Traversing the Plains of Africa

A family’s journey through the vast wilderness of Africa, from Tanzania to North Island.

Trip Day 4

Panoramic views from a hot air balloon

Itinerary

0500 Wake up and drive to launch pad
0545 Enjoy tea and coffee as burners ignite and the balloon inflates
0630 Sail above the plains as the sun rises on the horizon
0730 Begin descent
0745 Champagne breakfast on the plains
0845 Game drive back to your safari lodge or tented camp

Trip Details

Up, up and away...

Skim the treetops, coast along the rivers, drift along the dessert. There’s no viewpoint in Africa more expansive than the sky.

The balloon lifts off just before sunrise, as the continent awakens below. The prevailing winds will guide you as you follow herds of wild game into the Masai Mara in captivating silence.

Regulating the height of the craft with just the flow of hot air, your experienced pilot will descend over the plains for a close-up view of wildlife. Just as effortlessly, you’ll rise to clear a tree canopy and float into the riverine forest. As you might imagine, the sense of euphoria and weightlessness continues long after the flight is over.

Local crews will follow along in Land Rovers and race ahead to set up a champagne breakfast in rustic luxury just in time for your landing. The tables are set out under a shade-giving acacia tree and breakfast is cooked using the burners from the balloon itself.

After breakfast, your pilot will personally drive you back to the lodge, passing near the same elephant herds and lion prides you saw from the air. And when you arrive, you’ll be presented with your flight certificate, detailing your adventure to remember always.

  • Views from your lavish tented camp
  • Game in Grumeti Reserves
  • Champagne breakfast in rustic luxury

Trip Day 5

Meet The Maasai – Africa’s Most Resilient Nomads

Trip Details

Only 100 years ago, the Maasai moved into the Serengeti, driving others into isolation and dominating the grass plains. Their nomadic traditions are continuously challenged by new laws and governments, but because of their unique abilities to farm in the deserts and scrublands, they stand strong in their ways.

Their worldwide recognition has earned them a unique place. When the Serengeti was designated a National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area was created as a separate entity to meet the needs of the Maasai and their livestock, granting them permissions allowed to no other Africans.

The Maasai occupy a total land area of 160,000 square kilometers with a population of approximately a half a million people. With JetSet, you get up close and personal with one of the world’s last native cultures.

The Great Migration

One of East Africa’s most awe-inspiring sights is the Great Migration — a year round journey through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, nearly 2 million animals including Wildebeest, Zebra and Gazelles embrace nature’s greatest challenges and most humble rewards for survival.

Safari and beyond

Trip Highlights

Tanzania may have built its international travel reputation around its fabulous national parks, but don’t forget that it has over 800 kilometers of gleaming coastline – and that’s before you get to the exotic tropical islands.

  • Africa is one of most ecologically diverse continents on the planet. For every desert and plain there’s equally impressive mountains and green ranges full of life.
  • Tanzania is the ultimate exotic getaway with miles of deserted beaches and tropical Islands, as well as great diving and fishing.

Trip Day 7

Paradise Found: North Island, Seychelles

Trip Details

After landing in Mahe, board your private helicopter transfer to North Island, an exclusive retreat in the Seychelles.

Specifications

Passengers Maximum 4 guests per helicopter
Weight Limit 20 kilograms of luggage per person
Flight Time 15 minutes from Mahe to North Island

The island offers four beautiful beaches located at each end of the compass. Eleven hand-crafted villas subtly nestle into the sand and trees along the shores, sitting well off the ground to capture the cooling island breezes and face the ocean for immaculate views. Drive off in a dedicated Island buggy for exploring the island. Or head out to the amazing snorkeling spots just steps from the beach.

Service is key on North Island. A dedicated Villa Host will ensure your every desire is exceeded. Your host will offer unique dining venues each night; arrange a for a guide to accompany you on scuba adventures through magical coral reefs; or secure a local environmentalist to accompany you on a hike and share information about the local flora and fauna.

