Kenya & Tanzania Budget Camping Safari Over View
The world-famous Masai Mara National Reserve, widely regarded as the best game-viewing park in Kenya. The "Big Five" (lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants and rhinos) may be spotted here, and more than a million wildebeests and zebras migrate annually to Masai Mara from the parched Serengeti plains of neighboring Tanzania (The Great Migration). They camp at the river bank for weeks just waiting for one of them to have the courage to jump into the river and cross over and they all follow suit. The river is infested with crocodiles where many wildebeest perish and also big cats place themselves strategically so that they can pounce on young and weak wildebeest and make a kill. You can also opt to visit a Masai village, where you can interact with local cattle-herders.
Lake Nakuru is a relatively small park that has been designated as a rhino sanctuary and is considered to be one of the finest places for bird-watching. Most notably are over one million flamingos that flock the lake giving it a pink color due the pink coloring on their feathers hence the name "Pink Lake". The park is a world heritage site and recognized as a wet land of international importance.
Amboseli is commonly reffered to as "Kilimanjaro royal court". The Park is famous for its big game, such as lions, cheetahs, baboons and large elephant herds that traverse the savannahs in search of watering holes or feeding grounds. The park also offers amazing view of Mt Kilimanjaro peaks which are visible early morning on a clear day.
Lake Manyara National Park lies in the shadow of the Great Rift Valley whose reddish brown escarpment wall looms 600 metres on the eastern horizon. The park is particularly known for its tree-climbing lions, who may be seen resting on a tree branch instead of a shady spot on the ground like most other lions. The lake has a wide array of bird species most notable are the lesser flamingos.
Often called the eighth wonder of the world, Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unbroken caldera in the world, and is one of the only places in Africa you can view every member of the "big five" (rhinoceros, lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant and buffalo) on a single game drive. Unique to Ngorongoro, indigenous tribes are permitted to live in the conservation area and local Maasai graze their livestock on the crater floor in harmony with nearby herds of buffalo and wildebeest.
The Serengeti National park is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania's parks. The park is Tanzania's largest and best-known National Park, with a massive concentration of migratory animals who move around the park in search of food. Serengeti is most famous for its annual migration "One of the seven wonders of the world" of over one and a half million white bearded wildebeest and 250,000 zebra among others.
Our budget camping safari takes you to amboseli, lake manyara and ngorongoro crater in a duration of five days. The tour begins in Nairobi and ends in Arusha. We normally use safari vehicles which have pop up roofs ideal for game viewing. Fresh meals are prepared by our cook and we en sure high standards of hygiene. We also cater for special diets [Vegetarian meals]. This trip can be undertaken as a group joining safari or a private safari.
East Africa Budget Travel
Ten Days Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Amboseli, Lake Manyara, Serengeti & Ngorongoro Camping Safari
Day One: Nairobi - Masai Mara
A representative from goshawk tours will meet you at your hotel or pick you up from the airport and after briefing you he or she will introduce you to your safari guide and other members of the tour. You will be driven north, a brief stopover at the Great Rift Valley view point where by we get to see part of the valley and take some photos. The valley runs from Jordan in israel to Mozambique a distance of 8,000 miles. Proceed on up to Narok town where you will have your lunch and afterward continue on arriving Masai Mara late afternoon. The world re known Masai Mara is famed for the millions of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras that cross the Mara river forming the wildebeest migration spectacle. You will be assisted to check into your respective tents and then head out for your evening game drive. Dinner and overnight at either (Mara sidai, Enchoro, Manyatta, Mara Springs, acacia campsites)
Day Two: Masai Mara
Today we will have a full day game drive; after waking up you will converge at the dinning area for your full breakfast. Your safari guide will liaise with the cook so as to organize for your picnic lunches. Head out in search of game. Masai Mara has an exceptional population of big cats, herds of elephants, zebras, resident wildebeest, antelopes and gazelles can be encountered among others, bird life is also plenty. Masai Mara game reserve offers a very high chance of spotting all the big five. Spend the whole day game viewing which includes a visit to the Mara river where you will find crocodiles lazing around. One has the option to visit the Masai village or go for an early balloon ride at an extra cost. Another option is to return to the camp by four o'clock and after having a cup of coffee or tea head out for an escorted walking safari with a masai warrior. Dinner and overnight at either (Mara sidai, Enchoro, Manyatta, Mara Springs, acacia campsite)
Day Three: Masai Mara - Lake Nakuru
Pre breakfast game drive, depart and drive to Lake Nakuru arriving in the after noon; lunch en route. On arrival you will head directly to the park for your evening game drive. Lake Nakuru is often referred to as a birds paradise because of the millions of pink flamingos found here. The lakes view from the baboon cliff depicts a pink colour due to the feather colouring of the flamingos hence the name "Pink Lake". The park hosts 450 million different bird species both migratory and terrestrial. The park is a world heritage site and recognized as a wet land of international importance. Lake Nakuru has over 50 mammal species and also serves as Black and white rhino sanctuary. The park is home to the highest population of black rhino in Kenya along with white rhinos introduced from south Africa. There are no elephants at Lake Nakuru simply because of the size of the park, elephants require a large area with lots of vegetation to feed on. Dinner and overnight at the guest house or budget hotel in Nakuru town.
