Carve your way through Kenya and Tanzania on a journey that beckons travelers with Africa’s unexpected highlights—crystal-clear lakes, exquisite wildlife encounters beyond a 4×4 jeep, farm-to-table goodness, and a birds-eye-view of Africa that would make even a seasoned guide’s jaw-drop. (This actually happened; after one of our guide’s was invited on a helicopter safari he said, “I had no clue my land was this beautiful.” We agreed!) Begin on a “slow safari” at Chem Chem Safari Lodge, a special sanctuary that embraces the power of the natural world by simply paying attention to the wondrous life around you. Situated on over 8,000 acres between Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara in northern Tanzania, this region is renown for its wildlife and authentic Maasai encounters. You’ll be wowed by one of the largest elephant populations in East Africa as well as by smaller creatures, like the Chem Chem’s resident mongoose known affectionately as Mangoo Choo!
Continue to Greystoke Mahale, a special lodge only reachable by boat, situated off the shores of crystal-clear Lake Tanganyika. With the forested slopes of the 8,000 ft Mahale Mountains rising behind, you are surrounded by a dramatic landscape. Whether swimming in ice-cold pools up in the mountain waterfalls, fishing and eating fresh sashimi for dinner, or having a staring contest with the local chimpanzees, you will quickly realize you are some somewhere truly unique. (Don’t forget to take a moment to meet “Big Bird,” an orphaned pelican taken in by the camp’s staff and taught how to fly right on the beaches of the lake outside your banda!)
Continue to the Singita River Mara Tented Camp to watch the greatest show on earth—the Great Migration. Located in the remote Lamai triangle with just sixteen beds in the middle of 98,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness, Singita’s philosophy of preserving the wildlife and the land it lives on rings true here! You will be awe-inspired by the superb wildlife sightings and the beauty of the African bush. Visitors can game including big cats, elephant, crocodile and hippo sightings. Plus, you can feel great knowing that this sophisticated off-the-grid getaway is solar powered, relying on a custom-designed photo-voltaic system to convert sunlight into electricity. Next up, visit Kenya and Mara Plains Camp. This is an adventurer’s paradise, setting the bar high for safari lodges in East Africa and taking the eco-sensitive safari experience up a notch. The property is tucked away in 100,000 acres of community-owned lands on the northern border of the Masai Mara Game Reserve and has access to 375,000 acres of wildlife-rich land, so clients can enjoy a safari experience without the crowds. Only seven under canvas tents mean guests have a highly personal experience—the tents are even equipped with professional Canon 7D camera with various lenses and Swarovski 42×10 HD binoculars to ensure guests get that perfect shot wildlife shot. This should not be a surprise, as Dereck & Beverly Joubert (National Geographic filmmakers and photographers) are behind the property, and their conservation approach is weaved into every inch of this spectacular lodge. Although the property is one of our favorite eco-lodges in Africa, it’s also one of the most luxurious due to its privacy, focus on guest experience, and access to extraordinary wildlife encounters (the wildebeest migration gathers outside the camp). We also love that the game drives are open-vehicle—one of the few places in the park. Follow this with an astounding 3-day helicopter journey where you will soar over incredible sites like Lake Turkana, the world’s largest permanent desert lake, the often flamingo filled Lake Logipi, the vast sand dunes of Suguta Valley, or the infamous Dragon’s Teeth located in the Aberdare Range.
Cap off your journey with two full days at Segera Retreat. Relax and unwind here by soaking in your private outdoor hot tub, dining on the finest and freshest locally sourced ingredients, part of the property’s farm-to-table approach, choosing a bottle of wine for your dinner from the Wine Tower, cooled by solar energy and with a rainwater harvested tank as its foundation, or taking a steam in the Rasul Steam Tower. You’ll find the people, the food, the estate, and the art just as spectacular as your surroundings.