Coke & Som Smith Photography & Travelogue

Safari to Kenya & Tanzania


A spectacular Lioness seen after a Wildebeest kill in the Masai Mara. 

 

After several trips to this region of Africa, I currently find it difficult to actually isolate one trip from the others.  So I have printed below the two programs that I personally designed and have participated in on a number of occasions with La Selva Expeditions.

My personal favorite locations in East Africa have to be the Masai Mara, the Serengeti and Tsavo.  The profusion of wildlife I have seen in those areas is difficult to parallel anywhere.  The most impressive wildlife spectacle I think I have ever seen is the great wildebeest migration that I witnessed in both the Mara and Serengeti.  Although I have yet to see the herds crossing the Mara River en masse, just seeing the millions of wildebeest grazing the plains of the region is a sight to see. 

 

To see more amazing images of Eastern and Southern Africa, click the below links:

Eastern and Southern African Mammals

Eastern and SouthernAfrican Birds

Eastern and Southern African People & Landscapes

 

 

A Boehm's (Grant's) Zebra in the Serengeti

 

THE WILDS OF KENYA AND TANZANIA

DAY 1: NAIROBI: On arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and after clearing immigration formalities, the group is met by the local guides and transferred to New Stanley Hotel. The rest of the day at leisure. In the early evening, the group is transferred to the Carnivore Restaurant for your welcome cocktail and dinner followed by an ornithological lecture on the birds of East Africa. Return to the hotel.Overnight: New Stanley Hotel. (B)

DAY 2: TSAVO NATIONAL PARK: After breakfast, the group drives Tsavo West National Park arriving in time for lunch at Kilaguni Lodge (295kms-31/2hrs) There will be time for an afternoon game viewing drive which will include a visit to Mzima Springs. Dinner at the Lodge. Overnight:Kilaguni/Ngulia/Taita Hills Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 3: AMBOSELO NATIONAL PARK: After breakfast, the group joins the convoy escort and drives past Shaitani lava flow to Amboseli National Park (150kms-02hrs). Lunch at the lodge. Afternoon game viewing drive. Dinner at the lodge. Amboseli is famous for the vast herds of megafauna as well as the spectacular views of Mt. Kilamanjaro. Overnight: Ol Tukai/Amboseli Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 4: AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK: Morning and late afternoon game drives in the Park (1630hrs & 1600hrs). All meals at the Lodge. The group will participate in a pre-dinner lecture on the Elephant Research Program by local scientists. Overnight: Ol Tukai/Amboseli Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 5: ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK, TANZANIA: The group has an early morning transfer to Namanga-the Kenya/Tanzania border point (80kms-11/2hrs). After clearing with immigration formalities, the group changes vehicles and proceeds to Arusha to arrive in time for lunch at Mt. Meru Hotel (115-02hrs). There should be enough time for an afternoon game viewing drive in Arusha National Park. Dinner at the Lodge. Overnight: Mountain Village Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 6: LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK: After breakfast, the group proceeds to Lake Manyara National Park (130kms-03hrs). There will be enough time for an afternoon game viewing drive in the Park. Lunch and dinner at the hotel. Overnight: Lake Manyara Serena/Sopa Lodge. (BLD)

 

A trio of Masai Giraffe kickin' it under a tree that is mysteriously groomed to thier precise height....hmmm...

 

DAY 7: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK: After breakfast, the group drives through the spectacular Ngorongoro Conservation Area (205kms-04hrs) to arrive at the Serengeti Serena in time for lunch. 1600hrs Afternoon game viewing drive in the Park. Dinner will be at the lodge followed by a lecture on conservation efforts in Serengeti National Park. Overnight: Serengeti Serena/Sopa Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 8: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK: Morning and late afternoon game viewing drives in the park (1630hrs & 1600hrs). All meals at the lodge. Overnight: Serengeti Serena/Sopa Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 9: NGORONGORO CRATER/OLDUVAI GORGE: After breakfast, the group drives to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area visiting the world famous Olduvai Gorge en route (145kms-03hrs). Afternoon at leisure.Lunch and dinner at the Lodge. Overnight: Ngorongoro Serena/Sopa Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 10: NGORONGORO CRATER: After breakfast, we depart for a full day crater tour with picnic lunches on the floor of the crater. 1700hrs Return to the lodge to freshen up for dinner. Overnight: Ngorongoro Serena/Sopa Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 11: RETURN TO KENYA: After breakfast, the group returns to Arusha to arrive for lunch at Mount Meru Hotel (130kms-03hrs). We are then transferred to Kilimanjaro International Airport for our flight to Nairobi departing in the afternoon. Met on arrival at Wilson Airport the group is transferred to the New Stanley Hotel. Dinner on your own arrangements. Overnight: New Stanley Hotel. (BLD)

DAY 12: THE ARK: After breakfast, we drive north out of Nairobi, past traditional Kikuyuland with sisal, coffee and pineapple plantations to the Aberdare region (215kms-03hrs). From there the group is transferred in a club vehicle to the Ark for dinner and a night of game viewing from the lodge precincts. Overnight: The Ark/Treetops. (BLD)

NOTE: Only a small overnight bag is allowed at the ark. Storage facilities are available at the Aberdare Country Club. Children under 7yrs are not allowed into the Ark.