Day Four: Lake Nakuru - Amboseli
Have breakfast early morning and depart. You will be driven to Amboseli via Nairobi arriving Kimana Camp in the afternoon; lunch en route. On arrival you will be assisted to check into your respective tents. Afterwards head out for the evening game drive. Amboseli has a wide variety of wildlife ranging from the Big five, cats, plains game and birdlife. Dinner and overnight at Kimana Camp.
Day Five: Amboseli
Wake up early enough to the most intoxicating view of Mt. Kilimanjaro which seats majestically as the back drop of this amazing park, on a clear day the snow peaks are visible. After breakfast head out for the morning game drive which provides the opportunity to see the most since wild game come out to hunt or browse/graze very early before the sun becomes to hot. Amboseli has the highest population of elephants and has been the centre for elephant research for the last thirty years with each individual known by name. The game drive will include a visit to the outlook post which gives you the opportunity to have an aerial view of the Amboseli plains. Return to the campsite for lunch and spend the afternoon at leisure or take a walk around the camp making friends. Head out for the evening game drive; large herds of elephants can be encountered. Amboseli has a variety of bird life both migratory and terrestrial. All meals and overnight at Kimana Camp.
Day Six: Amboseli - Namanga Border - Lake Manyara
Depart Amboseli after breakfast and drive to the Namanga border and after formalities proceed to Lake Manyara arriving by mid day. Pitch tent as you wait for lunch to be prepared. Spend the afternoon at leisure and later go for the evening game drive. Lake Manyara is 230 kilometers squared while the whole park is 330 kilometers squared inclusive of the lake. Lake Manyara is located under the wall of the Rift Valley and has the highest population of elephants per square kilometer in the country. If you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of Manyara's famous tree-climbing lions. The lake attracts thousands of lesser flamingos as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks, due to its alkaline nature. Dinner and overnight at Jambo campsite.
Day Seven: Lake Manyara - Serengeti
Pre Breakfast game drive which offers you an opurtunity to view game you might have missed, return to the camp for your full breakfast. Depart and head to Serengeti passing through Olduvai Gorge, a fossil site excavated by the leakey family where they discovered human fossil dating back 2 million years. Lunch at the Olduvai gorge; later proceed to the world famous Serengeti National Park. Serengeti is one of the largest wildlife sanctuary in the world and it is also the site of the most breathtaking events in the animal kingdom. The migration of over a million of wildebeest to the Masai Mara game reserve. After settling in the campsite and pitching tent head out for the evening game drive. Dinner and overnight at the Seronera campsite.
Day Eight: Serengeti
Serengeti means "endless plain" in the Masai language and much of the landscape epitomizes what we have come to expect from an East African safari; vast open savannahs dotted with acacia trees, rocky outcrops, riverine bushes, scrubs, rivers and swamps. These features give Serengeti a fascinating variety of sceneries. The day is spent exploring this amazing park with morning and evening game drive. The parks wildlife population is over 4 million and over 400 bird species both migratory and terrestrial. Meals and over night at Seronera campsite.
