If you’re like most people odds are you can’t take 5 consecutive weeks off work to travel. Most don’t even have 5 weeks’ vacation! But this doesn’t mean you can’t take your dream vacation or that you must wait until you are retired to go on a month-long safari. What if I told you that you only need 5 vacation days to experience an unforgettable safari and a relaxing beach vacation? Well, you can! We’ve done it three times so far! This is the ultimate luxury east African 8-day itinerary for busy non-retired individuals who can’t disappear for long periods. Don't forget to download the itinerary at the end of this post!
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead – Travel Time
We’ve done this trip from Toronto and from Dublin . Of course, the jet lag is worse when you’re traveling through time zones, but you just suck it up. As I always say: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” For now, there’s a whole world to see and I’ll see it if I’m refreshed or jet lagged. No excuses! You can depart on Friday evening or Saturday and get to your destination on Sunday morning. Your return flight would then be the following Saturday night or Sunday which would get you back home on Sunday or Monday morning just in time for work. If you plan your vacation to overlap with a holiday you get an extra day off to rest or you can extend your trip.
Three Night Luxury Safari In The Maasai Mara
3 Flights And Approximately 17 Hours Later…
We made it to the Maasai Mara! Our vehicle was waiting for us right by the landing strip and off we went on our first game drive. Since we flew right into the game reserve our drive to the camp doubled as a game drive, so we did not miss out. Not only did we get to see animals on our drive to the camp but also while up in the air on our flight into the Maasai Mara.
Lions, Elephants, and Giraffes, Oh My!
The next 3 nights were spent at Cottar’s 1920s Camp situated in an untouched exclusive concession bordering the Serengeti, Maasai Mara and Loliondo reserves. The camp and the area guarantee privacy and an abundance of wildlife. This luxury tented safari camp is as authentic as it gets. There are only 23 gold-standard ‘Kenya Professional Safari Guide’ qualified guides in all of Kenya and Cottar’s has four with the remain ones having a silver-level KPSGA qualification. The staff is knowledgeable, the service is excellent, and the canvas tents are equipped to meet all your needs.
Watch The Sunrise Over The Maasai Mara On A Hot Air Balloon
This was a new experience for us! The 3:30 AM wake up call and 2.5-hour drive were well worth the lack of sleep. As you float gently over the plains you watch the sun rise over the horizon while admiring the animals down below. We saw a hippo, giraffes, zebras, elephants; all from a very different perspective. It was truly magical! Following our balloon ride a champagne breakfast was awaiting in the bush.
Afternoon In Nairobi
We flew back to Nairobi before heading to Zanzibar to enjoy a little sunshine and beach time. Before catching our flight, we had lunch at Carnivore, a meat eater’s paradise. This restaurant is very well known to tourists and locals alike. Waiters bring meat to your table and you can sample crocodile, rabbit, ostrich, bull testicles (not my favorite), turkey and the usual meats like chicken, pork and beef. They keep coming around with more meat until you take down the little flag perched on your table which indicates you’ve admitted defeat.
Sleep, Eat, Tan, Eat, Tan, Eat, Repeat.
That is exactly what we did on the remaining 3 days. We decided to stay at The Residence, in the southwest portion of the island because it is renowned for its exceptionally high standards. You can read my review of this luxury hotel here.
Cocktails At The Rock Restaurant
I heard so much about The Rock Restaurant, mostly about how good it was and that it is a must if visiting Zanzibar. But don’t believe everything you read because the food was terrible. The restaurant is unique as it is perched on a rock, hence the name, but other than enjoying a nice cocktail on their terrace it’s not worth the detour.