The Great African Flying Safari
You’ve come for the wildest wildlife, and East Africa won’t disappoint. In Tanzania there’s the grassy Serengeti, populated with creatures easy to spot on the treeless expanse. Ngorongoro Crater is a veritable microcosm of East Africa’s fauna—lion prides, elephant herds, flamingo flocks, and other species that evolution’s managed to cook up. Tarangire is famous for its elephants and its ancient baobabs.
Visit Kenya’s Amboseli in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway. At Lewa, see an East African conservancy in action. The Masai Mara is known all over the world for its tremendous herds of wildebeest, zebra, and other big game—and the predators who follow them in search of a meal.
How’s that for wild?
Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania
R. Crusoe & Son creates an East African safari specifically for you and yours.
How long should you set aside for your safari? That depends on who’s in your group and what exactly you would like to see and do. Generally speaking, you should plan for a journey of between 12 and 18 days.
Your R. Crusoe travel specialist will create a route for you and yours that maximizes your exposure to the Great Migration.
The Great Migration
On our East African safaris, we visit the route on which the Great Migration takes place. Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara together are home to the world’s largest concentrations of wildebeest and gazelle, as well as elephant, rhinoceros, zebra, lion, hippopotamus, giraffe, and hyena. As one region, the parks comprise the most complex and least disturbed ecosystem on Earth.
In the spring, far south in the Serengeti, more than a million wildebeest and zebra begin their long trek to the Masai Mara. Their migration follows the path of the rain in search of fresh grass. The animals stay in one area until the grass is eaten up, and then they move on. But the trek is costly. As they head north, they’re tracked by ravenous predators—hyena, lion, cheetah, and vulture.
As the rains stop and the grass withers, the wildebeest head south, returning to the southern Serengeti by year’s end. There they mate and raise their calves until it is time to turn north again. Since this annual cycle is dependent upon the rains, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when migrating animals will be in any specific area. That said, an abundance of wildlife is nonetheless visible in Kenya and Tanzania throughout the year.
R. Crusoe’s East African safaris can include various types of accommodations: permanent tented camps, seasonal camps, lodges, and fine hotels.
Permanent camps visited by Crusoe travelers have been carefully chosen for their small size, their excellent service, and their outstanding game-viewing opportunities. Superbly comfortable tents are set on wood or stone platforms with wide verandas out front and thatched roofs overhead. Inside are all the creature comforts you desire: beds with thick mattresses, bedside tables, closets, rugs, electricity (in most cases), en-suite bathrooms with flush toilets, hot and cold running water, washbasins, showers, and sometimes tubs.
Seasonal camps have walk-in tents outfitted in time-honored safari style—sewn floors and windows, large wooden beds, comfortable mattresses, fresh cotton linens, and en-suite bathrooms with toilets and bush showers. This is safari living in its purest, most traditional form, a piece of true East African history. Each tent stands on its own, private site.
A lodge is a bush hotel with a large central building and nicely decorated guestrooms. They have all the amenities of an upscale hotel and all the romance of life on safari.
For a century, fine hotels in East Africa have attracted some of the world’s most interesting people. R. Crusoe has chosen the best of them for our travelers. The historic Norfolk in Nairobi, for instance, was a favorite of Teddy Roosevelt.
For more information about the East Africa camps, lodges, and hotels we recommend, please see the "Hotels & Camps We Love" tab on this web page.
Estimated price per person per night from $920, plus internal airfare. Pricing depends on the properties chosen, the number of people in your family, the season in which you travel, and the number of days you want to spend on safari in East Africa. Please speak to an R. Crusoe & Son travel specialist for details.
For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son travel specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.
Pre-Tour & Post-Tour Options
You've come a long way to reach East Africa. Since you're here, consider an extension to see—close up—the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. Read on for details...
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking. 4 Days.
The mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla Beringei) was unknown until 1902, when a German by the name of Captain von Beringe observed some tall “man-like” apes in what is now Rwanda. Little was known about them until naturalist George Schaller spent a year studying the animals in 1959 and 1960. His book, The Year of the Gorilla, changed the notion of the largest of apes from violent and vicious "King Kong monsters" to "amiable vegetarians" that live in small, cohesive family groups.
In 1963, a curious American by the name of Dian Fossey staggered up a 10,000-foot volcano in Rwanda and got the first glimpse of the gentle giants that would occupy most of her life. Isn’t it time you witnessed these incredible giants with your own two eyes? If you are up for a bit of adventure through jungle undergrowth and a bit of mud, come to Rwanda’s famed Volcanoes National Park to get up-close-and-personal with the mountain gorilla. The government of Rwanda issues only a very limited number of permits each year. We can get our hands on some.
Experienced guides join us every step of the way, tracking gorilla families as they eat, play, and attend to their family business in the Rwandan forest. While we're in Volcanoes National Park, opt for a second gorilla trek or choose from a range of other options (all at additional cost) including a walking safari for a look at golden monkeys.