Day Nine: Serengeti - Ngorongoro Crater
After breakfast you will have a morning game drive which offers you an opurtunity to view game you might have missed, return to the camp for your full breakfast and shortly depart afterwards. Drive to Ngorongoro crater; lunch en route arriving in the afternoon. Pitch tent at the campsite which is at the rim of the crater and take a guided walking tour on the crater rim this offers amazing view of the crater. Dinner and overnight at Simba campsite.
Have breakfast early and descend 2000 meters with a four wheel drive vehicle to the floor of the crater. Ngorongoro crater is commonly referred to as the "Garden of Eden" and the park is inhabited by about 30,000 animals, of which half are zebra and wildebeest. The park has recorded over 14000 wildebeest. Tanzania's few remaining black rhino are regularly sighted in the crater, as are large herds of buffalos. On the crater floor and in the Ngoitokitok swamps, reside plenty of hippos who remain partially submerged during the day and graze on grass at night. Bird life is also abundant. Spend the day exploring this natural habitat taking a break to have a picnic lunch. Later ascend back to the campsite, pack and depart. Drive to Arusha arriving late afternoon. Drop off at a hotel in Arusha or the airport to board a flight to your next destination.
Safari Pricing Includes:
- Transport in a custom safari minibus & 4x4 land rover with pop up roof.
- All park entrance fees.
- Meals as described in the itinerary.
- Game drives and other activities as described in the itinerary
- Services of an English speaking driver guide.
- Complimentary Bottled water 1 Litre per person per day.
- All government taxes.
Safari Pricing Excludes:
- International airfares.
- All expenditure of personal nature such as telephone calls, hard drinks, soft drinks and laundry.
- Travel Insurance.
Masai mara camping offers accommodation in form of permanent erected tents, which have beds, beddings, mosquito nets, flush toilets and hot showers. Beddings are changed every morning and you also provided with a towel. A tent can accommodate one, two or three people. We also have family tents. There is a common dining area where meals are served and a bar. Fresh food is prepared in a buffet style by our cook. We also cater for special dietaries. In the evening there is a bonfire and the masai warriors entertain you as you relax. Most campsites use generators as the source of lighting and the generators are turned off at 1000 - 1100 hrs. Some of the camps are located right outside the boundary of the Maasai Mara though there isn't a clear demarcation or fence of the game reserve. Animals some time wonder in the camps but the camps are very safe and Maasai warriours are always on the look out.
Lake Nakuru has a guest house called Naishi guest house which has accomodation in dormitory kind of sharing and bandas. Meals are prepared by our cook. There are two public campsites namely Makalia and Backpackers where one can pitch tent. Another type of accommodation is budget hotels in Nakuru town which is a five minutes drive to the park.
Amboseli accommodation is in form of budget campsites or guest houses. The tents are permanently erected and are furnished, they have beds with flush toilets and hot showers. Kindly note that some campsites have toilets and bathrooms outside the tent. The campsite has a common dinning area where guest take their meals. Most campsites use generators as the source of lighting and the generators are turned off at 1000 - 1100 hrs. Some of the camps are located right outside the boundary of the Amboseli though there isn't a clear demarcation or fence of the park. Animals some time wonder in the camps but the camps are very safe and Maasai warriours are always on the look out. In the evening there is a bonfire and the Maasai warriors entertain you as you relax. Fresh foods are prepared by our cook.
Lake Manyara budget camping varies from pitching a two man dome tent in a public campsite, facilities at the public campsite a long drop toilet. You are expected to help with pitching tent and taking it down. This can be referred to as basic camping. The other form of camping available is middle range where you find permanent erected tents with beddings, flush toilets and hot showers. Facilities include swimming pool and a bar. For those of you who are new to camping, don't worry; all tents are easy to erect, your friendly guide will give a demonstration and are around to help you out.
