AT A GLANCE
We have put together an exquisite Kenya Wildlife Safari Special giving you the chance to visit the bucket list country of Kenya with our expert guide. Promising you an unforgettable safari experience.
This special trip is available to book as a private guided safari between the dates of 15 April 2021 – 30 June 2021 or if you would prefer to join a group safari, we will have a guided group safari embarking on 28 May 2021
Special Price: From USD 2950 per person sharing
Arrival in Nairobi
Welcome to East Africa! Your fantastic Kenyan safari will start this morning in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city and the “safari capital of the world”.
You will be picked up at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by your Nature Travel guide and we will load your luggage into our comfortable, airconditioned vehicle. We will then proceed to the hotel, located just outside the city centre. The traffic, as in all other African capital cities, is quite crazy, but this will give us time to get to know each other and start discussing our main target sightings for the safari ahead.
We will also get to enjoy the sights and sounds of Nairobi, a very interesting east African city. Situated in along the Nairobi river (the name actually comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi, which translates to “cool water”, in reference to the river), the capital, sometimes called the “green city in the sun”, is east Africa’s most cosmopolitan city. It is Africa’s 4th largest city (with a population of over 4 million) and is a vibrant and exciting place, and although it has developed a reputation which keeps tourist visits brief, there are some fascinating attractions.
Nairobi is a major tourist destination, not just for its proximity to east Africa’s superb game reserves, but also for its cafe culture, huge range of restaurants, Benga music, unbridled nightlife, 6 golf courses, the National Museum, the Karen Blixen Museum and its many parks and green, open public spaces.
Interestingly, we might see The Pinnacle, a building under construction, that some Kenyans are very excited about. When completed, the skyscraper is expected to become the tallest building in Africa, and the third tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, at 70 stories and over 1,000 feet (300 m) in height.
Depending on what time your inbound flight arrived, there might be a chance to do an optional afternoon activity in Nairobi. Otherwise we will relax at the hotel, rest up and make sure our camera batteries are charged!
We will get together for our welcome dinner in the hotel and get to know each other a bit better. Then we are off to bed for a good night’s rest; tomorrow we hit our first park.
Nairobi National Park
We will start our day with an early breakfast in the hotel and then, amazingly, our first park is right on our doorstep!
We will spend the full day in the Nairobi National Park, the only wildlife park that borders a capital city in the world! We might enjoy a packed picnic lunch in the park or have lunch at a restaurant in the city before returning to the park for more game viewing.
This utterly unique 117 km2 (45 sq mi) park was officially opened in 1946, making it Kenya’s oldest national park. It really is a bizarre sight watching Africa’s big game against a backdrop of city skyscrapers and commercial airplanes coming in to land! The habitat in the park is mostly open savannah plains with scattered Acacia trees. The Athi river on the southern boundary of the park provides lush riverine habitat.
The park also goes by the nickname “Kifaru Ark”, a testament to its successful rhino (kifaru in Swahili) conservation history. In fact, the park boasts the densest concentration of Black Rhinoceros of any park in the world. It is also home to 3 other members of Africa’s Big Five (no African Elephant) and we will hope to see these and many of the other mammals that live here. These include Cheetah, Spotted Hyaena, Hartebeest, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Common Eland, Plains Zebra, Impala, Waterbuck and more.
The park is home to over 400 species of birds, remarkable for such a small area. Top targets we will search for include Secretarybird, Ayres’s Hawk-eagle, Martial and Crowned Eagle, Shelley’s Francolin, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Saddle-billed Stork, African Darter, Great Egret, Northern Pied Babbler, Pangani Longclaw, Red-throated Tit, Yellow-billed Oxpecker and Quailfinch. Some fantastic rarities have also been spotted here, and if we are very lucky we might see Corn Crake, Malagasy Pond Heron, Lesser Kestrel, Jackson’s Widowbird and Basra Reed Warbler.
After an exciting day in the park we will make the short drive back to our hotel. We will freshen up and get together for dinner. After an evening of relaxing and socialising we will retire for a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we head out of the city and into the wilderness!
Nairobi to Tsavo West National Park
We will have an early breakfast today and then check out of our hotel. We will jump into our vehicle and set off. As soon as we exit the greater metropolitan area of Nairobi, the scenery will change and you will start seeing why people that come to Kenya always return; it really is a beautiful place.
It will take us about 5 hours to reach our first world famous reserve on this tour, the Tsavo West National Park.
Tsavo West is a 9,065km2 park in the Coast province in southeast Kenya, which together with its neighbour, Tsavo East, forms the huge Tsavo Conservation Area. “The West” is the more popular of the two despite still being a true wilderness destination. This is due to its dramatic scenery, the Mzima Springs, fantastic wildlife, the Shetani lava flows, rock climbing activities, its rhino sanctuary, cave exploration possibilities, and better road system.