Gorilla trekking. In a word? Life-changing. It's an experience you simply mustn't miss.
Sample Pricing: Per person sharing room from $3,100 for this four-day sample itinerary; plus gorilla trekking permit, per permit per person $1,500
During the gorilla trekking portion of this journey in Volcanoes National Park, R. Crusoe & Son travelers join other, non-Crusoe travelers in very small, ranger-led groups.
Remember that R. Crusoe & Son can create a Rwanda journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Arusha Coffee Lodge. A small luxury hotel on a working coffee plantation. The 30 Plantation Houses, with both rooms and suites, stand in lush coffee fields around the original landowner’s turn-of-the-century house.
Legendary Lodge. Set on a working coffee farm on the outskirts of the city. Six guest cottages surround a colonial main house. Each cottage features a king bed, sitting area, fireplace, en-suite bathroom, and private verandah. A new two-bedroom cottage with kitchenette and private garden is ideal for families. Alternatively, if seclusion and privacy are not priorities, two doubles rooms are available in the main lodge.
Norfolk Hotel. An elegant, historic hotel and a long-lived fixture of this city. The Norfolk’s 165 well-appointed rooms, pool, and gardens provide tranquil, sophisticated respite from the city’s bustling downtown.
Giraffe Manor. Another of Nairobi’s iconic historical buildings, this one dating from the 1930s. A herd of eight resident Rothschild giraffe tend to visit the Manor in the mornings and evenings to greet guests and sniff out some breakfast before venturing out into their 140-acre sanctuary. Giraffe Manor has 10 luxury rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms.
Hemingways Nairobi. A recently-opened boutique hotel, this plantation-style property has 45 rooms with private balconies overlooking the iconic Ngong Hills.
Lemala Ndutu Seasonal Tented Camp. The perfect seasonal tented camp from which to observe the Great Migration. Nine luxurious tents are taken to the stunning Lemala Ndutu site each December, where they remain until spring. Migrating herds begin to arrive at Ndutu in December; throughout February and March, calving takes place here. The camp is situated inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Kusini Permanent Tented Camp. Set in the remote southern Serengeti, Kusini overlooks the plains, where game is plentiful all year round. Built around a spectacular rocky outcrop on the path of the Great Migration, the camp is ideal for spotting cheetah and wildebeest that congregate in the calving season from mid-December to March. The secluded camp is comprised of 12 tents.
Serengeti Bushtops Permanent Tented Camp. A lovely camp in the secluded northern reaches of the Serengeti. Not far from the Mara River, the camp stands on the Great Migration path during the dry season. Fourteen tents each feature a four-poster bed, large couch, private hot tub, open-air shower, observation telescope, writing desk, and 24-hour butler service. All tents face west to catch spectacular sunsets.
Singita: Sasakwa Lodge. The property, atop a hill, was built in the English manor house style. Its nine air conditioned guest cottages feature en-suite bathrooms, large tubs, fireplaces, and plunge pools.
Singita: Faru Faru Lodge. Nine air-conditioned guest suites with distinctly contemporary decor. They overlook the Grumeti River, home to some very hefty crocs.
Singita: Sabora Permanent Tented Camp. Nine air-conditioned tents are decorated in 1920s classic safari style—think thick Oriental rugs and heavy mahogany furniture. No children under age 10 at Sabora, please.
Singita: Mara River Permanent Tented Camp. The camp stands within a remote location that crosses paths with the Great Migration in the northern Serengeti. Big cats, elephants, and other big game are frequent neighbors, as are crocodiles and hippos that live by the Mara River. Six permanent tents reflect contemporary African design. The food served here is locally sourced and organic.
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.
The Manor at Ngorongoro. The 10 luxurious cottages (20 suites) and magnificent Manor House blend East African hospitality with old-world architecture and decor. Adjacent to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area on a 1,500-acre coffee estate, the Manor is reminiscent of an elegant farm home built in the Cape Dutch style. Each Manor Cottage Suite has its own sun terrace, fireplace, en-suite bathroom with a shower, claw-footed tub, twin basins, and a rain shower. The Stable Cottage is located to the rear of the riding stables, separate from the main Manor house.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Thirty Masai-inspired suites stand on stilts around the rim of the crater. From the outside, this unobtrusive lodge resembles a Maasai village and has been described as “Versailles meets Maasai.” Each stone-and-thatch suite offers spectacular views from large glass windows in the bathroom, lounge, and bedroom.
Sanctuary Swala Permanent Tented Camp. Each of the 12 tents at Swala is shaded by tall acacia trees, and all stand within sight of a waterhole frequented by the local wildlife. The tents are luxurious and exquisitely furnished. Each features a spacious floor plan with king or twin beds, a private verandah, campaign chairs, and an en-suite bathroom with both indoor and outdoor showers.