Serengeti National Park budget camping comes in form of public campsites which number up to nine, six around seronera, one at Kirawira in the Western Corridor, and one near Ndabaka Gate in the far west along the Mwanza-Musoma road. The camps have well maintained toilets, hot showers heated by firewood (the firewood is bought at Karatu) and it is possible to visit the lodge bars and restaurants in the evening. Wild animals frequently visit the campsite which is not fenced, you should move with caution. There are also several rest houses at Seronera with running water, blankets and cooking facilities. You'll need to bring your own food, although there's a small shop at Seronera selling soft drinks, water and a few basics.
Ngorongoro Crater camping comes in form of public campsites and private campsites all located at the rim of the crater. The campsites don't have facilities and the tour operators carry everything required with them. Hot showers are available, heated by wood fires. The toilet is a long drop. It is possible to visit the lodge bars and restaurants after dark, but we advice you drive with caution, as many animals move through the area at night. Views points of the crater are only a short walk away and are absolutely stunning. Wild animals from the crater and Serengeti as far as from other part of Ngorongoro conservation Area frequently visit the campsite which is not fenced, you should move with caution. The campsite can become fairly cold (from an African perspective) and sometimes noisy at night. Our cook will place you tent in the area where you will be comfortable and easily reached. He will also take care of your belongings while you are in game drive. We will provide camping equipments as far as extra sleeping bag just in case you forget yours. Simba Campsite public campsite so you should expect other tourist from different companies.
Masai Mara Game Reserve
The world we known masai mara game reserve is a northern extension of the serengeti national park which is located in Tanzania. Masai mara covers an area of 1510km². The masai mara ecosystem is composed of rivers i.e talek river and mara river which are the main water supply for the ecosystem. The mara river is a huddle to the wildebeest migration as the wildebeests have to cross the river from serengeti most of them perishing in the jaws of crocodiles and big cats. The western part of masai mara lies the siria escarpment, loita plains and the rest is the masai pastoral land.
The masai mara game reserve is owned and run by the county council of Narok which is the richest county council in Kenya due to the revenue collected as park entrance fee. Part of the masai mara which is called the mara triangle is contracted out and privately run. Park fees are paid by the number of nights one spends in the mara conservancy.
The Masai Mara lies at an altitude of 1500 meters to 2100 meters. It rains twice a year in the game reserve that is during the long rains that fall between the month of March and May and during the short rains that fall on the month of October, November and part of December. June and July are the coldest months and January and February the hottest months. Temperatures during the day rarely exceed 85°F (30°C) and during the night it hardly drops below 60°F (15°C). Masai Mara is a mosquito prone area but camp site are sprayed with mosquito repellants and the tents have treated mosquito nets.
Masai mara has a big population of wildlife. All members of the big five can be seen in this reserve, a large number of ungulates are also easily visible they include the wildebeest , thomson gazelles, grant gazelles, buffalos, rhinos, impalas, topis, elands, zebras, giraffes and duikers. The common predators include the lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, jackals and foxes. Masai mara has over 450 identified species. Some common birds include the common ostrich, secretary bird, Kori bustard, hornbills, storks, eagles and vultures.
The wildebeest migration happens annually, this spectacle is considered as one of the 7th wonder of the world. More than a million wildebeest, accompanied by topis, zebras, gazelles and elands make their journey from serengeti national park to masai mara game reserve. Many of them perish while crossing the mara river where crocodiles and big cats make a kill on the vulnerable ungulates. The migration happens every year during the month of July after the long rains. The grass is big and plenty and for the next three months the wildebeests clear the lush grass of the masai mara. The migration varies annually due to the climate change. If the climate changes and it doesn't rain as usual the wildebeest may delay to cross over or cross over and go back since there isn't grass to feed on.
