News & Events

Kenya & Tanzania 2021-2022 Season Begins

**Destination Updates**

The month of July marks the start of the 2021-2022 travel season in Kenya and Tanzania. It's been an extremely difficult year for everyone in the industry, but we're all looking forward to welcoming travellers back to the camps, parks, and beaches of East Africa! 

The Great Migration is well underway, with massive crossings occurring daily in the northern parts of the Serengeti at the Mara River. The migration appears to be a little more unpredictable this year, partly explained by the below average amount of rainfall experienced from March to May. The wildebeest are further north than usual...it's all happening in East Africa!

Ready to start planning your East African adventure? Get in touch with our team, or check our destination guides below.  

Kilimanjaro Guide Qualifications

**Our Partners & Services**

We are delighted that our friends and partners at Nature Discovery have completed the Wilderness First Responder certification via Sentinel Outdoor Institute, and all 38 guides have been re-certified for the 2021-2022 season. 

The Wilderness First Responder qualification demonstrates our collective commitment to safety and customer care. 

Ready to take on Kilimanjaro? Check out our guide to Kilimanjaro and example itineraries

Date published: 23rd July 2021

New Openings in Kenya & Tanzania

**New Openings**

Giraffe Manor announces the opening of their new Retreat from 1st August 2021, featuring a new swimming pool, Daisy’s café, sun deck, spa with sauna, hot tub and treatment rooms and four en suite day rooms. Spa treatments and day rooms are bookable only for guests who have booked another Safari Collection safari property, as well as Giraffe Manor (same rules as the Garden Manor). General facilities such as the pool and lounge areas can be enjoyed by Giraffe Manor guests.

Chui Lodge by Lake Naivasha recently opened Chui House, a four bedroom private safari house with chef, house attendants, safari guide and vehicle, offering an exclusive and entirely flexible safari experience for families or groups of friends. They will also open Kiboko House, another private house, coming soon.

The Z Hotel in Zanzibar has added several new facilities for their guests to enjoy: the new Sky Spa on the third floor of the hotel, featuring products by Inaya of Zanzibar, a fourth floor yoga deck with regular yoga classes and a new gym fitted out by Life Fitness USA.

Date published: 21st July 2021

Accommodation Discounts

**Special Offers**

Finch Hattons in Tsavo West National Park:

  • Stay 3 nights but pay 2 for travel from 2nd January 2022 - 14th June 2022, and from 15th October 2022 - 21st December 2022. Or, stay 4 nights but pay 3 for travel from 15th June 2022 - 14th October 2022. 

&Beyond – Tanzania, Zanzibar and Kenya:

  • To celebrate &Beyond’s 30-year anniversary, stay 4 nights but pay 3 at any &Beyond property for travel 11th January 2022 - 20th April 2022, and 1st November 2022 - 20th December 2022. All 4 nights must be at one camp and not split between multiple properties.

Date published: 21st July 2021

Tour of Karamoja

**Upcoming Event**

Cycling took off in a big way in Uganda during the first lockdown in March 2021. The restrictions eventually lifted, but the bikes stuck around. What started as simple weekend cycle events that followed a few different routes from Kampala to Jinja has grown to fully-fledged cycle routes that span far beyond the capital city walls. 

The flagship cycling event in Uganda is the Tour of Karamoja, a breathtakingly beautiful route that passes by the Karamojong and Turkana tribes. The trip used to run just once per year, but it's being run twice in 2021 in both April and October. The tour began in 2017, and was the brain child of the cyclist Paul Sherwin who moved to Eastern Uganda when he was 6. 

The 2017 event only had 25 participants, but it has grown year-on-year. In 2020, the route stretched further into the Kidepo Valley National Park, making it the first cycling event to ever pass through this remote wilderness. 

Date published: 20th July 2021

Ride The Rift 2021

**Upcoming Event**

If you were given the chance to grab a mountain bike and travel across the Ethiopian Rift Valley, surrounded by staggering views and mountains vistas, passing through rural villages and stopping only for picture-perfect picnics and fresh Ethiopian coffee; all while raising money for a great cause - would you take it?

The first Ride the Rift event took place in November 2020, and was a huge success. The event was a fundraiser to raise money for tourism workers in Ethiopia who had gone without income due to COVID-19 (over 600,000 Birr was raised). Two more events were held in 2021, and we are working with our partners to run more events later this year. Get in touch with us for details, and check out the incredible photos and videos by clicking the link below!

