Image: Masai Mara
Stephen  /  EPA file
A family of elephants and some zebras graze in the Masai Mara game reserve while a balloon with tourists takes flight in the background in Kenya earlier this summer.
updated 9/30/2008 9:16:47 AM ET 2008-09-30T13:16:47

The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, six nights' accommodations, meals, game drives, and transfers, from $2,899 per person — plus taxes of about $295.

When: Oct. 1-Nov. 30, 2008.

Gateways: Boston, Chicago, D.C., L.A., Miami, New York City, and San Francisco only.

The fine print: Lowest prices based on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Thursday departures. A total of 17 meals (seven breakfasts, five lunches, and five dinners), hotel taxes, and all transfers are included. Seven game-viewing drives in a seven-passenger safari vehicle with a guaranteed window seat, a complimentary bottle of mineral water per person during each game drive, national park entrance fees, and the services of local English-speaking drivers and guides are also part of the package. Additional taxes and fees are up to $295 per person. Travelers have the option to break their journey in London in either or both directions for an additional $95 per person per stop. You'll also get a free extension of your airline ticket for up to three months. Prices are per person based on double occupancy; single supplement is $230. In order to enter Kenya, travelers must have a visa, which can be obtained for $50 at the airport upon arrival, or in advance (see our story on visas for details). Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Book by: Nov. 10, 2008; prices may increase slightly after that.

Contact: 2Afrika, 866/462-2374, 2afrika.com.

Why it's a deal: According to a recent search on Kayak, round-trip fares between New York City and Nairobi, departing in mid-November, start at $1,400, including taxes (Northwest). For an additional $1,794, 2Afrika covers round-trip international airfare as well as six nights' hotel accommodations, most meals, all lodging and airport taxes, all local transfers, seven game drives, and the services of English-speaking local guides and drivers.

Trip details: The package includes a round-trip New York-London flight on a Virgin Atlantic carrier (a little under seven hours) and a round-trip London-Nairobi flight on Kenya Airways (about eight and a half hours). The main mode of transportation during the six-night trip is a seven-person safari vehicle with a pop-up roof hatch.

You'll be transferred from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Safari Park Hotel and Casino in Nairobi, where you'll spend the first night of your adventure.

You might consider squeezing in a visit to Nairobi National Park, Kenya's oldest, only six miles from the city. Here you'll find over 500 varieties of birds and more than 100 mammal species, including zebras, giraffes, buffalo, ostriches, gazelles, eland, hippos, and lions. If you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the black rhino.

From Nairobi, you'll make the five-and-a-half-hour drive to Masai Mara National Reserve, a 1,042-square-mile area along Kenya's southwest border with Tanzania. (Several scenes from the film Out of Africa were shot in this area.) The Masai Mara Sopa Lodge on the slopes of Oloongams Hills will be your home for two nights.

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In Masai Mara, there will be three game-viewing drives, one in the morning and two in the afternoon. Be on the lookout for the big five: elephants, lions, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos. You could also splurge on an optional hot air balloon excursion early in the morning (from $490 per person).

Next on the itinerary is a three-and-a-half-hour drive to Lake Nakuru National Park. The wetland ecosystem is a rhino sanctuary and also happens to have a large population of pink flamingos. You'll spend one night at Lake Nakuru Lodge in the southeast part of the park. An afternoon game drive is included.

Leaving Lake Nakuru, continue on to Amboseli National Park, a four-hour drive. The 151-square-mile park has recently earned fame as the home of large herds of elephants, often found grazing in the area's permanent swamps. The package includes two nights at Amboseli Sopa Lodge at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain at 19,343 feet, and a morning and two afternoon game drives.

Then head back to Nairobi, about three hours' drive, to catch your return flight home via London.

Not ready to leave? Contact 2Afrika to add extra nights or customize your package, which the company encourages as a part of its Trends and Blends program. Before you go, visit the official Web site for the tourist boards of Kenya.

A word on safety: Kenya, one of Africa's most popular and best-known tourism destinations, made headlines early in 2008 for a contested election that sparked riots in outlying slums of Nairobi and other areas of the country not typically on safari itineraries. The State Department has an information sheet on travel to Kenya and has issued a travel warning, which was updated in August. For our take on how to prepare for the unexpected, read Trouble in Paradise.

Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.

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