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The necklace of national parks that liesalong Kenya's southern border ishome to an unrivalled abundance anddiversity of wildlife. From the vast herds ofWildebeest and Zebra that crowd theMasai Mara, to the Elephants that wanderTsavo's brick-red lands, this beautifulregion of East Africa still protects some ofthe largest herds left on the continent andgives a rare glimpse into the Africa of old.Kenya is also predator country; theabundance of prey supports Lions,Cheetahs, Leopards and Wild Dogs, plusnumerous eagles and other birds thatmove south into the country to escape thenorthern winter. This abundance of life isbacked by an equally spectacularlandscape, the vast flat lands of the Maracontrasting with the rolling dry hills ofTsavo and the acacia woodlands ofAmboseli, the latter watched over by thetowering snow-capped peak of MountKilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa! Our tour begins with a flight into Nairobi,Kenya's bustling capital city. From here wedrive to Tsavo West National Park for a 2-night stay. Tsavo West, when combinedwith neighbouring Tsavo East NationalPark, jointly protects over 20,800 squarekilometres and forms one of Africa'slargest conservation areas. Tsavo is aplace of wide horizons and undulating,acacia-covered plains dotted with gracefulparties of Giraffes and herds of Elephantand Zebra. Only two permanent riversbring water to this vast area, and so it hasa more arid feel to it than the otherreserves we will be visiting on this holiday.Nevertheless, it is a wonderful area formammals, birds and other wildlife, and wecan expect to see our first herds of gameincluding Masai Giraffe, Thompson'sGazelle, Impala and Buffalo and perhapseven our first Lion or Cheetah. Indeed, theLions of Tsavo are descendants of thelegendary 'Man-eaters of Tsavo' whichbrought the building of the Nairobi toMombasa railroad to a standstill at thebeginning of the last century. Tsavo is alsowell known for its 'red Elephants' andherds of these red-earth-dusted giants willbe a familiar sight as we explore the parkon morning and afternoon game drives.During our stay in Tsavo we will also visitthe crystal clear waters of Mzima Springs.Here underground spring water hasformed a series of forest-fringedfreshwater pools into which an underwaterglass observation tank has been built.From this uniquely aquatic viewpoint wecan watch Hippos swimming underwateralong with crocodiles and various fish. Next we will spend two nights in AmboseliNational Park, which sits beneath thetowering cone of Mount Kilimanjaro and isone of the country's most scenic reserves.Amboseli's acacia-dotted plains and dryrolling grasslands support Elephant, MasaiGiraffe, Burchell's Zebra, Buffalo,Waterbuck, Thompson's Gazelle andnumerous birds including Bateleur, KoriBustard, Martial Eagle, Tacazze Sunbirdand White-fronted Bee-eater. Then, movingnorth-westwards, we spend two nights atLake Naivasha, a beautiful freshwater laketeeming with birdlife, before transferring tothe nearby soda lake of Nakuru. Thespectacular Lake Nakuru National Park ishome to huge flocks of Greater and LesserFlamingoes which crowd the fringes of thishighly caustic lake. This is undoubtedly oneof the world's great wildlife spectacles anda wonderful back-drop to the park's otherwildlife which includes both Black andWhite Rhino, Leopard and the rareRothchild's Giraffe. Finally, we cross the Rift Valley anddescend into the rolling grasslands of theMasai Mara for a 3-night stay in one ofAfrica's finest wildlife sanctuaries. TheMara holds some of the largestconcentrations of animals in the world,including vast herds of Blue Wildebeestand Burchell's Zebra, plus Topi,Hartebeest, Masai Giraffe, Elephant,Buffalo and various gazelles. These arestalked by all three big cats - Lion,Cheetah and Leopard - as well as by avariety of scavengers such as SpottedHyena and jackals. The birdlife may takesecond place, but is nonethelessabundant and includes huge GroundHornbills and elegant Secretary Birdswhich stride across the grasslands