For travellers inspired by BBC One’s new nature documentary, Serengeti, wildlife and adventure tour operator Gane and Marshall has highlighted four thrilling safari itineraries, for travellers of varying budgets, to the Serengeti region of northern Tanzania.
Narrated by Star Wars actor, John Boyega, the new six-part TV series focuses on the lives of animals who live in the Serengeti, telling their survival stories in a dramatic way. Episode one, which aired on 4 July, gripped viewers with the story of a heroic young hyena, with further thrilling tales from the Serengeti to come.
The name Serengeti is derived from the Maasai word “serengit”, meaning ‘endless plains’. It’s the perfect name for this magnificent area of almost 6,000 square miles, where both the plains and the herds of game that populate them really can appear limitless. Famous for its annual migration, the Serengeti also offers an excellent safari experience all year round. The big cats – lion, leopard, cheetah – are regular sightings, as are elephant, giraffe, buffalo, plentiful plains game – zebra, eland, impala, waterbuck – and smaller game including baboon, monkey and warthog. Rarer highlights include serval cat, wild dog and black rhino.
The Serengeti has varied zones in which each ecosystem is subtly different. Seronera, in the centre of the park, is famous for its vast savannah grasslands and excellent cheetah sightings, while the Grumeti River in the Western Corridor is the location for dramatic river crossings during the wildebeest migration. Maswa Game Reserve to the south offers a remote part of the park that is rewarding in its game-viewing and in the privacy it affords its guests, while Lobo near the Kenyan border offers a chance to see plentiful game during the dry season.
Tanzania Northern Highlights
Gane and Marshall’s ‘Tanzania Northern Highlights’ itinerary is a comparatively low-cost, seven-day small group safari. Travellers will stay in lodge-based accommodation and visit the world-famous Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, and Ngorongoro Crater. The time in the Serengeti includes a full-day game drive focused on the Seronera region, which is the heart of the action.
Prices start from £1,685pp, based on two sharing in the ‘Bronze’ category of accommodation. This includes six nights’ lodge accommodation on full-board basis, transportation in a 4×4 vehicle with guaranteed window seat, services of an English-speaking driver & guide, national park entrance fees, all currently applicable Tanzanian taxes and levies. International flights are additional.
Great Migration Fly-in Safari
Newly-introduced, the ‘Great Migration Fly-in Safari’ is an eight-day private safari, designed to get travellers as close to the great migration as possible, from both the Kenyan and Tanzanian sides of the border. It’s intended to be booked July – October to track the migration in the Masai Mara and the northern Serengeti, but can be booked at other times of year as well as the Serengeti camp is mobile, shifting location to track the wildebeest herds. Accommodation is with the luxurious &Beyond brand, including the fabulous Serengeti Under Canvas camp.
The cost of this itinerary is £5,870pp, based on two people sharing accommodation and travelling in peak season (July – October). This includes seven nights’ luxury accommodation, meals on a fully-inclusive basis, game viewing activities, English-speaking safari guides, transfers and regional/domestic flights, all entrance and park fees. International flights are additional.
Tanzania for Two
Gane and Marshall’s ‘Tanzania for Two’ itinerary starts with a fly-in safari to the Tarangire region, where travellers will spend three nights at the fabulous and remote Swala Camp, before journeying to the exclusive Grumeti Reserves in the Western Serengeti for three nights at the stunning Singita Sasakwa. This luxury northern Tanzania safari includes the incredible experience of a Serengeti balloon safari and is ideal for couples and honeymooners.
Prices start from £7,220pp, based on two sharing. This includes six nights’ luxury accommodation on a full-board basis including drinks, game activities, hot-air balloon safari, all transfers, domestic flights. International flights are additional.
Private Serengeti Safari (Mkombe’s House)
Travellers on the exclusive ‘Private Serengeti Safari (Mkombe’s House)’ in the northern Serengeti region will leave relatively busy wildlife watching areas and spend three nights in a private house close to the Mara River. Mkombe’s House is a four-bedroom, self-contained house with private 4×4 safari vehicle and a full complement of staff, including a dedicated guide and an in-house chef, who will prepare sumptuous meals, which can be enjoyed on the terrace with views of the Serengeti. Perfect for families or small groups, this short fly-in safari can be booked as a standalone option or as a component in a longer safari and beach itinerary booked via Gane and Marshall.