You’ll have plenty of time to explore by yourself as well. You can spend time with the island’s oldest inhabitants – giant tortoises that freely roam the beaches and hills. Or enjoy a freshly made cocktail at the West Beach Bar as the sun sets.

  • Swim among one of the world’s most stunning reefs and see locations that have been scouted by the industry’s most experienced guides.
  • With only eleven villas and unparalleled luxury, North Island is a truly exclusive sanctuary. Each spacious 5,000 sq. ft. private villa offers its own individual plunge pool and a host of unique amenities.

Location: North Island, Seychelles

Did you know?

The Seychelles archipelago is made up of 115 islands — each one different from the next. Located just beneath the equator and to the northeast of Madagascar, the islands are divided into two categories: the Inner Islands and the Outer Islands.

The Inner Islands

The Inner Islands are located to the north and are scattered round the main island of Mahé. These are the granitic islands, characterized by their beaches with large granite boulders, including Mahe, Praslin, La Digue, Curieuse, Cousin, Cousine, Fregate, Felicite, North and Silhouette islands.

The Outer Islands

The Outer Islands are coralline islands — sandy, flat, and covered mostly in palm trees. Amongst those is Bird & Denis, about 100km to the north of Mahe, while the others to the southwest such as Aldabra, can be as far out as 1100km! These Outer Islands to the south are further divided into two groups: the Amirantes & Aldabra. The Amirantes group has some 20 islands scattered around Saint Joseph, the African Bank, Desroches, Alphonse and Poivre. The Aldabra group comprises of 22 islands surrounding Providence, Farquar, Cosmoledo and the Aldabra atoll.

  1. June 25

    I am pleased to advise that the family arrived well into Kilimanjaro this morning around 7:30. I arranged for passport control to take their passports and do the necessary so they did not even have to get off the plane or check their bags through customs. We moved them from the G5 directly to the C406 without having to go into the airport building or see any customs officials. Their luggage was moved across, we waited about 10 more minutes for the officials to bring me back their passports and off they flew to Sasakwa.

    They seem to be happy and in good spirits - what a lovely family!!!

    The children played some tennis after which they had a leisurely late lunch and headed out on game drive about an hour and a half ago. GREAT NEWS is that the migration came to Ôtown’ a few days ago so we could not have timed it better. They should have some really good sightings. Looking out on the plains one can see thousands of them.

    Hope you are all well. Chat soon.

    Best wishes,
    Mike

  2. June 27

    The safari is going very well so far. The family are VERY happy and appreciative of their stay here at Sasakwa. They are delighted with their suite. They also love the food, and the gym - which they have been making good use of. Some of them are having spa treatments today too. They have already had two excellent game drives, with great lion and cheetah sightings, as well as LOTS of other stuff, including a wonderful half hour watching a bunch of vultures and a marabou stork squabbling over a kill. We are hoping to show them a rhino in the Sanctuary this evening, but they are not always easy to see. Also will be looking out for giraffe, the ever elusive leopard, and perhaps some elephants along the river. I briefed them about the visit to the Crater and the Maasai village tomorrow and they seem enthused. We will do our best to make it a memorable experience for them without it appearing at all contrived or touristy. I have chosen a Maasai village that has never done something like this before so it should be as authentic as it gets. On Thursday they have the balloon ride to look forward to. On Friday and Saturday they will be in the Singita Explore mobile camp of course and can look forward to having the beasties right on their doorstep.
 The kids are great: very happy, very polite, very interested in everything they see on game drives - even the birds! We have given them each a little safari journal and checklist, which they are really enjoying filling out!!

    The migration is in full swing here and it is just amazing!!!

    Chat soon.

    Warm regards,
    Mike

  3. June 29

    We just got back from a wonderful morning with balloon ride, which was amazing. Long lines of wildebeest heading west onto the Sabora Plains area. We then had breakfast at Sabora, which they loved, and had a quick look around the camp, although could not see any of the tents as they were all occupied or being prepared for incoming guests. We had a great game drive on the way back and saw 4 different cheetahs - a young solitary female (quite shy) and a mother with two sub-adult cubs (not at all shy). This afternoon we will go out again and have another crack at the rhino.