DAY 13: SHABA RESERVE: After breakfast, the group returns to Aberdare Country Club where we can retrieve the rest of our baggage and continue further north past Isiolo town to the rugged Shaba Reserve (215kms-04hrs). There should be time for an afternoon game viewing drive. Lunch and dinner at the Lodge. Overnight: Sarova Shaba/Samburu Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 14: SHABA RESERVE: The group experiences a full day in Shaba & Buffalo Springs reserves with both morning and afternoon game viewing drives at 0630hrs and 1600hrs respectively. All meals at the lodge. Overnights: Sarova Shaba/Samburu Lodge. (BLD)

 

An angry Masai Warrior glaring at my right before he tried to kill me....actually he was pretending and I paid him for the right to take his picture.  I told him to look mean and macho!

 

DAY 15: MT. KENYA SAFARI CLUB:After breakfast, the group drives to the Mount Kenya region to arrive for lunch at the exclusive and luxurious Mt Kenya Safari Club (150kms-03hrs). Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the various facilities offered by the Club. Dinner at the Club. Overnight: Mt. Kenya Safari Club. (BLD)

NOTE:
Gentlemen are required to put on a tie and a jacket and formal dressing for ladies during dinner in the member's dinning room. Children under 12yrs are not allowed. Smart casual wear is mandatory during dinner in the main dinning room. Jeans, t-shirts, pollnecks, sandals, shorts and caps will not be allowed.

DAY 16: NAKURU NATIONAL PARK: After breakfast, the group drives west via Thompson Falls to Lake Nakuru National Park (190kms-03hrs). We enjoy lunch at Sarova Lion Hill Lodge. There will be an afternoon game viewing and bird watching drive in the Park. Dinner at the Lodge. Overnight: Sarova Lion Hill/Lake Nakuru Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 17: NAIROBI: After breakfast, the group drives along the spectacular Rift Valley floor stopping at the Kariandusi early-human archeological site en route to the Lake Naivasha Country Club (95kms-02hrs). We enjoy lunch at the club. We continue to drive to Nairobi for a late afternoon arrival. (115kms-02hrs). We then transfer to the Toona Tree Restaurant for our farewell dinner. Return to the Hotel. Overnight: New Stanley Hotel. (BLD)

DAY 18: NAIROBI-END OF TOUR: Breakfast. Use of rooms is until 1000hrs only unless prior arrangements are made with the hotel reception. Transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (02hrs prior) for your international flight home.

 

 

A couple Cape Buffalo wallowing in a salt pond in the Rift Valley of East Africa

 

 

SPECTACULAR KENYA

DAY 1: NAIROBI: On arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and after clearing with customs and immigration formalities, the group is met by your local guide and transferred to the New Stanley Hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. The group is then transferred to the Carnivore Restaurant, famous for its variety of barbecue, for your welcome cocktail and dinner followed by an ornithological lecture on the birds of East Africa. Return to the hotel. Overnight: New Stanley Hotel. (B)

DAY 2: TSAVO NATIONAL PARK: After breakfast, the group drives Tsavo West National Park arriving in time for lunch at Kilaguni Lodge (295kms-31/2hrs). There should be time for an afternoon game viewing drive which will include a visit to Mzima Springs. Dinner at the lodge. Overnight: Kilaguni/Ngulia/Taital Hills Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 3: AMBOSELO NATIONAL PARK: After breakfast, the group joins the convoy escort and drives past Shaitani lava flow to Amboseli National Park(150kms-02hrs). Lunch at the Lodge. Afternoon game viewing drive. Dinner at the Lodge. Amboseli is famous for the vast herds of megafauna as well as the spectacular views of Mt. Kilamanjaro. Overnight: Ol Tukai/Amboseli Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 4: AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK: Morning and late afternoon game drives in the Park (1630hrs & 1600hrs). All meals at the Lodge. The group will participate in a pre-dinner lecture on the Elephant Research Program by local scientists. Overnight: Ol Tukai/Amboseli Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 5: THE ARK: The group drives to Nairobi to arrive for lunch at the Carnivore Restaurant (250kms-04hrs). In the afternoon the group drives north out of Nairobi past traditional Kikuyuland with sisal, coffee and pineapple plantations to the Aberdare region (215kms-03hrs). We then transfer in a club vehicle to the Ark for dinner and a night of game viewing from the lodge precincts. Overnight: The Ark/Treetops (BLD)

NOTE: Only a small overnight bag is allowed at the ark. Storage facilities are available at the Aberdare country club. Children under 7yrs are not allowed into the ark.

