Miles for Elephants

Serengeti Transect

A Life-Changing Adventure to Save Elephants

National Geographic Traveler selected 100 Miles for Elephants as one of their ‘50 Tours of a Lifetime: 2013’s most authentic, most innovative, most immersive, best–guided, and most sustainable tours’.

Overview

Overview

Are you ready to trek across the wilds of African to save elephants?

There is nothing quite so wonderful (trust us on this) as walking across the great savannahs of East Africa. Walking during the Great Migration, as hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra follow greening pastures, simply defies superlatives. And doing it to save elephants – what could be better?

Our Miles for Elephants trek across Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is pure magic. For a week we walk approximately 12 miles a day across an area where no safari vehicles are allowed. We follow rivers, camp amid groves of acacia trees, and revel in absolute isolation. Our highly experienced guides know and understand this environment intimately. They teach us how to observe wind direction, identify animal tracks and read the behavior of large animals so that we can observe them in safety. On the trek we see lots of wildlife, including elephants, big cats, Cape buffalo, giraffe and eland, zebra. And we trek during the period when huge herds of wildebeest and zebra are moving between the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. As we approach the Mara River there is a good chance we will be walking amidst the Great Migration.

Being on foot and seeing big game in its natural habitat is an experience that stays with you forever. And this trek will also help save Africa’s most iconic and magnificent animal: the elephant.

How Your Trek Will Save Elephants

Tanzania’s elephants plummeted by 60% between 2010 and 2015 due to poaching. There are now only 45,000 elephants in Tanzania (compared to the 316,000 that roamed the plains in 1979) and they desperately need protecting.

One of the most effective ways to save elephants is to enlist the support of local people: villagers who share elephant habitat, and, crucially, community scouts who are the ‘ears and eyes’ on the ground. Our trek raises funds for a group of community scouts who use dogs to track down poachers. This is hugely effective: poachers greatly fear these dogs so their very presence in an area is a big deterrent.

Our partner in Tanzania is Honeyguide Foundation, which does great work on community based conservation. http://www.honeyguide.org/ Honeyguide established its first dog tracker unit in 2011. It proved so successful in the fight against poaching that there are now dog tracker units in ten protected areas of northern Tanzania.

Our trek supports the K-9 Dog Unit in Serengeti, which was established in 2014 due to the high number of poaching incidents being reported in this area. Based at Fort Ikoma, it comprises two trained dog handlers, Emmanuel Isaack and Shinini Simel, and their dogs, Jerry and Chester. They have successfully intercepted a number of poachers, and the rate of elephant poaching has decreased – in the last year not one elephant was lost in this area.

Placing K-9 units in parks is a massive deterrent to poachers and brings about a fast decline in poaching attempts. This project is crucial for the conservation of Northern Tanzania’s elephants. But it needs help. The annual cost for running the Serengeti K-9 Unit is $28,240. Whatever we can raise towards this is hugely appreciated.

How You Raise Funds

Each participant is asked to raise a minimum of $500, with a target of $2500. Recognizing that fundraising is daunting for many people, we provide you with a how–to kit and simple tools and ideas that you can use to raise funds, such as asking your family and friends to sponsor you for each mile you cover. You set up a fundraising page, and once the trek is complete and all the donations are in, the monies are transferred to the Honeyguide Foundation.

How The Trek Works

We meet in Arusha and fly by small plane into the Serengeti. On landing we transfer by jeep to our first camp near Fort Ikomo. Here we meet the trainers and dogs of the K-9 Anti Poaching Dog Unit, as well as a representative of Honeyguide Foundation.

After our first night camped under the amazing African stars, we have a hearty breakfast and head off on foot into the wilds!

While we are walking our support team goes ahead by jeep and sets up our next camp. We arrive to find tents ready, and food and drinks awaiting us.