    Yesterday evening was amazing - we saw a bunch of lions, 11 in total, including one of the big males, on top of a hill, with a major storm brewing to the east and an amazing sunset to the west. Then one of the lionesses made a quick move down the hill and took advantage of the wind from the incoming storm to stalk a wildebeest and kill it in front of our vehicle!! Having dispatched this one, she then immediately started stalking another one - which got away. The lions already had pretty full bellies, so this was really just for sport - but amazing to see of course, and the Johnsons were thrilled. So much so they were regaling all the other guests at pre-dinner drinks!!

    Tomorrow we will check out of Sasakwa by ten and do a leisurely game-drive towards Singita Explore to arrive in time for lunch. The mobile camp is to the south of Sasakwa, midway between Sabora and Faru Faru, so in a completely new area for us, which is great. It will give us a chance to explore the Grumeti river and hopefully find some hippos and crocs, which they are keen to see. Other than rhino and leopard these are really the only things we have not yet seen.

  4. June 29 (continued)

    We will also pop in to Faru Faru for tea tomorrow, as they have requested that. Hope to see a room there also if possible. They have LOVED being at Sasakwa, but are equally enthused about the fact that Sabora and Faru Faru are so different. I think they will love the mobile, as they really liked the tent concept at Sabora. I have planned the joint birthday celebration for the boys on Saturday night, and there will be a nice cake, and a bunch of marshmallows for toasting on the campfire, and making “Smores” !!

    All going very well - they are great clients. Interested, appreciative and easy.

    Warm regards,
    Mike

  5. July 6

    To rewind a bit, let’s start with Monday. They enjoy getting up at around 8 in the morning and have tea, followed by their breakfast in the comfort of their villa (parent’s villa). The whole morning was spent on East beach relaxing, playing volleyball, swimming in the sea as well as the pool. They had lunch under the big Takamaka tree (had lunch there on most days) as the boys can play on the beach while the parents are close by. In the afternoon they all went through to the helipad for a game of soccer with some of the staff. It proved to be quite a match as their villa attendant walked away in the end with a swollen foot, Matt did something to his foot as well and Trey had a ball in his face! They did enjoy it though. Whilst the boys were playing, mom and grandmom went up to the spa for their barefoot rituals and relaxation. Later in the evening they all went through to West Beach for their private barbeque followed by a movie night (the movie night became sort of a ritual on most nights).

    On Tuesday they went to West Beach from late morning to mid-afternoon and had loads of fun. They went to make and design their own pizzas for lunch. We also had a volleyball net setup there so they could play. For dinner that night they enjoyed the local Creole menu which was much appreciated Gayle mentioned that it was one of her best meals ever.

    Wednesday was another day full of adventure for the boys. They went for an excursion with our environment team where each of them planted their own trees (even dug the holes themselves).

  6. July 6 (continued)

    The afternoon spent on the beach again just swimming, building sand castles and playing. The whole family came through in the evening to the Library to attend the marine presentation and learn more about the ocean and life under the water — they had many questions and were very interested in what Jamie was saying. We thought it would be a perfect evening for the parents to have a special romantic bath just before coming through for the presentation as they needed to relax a bit more.

    Thursday - They were all up again before 8 and started their day with tea followed by breakfast. Alex and Matt went for a freestyle treatment at the spa mid-morning whilst the others were either at the gym or in the villa getting ready for the day. (By the way, mom, dad, Matt and Trey have been going to the gym every day). This afternoon they were very excited about the treasure hunt we arranged for them — they found many treasures! This evening we made a special CD for them with a few photos of their tree planting and treasure hunt to watch while their barbeque is being prepared in their garden...

    This morning they enjoyed breakfast in the villa before departing (just pancakes and fruit as on most of the other mornings).

    All in all I believe they had a wonderful trip through Tanzania and the Seychelles!

    Take care and chat soon.

    Warmest regards,
    Mike