Introduction to Kenya Safari

The Facts

14 Days
13 Nights

Regions

Accomodation

Itinerary

Day 1 On arrival at the Nairobi International airport, you will be met by your safari representative and transferred to Macushla House. Macushla, located in the suburb of Langata gives a quiet, peaceful stopover in this busy city area. With six spacious bedrooms, two lounges, a private study, bar, pool and dining room, Macushla caters for both business and holiday travelers. A delicious range of fresh, home cooked meals, served throughout the day, provide fine dining at your convenience. Located close to the Giraffe Manor, Karen Blixen Museum, Nairobi National Park and the Animal Orphanage, Macushla is the perfect place to start your safari adventure.

Day 2 Your private vehicle with expert driver/guide will collect you from your hotel and drive the two and a half hours to the Amboseli National Park. Rolling hills and gently undulating plains stretch out before you. Your driver will provide you with information on the geology, ecology, animals and peoples that you pass along the way. You'll arrive in plenty of time for lunch at the Amboseli Serena lodge. Spend the afternoon game driving through the park before dinner and overnight at the Amboseli Serena Lodge.

This large lodge is part of an excellent African hotel group and the lodges offer superb service, friendly, helpful staff, excellent food and very comfortable rooms, even though deep in the African wilderness.

Amboseli itself is a fairly small National Park of 392 square kilometers, 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!

Days 3-4 Full day game drives in Amboseli. All meals and overnight at Amboseli Serena Lodge.

Day 5 Breakfast at the lodge. Drive back to Nairobi, stopping for lunch at the famous Carnivore Restaurant. This superb restaurant is located on the edge of the Nairobi National Park and is famous for its magnificent "eat as much as you want" lunches. Although vegetarians are catered for, this restaurant lives up to its name with the opportunity to try all the meats available in Kenya.

After this sumptuous lunch, it's time to start the two-hour drive to the Aberdare Country Club, and transfer to the Aberdare National Park to the Ark Lodge for superb overnight viewing. Enjoy dinner and overnight game viewing at the Ark.

The Aberdare Mountain ranges soar to peaks of 13,000 feet and dip into deep, V shaped valleys with streams and rivers cascading over spectacular waterfalls, including Kenya's longest fall of approximately 1,000 feet! Located in the heart of the Kikuyu tribe highlands area, in Central Kenya, traditional folklore states that the Aberdare Mountains are one of the homes of Ngai, God.

To the east of the ranges are the fertile farming lands of the Kikuyu tribe, which were settled by the colonists in the early decades of the Twentieth century and Mount Kenya. The area between the Aberdares and Mount Kenya are part of what became known as the European highlands. To the west, the range falls steeply away into the Rift Valley and offer superb views of Lake Naivasha and the distant Mau Escarpment.

The steep hillsides of the western edges tend not be as attractive to wildlife as the gently undulating slopes of the eastern side, which, despite periods of mist, rain and cold spells, attract a wide variety and quantity of wildlife. There are three main eco-systems within the Aberdare Mountains: the rain forest, which gives way to dense bamboo forests, which itself gives way to moorland as the altitude rises.

The forest is home to a multitude of elephant, buffalo, giant forest hog and the endangered Black Rhino. The Aberdares are also an excellent area for spotting the elusive leopard and occasional sightings have been made of the Golden Cat. Black and white Colobus and Sykes Monkeys are easily seen, as are waterbuck, reedbuck, duikers, serval cats and bushbuck. Melanistic cats appear to be quite common in the high altitudes of the Aberdares and black serval cats are spotted fairly often.

The best viewing in the forest areas is in the Salient area of the park, where both Treetops and The Ark lodges provide superb nighttime viewing in this area of gentler slopes and slightly less dense forest. During the rains, the majority of the game spends its time in the forest rather than on the moorlands.

Day 6 Breakfast at the lodge. Return down the mountain to the Aberdare Country Club where you rejoin your driver and private vehicle for the two-hour drive via the equator to the Samburu National Reserve. You'll arrive in plenty of time for lunch at the Samburu Serena Lodge, where you'll spend the next three nights.

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 Samburu 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, Samburu has a permanent water supply, the Ewaso Ngiro or "brown river'. 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 Samburu 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, Samburu 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, Samburu is a vital part of a safari itinerary.