During the heat of the day we rest in the shade of acacia trees. In late afternoon we do an optional shorter walk in the area around our camp. Then there are hot showers ready for us! After a delicious dinner we gather around a campfire beneath the vast, star–studded African sky, sharing stories with our guides.

We sleep in dome tents with comfortable mattresses and bedding. Before dawn each morning we are gently called awake, and served a hearty breakfast to prepare us for the day’s walking. We carry our own water, a packed lunch and any personal items we need. All our other belongings are transferred the next camp.

As we traverse the Serengeti, our days have a lovely, simple rhythm. We feel Africa through the soles of our feet and the beat of our hearts. As we are walking at an altitude of 5000 feet, daytime temperatures typically range from 25 to 30°C, and the nights are cool. In all areas the sun will be strong because we are at altitude as well as being on the equator.

On the final morning of the trek we transfer to an airstrip from where we can fly back to Arusha, to Kilmanjaro Airport or to the Masai Mara.

Join us in fundraising and spreading the word about the threats to elephants: your help will make a huge difference to their survival!

Itinerary

Itinerary Highlights

Day 1 — Arusha – Serengeti

Leave the bustle of Arusha behind, we fly in a small plane to the Serengeti, landing at Fort Ikomo Airstrip. Close by we visit the K-9 Dog Tracker Unit. We talk to the trainers, meet the dogs and see a demonstration of their skill. Then we transfer by jeep to the nearby camp. We have a briefing with our guides, meet our support team, and if time allows have a ‘shake down’ walk in the area. After a delicious dinner we sit around the camp fire and marvel at the amazing stars of the African night sky.

Day 2 — Nook

We are woken before dawn, and after a hearty breakfast, we start walking! Our route takes us into the wilderness zone of the Serengeti, where no jeep safaris are allowed. We walk to Nook and our first camp by the Orange River. Along the way we observe elephants and other wildlife drinking and wallowing in favourite watering holes.

Days 3, 4, 5, 6,7,8 — Serengeti Traverse

We follow Orange River upstream, heading east. Eventually we start heading north towards Bologonja, following the N.E. boundary of the Serengeti. Closer to Bologonja we turn west and follow the Bologonja River all the way to the Mara River – with luck meeting the Great Migration on the way! Our final camp is in the Kogatende area, where we celebrate our successful trek!

Note: As the crow flies, this route is 75 miles, but with our various detours it is very likely we will be up to 80 or 90 miles by Day 8.

Day 9 — Kogatende to Arusha

We have a spectacular game drive to Kogatende Airstrip, from where we fly out of Serengeti.

Please note: this itinerary serves as an example of trip highlights and is subject to change.

Please note: this itinerary serves as an example of trip highlights and is subject to change.

Email us for a detailed itinerary.

FAQ

FAQ

What does the Land Cost cover?

Includes transfer from all accommodation (based on double occupancy in tents), all meals, beverages, guide fees, park fees, conservation fees, camping equipment, and medical air evacuation within Tanzania.

What does the Land Cost not cover?

Does not include flights into and out of the Serengeti, international airfares, insurance, gratuities.

How do I fund raise?

We will be providing information to help your fundraising efforts. The minimum donation we ask you to raise is US $500, with a target of $2500.

Where will the money raised go to?

The funds you raised will be sent to Honeyguide Foundation to provide equipment, training and wages for their K-9 Dog Training Unit and other anti-poaching efforts in Tanzania.

Can my sponsors get tax receipts for donations?

Donors in Canada can get tax receipts immediately when they make donations online. We are still working on ways to make this work for other other countries. Please inquire about progress in this regard.

Who will be guiding the trip?

The trip will be lead by a team of superb and highly experienced safari walking guides.

What about safety on this trip?

On the trek we are accompanied by professional safari guides, who are highly skilled and armed, and who will always have our security as their highest priority, both when we are walking and camping. We will also be accompanied by a support crew, and a support vehicle.

Where does the trip start and end?

