrive at the Serengeti Serena Lodge in the late afternoon.
Set high on the saddle of a tree-clad ridge, commanding panoramic views across the Serengeti, this lodge is the ultimate fusion of traditional African architecture and world-class style.
Each charmingly-presented room is in a two-story, stone-built, traditionally thatched “rondavel.” Looking out over the plains, each has its own private balcony, private entrance, spacious bedroom, natural stone bathroom and intricately-carved furniture.
- November 9 - Serengeti National Park
- On morning and afternoon game drives, explore the vast Serengeti in depth. The open woodland and plains are ideal places to observe large predators. Lions are plentiful, and spotted hyenas even more so. Golden jackals and bat-eared foxes are the most abundant canine species. Cheetahs are regularly sighted pacing the plains, and at dusk or dawn you stand the best chance of seeing nocturnal felines such as civet, serval, genet and African wildcat.
The wealth and diversity of birds is just as staggering as the mammal population. Ostriches, secretary birds and bustards wander the plains; vultures and eagles are abundant; and the sunbirds, king fishers and bee-eaters are
well-represented. Perhaps the most distinctive small bird is the lilac-breasted roller, an exquisitely colored creature often seen perched on trees along the roadside.
- November 10 - Serengeti National Park - Maasai Mara
- Following breakfast this morning, transfer to the airstrip for your private charter flight to the Maasai Mara, via a stop in Kisumu for customs and immigration formalities. Continue to the Maasai Mara. (Please note we may have to switch planes in Kisumu). Arrive in the late morning and transfer to your tented camp.
This is the Africa of your imagination, where panoramas are vast. It is a country of rolling grasslands, dense thickets of scrub, groves of acacia woodland, and even luxuriant forest, which grows along the Mara River and its tributaries. The Maasai Mara is considered the finest game sanctuary in the country, home to an astonishing number and variety of animals. According to the season, hundreds of thousands of migratory wildebeest, gazelle and zebra move back and forth between the Mara, the plains and the woodlands to the south.
You will have a short game drive en route to Governor’s Camp (Main), a luxury tented camp. Each tent is complete with a private bathroom and shower.
After lunch and some free time, you will have an afternoon game drive.
- November 11 - Maasai Mara
- The brilliant orange sun is up at 6:00 am, and so are you. As soon as you are ready, it's off into the bush. The dew is fast disappearing and the predators are on the prowl. Your driver sets off in pursuit of the great herds.
This is true big game country, where prides of more than twenty lions, including the majestic black-maned male, are not uncommon. Other inhabitants of the Mara include elephant, giraffe, buffalo, cheetah, leopard, hyena, topi, gazelle and black rhino, and hippos can be found along the Mara River.
- November 12 - Maasai Mara
- Today you have a choice of a morning game drive or an optional Hot Air Balloon excursion. Return to Camp for lunch and enjoy a leisurely afternoon watching the hippos along the river, reading or napping.
This afternoon, enjoy your final game drive of the week!
On your final evening on safari, savour the romance of the African plains during a Bush Dinner.
A private and secluded area on the edge of the Mara River is set up for a farewell bush dinner. Hippo and crocodile grunt and splash in the muddy waters below. As the sun swiftly sinks, a glowing log fire illuminates the setting. Candles flicker in the darkness, throwing golden light on starched white tablecloths and bouquets of local wild flowers. After a delicious meal, you can retire to the crackling campfire.
Quietly absorbing the peace and beauty of an African night, guests are in for treat. Long-limbed Maasai warriors will demonstrate traditional dances, their proud profiles and spearheads reflecting the amber light of the flames.
- November 13 - Maasai Mara
- After breakfast enjoy a short morning game drive on the way to the air strip where you board your flight to Nairobi crossing the Great Rift Valley.
You will be met at Wilson Airport in Nairobi and will enjoy lunch and have the opportunity for an optional visit to a project sponsored by AmericaShare. You are then transferred to the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel where a private dayroom has been reserved for you. (Dayrooms are available from 12 noon to 6 pm). Those opting not to go to the project will be transferred directly to the hotel.