Group Size: 2 - 7 passengers
Departs: Weekly on Tuesdays
With 50 years' experience in Africa safaris and Africa tours, Bench Africa offers a wealth of experience and expertise necessary for a seamless safari experience.
One of Bench Africa's best-selling safari tours is the Highlights of East Africa tour, and for good reason. As the name suggests you will experience the highlights of East Africa on this all-encompassing small group adventure to Kenya and Tanzania by road.
No East Africa tour is complete without a visit to the spectacular Serengeti National Park. Spend two nights in the Serengeti withal of its incredible game viewing opportunities. On this carefully designed East Africa tour, you will also visit the world famous Masai Mara and its seasonal annual migration, the breathtaking Ngorongoro Crater and Amboseli National Park standing in the shadow of Africa’s highest mountain - Mt Kilimanjaro. This safari tour offers you the opportunity to enjoy 13 days of wildlife and culture on a scheduled small group departure, with a maximum of seven passengers per vehicle.
The Highlights of East Africa tour offers a unique and wonderfully authentic safari experience in one of the world's most beautiful corners. Safari tours in East Africa offer up the opportunity to experience a multitude of landscapes, from wide expanses of savanna plains to volcanic landscapes, and this tour specifically, offers up some of the most bountiful and beautiful wildlife experiences available on the African continent.
Join the Highlights of East Africa tour between the months of July and September to be in with a chance to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration (river crossing), or if you want to avoid the crowds then an East Africa tour will be the best option for you in the months of November to June when tourist numbers are lower.
East Africa Travel, Tours & Safaris with Bench Africa
Established in 1969, Bench Africa is Australia’s oldest and most trusted Africa safari specialist. This year we celebrate 50 years of providing stylish, unusual and unforgettable safari tours. That means we have half a century's worth of experience in hand-crafting unforgettable Africa tours, like our best-selling Highlights of East Africa tour. And what's more our parent company is a reputable tour operator on the ground in Kenya, with an office in Mombasa, so you know that you are in safe hands when you team up with Bench for any of your safari tours.
Day 1 - Arusha
On arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Arusha (approximately 48 KM / 1 hour).
Established 1894, this hotel is believed to be one of the oldest hotels in East Africa. Here, surrounded by the history of a bygone era, traditional ambience is effortlessly combined with the style and service you want when travelling. The hotel features 106 stylish rooms, Wi-Fi, a 24-hour gym and four authentic restaurants and bars. Overlooking the gardens, the Parachichi Restaurant, meaning ‘avocado’ in Swahili, is the perfect place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A terrace overlooking the tropical garden invites to dine alfresco. Take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool and relax at Bustani Pool Bar.
Day 2 - Ngorongoro Crater
Enjoy your morning at leisure. After lunch depart by road and drive through the Ngorongoro Highlands to your lodge in Karatu, located just outside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (approximately 175 KM / 3.5 hours). (BLD)
Located in the Ngorongoro Highlands, the farm is only a short distance from the Ngorongoro National Park entry gate. 52 spacious chalets are built in the style of an old colonial farm, rustically decorated with local materials, complete with en-suite bathroom. Additional facilities include a swimming pool, outdoor deck, two dining areas and massage facility. The 500 acre working farm on the slopes of the crater features a six acre organic vegetable garden which not only supplies the lodge, but many other lodges and mobile camp operations throughout northern Tanzania. Enjoy fresh roasted coffee from the 15 acre plantation.
Day 3 - Ngorongoro Crater
Enjoy breakfast before descending over 600m down to the Ngorongoro Crater floor. Covering over 250 sq km of land, the Ngorongoro Crater is home to the rare black rhino, lion, elephant, cheetah and great herds of buffalo, antelope and wildebeest, and is one of Africa’s most unbelievable landscapes. Explore the forest and lake areas where you may see flamingos and open savannah. A picnic lunch will be served in the crater, before driving back late afternoon to Ngorongoro Farm House for dinner and overnight. (BLD)
Day 4 - Serengeti National Park
After breakfast we travel to Ol’Duvai Gorge, the site of Louis and Mary Leakey’s renowned archaeological discoveries. Their findings include some of man’s earliest known ancestral remains. Continue on to Tanzania’s abundant Serengeti National Park in time for lunch. This enormous park supports every variety of animal imaginable – from large predators to the smaller herbivores they prey on. Enjoy an afternoon safari in the Serengeti National Park and overnight at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge (approximately 200 KM / 4 hours). (BLD)
**SEE THE SERENGETI or MASAI MARA FROM ABOVE**
Why not pre-book a hot air balloon flight over the Serengeti or Masai Mara? Whilst staying in the Serengeti or Masai Mara you can choose to float above the open savannah for a unique perspective of the wildlife below, with superb photographic opportunities. The flight lasts about an hour and you can celebrate in the traditional manner with champagne on landing.