We meet in Arusha in the morning we are transferred to airport for our flight to Serengeti. The trip ends at another airstrip in Serengeti from where you can fly to Arusha, Kilimanjaro Airport or into Masai Mara. We assist you with the booking of all these flights. The domestic flights will be about US $ 500 per person in total.

How do I get to Arusha?

You fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport and transfer from there, which takes about 45 minutes.

Where can I stay in Arusha?

We will give you recommendations for safe and reasonably priced accommodations.

What are the physical activities on the trip and what level of fitness do I need?

We will be walking for up to 12 miles a day, sometimes over rough ground, at an elevation of 5000 feet, for 7 days in a row. You need a good level of fitness and it is essential that you train for the walk. We will send you training guidelines. In case you are not able to complete the trek without vehicle support, you will be charged for that extra expense.

What is the food like?

Plentiful, nutritious and filling — perfect for long distance walkers – and prepared by our dedicated camp cook.

I’m a vegetarian, is that a problem?

Not at all, but please let us know in advance, and advise us on what you can’t eat. As we can only travel with a limited amount of food which is carefully planned to cater for your food preferences, you will need to stick with the diet you sign up for.

Do I need a visa?

Yes, but it’s not a big deal. You can either apply for one ahead of the trip through a visa agency or the nearest Tanzanian embassy. Alternatively, you can get one on arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport.

Do I need any special insurance?

You will need medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

Included in the land cost is medical air evacuation within Tanzania.

Do I need vaccinations?

Your routine vaccinations (Tetanus-Diphtheria, Poliomyelitis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella) should be up to date. In addition, for travel in Africa yellow fever and hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended. Please consult your doctor for advice.

What about malaria?

Malaria is endemic throughout East Africa, however we are there at relatively dry times when the risk is low. Despite this, it’s recommended to take prophylactic medication and avoid mosquito bites by using an insect repellent and a mosquito net at night (nets are provided in all our accommodations).

How can I access cash when I’m on the trip?

You will need to bring cash (Tanzanian shillings or US $) and you can also get extra shillings at ATMs in Kilimanjaro Airport on arrival or Arusha Airport on the first day. Once we get to Serengeti we will be far away from banks. On the trek you will only need money to tip the guides and crew.

What clothes and equipment will I need?

When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.

I’m travelling alone, is that a problem?

Absolutely not. We have many guests who travel with us on their own. They appreciate the camaraderie of our Hidden Places groups, and usually go home with new-found friends. Our pricing is based on shared accommodation. If you require single accommodation, a single supplement may apply.

+ Add On Excursions

Safari Extension: Elephant Reintroduction Camp

Join us on a magical excursion to Tsavo National Park, for a special access visit to the camps where orphaned elephants from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust are reintroduced to the wild. Astounding things happen here: watch older orphans, who have been released many years ago, come and train younger orphans how to live in the wild. An amazing experience you will never forget. Final details are yet to be arranged but we plan to make it a 4 or 5 day trip.

Limited to 6 guests! S0 please let us know a.s.a.p if you are interested.

Safari Extension: Rwanda Mountain Gorilla

See mountain gorillas in their natural habitat — the ultimate wildlife experience! A short flight from Nairobi takes us to Rwanda, the ‘Switzerland of Africa’, and its peaceful capital, Kigali. After settling into our five-star hotel we have a city tour, learning about Rwanda’s miraculous recovery from its recent history. Next day, we drive through the storybook scenery of this ‘land of a thousand hills’ en route to glittering Lake Kivu, our base for the next two nights. From our lakeside hotel, a very early start takes us to Volcanoes National Park, where Diane Fossey did her groundbreaking research on mountain gorillas, and helped bring them back from the brink of extinction. We trek through magical rainforest for astoundingly close encounters with a family group of these extraordinary animals – some of the last remaining 780 individuals in the world. The following morning we can choose between another gorilla trek (optional add-on) or a land and boat tour on the shores of Lake Kivu. In the afternoon we return to Kigali to celebrate our once-in-a-lifetime experience over a fabulous dinner!