Days 7-8 Full day game drives in Samburu. All meals and overnight at Samburu Serena Lodge.

Day 9 Breakfast at the lodge. Your morning drive takes you through the Mount Kenya foothills with her steep valleys and ridges, rich black cotton soil, coffee and tea plantations and sheep farms. The two-hour journey also takes you through the little town of Nanyuki, which was one of the main "White Settler" towns founded when Kenya was a British colony. This town was the last bastion of civilization for the new colonialists as they set off towards the Laikipia Plateau, Mau Escarpment and Eldoret areas where the designated settler land was located. Close to the town of Nanyuki is the private game sanctuary of Sweetwaters and the Sweetwaters Tented Camp. You'll check into these large, room sized tents with ensuite bathroom facilities and enjoy a lovely lunch at the Camp. In the afternoon game drive through the sanctuary and spend time with the researchers at Kenya's only Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Dinner and overnight at Sweetwaters Tented Camp.

Day 10 Breakfast at the Camp. Then heading across country, you climb up to the edge of the Rift Valley escarpment via Nyahururu Falls before plunging down into the Rift itself, to the Lake Nakuru National Park. Arriving in time to check-in and enjoy lunch at the Lake Nakuru Lodge, you'll enjoy stunning views over this alkaline lake with its famous flamingos. The lodge is a delightful, small lodge with beautiful views, friendly, helpful staff and comfortable rooms with full ensuite facilities. Enjoy an afternoon game drive in the Park before dinner and overnight at the lodge.

Lake Nakuru is a world famous Park, created to protect its stunning flocks of lesser flamingo, which literally turn the lakeshore pink in color. The park spans an attractive range of wooded and bush grassland around the lake, offering a wide range of eco-diversity. Notable game within the lake area is hippo, leopard and the diverse bird life. Both black and white rhino are now resident in the sanctuary and Rothschild giraffe, buffalo, impala, eland, warthog, Mountain Reedbuck, klipspringers and Black and White Colobus Monkeys are all plentiful. This park is a beacon for ornithologists, scientists and wildlife filmmakers.

Day 11 Breakfast at the lodge. This morning's drive via Narok takes you up the other side of the Rift, over the Mau Escarpment on your way to the famous Masai Mara National Reserve. Arriving in time for lunch, you'll check into the Kenyan owned Mara Simba Lodge. Set on the banks of the Mara River, this beautiful lodge offers excellent views of the river with its resident hippos and crocodiles. Attentive staff, lovely grounds, delicious food and large comfortable rooms with a view all combine to provide and excellent standard of accommodation. Enjoy lunch at Mara Simba Lodge before heading out to explore the Mara.

Located to the south of Nairobi, and bordering Tanzania, the Maasai Mara forms part of the huge Serengeti eco-system. The Mara spreads over 1510 square kilometers 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 Maasai 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.

Each year, generally in August/September, the Mara is host to the spectacular Wildebeest Migration, one of the natural wonders of the world! Literally millions of these awkwardly shaped ungulates move across the open plains in an endless stream stretching from horizon to horizon. The movement of this vast herd is fascinating in itself, but seldom a day goes by without the added bonus of watching the predators that follow the herd. Lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dogs rely on the herd for food. Spotting one of these magnificent predators is more or less guaranteed at this time.

The breath-taking beauty of the Maasai Mara and its astonishing diversity of wildlife combine to ensure that the Mara is one of the most popular stops on a Kenyan safari.

Days 12 and 13 Full day game drives in the Mara. All meals and overnight at Mara Simba Lodge.

Day 14 Breakfast at your lodge and leave the Mara for the journey back to Nairobi. You'll travel back along the Rift valley, passing the glorious green waters of Lake Naivasha and the dormant volcano, Mount Longonot along the way. Arriving into Nairobi, you'll have time for a lunch and shopping at the local stores before being taken to the International Airport to catch your flight back home.

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Includes: All transfers, all accommodation, breakfast at Macushla House, all meals on safari, water in vehicles, driver/guide, activities as listed above, park entrance fees and local taxes.

Excludes: Drinks, lunch and dinner at Macushla House, laundry, telephone calls, personal purchases, tips, visas and international flights.

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Melinda Rees
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T : +254 (0)733 618183

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