For the fit and adventurous, this safari combines superb wildlife spotting opportunities with a host of exciting activities such as mountain biking, horseback riding and game walking.
Take this chance to get out on the ground with the wildlife and explore the Kenyan wilderness in detail. Don't just pass it by in a vehicle!
This safari will give you the chance to cycle through the salty plains of Amboseli, before heading to the Great Rift Valley and the soda lake of Nakuru. Then try your hand at horseback riding in the Laikipia region of Northern Kenya before visiting the magnificent Masai Mara for your introduction to bush walking and animal tracking.
Using a combination of adventure camping (two person, igloo style tents with mattresses on the ground, long drop toilets and bucket showers), private home stays, and luxurious lodges, this safari offers a taste of all that Kenya offers!
Day 1 Met at the Nairobi airport and taken to your Nairobi Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 2 After breakfast, your camping team collects you and drives you through the rolling Athi plains on your way to the Amboseli National Park. Arriving with plenty of time to set up camp before lunch, you'll get kitted up and head out on a mountain bike ride through the wilderness this afternoon.
Cycle over the salty plains, in search of giraffe, zebra, other plains game and the multitude of birds to be found in this area. Take care to avoid the elephants and other predators!
Amboseli itself is a fairly small National Park of 392 square km, originally opened in 1948. It is however, amazingly rich is both flora and fauna. Amboseli is a designated International Bio-sphere reserve and is the home of a large number of world famous researchers, especially with regard to elephant.
Amboseli, meaning "Salty Dust" in the Masai language is an important rangeland in the Masai culture. The area surrounding the park is made up of Masai ranch areas, which offer a wide variety of game viewing and walking safari options, not found within the park itself. The 'salty dust' is volcanic ash from Mount Kilimanjaro eruptions a millennium ago. The dry, arid plains covered by this dust form heat wave mirages in the dry season. Endless herds of animals seem to waver in the distance, interrupted only by the real herds of zebra and wildebeest hovering in front.
This arid landscape belies the reality, as Amboseli has an endless water supply from the ice caps of Kilimanjaro. This water forms two clear water springs in the middle of the park that provide a permanent water supply, even in drought.
Amboseli is probably most famous for its photographs of elephant with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background. The mountain is situated on the boundary of the park and Amboseli is certainly one of the finest locations for mountain spotting with Mount Meru also being seen with ease.
The elephant themselves are of course a major attraction in Amboseli. The bull elephant here have some of the largest tusks in Kenya. Cynthia Moss and her assistants have followed and studied these elephant for over 20 years, providing some of the most detailed knowledge of these magnificent animals available. The elephant are generally found in larger herds than most other areas and are quite habituated to people, allowing excellent photography, even for us amateurs!
Cycle back to camp and enjoy a delicious dinner under the stars before overnighting at the campsite.
Day 3 Today you'll head into the Park itself for early morning game drives in search of the abundant elephant and lions. Return to the campsite for breakfast and then cycle off on another adventure exploration of the area.
Return to the campsite for lunch and a relaxing 'pumzika' (siesta) before another game drive into the park in the cooler afternoon. Dinner and overnight at the campsite.
Day 4 Leaving Amboseli today, you'll return to Nairobi where you will stop for lunch at the world famous Carnivore Restaurant before continuing into the Rift Valley and the clear green waters of Lake Naivasha. Set up camp on the lakeshore and take a boat ride to the Crescent Island Sanctuary in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight at the campsite.
The Rift Valley is millions of years old, more than 5,400 miles long and a sight not to be missed!
In Kenya, seven lakes are found in this valley: Magadi, Naivasha, Elementeita, Nakuru, Bogoria, Baringo and Turkana. Only Naivasha and Baringo are fresh water lakes, with the other lakes draining through volcanic rock, collecting minerals and alkaline soils. None of the lakes have an obvious outflow and evaporation has deposited so much alkaline soil and minerals in the other five lakes, that the waters are highly saline and undrinkable. This is a bonus for posterity though, as the highly mineralized and alkaline soils around these lakes, both past and present, are a superb medium for turning bones into fossils and are one of the reasons so many ancient archeological sites are located within the Rift Valley.
Day 5 Today you explore the magical Rift Valley by bicycle as you head up the Valley floor from Naivasha to Lake Nakuru. There are excellent, off-road tracks that meander through this fairly dry, volcanic area, offering you the chance to spot birds, antelope and a variety of tribal people along the way.