Date published: 2nd July 2021

Kenya & Tanzania Camp Updates

**Special Offers**

Kenya

Atua Enkop has released a special new offer. Combine 3 nights Elephant Bedroom Camp with 3 nights Mara Ngenche and spouse gets 50% off the nightly rate. Valid for stays until 14 July and 1 Oct – 20 Dec 2021.

Great Plains reopened Mara Plains this month, with a new two-bedroom suite coming later in June. They have also reopened Mara Toto as a seasonal migration camp, which will operate each year between May and November.

Kicheche Camps have introduced a new electric vehicle at Kicheche Mara, and a specialized photographic vehicle based at Kicheche Bush Camp.

Tanzania

Serengeti Balloon Safaris are flying high above the northern Serengeti skies from their base in Kogatende, from now until mid-November.

Legendary Expeditions - stay 5 nights or more and get 25% off your nightly accommodation rate. For stays until 19 December 2021.

Gibbs Farm stay 3 nights and pay for 2, from 1 November – 18 December 2021, or stay 4 nights and pay for 3 from 1 September – 31 October 2021.

Date published: 2nd July 2021

What's on in East Africa?

Emergency Relief Fund in Ethiopia

**Fundraiser**

We've been working with Wild Expeditions for many years, and one of the things that make them such a joy to work with is their unrelenting commitment to sustainability and responsible tourism. They wear their values on their sleeve, and are the first to respond to local changes, providing support however they can. 

In light of COVID-19, they've launched emergency relief fund to support the communities of Ethiopia's Omo Valley.  

Date published: 18th June 2021

World Female Ranger Day

**Initiative**

World Female Ranger Day is an incredible initiative launched by Holly Budge and Margot Dempsey of the charity, How Many Elephants

World Female Ranger Day plants its flag on the calendar for the first time. The organisation is doing fantastic work, and there's no doubt they have a long future in celebrating and supporting female wildlife rangers across Africa. 

If you want to support this tremendeous work, there are a number of ways you can get involved. Check out their website for more information. 

Date published: 23rd June 2020

Matemwe Special Offer & Ongoing Discounts

**Special Offers**

For all new bookings at Matemwe for July and August 2021, we are now offering a huge saving of 40%. This special can be applied to romantic breaks at the Retreat, relaxing beach getaways at the Main Lodge and family holidays at the Beach House.

Date published: 1st July 2021

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary Re-Opens

**Local News**

popular stop-off destination on the journey from Entebbe or Kampala to Murchison Falls National Park, the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary re-opened on 10th June 2021 under new management of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). This follows a management and land dispute in April that resulted in the closure of the sanctuary. 

The sanctuary is located in the central district of Nakasongola, and is home to an incredibly important population of 33 southern white rhinos. The sanctuary plans to relocate the rhinos into some of the national parks in Uganda, as the sanctuary is reaching capacity limits. 

Date published: 10th June 2021

What's on in East Africa?

Community Visits Re-Open

**Local News**

We are pleased to announce that community visits in Tanzania and Kenya have re-opened, however strict protocols remain in place, including: 

  • Face masks worn at all times
  • Hand sanitizing is required on arrival, when entering/exiting vehicles, and on leaving the village
  • Social distancing of 2 metres must be maintained at all time
  • Guests cannot enter family homes
  • Village family members will be encouraged to wear face masks
  • All village family members will sanitise their hands on arrival

Date published: 1st June 2021

What's on in East Africa?

PM Unveils Entoto Park

**Local News**

Bemnet Gizachew, experienced guide in northern Ethiopia, describes the impact of the new Entoto park in the forests around Addis Ababa, and what it means for hundreds of women in the Entoto area. 

Date published: 15th October 2020

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Stories & Inspiration

A Journey Through Northern Tanzania

Join Brilliant's Alannah Clark as she recounts her time hiking from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the Serengeti National Park, exploring the vast wilderness of the Serengeti ecosystem.

Date published: 1st July 2021

Estimated read time: 7 minutes

A Journey Through the Rwenzori Mountains

Brilliant's Alannah Clark recounts her time trekking in the Rwenzori Mountains. Join her on a 7-day trek from the foothills of the mountains up to Margherita Peak at 5,109 metres.

Date published: 24th June 2021

Estimated read time: 7 minutes

A Safari at Lake Manyara

A crackle of static came over our guide's radio, and he promptly returned the sounds with words of confirmation. He turned in his seat to face us and quickly said, ‘Lions in trees, right ahead.’ Excited chatter filled the Jeep as we pressed onwards, cameras readied, heads turning left and right, scanning the trees for any big cats. 