DAY 6: SHABA RESERVE: After breakfast, the group returns to Aberdare Country Club where we can retrieve the rest of our baggage and continue north past Isiolo town to the rugged Shaba Reserve (215kms-04hrs). There should be time for an afternoon game viewing drive. Lunch and dinner at the Lodge. Overnight: Sarova Shaba/Samburu Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 7: SHABA RESERVE: The group experiences a full day in Shaba & Buffalo Springs reserves with both morning and afternoon game viewing drives at 0630hrs and 1600hrs respectively. All meals at the lodge. Overnights: Sarova Shaba/Samburu Lodge (BLD)

DAY 8: NAKURU NATIONAL PARK: After breakfast, the group drives west via Thompson Falls to Lake Nakuru National Park (190kms-03hrs). We enjoy lunch at Sarova Lion Hill Lodge. There will be an afternoon game viewing and birdwatching drive in the Park. Dinner at the Lodge. Overnight: Sarova Lion Hill/Lake Nakuru Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 9: MASAI MARA WILDLIFE RESERVE: After breakfast, the group drives along the Rift Valley floor past Mt Longonot to the Masai Mara Game Reserve (325kms-51/2hrs). There will be an afternoon game viewing drive. Lunch and dinner at the Camp/Lodge. Overnight: Sarova Mara Camp/Mara Sopa Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 10: MASAI MARA WILDLIFE RESERVE: The group will participate in morning and late afternoon game drives in the Park(1630hrs & 1600hrs). All meals at the Lodge/Camp. There will be a pre-dinner lecture by the Game Warden of the reserve. Overnight: Sarova Mara Camp/Mara Sopa Lodge. (BLD)

DAY 11: NAIROBI: After breakfast, the group returns to Nairobi to arrive about 1300hrs (300kms-05hrs). Lunch will be on your own arrangements. For dinner the group will be transfer to Toona Tree Restaurant for your farewell dinner. 2230hrs Return to the Hotel. Overnight: New Stanley Hotel. (BD)

DAY 12: NAIROBI: Breakfast. Use of rooms is until 1000hrs only unless prior arrangements are made with the hotel reception. Transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your international flight home. (B)

 

 Here are some images of my trips to the region:

 

 

 

 

Greater Flamingos (cap.) get their color from the arthropods they eat!  At least this is what my six year old son says...(he's correct)

 

 

We saw many lakes in the Rift Valley region that were pink with the color of large flocks of Greater and Lesser Flamingos.  This mixed flock was seen in Lake Elementaita, Kenya.


 

 

This Olive Baboon was pacing our safari vehicle in the Masai Mara.

 

 

We spent quite a lot of time with the Masai.  Sometimes they were our guards in our bush camps, and other times we paid for the right to take their photos.  Note how this young warrior folds his ear up and over.


 

 

 

I just loved this young warrior's head!


 

 

 

The body art on this fellow was spectacular.

 

 

Costa Rica isn't the only place with the so-called "ant acacia".  This Acacia however was not providing an extrafloral nectary.  Instead it provided a nursery!  But the mutualistim concept is most likely the same.


 

 

We spent a couple hours watching these titans battle for territory or females...or something...in the Mara River in Tanzania.


 

 

A spectacular Masai Giraffe seen in the Serengeti.

 

 

A Boehm's (Grant's) zebra watching the great expanse of the Serengeti.


 

 

I love this photo.

 

 

This herd was very curious. After a few minutes of watching them approach, they actually came up and the mother place her trunk on me!  I could not believe it!


 

 

One June on my first trip to the Masai Mara in 1995, I found myself right in the middle of the great migration!  I will never forget the overwhelming sound of the grunting White-bearded Wildebeest filling the entire region. At some points it was nearly deafening.  We drove though the herd that morning for over 20 kilometers!  Although we did not see any river crossings, I will never forget this amazing natural spectacle. 

 

 

A couple curious young DeFassa's Waterbuck seen somewhere in Kenya!  I think this was in Tsavo.


 

 

A couple sparring Topi seen fighting for position in the Masai Mara.  I wish I had been able to photograph these beasts in better light.  They actually have a brilliant purple sheen!

 

 

A mother Common Impala and her new born in the Masai Mara.


 

 

We saw loads of these speedy little devils.  Thomson's Gazelles were a common feature throughout the Mara and the Serengeti.

 

 

There is something about having a giant healthy Lioness stare right in to your eyes while you are in an open-top vehicle.  Luckily this one had just eaten the belly of a freshly killed wildebeest.


 

 

Although the Masai do use cow dung in the construction of their homes, there is no odor. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon we spent in this village in Kenya near Amboseli National Park.

 

 

 

This little girl was sneaking a peak at the "Mazungu" (white devil) that was skulking through her village...


 

 

Keeping up with the taxonomical changes in this group of monkeys is difficult. Last I heard the East African Vervet has now been classified as its own species.  This one ws seen with its troop near the Mara River in the Masai Mara.


Be sure to check our Photography pages to see more spectacular images from around the world!

To see more amazing images of Eastern and Southern Africa, click the below links:

Eastern and Southern African Mammals

Eastern and SouthernAfrican Birds

Eastern and Southern African People & Landscapes