The price starts from AUD$650 per person. Early booking is recommended.
Located on the edge of the escarpment overlooking the plains of the south-western Serengeti National Park, home too many thousands of wild and rare animals, Serengeti Sopa Lodge lies within an area of outstanding natural beauty. An oasis of cool relaxation from the equatorial sun. The lodge allows its guests to experience magnificent sights and enjoy interaction with the land and animals difficult to find elsewhere, whilst at the same time enjoying the highest level of cuisine and hospitality. The lodge has 69 standard rooms, all with 2 queen size beds, carpeted, and tastefully furnished with local fabrics and pictures.
Day 5 - Serengeti National Park
Experience the Serengeti National Park in full colour and sound during an entire day spent on game drives through the park (picnic lunch included). (BLD)
Day 6 - Lake Manyara National Park
After breakfast depart for Lake Manyara, a mineral lake in the basin of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Lunch is taken at Kirurumu Tented Lodge, followed by an afternoon game drive in the park, the home of the so-called ‘tree-climbing lions’. Apart from the varied types of landscape including forest, swamp and savannah, Lake Manyara National Park supports a large variety of animals including giraffe, zebra, elephant, hippos, monkeys and a large variety of birdlife (approximately 225 KM / 5 hours). (BLD)
Kirurumu Manyara Lodge is located on the edge of Lake Manyara National Park about a 30 minute drive from Manyara Airstrip and about 2 hours from Arusha. In total there are 27 tented rooms, 2 honeymoon suites and 2 family cottages all of which are tented and raised slightly off the ground with a wooden decking, of which each has an amazing view of the Great Rift Valley of Lake Manyara National Park.
Day 7 - Amboseli National Park
After breakfast depart Lake Manyara for Arusha and continue to Tarakea for border crossing into Kenya and on to Amboseli (approximately 355 KM / 7 hours). (BLD)
Satao Elerai is located in a quiet, unspoilt, unique setting on a 5,000 acres private conservation area 12kms south east of Amboseli National Park at the foot of Africa’s largest mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro. The camp looks over Amboseli National Park and Mt Kilimanjaro, giving you what is arguably the best location of any camp in the area.
The camp offers 12 tents and 5 suites. Each tent has its own en-suite bathroom with solar hot showers and a toilet with a view. Raised cedar wood floors, acacia poles and makuti (thatch) roofing complement the surrounding environment. Large balconies with relaxing day beds combine to offer the perfect place to lie as you take in the ambiance when relaxing. The elegantly furnished suite rooms have large sliding doors that open out onto your own private veranda overlooking the plains below and Amboseli National Park. Elephants, giraffe’s and zebra are seen most days from the comfort of your room. Designed using natural rock and acacia wood, the bathrooms have their own naturally crafted bathtub and shower which is unique to Elerai.
Day 8 - Amboseli National Park
Following an early breakfast, depart on a full day game drive in Amboseli National Park. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the Park before returning late afternoon to Satao Elerai for dinner and overnight. (BLD)
Day 9 - Lake Naivasha
After breakfast, depart Satao Elerai and continue to Lake Naivasha, where you will arrive at your lodge in time for lunch. This afternoon is at leisure (approximately 350 KM / 6.5 hours). (BLD)
Day 10 - Masai Mara Game Reserve
After breakfast, depart Lake Naivasha past the extinct Volcano of Mt Longonot and Suswa, into the homelands of Kenya’s Masai. The Masai Mara Game Reserve constitutes the northern stretch of the Serengeti and has the richest concentration of animals in Kenya (approximately 250 KM / 5 hours). (BLD)
Masai Mara Sopa Lodge is set in the Oloolaimutia Valley, where the lodge totally blends in perfectly with its surrounding hillside landscape. The lodge has 86 rooms, 12 suites and 1 presidential suite, all of which have en-suite bathroom facilities with hairdryers. Every room and suite has a private, elevated veranda with views across the valley and on which guests can relax, sunbathe and watch resident birds and wildlife. Minibar are also available in each room. The lodge has direct-dial telephone facilities as well as satellite television and video options. The lodge has a freeform, freshwater pool which offers spectacular views over the valley.
