Grand Safari of Kenya
A truly unforgettable journey deserving of the number one spot on your bucket list.
This is possibly the most extensive safari available in Kenya. The word safari means journey in Swahili and this journey is deserving of the number one spot on your bucket list. A truly magical adventure that will alter your soul forever, you will travel through many different eco systems and encounter animals specific to those regions. Crossing the equator, you will see hot desert, jungle and savannah in specially modified 4x4 vehicles and with your expert driver guide, who will take you into the heart of the Kenyan bush. The safari concludes after spending time in the great Masai Mara.
Tour duation: 9 days
- Buffalo Springs
- Shaba National Reserve
- Ol Pejata Conservancy
- Great Rift Valley
- Lake Naivasha
- Masai Mara
Day 1: Nairobi is the largest city between Cairo and Johannesburg. Although just south of the equator, it enjoys a spring-like climate. This is a modern city where the main avenues blaze with colour from tropical bushes and vines.
There was once a river in an empty wilderness where Nairobi now stands, but Nairobi was established as a town by 1907 and quickly grew as a farming community, also attracting world attention as THE centre of big-game safaris for the rich and famous. One famous safari undertaken by Teddy Roosevelt needed 500 porters to carry supplies and returned with 500 trophies.
The nearby Nairobi National Park still boasts the presence of all but one of the 'Big Five’ and attracts visitors from far and wide today.
Meet and greet by your Big Journey Company representative at the airport on you arrival and transfer to your for the night.
Day 2: Proceed to Samburu after breakfast (approx 51/2 hours) by Safari vehicle. Samburu National Reserve (225 sq km) offers what is arguably Kenya’s greatest - and least changed - encounter with wild Africa.
This harsh and savagely beautiful wilderness depends on the steady flow of the Uaso Nyiro River for its existence; the river waters a wide variety of animal species not found south of the Equator, including the majestic Beisa oryx, the reticulated giraffe, the thin-striped Grevy’s zebra, and the ‘giraffe-necked’ gerenuk antelope, which stands on its hind legs to feed. Elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard can all be seen along the river, and the 400-plus species of birds are positively spectacular.
Together with neighbouring Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves, this area comprises 844 sq km of protected semi-desert land. This is the home of the Samburu tribe, cousins of the Masai, who share the same nomadic, cattle-herding existence, and an even stricter adherence to their age-old rites and customs.
Arrive for some leisure time before lunch at the camp’s restaurant. In the afternoon, depart from camp to undertake a game drive in the reserve.
Day 3: Morning and afternoon game drives on the Samburu National Reserve.
Day 4: After breakfast, meet with your driver-guide and drive to Ol Pejata Conservancy with a game drive on arrival. Situated between the foothills of the Aberdares and the picturesque Mount Kenya in Laikipia, Ol Pejeta is a private wildlife conservancy located on 90,000 acre ranch in Central Kenya. The conservancy has a strong commitment to endangered species and boasts of the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa.
Ol Pejeta is also home to all the members of the Big 5, the endangered white rhino, the Jackson hartebeest, the spotted hyena among many other wildlife species.
We'll have lunch at Sweetwaters Serena Camp and once the meal is over, continue on to Aberdares National Park. Aberdare National Park is one of Kenya’s oldest protected reserves, the Aberdare National Park was established in 1950 to safeguard the country’s rarest forest ecosystem and its major watershed. Within its 766 square kilometres are some of Africa’s richest alpine landscapes, with ancient cedar forests, heather moorlands and bamboo groves divided by icy streams and deep waterfalls.
The Aberdares provide a fascinating stopover between Kenya’s northern deserts and its southern parks. The deep forests are home to a unique range of wildlife, from elephant, lion and giant forest hog to rare melanistic leopard and serval cats - whose coats have turned black in the rarefied air - and Kenya’s rarest antelope, the shy chestnut-coated Bongo.
Arrive at the base hotel, Aberdare Country Club where we will change vehicles in the afternoon and depart (with an overnight bag only – the rest of the luggage to remain at the Club) to Aberdare National Park (app. ½ an hour).
The Ark is a boat-shaped hotel set high in the forest of the Aberdares range. The lodge offers guests a chance to see incredibly diverse wildlife from very close up. Overlooking the Yasabara saltlick and waterhole, the Ark offers basic accommodation because the guests spend so little time sleeping.
Each room is equipped with a couple of beds and an en-suite bathroom but the main draw is the buzzer that rings every time anything exciting happens at the waterhole - and something exciting happens frequently.