Oliver’s Permanent Tented Camp. Ten tents offer bush luxury. Each has a private verandah, solar power, and an en-suite bathroom with flush toilets, and outdoor shower. The camp’s red-leather armchairs match the ocher soil beyond the deck, and the headboard in your tent has been hand-carved from African mahogany.
Tortilis Permanent Tented Camp. Tortilis has the undeveloped western half of Amboseli to itself as well as a private 30,000-acre concession. The 16 luxurious tents are spacious, with king or twin beds and elegant en-suite bathrooms. The new Family Tent has one double en-suite bedroom, one twin en-suite bedroom, and a spacious private verandah. Both bedrooms can fit one extra bed for a child under the age
Ol Donyo Lodge. On a private reserve between Amboseli and Tsavo West parks. This property accommodates a maximum of 20 guests. No two suites or villas are the same. All suites have a lounge, verandah, indoor and outdoor showers, double washbasins, flush toilet and bath, and rooftop beds for stargazing (a fabulous sleep-out option, with utter privacy). All but two of the suites have their own private pools.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya.
Lewa Wilderness Trails. In the wildlife-rich eastern corner of Lewa is the Craig family home, Wilderness Trails, which sleeps 16 people in eight beautiful cottages that feature fireplaces and verandahs. Guests share meals around a long banquet table in the open-air main house dining room. The resident chef takes full advantage of natural spring water, home-raised livestock, and a five-acre organic garden to create healthy, delicious dishes. The saltwater pool is refreshing, the stables are full of horses for guests to ride, and the clay tennis court comes equipped with both racquets and balls.
Sirikoi Lodge. A spectacular game lodge situated in the center of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya. It is surrounded by an acacia grove and overlooks a natural waterhole. Sirikoi has four luxury tented rooms. Each has views of the waterhole from a private verandah, a living area with a fireplace and an elegant bathroom with a Victorian-style tub and a shower. Two additional new luxury tents also have great views of the waterhole and surrounding bush. A secluded two-bedroom house made of wood, thatch, and stone and with a large deck area is situated in a private corner of the camp.
Masai Mara, Kenya.
Sanctuary Olonana Safari Permanent Camp. Located on a private concession bordering the Masai Mara, Olonana is right smack on the Great Migration route. The camp features 14 spacious tents with parquet floors, four-poster beds, en-suite bathrooms, and private riverview verandahs.
Naibor Camp. A luxury permanent tented camp that combines contemporary style with comfort. It stands hidden in a grove of riverine woodland on the banks of the Talek River. Each of the 12 tents has a king bed, big sofas, and wool rugs. Each also has a private verandah overlooking the river and an en-suite bathroom with two basins and a safari shower.
Bataleur Permanent Camp Masai Mara. Set below the spot where the famous final scene from “Out of Africa” was filmed, Bateleur overlooks the endless Masai Mara. Also on the Great Migration route, this camp is nestled in dense riverine forest, with nine luxury tents secluded within lush vegetation. Each has polished wooden floors, an overhead fan, en-suite bathroom with shower, and private verandah.
Governors’ Il Moran Permanent Camp. Hidden under ancient trees, deep in the forest, just 10 tents line the winding banks of the Mara River. An intimate camp. Each tent features a king bed made of olivewood and Victorian-style en-suite baths.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp. On a flat ridge high in the forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site, this delightful camp serves as an ideal base for encounters with Bwindi’s mountain gorillas. In fact, gorilla families often wander into camp. Each of eight spacious, luxurious tents features two queen sized beds and a huge bath tub that looks straight into the jungle canopy. Enjoy sundowners on your private viewing deck.
Join a seasoned naturalist to go gorilla tracking in Bwindi, a rare opportunity, as just eight visitors are allowed to track each family on a given day. Other activities are also available from camp.
The Uber-Safari: Roosevelt in Africa, 1909.
Teddy Roosevelt: 26th president of the United States, cowboy, rancher, military commander, author, voracious reader, hunter, conservationist.
T.R. lived a life as grand and adventurous as one could imagine. He saw the world in (almost) ridiculous comfort and at the side of fascinating local people with whom he traveled and beside others he met along the way.
In 1908, the president decided that he had had his fill of Washington politics, and he opted not to run for re-election. By early 1909, he bid farewell to the White House and headed for farther shores. It was time for a little adventure…
T.R. set his sights on the African continent. His African safari in 1909 was one of the most perfectly planned, extensively outfitted, and most interesting safaris of all time. Among other companions including his son Kermit, T.R. was joined by 250 experienced porters and guides. And he brought along a movable library of his favorite books.
“No words can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness,” wrote T.R. of Africa, “can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and it’s charm... The strong attraction of silent places, of the large tropical moon, and the splendor of the new stars; where the wandered sees the awful glory of sunrise and sunset in the wide waste spaces of the earth, unworn of man, and changed only by the slow change of the ages through time everlasting.”
After his safari, Roosevelt continued to England for the funeral of King Edward VII and then on to Norway to accept the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in ending the Russo-Japanese War. He returned to the U.S. in June 1910.
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