Intentionally split into 2 bits of 7 days, one covering the northern parks and the 2nd bit visiting the southern park. This allows persons with limited time to join any of the 2 sections they desire.
This is an incredible eco-friendly journey that let’s you explore most of the interesting and unique regions of Kenya. The trip focuses on different cultures and wildlife and offers mild walking opportunities in some of Kenya’s finest game reserves and conservancies. In two weeks you will experience almost all the wildlife diversity Kenya has to offer - from the northern arid parks to the high mountains and the Mara plains in the south. We commence with Meru National park in the north and traverse the country widely receiving in-depth knowledge of the contrasting wildlife environments, scenery and cultures of Kenya from our knowledgeable nature guides. Accommodation for this itinerary is a mix of bush camps (fully supported) local hotels and a permanent tented camp in Masai Mara. The bush camping section on this trip allows us access to wilder areas. Irrespective of the location we never compromise on health, safety or reasonable comfort. And although we generally don’t include luxury lodges in our itinerary planning, lodge accommodation can be arranged for most nights on private group departures if required.
Day 1: Journey to Meru Park.
We depart Nairobi and head northwards driving through agriculturally rich country destined for Meru National Park with a brief lunch break at Mountain Rock lodge. Our lunch stop is at a small country lodge located on the western slopes of Mount Kenya close to the equator to which we shall return to after 3 days. Our journey proceeds further north past khat (a stimulating and intoxicating shrub grown as a cash crop for export to the Arab world) growing country, we arrive in time for an evening game drive. Overnight here is in manned campsite inside the park. (L,D).
Day 2: Explore Meru Park.
We go on an extended game drive in the park where our expert nature guide and driver take us to different locations of the park to spot wildlife. Meru National park is among the most geographically diverse parks in Kenya. It’s ecosystem comprises rain forest, swamps and grassland and provides fodder and shelter to a wide variety of herbivores and predators. There is a good chance to see elephant, buffaloes, reticulated giraffes, oryx, reedbuck, eland, gazelles, impala, lion, cheetah, and crocodile among others. This park is also famous for being the former base of world-renowned conservationists Joy and George Adamson. It is here that they raised lion and leopard cubs before releasing them into the wild. After lunch we escape the hot afternoon sun and take a break to swim.
Late afternoon game drive (B,L,D).
Day 3: Journey to Samburu Park.
An early morning game drive then breakfast before visiting the khat growing Igembe farming community (A sub-tribe of the Bantu speaking Meru people). We will get access into their khat farms and local market to understand their livelihood and culture. After lunch in one of the local homes we then journey further north, for approximately 2 hours to reach Samburu Game Reserve for an evening game drive and camping by Ewaso Nyiro River. Located in the semi-arid parts of northern Kenya, Samburu teems with wildlife and birds and it is a true representative of the semi-arid ecosystems of East Africa. Some of the unique wildlife species found here include the long-necked Gerenuk, Grevy’s Zebra and birds such as the Bateleur eagal and Buffalo weaver.
Day 4: Explore Samburu Park.
Full day game driving in Samburu and adjacent Buffalo Springs National Parks. Both of this parks teem with wildlife. Some of the unique wildlife species found only here or further north include oryx, Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe and the Somali ostrich. Picnic lunch with opportunity to swim at one of the most beautifully sited natural spring pool in the park. In the evening we return to the bush campsite once again for the night.
Day 5: Samburu cultural insights / Mount Kenya Farm visit.
Early morning game drive, breakfast then cultural activities in a true Samburu manyatta on the edge of the reserve. An opportunity to interact with this colourful tribal people and learn about their culture and lifestyle. After this, drive back to Mountain Rock Lodge arriving in time for a late lunch – en-route, you go past the Equator and optionally stop for a demonstration of Coriolis effect on water rotation on either sides of the Equator. After lunch is a cultural visit to local villages and subsistence farms of the Kikuyu people living on the lower slopes of the mountain. A visit to a local school we support in term times and an afternoon cup of tea with the villagers. Then, Return to Mountain Rock Lodge for overnight and get a welcome break from camping for the next 3 nights.
Day 6: Sweetwaters Rhino and chimpanzee sanctuary.
Early breakfast (7am) then drive to Sweetwaters Game sanctuary (25kms) bringing along a picnic lunch. Sweetwaters is a private conservancy with a higher wildlife-to-area ratio than any of Kenya's national parks. It doubles up as an orphanage for chimpanzees that were rescued from war torn Great Lakes region of central Africa. Located on the vast plains of Mount Kenya, Sweetwaters is home to all members of the ‘Big Five' plus many other species of wildlife. At the forefront of the Kenyan wildlife conservancy programme, the conservancy boasts the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, hosts the only chimpanzee sanctuary in Kenya, and shelters large numbers of rare and endangered species. After exhaustive game viewing sessions with a lunch break in between we drive back to Mountain Rock lodge for dinner and overnight once again. (B, L, D).
