Tyler and Mallory’s East African Anniversary

Horseback riding at Lewa Wilderness / Courtesy of Lewa Wilderness

10-11 Days | October 2024

Both Kenya and Tanzania would be great options for you, but I would focus on one country because it reduces the amount of travel time required. Keeping the trip at two stops will also reduce travel time/expense and let you really enjoy where you are.

The final timing of the trip will depend on the availability of the camps you like. If you are willing to push the trip into the first week of November, you can get some great deals in the Maasai Mara, with free nights at the best camps. However, that could put the trip on Halloween if you want to be home for that. There may be some rain by mid-November, but the afternoon showers aren’t disruptive until later in the month.

Prices are listed as per person per night. Conservancy/national park fees are usually an additional $100-200 per person per night and are not included in the rates below.


Because of the great horseback riding and large rhino population, Kenya’s Laikipia plateau really stands out to me more than any other area in Africa for your trip.

Day 1-3: Laikipia Plateau

Solio Lodge / Courtesy of the Safari Collection
Solio Lodge / Courtesy of the Safari Collection

Because of the great horseback riding and large rhino population, Kenya’s Laikipia plateau really stands out to me more than any other area in Africa for your trip. Most of the area is above 5,000 feet in elevation, so the weather is always great, and all of the camps are lodge style with fireplaces. From here, you can take a helicopter ride to Lake Turkana, and all of these camps have great riding/walking safaris too.

Best Camps:

  • Lewa House: This is a unique family-owned lodge in the heart of the Lewa Conservancy. Their website is difficult to navigate, but their “earthpods” have great views of the hills. ($895 pppn) If Lewa House is booked, Borana Lodge is a comparable property.
  • Lewa Wilderness: This is a similar property to Lewa House owned by the same family. It’s closer to the edge of the conservancy, but the rooms are nicer. It’s probably the most luxurious camp in the area. You can fly a classic bi-plane around Mt. Kenya or do the Walking Wild overnight walking safari from here. You would need 4 nights instead of 3 in Laikipia for Walking Wild though. ($1268 pppn)
  • Ol’Malo: This is my wild card option – it’s even further from Mt. Kenya towards the more arid Samburu region. There is a good elephant population but few rhinos. The owners are on-site – Andrew, is a pilot who loves to share his helicopter, and his wife, Chyulu, is a champion long-distance rider. Imagine a Texas ranch with elephants. ($895 pppn)

Day 4-7: Maasai Mara

Mara Nyika Camp / Courtesy of Great Plains Conservation

The Maasai Mara has the highest wildlife density in Kenya. The Great Migration peaks in September but may still be around in October, closer to Tanzania – It’s hard to predict. Even when the migration is gone, there is a lot of resident wildlife. We saw thousands of wildebeest in November, along with hundreds of elephants, buffalo, and plenty of lions. All of the camps below are on private conservancies around the actual park to minimize any impact of other toursits, which can be a problem in peak season or around good sightings. The Mara is also a great place to do hot air balloons if you’re interested in that.

Best Camps:

  • Cottar’s 1920’s Camp: Cottar’s is a historically styled safari camp in a private conservancy near the Tanzanian border. It’s a nice mid-range luxury option with a good conservation record. ($1,491 pppn, $1639 pppn honeymoon tent)
  • Mara Expedition: Mara Expedition is in a large private conservancy in southeast Mara. It’s run by Great Plains, who have a stellar record for service and conservation. This is their more “adventurous” camp, but the finish is really nice, and there is a pool. There is no spa, but you can get an in-room massage. ($1255 pppn – I have a good relationship with them and can get early shoulder season rates of $835 pppn starting on October 17th)
  • Mara Nyika: This is the sister camp of the Mara Expedition and one of the best camps in the Mara. Super luxurious with great food. If you can push the trip to early November, it’s worth considering. ($2820 pppn in October, $1445 pppn in November)
  • House in the Wild: House in the Wild is on a large private conservancy, that is pretty far north from the Mara. You still get good wildlife, but not likely herds from the Great Migration. You get a better value on the cottages here than elsewhere. ($820 pppn)
  • Note: Cottar’s standard tent just has a shower, but the honeymoon tent has a bath. Mara Expedition only has showers, but it has a pool (built into a WW2 army truck).


Walking safari at Chem Chem Lodge / Courtesy of Chem Chem Safaris luxury Tanzania safari
Walking safari at Chem Chem Lodge / Courtesy of Chem Chem Safaris

I’m leaning towards Kenya for y’all, but I want to show you a little of Tanzania. You can have a great time there if the rhinos aren’t as important and you don’t mind a little more travel time. There are a couple of ways to spin a Tanzania trip:

Northern Tanzania

This is the classic Tanzania safari with the Serengeti and Tarangire National Park areas. It works best if you stay 8 nights, because you get 20% off at my favorite camps.

Best Camps:

  • Chem Chem: A classic and comfortable tented camp in a large private reserve near Tarangire. Chance to see flamingos here and walk with the Maasai. ($1505 pppn – $1204 with discount)
  • Mwiba Lodge: Mwiba is a super luxurious lodge in the far south of the Serengeti that pairs well with Chem Chem. Large private reserve, great views, and pool. ($2120 pppn – but $1698 with discount)

Southern Tanzania

This is the remote southern part of Tanzania. I like it best if you want to get off the beaten path and be more adventurous. The southern parf of the country also has a larger elephant population.

Best Camps:

  • Jabali Ridge: Great views in Ruaha National Park, which has lots of lions and baobab trees. ($1450 pppn)
  • Chada Katavi: This is a really remote tented camp in a rarely visited park. It gives you a taste of what safaris used to be like before the era of mass tourism. ($975 pppn)

Final Thoughts

I don’t want to sway ya’ll too much, because your priority should be what feels right. However, I do have a few thoughts.

  • I think one of the best values for the experience is to combine Lewa House with Mara Expedition Camp. You would start at Lewa and then move to the Mara on October 17th to take advantage of the discount. The only consideration is to make sure you’re ok with the expedition tents. These are stylish but a little smaller than something like the Cottar’s honeymoon tents.
  • If you want more luxury and can wait until the first week of November, combining Lewa Wilderness and Mara Nyika would be incredible.


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