Apart from the Big Five, excellent birds, landmarks and truly magnificent scenery, Tsavo West is also known the world over for the two maneless, man-eating Lions that killed at least 30 (some authorities say over 100!) Indian and African railway workers in 1898, when the “Uganda Railway” was being built over the Tsavo river in the park. This incredible story was dramatised in the film The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) that starred Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer.
We should reach our lodge in the mid-afternoon and check in. We will go out into the park in the late afternoon for our first game drive here. Make sure your cameras are at the ready!
After our first game drive we will return to camp to enjoy our first proper night under the African sky. We will sit around the camp fire and just enjoy the sounds of the bush as we have dinner and settle in for the night out here in the middle of nowhere – nothing could be better!
Tsavo West National Park
Our day will start with an early breakfast and then we are off again for a full day in the “West”. We will return to the lodge for lunch and some time to relax, before going on another game drive in the afternoon.
If there is time today we will visit the Shetani Lava, a wide lava flow that emanated from the nearby Chyulu Hills about 200 years ago with such force that the locals thought the devil himself was coming out of the underworld!
The park is mostly rugged and arid, and overall its habitat comprises of open grassland savannah, scrublands, Acacia woodlands, small belts of riverine vegetation and dramatic rocky ridges and volcanic hills. On a clear day you can see snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance – beautiful!
Mammals we will look for include the maneless Lions, Leopard, Cheetah, Spotted Hyaena, large herds of African Buffalo, Black Rhinoceros, African Elephants that are often covered in red dust, Giraffe, Plains Zebra, Common Wildebeest, several mongoose species, Kirk’s Dik- dik and more. Three rather special ungulates we will search for are the elusive Lesser Kudu, Beisa Oryx and odd-looking Gerenuk; these three thrive in these arid conditions.
The park also boasts prolific birdlife, with over 400 species having been recorded here, including several dry-country specials. Ngulia Hills, inside the park, is one of Africa’s best known bird-ringing sites due to it being on an important migrant route, so some very interesting species turn up here every now and again. Special species that we will look for during our time here include Vulturine Guineafowl, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Black-faced Sandgrouse, Crested Francolin, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Harlequin Quail, Kori, Buff-crested, Black-bellied and Hartlaub’s Bustard, Southern Ground Hornbill, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Fischer’s and Shelley’s Starling, Red-bellied Parrot, Somali Bee-eater, Long-tailed and Taita Fiscal, Tropical and Slate-coloured Boubou, Brubru, Black-backed and Pringle’s Puffback, Black-crowned, Brown-crowned and Three-streaked Tchagra, Rosy-patched, Orange-breasted and Grey-headed Bushshrike, Northern White-crowned Shrike, White-crested Helmetshrike and many others.
After our exciting day in the “bundu” (bush) we will return to our lodge to relax and have dinner. We will once again sit around the camp fire and chat about our previous trips to exotic locations all over the world. Listen out for some of the nightjar species around the lodge; on a previous trip we had Sombre, European and Donaldson Smith’s Nightjar all in one evening!
Remember to look up at the stars tonight before bed. They are truly spectacular out here in the African bush.
Tsavo to Amboseli National Park
Today we will start with a slightly later breakfast, then pack our bags and check out. We will say our goodbyes to the staff at our lodge and slowly make our way out of “the West”, picking up species of mammals and birds that we may have missed so far.
We are aiming west towards our next park, the Amboseli National Park. It will take us 3 to 4 hours to get there.
Amboseli is in the elite ranks when it comes to Kenya’s wildlife parks, and with good reason. This 392 km2 (151 sq mi) park was established in 1974 and receives about 120,000 visitors a year, more than any Kenyan park except for the Maasai Mara.
The park’s undoubted signature attraction is the chance of seeing large herds of big-tusked African Elephants against the spectacular backdrop of magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro, at 5,895m (almost 20,000 ft) above sea level Africa’s highest mountain and the world’s highest free-standing peak. For these reasons the park is often labelled as the “Land of Giants”.
Amboseli is one of the best places to practice your photographic skills, not just because of the elephants and “Kili”, but also because of the wonderful light conditions that normally prevail here, and the fact that the animals are always relaxed here, resulting in some fantastic close-up shots.
We will arrive at our accommodation in time for lunch and some time to enjoy our surroundings, and then we will have our first proper game drive in the park.
We will try to make time to go to Normatior, or Observation Hill. It is one of the only places in the park you are allowed to exit the vehicle and provides stupendous views south to Kilimanjaro and east across the swamps. New computer background screen photo maybe?
After our game drive we will return to our lodge to relax, have dinner and socialise into the night. These are moments to treasure and you will remember them fondly when you are back at home and in the “rat race” again.