alongwith Kori Bustards, Grey Crowned Cranesand smaller species such as Temminck'sCourser, Wattled Lapwing, Rosy-breastedLongclaw, Yellow-shouldered Widowbirdand Capped Wheatear. Lone bushes ordead trees provide lookout perches for avariety of bee-eaters and rollers, includingthe beautiful Carmine Bee-eater, whilstabove them soar Martial Eagles andLappet-faced, African White-backed,Hooded and Rüppell's Vultures. Our time in the Masai Mara will be anundoubted highlight of our stay in Kenya,but from here we must leave the wilds ofAfrica and return to Nairobi to catch ourlong flight home.Kenya's Wildlife A 14-day safari to Kenya's southern national parks visiting Tsavo West, Amboseli, Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru and the Masai Mara National Parks. Saturday 27th October - Friday 9th November 2012 Cost: £4,195Saturday 26th October - Friday 8th November 2013 Cost: £4,195*(*This tour can be combined with our 'Tanzania Highlights' holiday outlined on Page 175)Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Nairobi andovernight.Day 2/3Tsavo West.Day 4/5Amboseli. Day 6/7Lake Naivasha.Day 8/9Lake Nakuru.Day 10/12Masai Mara.Day 13Depart Nairobi.Day 14Arrive London.AccommodationComfortable safari lodges, allrooms with private facilities.Food All included in the price except forevening meals in Nairobi. Grading Grade A. A traditional safari-styleholiday with wildlife-viewing byvehicle and on foot. FocusMammals, birds and other wildlife. LeaderRob Mileto.Single room supplement£595.Web quick search: KEN04164Call now or visit your free Trip ItineraryETHIOPIA SUDAN UGANDA TANZANIA SOMALIA LAKE TURKANA LAKE BARINGO SAMBURU GAME RESERVE LAKE Mt. KENYA NAKURU LAKENAIVASHAMASAI MARA GAME RESERVE LAKE VICTORIA NAIROBIAMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK TSAVO WEST MOMBASA TURTLE BAY TSAVO EAST INDIAN OCEAN KENYA Lesser Flamingoes, Lake NakuruLilac-breastedRollerMount Kilimanjaro

Southern Africa is blessed with someof the continent's finest nationalparks and landscapes. From theharsh Namib Desert to the lush greenwetlands of the Okavango Delta and thenatural wonder of the Victoria Falls, thisspectacular region is home to a fabulousdiversity of wildlife, and some of the mostbreathtaking scenery in the world. Bycombining Namibia, Botswana andZambia in this holiday, we offer not onlythe opportunity to visit three countriesduring one tour, but also the chance toenjoy a diversity of birds and other wildlifeover a range of over 1,000 kilometres;species as special and diverse as the BlueCrane of Namibia, the Pel's Fishing Owl ofBotswana and the beautiful Schalow'sLourie of Zambia. Further, by running thisholiday during the green season, we willbenefit both from the influx of winteringbirds that move south for the southernAfrican summer, as well as from the manynesting species resplendent in theirbreeding dress at this season. Flying into Windhoek, Namibia's capital,and meeting our leader, our first port ofcall is the Waterberg Plateau Park. Risingover 200 metres from the surroundingbush, this plateau is home to over 200 birdspecies, amongst them such Namibianendemics as Hartlaub's Francolin,Rüppell's Parrot, Violet Wood-hoopoe andRockrunner. Continuing our journey north,we will spend the next four days exploringthe Etosha National Park, the finest wildlifereserve in Namibia and one of the best inall of Africa. Covering over 22,000 squarekilometres, the park encircles the greatEtosha Salt Pan, the dried up bed of ahuge ancient lake over 100 kilometresacross. Dry and dusty at the end of thedry season, Etosha is by now transformedby the rains into a lush oasis of greengrassy plains - on which herds ofBurchell's Zebra, Springbok andGemsbok feast - and acacia woodlandamongst which lie rain-fed pools andlarger permanent waterholes. Elephants,Greater Kudu and Giraffe are alsocommon here and we may also encountera Black Rhino, Leopard, Cheetah or Lion iffortunate, although some of thesemammals do become a little more elusiveduring the green season. Etosha's birdlifeis also incredibly diverse and includes