Day 11 - Masai Mara Game Reserve
Today you will get to see the real Kenya as you enjoy a full day game drive through the Masai Mara Game Reserve, searching for the ‘Big Five’ (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo), with a break for lunch back at the camp. (BLD)
Day 12 - Lake Nakuru National Park
Today you will travel to Kenya’s vibrant Lake Nakuru National Park. The park also boasts a good number of rhinos as well as leopard and lion. Lunch is taken at the lodge, followed by an afternoon game drive in the park (approximately 350 KM / 8 hours). (BLD)
Located on a range of hills that form the western limits of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, the lodge offers spectacular views over the vastness of Africa. The lodge, which has 84 rooms in total also overlooks Lake Nakuru and its surrounding National Park, one that is a paradise for bird watchers and wildlife lovers alike. Lake Nakuru National Park is mainly a wooded and bushy grassland with a wide ecological diversity and characteristic habitats that range from the lake waters to the escarpment and ridges.
Day 13 - End of Highlights of East Africa Tour
Today you will return by road to Nairobi for lunch at the famous Carnivore Restaurant and end of safari (approximately 184 KM / 3 hours). (BL)
Dates and Pricing
- 26 Feb 19 $6,400 $7,300
- 05 Mar 19 $6,400 $7,300
- 12 Mar 19 $6,400 $7,300
- 19 Mar 19 $6,400 $7,300
- 26 Mar 19 $5,755 $5,830
- 02 Apr 19 $5,755 $5,830
- 09 Apr 19 $5,885 $5,960
- 16 Apr 19 $6,010 $6,090
- 23 Apr 19 $5,755 $5,830
- 30 Apr 19 $5,755 $5,830
- 07 May 19 $5,755 $5,830
- 14 May 19 $5,755 $5,830
- 21 May 19 $6,295 $6,730
- 28 May 19 $6,295 $6,730
- 04 Jun 19 $6,295 $6,730
- 11 Jun 19 $6,295 $6,730
- 18 Jun 19 $6,295 $6,730
- 25 Jun 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 02 Jul 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 09 Jul 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 16 Jul 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 23 Jul 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 30 Jul 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 06 Aug 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 13 Aug 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 20 Aug 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 27 Aug 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 03 Sep 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 10 Sep 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 17 Sep 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 24 Sep 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 01 Oct 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 08 Oct 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 15 Oct 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 22 Oct 19 $6,815 $7,780
- 29 Oct 19 $6,400 $7,300
- 05 Nov 19 $6,400 $7,300
- 12 Nov 19 $6,400 $7,300
- 19 Nov 19 $6,400 $7,300
- 26 Nov 19 $6,400 $7,300
- 03 Dec 19 $6,400 $7,300
- 10 Dec 19 $6,400 $7,300
- 17 Dec 19 $8,225 $9,310
- 24 Dec 19 $8,460 $9,540
- 31 Dec 19 $7,630 $8,680
- 07 Jan 20 $7,395 $8,440
- 14 Jan 20 $7,395 $8,440
- 21 Jan 20 $7,395 $8,440
- 28 Jan 20 $7,395 $8,440
- 04 Feb 20 $7,395 $8,440
- 11 Feb 20 $7,395 $8,440
- 18 Feb 20 $7,395 $8,440
Prices shown are per person based on twin share. Seasonal supplements and minimum night requirement may apply. Solo traveller and extra night prices available on request. Luggage restrictions may apply. International flights not included.
My wife and I recently did Highlights of East Africa, followed immediately by Historical Jordan, with Bench. Both tours were excellent! The organisation was first class and almost all the hotels were very good, with an interesting range of properties across both tours. The guides were very good indeed and the way the tours were managed on the ground was outstanding. We had a wonderful holiday and would recommend Bench to anyone thinking of doing tours like this.
The only minor negative was the appallingly bad and inefficient service (in the restaurant and in Reception) at an otherwise beautiful property - the Sopa Lake Nakuru.
Knowledgeable and Professional
We recently visited Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. Bench were recommended by friends and we worked with Steph to organise our trip. Right from the outset her knowledge of travel in Africa and her professionalism were outstanding. Her suggestions, recommendations and travel tips were spot on and made our trip an amazing experience. For example Steph suggested we visit the Gorillas in Rwanda early in our trip. If you are unwell at the time you wish to make the trek, you may not be allowed to visit the gorilla group (to protect them from human diseases). Another factor was that the treks (we did two) can be quite difficult and with our energy levels high early in the trip it was certainly better than attempting the treks after two or three weeks of travelling.