Amboseli National Park
We have a full day to enjoy everything that Amboseli has to offer. Morning and afternoon game drives will see us cover as much of the different habitats as we can today. We will have all our meals at the lodge, returning for lunch and a short siesta.
Speaking of habitats, the park contains mostly dusty plains and emerald-green, marshy swamps, with the towering Kili almost always in the background. The dusty, dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli is possibly where the name of the park comes from; Amboseli is a Maasai word for “salty dust”.
Amboseli is not all about elephants, although the park does host the longest and most famous elephant research program in the world, http://www.elephanttrust.org. The park was home to Echo, perhaps the most researched elephant in the world, and the subject of many books and documentaries studied for almost 40 years by American conservationist Dr Cynthia Moss. Echo died in 2009 when she was about 60 years old.
Other mammals we will look for include Spotted Hyaena, Hippopotamus, African Buffalo, Grant’s and Thomson’s Gazelle, (Maasai) Giraffes, Common Wildebeest, Plains Zebra and Yellow Baboon. Cats are harder to spot here but we could get lucky and see Lion, Cheetah and even Caracal or Serval.
From a birding perspective, Amboseli is a top destination. More than 420 species have been recorded in the park, with a nice mix of water-associated, dry-country and grassland species. Our top targets here will be pelicans, flamingos, Goliath and Rufous-bellied Heron, Greater Painted-snipe, Grey Crowned Crane, Von der Decken’s Hornbill, African Swamphen, African Jacana, Hartlaub’s and Buff-crested Bustard, Rufous Chatterer, Pangani Longclaw, Pink-breasted Lark, Tiny Cisticola, Taveta Weaver and many more.
We will return to camp in the early evening to relax and have dinner with Africa’s night sounds in the background. We will then retire for a good night’s rest; tomorrow we move onto another exciting location!
Amboseli National Park to Lake Naivasha
We will have an early breakfast this morning, check out, thank the wonderful lodge staff and jump into the vehicle. We are aiming northwest, for a drive of about 6 hours to our next stop. We will make several stops along the way to stretch our legs, use the bathroom and include a lengthy stop for lunch somewhere along the way. We will try to miss as much of Nairobi’s traffic as we can.
We are aiming for the heart of the Great Rift Valley, and more specifically Lake Naivasha. It is a 139 km2 (54 sq mi) shallow, freshwater lake at an elevation of 1,884 m (6,181 ft) above sea level. The name of the lake derives from the local Maasai name Nai’posha, meaning “rough water” because of the sudden storms which can arise on the lake and the surrounding areas.
Interestingly, between 1937 and 1950 the lake was used as a landing place for flying boats on the Imperial Airways passenger and mail route from Southampton in Britain to South Africa. Also, Joy Adamson, the author of Born Free, lived on the shores of the lake in the 1960s.
We will arrive at the lake in the late afternoon and drive around the edge. The lake is surrounded by Acacia woodlands dotted with cacti and sand olive trees, and is home to a large Hippopotamus population as well as African Buffalo, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Impala, Plains Zebra, Guereza and many others.
Over 400 bird species have been recorded on and around the lake. In fact, Lake Naivasha is both a Ramsar Wetlands Site and an Important Birding Area. Species we could see here include African Fish Eagle, Southern Pochard, Black and Goliath Heron, Greater Swamp Warbler, Banded Martin, Grey-rumped Swallow, Green-backed Honeyguide, Brown-backed Honeybird, Yellow-collared Lovebird, Rüppells’s Robin-chat and many others.
We will arrive at our hotel in the early evening and get acquainted with our surroundings. We will get together for dinner and some socialising before retiring to bed. Tomorrow we head for the Mara!
Lake Naivasha to Maasai Mara National Reserve
This morning we will have some coffee and then stroll around the hotel grounds, looking for birds and smaller mammals. On our most recent trip, we saw Green Wood Hoopoe, and Yellow-collared and Fischer’s Lovebirds all while sipping our coffees!
Then we enjoy breakfast before setting off for the final, and very exciting, park of our Kenya safari. We will drive to the world-famous Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya’s richest game park, renowned for its black-maned Lions and so much more!
We will arrive at our camp in time for lunch and a short relaxation period. Then we will enjoy our first game drive in the “Mara”, as the locals call it.
Situated in the southwest of Kenya, the Maasai Mara is contiguous with the Serengeti National Park in the northern Mara Region of neighbouring Tanzania and is the northern-most section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, which covers some 25,000 km2 (9,700 sq mi) in the two countries. It is named in honour of the Maasai people (the ancestral inhabitants of the area) and their description of the area when looked at from afar. “Mara,” which is Maa (Maasai language) for “spotted,” is an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna, and cloud shadows that mark the area.