The masai people whom by definition speak the maa language hence the name masai have held on to their culture even in these times of modernization. A masai's home is called a manyatta where he lives with his wives and children. From childhood boys are obligated to look after their fathers cows while girls are obligated to doing house chores, fetching water and milking the cows. After every fifteen years there is an initiation where boys are circumcised and they become young morans and the existing morans graduate to junior elders. The masai enjoy eating meat, milk mixed with blood during rituals such initiation and marriage. The use of herbs as medicine. Their culture is still embedded in their day to day life. The masai are a big attraction in Kenya.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru is one of the alkaline lakes of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Nakuru is also known as "Pink Lake" or Africa Bird's Paradise. The lake is ideally located in central Kenya within Lake Nakuru National park. The park occupies an area of 188 km2 while the lake occupies an area of 62 km2. The lake is famous for the millions of flamingos that flock the lake although flamingos are unpredictable birds and are not always to be found in the lake is such vast numbers. From a distance i.e. the baboon cliff the lake looks pink in color due to the flamingos.
The topography at Lake Nakuru is comprised of grasslands alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, acacia woodlands and a forest made up euphorbia trees. In the early 1960's tilapia grahami was introduced to the lake and it flourished despite the alkaline nature of the lake.
There are two species of flamingos namely lesser flamingo and greater flamingos, they feed on algae, which flourishes due to the warm alkaline waters of Lake Nakuru. It is believed that flamingos consume about 250,000 kg of algae per hectare of surface area per year. The abundance of algae in the lake is what attracts millions of flamingos to Lake Nakuru. Apart from flamingos other bird species include ducks, pelicans, cormorants, plovers, vultures, eagles, and buzzards. Lake Nakuru has over 50 animal species which include hippos, reed bucks, water bucks, rothschild giraffe's, baboons, black and white columbus monkey, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, lions, gazelles and impalas among others.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is located south of Nairobi 140 kilometers which is a four hours drive from Nairobi. The park occupies an area of 392 km2. The ecosystem is made up of a seasonal lake called Lake Amboseli where the park derives its name from, swamps, open plains, acacia woodland, rocky out crops, thorn bushes and marches. The landscape is dominated by the backdrop of the majestic snow-cap of Mount Kilimanjaro the highest mountain in Africa. The snow capes are visible when the clouds are clear mainly early morning and late evenings and this scene gives one the opportunity to capture wonderful memories on camera for friends and loved ones back at home.
Amboseli national park is considered Kenya second best after Masai Mara game reserve by many tourist and is the only national park in Kenya that has the highest population of elephants. The ecosystem of Amboseli though small compared to other parks sustain a large number of bird species and game. Amboseli offers some of the best opportunities to see African animals because its vegetation is sparse due to the long dry months. The park is considered most ideal for writers, filmmakers and researchers.
The Maasai are the local habitant of this area, which they call Empusel meaning "Dusty place". Other community tribes have moved to Amboseli in search of greener pastures. Beside game viewing and the ecstatic views of Mount Kilimanjaro one can visit a local Masai village to learn their way of life and to interact with the locals.
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara lies 127 kilometers west of Arusha town a driving distance if 2 hours. The park covers an area of 330 km2 which consist of dry arid land, forest and the lake. The Lake covers an area of 200 km2 and its alkaline, the lake dries up during the dry season and it almost non existence. Most of the land area of the park is a narrow strip running between the Gregory Rift wall to the west and Lake Manyara to the east. Ernest Hemingway once described the park as "the loveliest I had seen in Africa.
The park's terrain is vast and impressive including large areas of ground water forest with giant fig and mahogany trees alternating with acacia woodlands and open plains. A good network of roads and tracks gives the tourist a maximum game and bird watching opportunity.
The lake is famous for its tree climbing lions, this behavior has been attributed to the torment of biting flies which is minimal while arboreal. The lake attracts thousands of lesser flamingos as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks. due to its alkaline nature. Over 400 hundred bird species have been recorded in the park. Game to view include Leopards, lions, elephants, blue monkeys, dik-dik, gazelle, hippo, giraffe, impala, wildebeests and zebras.
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is widely regarded as the best wildlife reserve in Africa due to its density of predators and prey. The park covers 14,763 km2 (5,700 sq mi) of grassland plains and savanna as well as riverine forest and woodlands. The park lies in the north of the country, bordered to the north by the national Tanzania and Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Masai Mara National Reserve.