theaforementioned Blue Cranes, plus suchother special species as Bateleur, Lappet-faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, AfricanScops Owl, Bare-cheeked Babbler, Carp's Tit and Rufous-eared Warbler toname but a few. Next, we will drive north-east to spend fivedays exploring the wetlands of the CapriviStrip and Okavango Panhandle. The lush,papyrus-fringed wetlands and open plainsthat border the Okavango and KwandoRivers are some of the richest areas forwildlife in southern Africa, though less wellknown than the Okavango Delta thatopens out to the south. We willconcentrate our time here exploring theCaprivi National Park and Mahango GamePark, but spend one night on the edge ofthe Okavango Panhandle in Botswana insearch of the elusive Pel's Fishing Owl.Other wildlife to look out for includesmammals such as Elephant, Hippo, RedLechwe, Reedbuck, Bushbuck and Giraffeand birds such as Dwarf Bittern, GoliathHeron, Slaty Egret (Botswana's onlyendemic), Marsh Owl, Kurrichane Thrush,Lesser Jacana, African Fish Eagle and avariety of colourful weavers, widows andwhydahs. If luck is really on our side wemay be fortunate enough to find a pack ofAfrican Wild Dogs, a rare but more regulartreat in this area.Botswana's Chobe National Park is nexton our agenda, another of Africa's greatwildlife reserves and home to a hugerange of birds and mammals. We willconcentrate our efforts on the Chobe Riverfor the next couple of days, enjoying theherds of Puku, Impala, Waterbuck andElephant that dot the adjacent floodplains.This is a great place for Lions, as well assuch attentive scavengers as SpottedHyena and vultures, while Leopards areoccasionally seen. The birdlife here isagain incredibly diverse, especially thebirds of prey which often fill the sky on hotsunny days and include such species asTawny, Steppe, Lesser Spotted andWahlberg's Eagles, African Hawk-eagle,Black-breasted Snake Eagle, LizardBuzzard and many more. We conclude our holiday in Zambia,spending two nights at the Victoria Falls,one of the seven natural wonders of theworld. Here the mighty Zambezi Riverplunges over 100 metres into aspectacular narrow gorge, a drop twice ashigh as Niagara. When the Zambezi is infull flood the Falls are often obscured byspray and mist, but in March its water levelis still quite low and the whole vista of theFalls and canyon can be appreciated andenjoyed . as well as such birds as thebeautiful Schalow's Lourie, RockPratincole, African Finfoot and TrumpeterHornbill. After a relaxing couple of daysenjoying this great natural spectacle wemust sadly say our farewells to the exoticwildlife of southern Africa and return to themore familiar fauna and flora of home.Namibia, Botswana &Zambia - Etosha to the Victoria Falls!A 17-day birdwatching and mammal-viewing safari through Namibia, Botswana and Zambia, visiting the Etosha National Park, Caprivi Strip, Okavango Panhandle, Chobe National Park and the Victoria Falls. Friday 1st March - Sunday 17th March Cost: £4,995Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationMOZAMBIQUEZIMBABWESOUTH AFRICAANGOLAMALAWITANZANIAZAMBIAVICTORIAFALLSLIVINGSTONEETOSHANATIONAL PARKWATERBERGPLATEAUWINDHOEKNAMIBIACAPRIVI STRIPOKAVANGOCHOBENATIONAL PARKBOTSWANAOutline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2Arrive Windhoek,Namibia; transferWaterberg Plateau.Day 3/6Etosha National Park,Namibia.Day 7/9Caprivi Strip, Namibia. Day 10Okavango Panhandle,Botswana. Day 11Caprivi Strip, Namibia.Day 12/13Chobe National Park,Botswana.Day 14/15Victoria Falls, Zambia.Day 16Depart Livingstone,Zambia.Day 17Arrive London. AccommodationComfortable permanent tentedcamps and lodges; all rooms/tentswith private facilities.FoodAll included in the price except forlunches and dinners at Victoria Falls.Allow £50.GradingGrade A. A traditional safari-styleholiday with wildlife-viewing byvehicle, boat and on foot. FocusBirds and mammals.LeaderNeil Macleod.Single room supplement£595.ExtensionsA variety of exciting Zambian optionsare available on request.Web quick search: NAM01165Blue CranePel's Fishing OwlAfrican Elephant