The image of acacia trees dotting endless grass plains epitomises Africa for many; then add a Maasai warrior and some cattle to the picture and the conversation need go no further. This is the Africa we love!
Some of the many mammals we hope to see here include African Elephant, African Buffalo, rhinoceros, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Spotted Hyaena, Hippopotamus, Giraffe (Maasai or tippelskirchi subspecies), Common Eland, Thomson’s and Grant’s Gazelle, Black-backed Jackal, Bat-eared Fox, Serval, and of course hundreds of thousands of zebras and wildebeest if our timing is right for the Great Migration.
Around July of each year, these animals migrate north from the Serengeti plains towards the Maasai Mara in search of fresh pasture and return to the south again around October. The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving some 1,300,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s Gazelles, 97,000 Topi (a subspecies of Tsessebe), 18,000 Common Eland and 200,000 Plains Zebras. Astoundingly, about 250,000 wildebeest and other mammals die during the journey from Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Death is usually from thirst, hunger, exhaustion, or predation.
Remember to bring extra batteries for your camera, because the reserve is also a photographer’s paradise destination, with abundant wildlife, birds, incredible African landscapes, and excellent weather. The BBC television show Big Cat Diary was filmed in both the Reserve and Conservation areas of the Maasai Mara.
After our exciting first game drive, we will return to camp to freshen up and have dinner. Remember to look up at the sky tonight before settling into your room – the stars are truly remarkable out here! And listen out for the roar of a lion or a nightjar’s call before falling asleep… Isn’t Africa fantastic!
DAY 9: Maasai Mara National Reserve
We have a full day on safari in the wonderful Maasai Mara today. We will enjoy a scrumptious breakfast, which will be followed by a morning game drive.
Covering an area of 1,510 km2 (583 square miles) and rising from 1,550 to 2,100 metres (5,085 to 6,890 ft) above sea level, the Maasai Mara National Reserve is a place of breathtaking vistas, abundant wildlife and endless plains. The terrain of the reserve is primarily open grassland with seasonal riverlets. In the southeast region are clumps of the distinctive Acacia tree. The western border is the Esoit (Siria) Escarpment of the East African Rift, which is a system of rifts some 5,600 km (3,500 mi) long, from Ethiopia’s Red Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and into Mozambique.
The Maasai Mara is regarded as the jewel of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas and undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest wildlife reserves. As in the Serengeti, the wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants of the Maasai Mara, and their numbers are estimated in the millions. Nowhere in Africa is wildlife more abundant, and we are almost guaranteed to see the Big Five (African Buffalo, African Elephant, Leopard, Lion and 2 species of rhino). Another 90 species of mammals have been recorded in the reserve, along with over 500 species of birds and many amphibians, reptiles and other fascinating creatures.
We will return to our lodge for lunch and a short siesta in the heat of the day. We will go out on another game drive in the afternoon, hoping to see some more spectacular fauna and flora, along with some predator-prey interaction that the Mara is famous for.
Speaking of birds, we will also focus on finding some of the Mara’s special species. More than 500 species of birds have been identified in the park, with almost 60 species of raptors. Birds that we will look for during our time here include several species of vultures, Saddle-billed, Woolly-necked and Marabou Stork, Secretarybird, many hornbill species, D’arnaud’s Barbet, 7 species of kingfisher, Ross’s and Schalow’s Turaco, Kori and Denham’s Bustard, Grey-crested Helmetshrike, aptly named Long-crested Eagle and Superb Starling, Grey Crowned Crane, the cute Pygmy Falcon, Sooty Chat, Jackson’s Widowbird, Kenya Sparrow, Southern Grosbeak-canary, Rufous-bellied and Malagasy Pond Heron, Lesser Kestrel, Yellow-billed Oxpecker and the beautiful Lilac-breasted Roller, the national bird of Kenya. It is easy to see over 100 species on a day trip in the Mara!
Something else to look out for is the absolutely monstrous Nile Crocodiles we will see in the rivers. These ancient reptiles (some of them over 5 metres/16 feet long!) lie in wait for the migrating mammals and seeing one of them catch a zebra and consume it is a scary reminder of how fragile us humans are in the greater scheme of things.
After our fantastic day in the Mara, we will return to the lodge for our final farewell dinner together. We will sit under the African sky and reminisce about our wonderful time here before heading to bed and a good night’s rest.
Maasai Mara to Nairobi and Departure
And so an amazing Kenyan safari, unfortunately, comes an end. After breakfast, we will head to Nairobi and stop for lunch or maybe some last-minute shopping, depending on your flight time. Total driving time is about 6 hours.
We will make our way to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for our flights home, saying our sad goodbyes after a wonderful trip, but knowing that we have made friends for life.
*Please note: Extensions to Zanzibar, Diani beach, Mombasa or Tanzania can easily be arranged. Please contact us for more information.
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