Trip Details

Land Cost
From US $4690 per person
Domestic Flights; Approximately US$500
Email us for more detailed pricing.


Fundraising
Minimum US $500 per participant
Target US $2500 per participant


Dates
Scheduled: Sep 17 - 25, 2018
Scheduled: Sep 17 - 25, 2019
Private: Year round


Length
9 days


Accommodation
8 nights camping


Group Size
10 max.


Begins:  Arusha, Tanzania

Ends: Serengeti, Tanzania

 


Guest Comments

  • Thank you so much for this wonderful trip.. Kenya is beautiful and the Kenyans are so warm and helpful and generous. Who ever wants to go home again?

    Sarah R Nottingham, UK
  • You can feel the heartbeat of Africa in your footsteps.

    Jen D Victoria BC
  • Thank you for an experience we would never have had without you! It was a whirlwind of happy surprises and magical moments. The memories made with our trekking group and Samburu family will be forever imprinted on our hearts.

    Bridget and Janeen H Victoria, BC, Canada
  • Many, many thanks for such a beautiful experience. It was truly the adventure of a lifetime and a memory to be cherished.

    Nola R Oakville, ON, Canada
  • A most wonderful adventure – peaceful, exciting, spiritual, calming, exhilarating! Amazing food, spectacular campsites, incredible views, and the best guides ever. I believe this walk will change everyone at a profound level. 11 stars out of 10.

    Eric B Victoria, BC, Canada
  • The trip far exceeded my expectations. The countryside, the villages, our Samburu guides, the exquisite campsites, the camaraderie: A wonderful experience.

    Marion C Victoria, BC, Canada
  • A whole new perspective on Africa. Textures, colors, earth under our feet, rolling by. The wisdom and humor of our Samburu guides. An experience of a lifetime – thank you.

    Karen D Victoria, BC, C
  • We are the most fortunate people in the world to have participated in this trek. It exceeded our expectations, and then some. Many thanks for showing us the remote and beautiful African landscape and introducing us to its extraordinary people.

    Sheryle M and Peter O Williamsburg, VA, USA
  • Thanks for such a wonderfully organized adventure, it was second to none. This is an experience I will remember and moments I will treasure for the rest of my life.

    Annette B Nairobi, Kenya
  • The support team were wonderful and Gabriel is an excellent guide, teacher and generally wonderful human being. The food surpassed all expectations, the accommodation was comfortable – and I am surprised by my affection for camels!

    Jim M Victoria, BC, Canada
  • I will remember friendly, gracious people, red earth, armed trees and delicate plants and flowers in the light of the equatorial sun. The walking was always interesting and the food and many luxuries of camping were truly amazing.

    Jenny K Golden, BC, Canada
  • This trek was a life changing experience. I enjoyed every moment. The wildlife is breathtaking. Thank you so much!

    Claire B Bouc Bel Air, France
  • A challenging, rewarding and fun adventure. The care and consideration of our guides and camp staff was awesome. Interacting with local people, walking with a common purpose, and sharing so much laughter as well as tears were the highlights.

    Dawn H Victoria, BC, Canada
  • Thank you so much for the adventure, it has been an awesome experience. You and your team are doing a great job at protecting and supporting elephants.

    Michelle W Cheltenham, Australia
  • Thank you so much for organizing this fantastic trip and for all you’re doing to help elephants. It has truly been life-changing, with memories I’ll keep forever.

    Kevyn J Homer, AK, Canada
  • A "trip of a lifetime" in every way. The walk was well organized and couldn't have been better. The trip leader Jean was thoroughly professional, knowledgeable and engaging. I always felt safe - even when the lions roared outside our tents and hippo walked across our path!

    Dianne and Peter S. Victoria, BC

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