We’re not sure why, but great journeys often involve great contrasts. African Splendour is a case in point. On the full 17-day safari (the first 6 days in Southern Africa are optional), we range through 34 degrees of latitude and four countries, but, most engagingly and contrastingly, we experience the diverse excitements of Cape Town’s urban pizzazz, the watery colossus of Victoria Falls, and the wondrous game lands of the Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem, where the wandering rains compel the planet’s most momentous movement of big, interesting mammals. (And then there’s the Ngorongoro Crater, which really can’t be contrasted with any other place, because there really isn’t any other place remotely like it, at least on our home planet.)
Those with a little less time can begin the safari on Day 8 in Nairobi before heading off to the quite engagingly contrasty Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti, and the Maasai Mara, high on the list of Africa’s supreme splendours.
Supplier: Micato Safaris
Cape Town is southern Africa's most beautiful, most romantic and most-visited city. Few urban centers anywhere can match its setting along the Cape Peninsula spine, which slides like the mighty tail of the continent into the Atlantic Ocean. By far the most striking - and famous - of its sights is Table Mountain, frequently mantled by clouds, and rearing up from the middle of the city to provide a constantly changing vista to the suburbs below. Table Mountain is the city's solid core which divides the city into distinct zones with public gardens, wilderness, forests, hiking routes, vineyards and desirable residential areas trailing down it's lower slopes.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve (Masai Mara) is Kenya's finest and most outstanding wildlife sanctuary where gentle rolling grassland ensures animals are never out of sight. The climate is gentle, rarely too hot and well spread rainfall year round. The sensation of the great wildebeest migration between July and October is unparalleled. The wildlife is far from being confined within the Reserve boundaries and an even larger area extends beyond the game Reserve. Centuries of close association with the wildllife has resulted in an almost symbiotic relationship where wildlife and Masai people live in peace with one another. The first sight of this park is breathtaking. There is nowhere else on earth to compare with this wildlife marvel. The combination of a gentle climate, scenic splendour and untold numbers of wildlife makes the Maasai Mara National Reserve Kenya's most popular inland destination.
Lake Manyara National Park
Approaching Lake Manyara National Park the view is spectacular. From the east the Rift Valley escarpment looms on the horizon forming an impressive backdrop to the lake. From the west, the Park lies in a green strip below and the lake glistens in the sunlight. The Park's different habitats are clear. In the tall trees of the ground water forest monkeys leap from branch to branch, on the slope of the escarpment elephants stand in the shade of a baobab. In the acacia woodland lions lie draped along the branches of umbrella trees, in the pools along the lake shore the hippos wallow, and in the lake itself wade colorful flamingos. The large variety of mammals, reptiles and birds in the Park and the different types of vegetation, all within a small area make Lake Manyara a diverse and particularly memorable place to visit.
Today, the Serengeti National Park helps protect the greatest and most varied collection of terrestrial wildlife on earth, and one of the last great migratory systems still intact. The Serengeti is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania's protected areas and has come to symbolize paradise. The region encompasses Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas and Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Two World Heritage Sites and two Biosphere Reserves have been established within the region. It's unique ecosystem has inspired writers and filmakers as well as numerous photographers and scientists. The essential features of climate, vegetation and fauna have barely changed in the past million years. Some patterns of life, death, adaptation and migration are as old as the hills themselves.
Livingstone is less than 10 miles from beautiful Victoria Falls and is a delightful old colonial town named after the explorer David Livingstone. As Zambian tourism increases, more people are staying in Livingstone and new enterprises seem to be springing up. There are also many lovely lodges on the banks of the Zambezi.
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