The park is usually described in three regions Serengeti plains, Western corridor and Northern Serengeti. Serengeti plains are characterized by the endless, almost treeless grasslands. This is where the wildebeest breed, as they remain in the plains from December to May. Other ungulates also occur in huge numbers during the wet season. Kopjes are granite florations which are very common in the region, and they are great observation posts for predators, as well as a refuge for hyrax and pythons. The Western corridor the "black cotton" soil covers the swampy savannah of this region. Grumeti river is home to enormous Nile crocodiles, colobus monkey, and the martial eagle. The migration passes through from May to July. The Northern Serengeti landscape is dominated by open woodlands and hills, ranging from Seronera in the South, to the Mara river in the limit with Kenya. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra (which occur from July to August, and in November), the bushy savannah is the best place to find elephant, giraffe and dik dik.
Human habitation is forbidden in the National Park with the exception of staff for TANAPA, researchers, Frankfurt Zoological Society staff, and staff of the various lodges and hotels. The main settlement is Seronera which houses the majority of research staff and the park's main headquarters, including its primary airstrip.
As well as the migration of ungulates, the park is well known for its healthy stock of other resident wildlife, particularly the "Big Five". The park also supports many further species, including cheetah, Thomson's and Grant's gazelle, topi, eland, waterbuck, hyena, baboon, impala, African wild dog and giraffe. The park also boasts about 500 bird species, including ostrich, secretary bird, Kori bustard, crowned crane, marabou stork, martial eagle, lovebirds and many species of vultures.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro conservation area was established in the year 1959 and later become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The crater is one of the biggest caldera in the world and has been described as one of the most spectacular game hunts in Africa. The crater has a diameter of 14.5km and a depth of 2000ft - 2500ft. The crater covers an area of 264 km2.
The crater highlands on the side facing the easterly trade winds receives 800-1200 mm of rain a year and is covered largely in montane forest, while the less-steep west wall receives only 400-600 mm; this side is grassland and bush land dotted with Euphorbia trees. The crater floor is mostly open grassland with two small wooded areas dominated by Acacia xanthophloea. The major source of water for the park is Ngoitokitok Spring, Munge Stream and Lerai Stream.
The best vantage point is the flat-topped Engitati Hill in the north-eastern corner of the park. Lake Magadi, a large but shallow alkaline lake in the south-western corner, is the main feature of the crater. A large number of flamingos, hippos and other water birds can usually been seen here. The Lerai Forest a fever tree forest located in the south is a good place in the park to see animals such as elephants, waterbuck and flitting sunbirds. Swamps, thorn scrub and grassland fill the rest of the park and provide the bulk of wildlife viewing.
The park is one of the most densely crowded wildlife areas in the world and is home to an estimated 30,000 animals. There are no giraffe, topi or impala in the park - they probably find it to difficult to negotiate the crater rim cliffs and there is also insufficient grazing for large herds of antelope, inside the park. However the park teems with wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, aggressive pack hunting hyenas and resident lion prides. Supported by a year round supply of water and fodder, the park supports a vast variety of animals, which include impressive herds of wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, eland, warthog, hippo, giant elephants and a small population of black rhino. Another big draw to this picturesque park is it dense population of predators, which include lions, hyenas, jackals, cheetahs and the ever elusive leopard, which sometimes requires a trained eye to spot.
The Ngorongoro Crater is only open from 06h00 to 16h00 and only 6 hour safari permits are issued which allows for only a single 6 hour morning game drive or 6 hour afternoon game drive to the park. There are two picnic and toilet spots - the one in the Lerai Forest and at the other at the Ngoitokitok Springs located in the south-eastern section of the park.
Do's And Don'ts In The Game Reserves & National Park.
- Do not Litter the reserve/park.
- Do not feed the animals, i.e. monkeys or baboons.
- Do give the animals the right of way and do not disturb wildlife.
- Do not take any plant or animals remains, dead or alive.
- Do not start fires or throw cigarettes in the reserve.
- Do stay in your vehicle except at designated viewing points.
- Do not shout, laugh loudly, play radio or cassettes as this will keep away the animals.
- Do not provoke any animals its dangerous.