All the main rooms of the hotel have viewing decks and large picture windows, allowing guest to enjoy the floodlit action outside. Buffalo and elephant face off against each other over drinking rights. Lion and hyena loiter in the bush, hoping to spot unwary prey. There is an exciting catwalk that allows guests to wander through the very forest canopy, always keeping a close eye out for the action at the waterhole. At the foot of the Aberdares, the Ark is a great place to base yourself for a longer exploration of the Aberdares moorland. This unique environment seethes with wildlife including lots of leopard and elephant, the rare Giant Forest Hog and even rarer Bongo.
We'll check-in, observation game, dinner and overnight at The Ark.
Day 5: Today the road leads to the eastern arm of the Great Rift Valley, arriving for lunch at our lodge with plenty of time that afternoon for an optional excursion or a relax by the pool. The Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge is situated on the banks of Lake Naivasha, a magnificent fresh water lake fringed with clumps of papyrus.
Lake Naivasha is the highest and one of the most beautiful of the lakes, which form the Great Rift Valley. It is surrounded by a series of volcanoes and calderas, most notably Mount Longonot, an extinct volcano. Lake Naivasha’s name comes from the masai word En-aiposha meaning “heaving” or “to and fro” in reference to how turbulent the waters can get in the afternoons.
The flying boats of the British Overseas Airways landed on Lake Naivasha on their epic journey from Britain to South Africa via the Nile River, Lake Victoria and Lake Malawi. This lake region was one of the first places to be settled by the colonials arriving after the First World War and subsequently it became home to many of the famed “Happy Valley Set” in the 1920’s and 30’s and indeed Lord Errol lived for a while in the Djinn Palace on the North Shore.
The Lodge has 70 superior guestrooms with step-down sitting area with television. They are clustered in blocks of 10 rooms, with 6 on the ground floor and 4 on the top.
Lake Naivasha is an ornithologist’s paradise, as well as having excellent fishing, with tilapia and black bass first introduced by the early settlers. This is the perfect place to relax, walk with a guide or just sit under a canopy of mature shady Yellow Fever trees and listen to the sound of hippos and view the rich bird life.
Day 6: An early breakfast this morning before proceeding to Kenya’s richest game reserve: Masai Mara. The jewel in Africa’s crown, Masai Mara is host to the most spectacular array of wildlife. Her 1,510 square kilometres of open savannah, woodlands and tree-lined rivers creates an eco-system which supports huge numbers of bird and mammal species.
The western border of the park is the spectacular Siria Escarpment, and together with the acacia dotted plains, creates scenery of stunning beauty. Lion are found in abundance throughout the park as are elephant, giraffe, a variety of gazelle species and zebra. Cheetah and leopard are also regularly seen and, if lucky, you may also find rhino.
Game viewing is never dull in the Mara, and patience is often rewarded with unique sightings: a pride of lion stalking their prey; a solitary leopard retrieving its kill from the high branches of an acacia tree; male wildebeest sparring to attract females into their harem; or even a herd of elephant protecting their young from opportunistic predators. The annual wildebeest migration traditionally is present in the Mara from July-September and at this time nature’s dramas unfold before your very eyes at every turn. As well as wildlife, the Masai Mara is also home to many members of the colourful Masai tribe who may be seen around the borders of the park - morans (warriors) loping across the plains, young boys herding goats, or elders grouped under a tree discussing matters of the day.
Check-in and lunch upon arrival at the camp (app 5 ½ hours).
In the afternoon, depart from camp to undertake a game drive in the reserve before returning to camp early evening for dinner and overnight at Ashnil Mara Camp.
Opened in April 2010 the Ashnil Mara is located along the confluence of the Mara and the Olkeju River. The camp is host to an amazing concentration of wildlife which is easily viewed from the camp and it comprises of 40 luxury tents overlooking the plains of the Masai Mara.
The tents include luxury en suite bathrooms, walk-in closets and a sun deck for relaxation whilst watching game. Each room has thatched roof, private veranda and en suite bathroom (with hot and cold running water and flushed WC) At night, the winding paths between the widely-spaced tents are lit by hurricane lanterns imparting a uniquely magical feel to this unique tented camp. Ashnil Mara Camp has a restaurant that offers international, African and Oriental cuisine on full board basis.
Day 7: Day spent undertaking game viewing drives in the Masai Mara. Meals and overnight at the camp.
Day 8: Day spent undertaking morning and afternoon game drives. Meals and overnight at the camp.
Day 9: An early morning wakeup call before undertaking a last game drive in the Mara. Return to camp for breakfast, departing thereafter to Nairobi and drop off at the airport for onward flight arrangements. (Flights home on this final day will depart after 6pm local time so that the morning’s last game drive can be enjoyed.)