There is currently a special offer of ONE FREE NIGHT at Mkombe’s House when travelling outside of the peak migration season (valid November – May with the exception of the Christmas and New Year holidays) on stays of three nights or longer.
Prices start from £3,630 per adult for a group of four or more. Those under the age of 21 stay at a reduced rate of £2,325pp. This includes three (or four, if special offer applicable) nights’ accommodation on a fully-inclusive basis, services of a private guide and vehicle, regional flights, national park fees. International flights are additional.
Indulgent break for gin lovers at De Vere Latimer Estate
Let the fun be-gin at De Vere Latimer Estate, set in the heart of Buckinghamshire in the Chess Valley, with their indulgent gin lovers break priced from £185 per room*. The gin package includes an overnight stay with a £26 dinner voucher per guest and a gin cocktail each, followed by breakfast the following morning.
Relax with a complimentary G&T in the hotel’s Huntley Bar, a cosy bar which offers views across the estate’s gardens and sweeping views of the Chiltern Hills. During their stay, guests can also opt to visit the nearby Griffiths Brothers Gin distillery, located just 15 minutes away, for a tour of the distillery with tastings to be enjoyed along the way and to learn how Griffiths Brothers Gins are produced.
Spend the evening in 1838 Restaurant & Bar which celebrates classic British dishes where you’ll discover locally sourced, seasonally inspired menus with dishes including lemon & herb marinated pork tenderloin; Casterbridge 28 days dry aged 8oz Sirloin steak; grilled fillet of sustainable sea bream; and rigatoni alla parmigiana. As part of the package, guests will have up to £52 to spend between them in the restaurant during their stay.
De Vere Latimer Estate, located in the Chess Valley in Buckinghamshire, has plenty of activities on the doorstep. Why not borrow a pair of Hunter wellies and explore the beautiful 10-mile Chess Valley Walk on the hotel’s doorstep to discover a wealth of wildlife, historic buildings, water meadows and nature reserves.
Afterwards, guests can head back to the hotel where they can opt for some R&R in the pool, sauna and steam room or, enjoy a board game in The Library – a secluded spot ideal for relaxing with a drink in hand or indulging in a delicious afternoon tea.
Outdoor culture comes to Waddesdon Manor for late summer
This summer, open-air cinema screenings, picnic theatre and a food festival will come to Waddesdon Manor for some fantastic seasonal culture in the outdoors.
The Luna Cinema will pitch up in the grounds and screen four blockbuster films, with the 19th-century chateau serving as a picturesque backdrop. After arriving via a path lit with festoon lighting, visitors can enjoy the full service of the on-site Luna bar for refreshments and food.
Champagne may be the apt choice on the first night with Baz Luhrman’s spectacular take on The Great Gatsby (Wed 13 Sept) starring Leonardo Di Caprio. While the director’s latest, the Oscar-nominated biopic Elvis (Thurs 14 Sept), follows on the following day to fill the garden setting with Presley’s signature rock and roll. Then a modern classic, as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Fri 15 Sept), the film that kicked off one of the biggest film series of all time, will make Friday evening a nostalgic start to the weekend. The final screening will be the smash-hit of last year Top Gun: Maverick (Sat 16 Sept), starring Tom Cruise and widely cited as a saviour of big-screen cinema.
At the end of August, visitors will be transported back to Elizabethan times with the open-air production of Romeo and Juliet (Thurs 24 Aug) by the internationally-acclaimed The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the UK’s premier all-male company. It will be a unique opportunity to watch the traditional performance in the atmospheric grounds of one the UK’s most beautiful settings. Alongside Elizabethan dress, music and dances, and with the all-male cast, guests can watch the tragedy in a similar manner to how Shakespeare’s original tale would’ve been viewed by the public, except with the extra comfort of enjoying your own picnic in the garden.