The tours, lodges and tented camps Steph included in our itinerary made for a variety of excellent game viewing and experiences. Also, on one occasion we had a flight cancelled (not booked by Bench) which disrupted our travel plans prior to picking up a tour that Bench had booked. We contacted the Bench "help desk" and they promptly and professionally contacted the tour and transfer companies as well as our hotel for the night to update them on our delayed arrival. In summary, we would highly recommend Steph and Bench for any travel in Africa and wouldn't hesitate to use them again in future.
East Africa Safari/Victoria Falls
Easy company to deal with. Safari was excellent, fantastic sights. Road travel challenging but more than made up for by great accommodation. Extremely knowledgeable and helpful guides.
This was a great trip.
THE ONLY WAY TO GO!
Fantastic experience from the booking all the way through to returning home!Shannon Woodward Destination: Kenya
Had the best time in Tanzania and …
Had the best time in Tanzania and Kenya.
From first speaking with Maria about a year ago to getting home safe and sound and very happy with our experience.
The guides the accommodation the animals the people, everything was more than we expected.
Tanzania, Kenya, Victoria Falls and South Africa, absolutely AMAZING!
We booked and chose our African experience through our local travel agent. After perusing all the booklets and catalogues available on Africa, Bench International had by far the more comprehensive trips and covered exactly what we were looking for. They covered a variety of levels of accommodation, sights and tour sizes. We were looking for small group, personalised safari's staying in secure accommodation along with a self-drive garden route finish within our budget. Bench put together the most amazing 5 weeks of our lives in August/September this year, covering our total wish list and more. They then provided ALL the information possible in a travel booklet including our itinerary, country information, approximately what amount of money we would require,tipping advice etc that we used like a bible on a daily basis.
We started our trip in Arusha where we arrived at lunch time and had the afternoon to spare. Our Bench advisor 'Charles' who met at us our Hotel after being collected from the airport by our first tour guide 'Edwin', advised us not to leave the secured grounds of our accommodation. At our disappointment of being stuck in a room all afternoon (after 5 flights from Australia over the previous 2 days) Charles went over and beyond our expectations and arranged for a friend to come and collect us and take us for a 31/2 hour walk through Arusha and experience the local people and markets, then onto the local Tanzanite museum. We felt very secure in his company and had the most amazing insight into this city that would otherwise never have been available to us. The next morning 'Edwin' began our 7 day, Tanzanian part of the '12 day Highlights of East Africa' tour including Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti N/P & Lake Manyara N/P. Bench matched us perfectly with another couple of similar age and personality to make our small group tour extremely enjoyable - and found us new life long friends. Edwin had over 10 years experience as a tour guide and was extremely knowledgeable and could not do enough for us before leaving us at the Kenyan border for 'Freddie' our next very experienced tour guide. Freddie took us on to Amboseli N/P, Masai Mara Game Reserve, Lake Nakuru & Nairobi. By the time Freddie completed our Highlights of East Africa tour, we had seen ALL of the Big 5, some several times over! This included a Lioness killing a Warthog, Leopard attack on Gazelle, mating Rhino's & Lions, many Elephants and Buffalo on a daily basis - ALL at very close range. AMAZING! From here we flew to Zimbabwe for 4 days at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. We are so glad Bench offered the extra optional activities of a Helicopter flight over Victoria Falls & the Zambezi River which gives a whole different appreciation of this landscape from the sky; Elephant Back Safari and Lion encounter which gave us very personal time learning about these amazing animals and walking/riding with them through their natural environment and not in caged areas. From here we flew to Cape Town and on our own began a 12 day self-drive Garden Route trip. With a suggestion list from Bench we explored Cape Town, the Winelands and the garden route up to Port Elizabeth. Our hire car & accommodation once again was perfectly arranged to our taste and budget.
During our trip we stayed in top hotels, tented lodges and on a coffee farm. All this accommodation was immaculate, well presented and many provided 3 meals a day including a packed lunch box on the days we were on Safari drives. At no time on our tour did we feel unsecure as our guides were local people with great local knowledge. Everything went perfectly to plan with our very experienced tour guides Edwin and Freddie offering over and above what we expected. We would highly recommend Bench International to anyone and if we were ever to return to these beautiful countries would never travel with anyone else. Thank you Bench and your tour staff for a once in a lifetime most amazing holiday to Africa.
Rob & Carleen Hargreaves, Queensland