Arrive at your campsite at the Lake Nakuru National Park in time for lunch. After lunch spend the afternoon exploring this superb little park with its population of rhino, lion, leopard, hippo and the famous flamingos. Dinner and overnight at the campsite.
Day 6 After an early morning game drive, you leave the Rift Valley behind you as you head up the escarpment on your way to Nanyuki town via Nyahururu and the wonderful Thompson's Falls. Enjoy a picnic lunch along the way before saying goodbye to your camp crew as they drop you off at the private ranch and wildlife sanctuary of Lewa Downs.
One of Kenya's original settler ranches, Lewa Downs has been in the Craig family since 1924, when the Craig's grandparents first started to raise cattle. It is now a part of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, which includes Anna Merz' highly respected Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary. The area is committed to the conservation of the wildlife and diverse habitats found on these northern slopes of Mount Kenya and combines this wildlife protection with benefits to the local community such as schools, clinics and employment.
Enjoy a game drive enroute to the cottages before dinner and overnight at Lewa Downs.
Day 7 Today you'll spend exploring the wonderful Laikipia ecosystem on the Lewa Downs Ranch by vehicle, on foot or on horseback, riding through herds of giraffe, zebra, antelope and other plains game.
When on horseback, the animals seem not to mind to your approach and you are able to literally become a member of a herd, riding amongst the animals as you please. Northern Kenya is a huge expanse of scrub desert, bisected by a few life saving rivers. A true wilderness, this area of Kenya is very sparsely populated, and game patterns have been little affected by humans.
The Laikipia area is part of an ancient lava plain covered with red dirt, thorn scrub, broken volcanic rock, dried riverbeds, steep hills and rocky outcroppings. Unusual for this arid area of Northern Kenya, Lewa Downs has a permanent water supply. This permanent water flow provides an oasis for the many elephant, hippo, and crocodile that abound in this area.
The region is also home to the rare Grevvy zebra, Somali ostrich with their distinctive blue legs, the shy Beisa Oryx and the largest African antelope, the Eland. The area is famous for its leopards. One of the most reliable areas in Kenya for spotting this beautiful but elusive cat, as well as lion and cheetah, Laikipia proves very popular with the big cat researchers.
The mix of wood and grassland with riverine forest and swamp is home to a wide variety of bird life as well as mammals. Buffalo Springs records over 365 bird species! The perfect place for an introduction to the harsh, yet stunningly beautiful landscapes of northern Kenya, Laikipia is a vital part of a safari itinerary. Dinner and overnight at Lewa Downs.
Day 8 Leaving Laikipia behind today, you'll drive to Nanyuki town to catch the flight to the magnificent Masai Mara and the private cottages of Rekero. Located to the south of Nairobi, and bordering Tanzania, the Masai Mara forms part of the huge Serengeti eco-system. The Mara spreads over 1510 square km of rolling plains, sudden rocky outcrops, and green winding rivers.
Not only is the Mara blessed with this stunning landscape, but also its animal diversity is one of the greatest in Africa. Surrounded by the grazing lands of the Masai people, the Mara is a sanctuary for all of the "Big Five" animals: lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard. The sweet grasses and abundant water ensure a full compliment of plains game such as the impala and Thompsons gazelle. The deep river pools provide homes for hippo and crocodiles.
The breath-taking beauty of the Masai Mara and its astonishing diversity of wildlife combine to ensure that the Mara is one of the most popular stops on a Kenyan safari and the site for your final few nights.
Rekero is owned by the Beaton family and their partners, members of the Masai and Ndorobo tribes. Here you'll enjoy a delicious lunch before heading off over the plains with your Masai warrior guides, learning to animal track and 'bush walk'.
Dinner and overnight at the lovely cottage of Rekero.
Day 9 Spend a full day with your Masai and Ndorobo guides, walking in the wilderness, learning about the plants, animals and insects of the area. Keep an eye out for those lions! Perhaps take the time to visit a Masai village as well, and enjoy an introduction to Masai culture. Dinner and overnight at Rekero.
Day 10 An early morning game drive before breakfast, then catch your flight to Nairobi. Met at the airport and explore Nairobi as you please before your transfer to the international airport for your return flight home.
****Includes: All transfers, all accommodation, breakfast in Nairobi, lunch at the Carnivore, all meals on safari, water in vehicles, driver/guide, activities as listed above, park entrance fees, all drinks at Lewa Downs and Rekero and local taxes.
Excludes: Other drinks besides water when adventure camping, lunch and dinner Nairobi unless detailed in the itinerary, laundry, telephone calls, personal purchases, tips, visas and international flights.