If you cannot wait for the second half of summer to see some Shakespeare, then the Unbound Theatre company will have you covered with their free picnic performance of the comedy Much Ado About Nothing (Sun 23 July)at 2pm. They will also return for another free performance of their original play Gertrude & Dorothy (Sun 20 Aug), a crime caper throwing together the noted horticulturalist and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, and Britain’s first racing driver Dorothy Levitt, for three separate showings throughout the day.
Adding to the summer heat will be Chilli Fest (Fri 1 – Sun 3 Sept) a weekend festival featuring handpicked exhibitors, all passionate about chilli, bringing the best of local artisan condiments, sauces, and chutneys to the Manor grounds. Around 70 stalls will offer up the taste of some of the most delicious chilli-food from the UK, so you can pitch up with a picnic in the sunny grounds to enjoy for the day, and then choose your favourite condiments to take home. There will also be a range of bars and distilleries, offering everything from local vineyards to flavoursome cocktails, making the perfect refreshments after a walk in the gardens. Along with live music and activities for young ones, and with a special late-night opening on Saturday, Chilli Fest is the perfect way to enjoy the last of the summer sunshine.
Of course, if you want to escape the sun for a while, Waddesdon Manor’s impressive permanent collection will be available inside. For first-time visitors or regular guests, there’s plenty to see and enjoy, including the newly restored Musical elephant automaton, the rare Sèvres pot-pourri vase, and works by Guardi, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Watteau.
Alongside the entire summer programme, which includes more theatre shows suitable for the whole family, Waddesdon Manor is set to be the perfect late summer outing for friend meetups, evening drinks, and relaxed afternoon picnics, enjoying the most exciting culture of cinema, theatre and food in a glorious summer setting.
There are limited places available for the events mentioned above, please visit the Waddesdon Manor summer holidays webpage to book and not miss out.
Wicksteed Park’s Garden Wheel Shortlisted for Best new Ride Award
Wicksteed Park’s Garden Wheel has been shortlisted for the Best New Ride at the UK Theme Park Awards.
The Northamptonshire attraction’s historic Water Chute was also nominated for the Best Water Ride and the Park received a third nomination as the Best Theme Park with Animals.
Now in its fourth year, the awards give the British public the chance to vote for their favourite theme parks in national awards recognising the best new rides and attractions, shows and events. Voting will open on 22nd July at ukthemeparkawards.com.
“We’re delighted to have been nominated in three different categories and it’s obviously particularly exciting to be shortlisted with the Garden Wheel for the best new ride,” said Wicksteed Park’s Carly Redington.
“We are up against some stiff competition with the likes of Legoland Windsor and Thorpe Park but it’s great to get recognition for our ongoing investment programme in the park alongside one of our heritage rides,” she added.
Opened in May, the 25-metre-tall Garden Wheel features 18 gondolas and provides stunning views out across the Kettering attraction and the surrounding countryside. The Ferris wheel, which can accommodate up to 72 passengers, is situated at the top end of the park and is included in the price of a wristband.
Alongside Wicksteed Park other major contenders for the awards include Alton Towers and Drayton Manor in Staffordshire, Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Lancashire, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey, LEGOLAND Windsor in Berkshire and Paultons Park in Hampshire.
There are 22 categories this year, including Theme Park of the Year, Best New Attraction, Best Customer Service and Best Value. New categories include Best Reimagined Attraction, Best Theme Park with Animals and Best Themed Coaster.
In advance of the public vote, a shortlist has been compiled using public nominations and with the help of a panel of expert judges including Paul Kelly (Chief Executive of the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions) and Andy Hine MBE (Chairman – Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain).
More than 25,000 nominations were received, with a total of 35 theme parks nominated for awards in 2023.
The Garden Wheel is part of an ongoing programme of investment in the Park which has included the launch of the new Galaxy Invaders ride, Meerkat Manor, Wicky Bear’s Theatre and Wicky’s Farmyard over the past two years.
Wicksteed Park provides a great value day out for all the family. Entry to the park is free. Ride and attraction tickets can either be purchased individually at £3 per person or alternatively day wristbands are available at £22 for unlimited access to all rides and attractions (with the exception of Wicky’s Play Factory).