Date published: 5th June 2021

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

Discovering Balchi Ammanuel

Bemnet Gizachew is a guide in Ethiopia, and a good friend of Brilliant's. He talked to us about a new guiding programme set up in Ethiopia, and a hidden gem he discovered on the doorstep of Addis Ababa. 

Date published: 16th February 2021

Estimated read time: 3 minutes 

A Journey Through Ethio-Jazz

Music Journalist Luca Fierro explores the history and development of Ethio-Jazz - one of the country's most unique sonic exports. From its rise in the 60s and 70s, to its fall under the Derg regime in the 80s, Luca explores the key characters that gave to life to this unique sound. 

Date published: 23rd October 2020

Read time: 4-5 minutes

A Vegan Tour of Ethiopia

Music journalist and long-time vegan Luca Fierro gives you a whistle-stop tour of vegan food in Ethiopia - from the spices and curries, to the flatbreads and alcoholic delights. 

Published date: 22nd October 2020

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremonies

Coffee is far more than just a beverage in Ethiopia. It's part of the cultural fabric of the country. Galia Hillhouse, Ethiopia specialist and good friend of Brilliant's, walks you through a traditional coffee ceremony in Ethiopia, and explains why coffee is so important here. 

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Published: 21st October 2020

Can Ethiopia protect its golden egg?

We take a look at the rise in popularity of Ethiopia as a tourist destination over the last 10 years, and the challenges that are posed by the increased demand. 

Date published: 8th October 2020

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

Destination Guides

Tanzania

Tanzania's northern circuit has a reputation for delivering some of the most extraordinary safari experiences in the world. The northern circuit parks include the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara National Park, and the Serengeti National Park

If you head south, you'll find a new world of endless savannahs and true wilderness in Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve

If you want a challenge, Mount Kilimanjaro's summit calls out to 50,000 hardy trekkers a year. 

Head east until the land gives way to the vast Indian Ocean; keep going until you reach the Zanzibar archipelago. White sandy beaches, cocktails, music and water sports, it's the perfect end to your East African adventure.  

Hiking in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Kenya

The south of Kenya is home to one of Africa's most famous wildlife destinations: the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Often combined with the Serengeti in northern Tanzania, both parks play a role in the annual Great Migration. 

While the Maasai Mara has the most name recognition, there's plenty more to get excited about in Kenya. The Mara conservancies of Naboisho, Mara North, Ol Kinyei, and Olare Motorogi have some of the most impressive wildlife densities in Africa, and oftentimes better viewing opportunities than in the reserve. 

Along the southern border you'll find Amboseli National Park, with Tsavo East and Tsavo West just beyond. 

Keep going and you'll arrive at the frontier between the continent and the ocean, with Diani Beach and Watamu Beach the perfect place to grab a cocktail and enjoy the views. 

Maasai Mara, kenya

Uganda

Roaming the dense forests of south-western Uganda are half of the world's remaining Mountain Gorilla population. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is one of the most extraordinary wildlife experiences, and the continued protection and conservation of these incredible animals relies on it. 

Uganda's is a small country, but offers a huge diversity of experiences. A short domestic flight or road transfer connects the dots, which means you can achieve a huge amount in a short space of time. From tracking the gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, to safaris in Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Park - there's no shortage of incredible safari opportunities in Uganda. 

It's not just gorillas that vie for attention, head into the forests of Kibale National Park to find troops of chimpanzees swinging from the trees. 

If you head to the border with the DRC, the Rwenzori Mountains National Park offer intrepid travellers the chance to hike to one of just 3 permanent glaciers in Africa. 

Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a land of infinite variety that stands out amongst the safari-first travel destinations of East Africa. Ethiopia is a cultural melting pot; a place of deep spirituality, immense geography, and wonderful people. 

The natural landscapes of the Simien Mountains, Bale Mountains, and Gambella provide excellent trekking and wildlife opportunities. In the northern highlands, you'll find the beating heart of spiritual Ethiopia in Lalibela, and short domestic flights or road transfers take you to the remarkable towns of Gonder, Bahir Dar, Harar, and Axum

Head south of discover the tribal communities of the Omo Valley, and on the opposite side of the country, you can hike the volcanic wilderness of the Danakil Depression

Ready to plan your African adventure?

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Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure, we can help.

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