Day 7: Journey to Lake Bogoria
Leave early and drive westwards past Thomson’s falls to a coffee and tea estate farmhouse for a homemade hot lunch and visit to the tea and coffee processing operations. Then, drive on to Lake Bogoria Reserve. Lake Bogoria is famous for its hot springs and a concentration of flamingos and other salt lake birds. This afternoon we do some short walks along the lakeshores between drives where thousands of flamingos, kingfishers, herons and an array of other birds congregate to feed. With some luck it is possible to see the rare lesser kudu, gazelles, zebra and other game in the surrounding bushes. The fascinating scenery of Lake Bogoria National Reserve incorporates stunning geysers. Dinner and overnight at Lake Bogoria Lodge Campsite. (On request, we can upgrade your accommodation to the lodge at a premium).
Day 8: Bogoria exploration
Today we explore in greater detail the infinitely remote Lake Bogoria which presents an exciting contrast to the more conventional game parks. Gregory, the great geologist who first set eyes on this lake in 1892 described the sight as the most beautiful view in Africa. We do an early to mid morning walk and drive around the reserve accords us the best chance to see the rare lesser Kudu. We escape the midday sun and take a dip in the unique natural hot spring found at the lodge and do a scheduled visit to a local Turgen villages for insights into the rich culture of this Nilotic ethnic group. Meals and overnight once again at the Lake Bogoria Lodge Campsite.
Day 9: Through Baringo to Lake Nakuru
After breakfast we proceed on a short drive to nearby Lake Baringo where we go on a short walk along the shoreline to see the abundant birdlife as well as crocodiles and hippopotami, (time permitting an optional boat ride can be arranged). Lake Baringo is one of the two fresh water lakes of the Gregorian Rift valley. Situated in the semi arid part of the country, this vast fresh water is truly a birds’ paradise and a wonderful reward to those with an ornithological appetite. After enjoying our picnic lunch on the lakeshore we proceed on a 3hr journey to Lake Nakuru National Park arriving in time for a late afternoon game viewing session. Lake Nakuru National Park is Kenya’s largest rhino reserve and home to the greatest ornithological spectacle in the world at times hosting more than a million pink flamingos. We camp overnight inside the park.
Day 10: Explore Lake Nakuru
Early start (06.00) for game drives in Lake Nakuru national park. This is a moderately small but spectacularly picturesque park with abundant wildlife and an excellent chance of seeing the rare Rhino both black and white species, lion, leopard, vast herds of buffalo and the endangered Rothschild's giraffe. It has also had nearly 400 species of birds recorded within its boundaries. We disembarking for picnic lunch and closer observation of flamingoes and other birds at the shores of the Lake then drive for 1.5h (60kms) to Lake Naivasha. Overnight stay here in comfortable chalets and access to a swimming pool.
Day 11: Hells gate walking safari.
After breakfast is a short drive to Hell’s Gate Park. With our packed lunches we proceed on a walking safari for 4-5hr hike across flat terrain to arrive at the spectacular gorge. Hell’s Gate is a small, beautiful park with plenty of plain game and one of the few national parks in Kenya where exploration on foot is permitted. On our walking safari we’ll have close encounters with giraffes, gazelles, impalas, zebras, elands, hartebeests among others. As a highlight we descent into the gorge where we’re welcomed by fascinating sights of volcanic formations, geysers and hot springs. After the walk we return to the lakeside chalets for dinner and overnight in comfortable en-suite rooms. (B,L,D)
NB: You can hire bicycles locally to ride inside Hell’s Gate instead of trekking or ride around in the vehicle if unwilling to walk or ride.
Day 12: Boat ride / Maasai cultural insights and Sun downer.
Lake Naivasha is a vast freshwater lake, famed for its hippos and birdlife particularly fish eagles, love-birds and pelicans. You take an early morning boat trip to see some of them, disembarking at an animal sanctuary half way to walk amongst giraffe, zebra, impala, gazelle and waterbuck. Leave mid morning for Maasailand. En-route we visit a Maasai cultural centre that supports needy widow’s and their children for lunch and get insights into the facinating Maasai culture in the process. Then, drive on to our secluded camp in the Masai Mara at a slow pace viewing wild game as we go. In the evening we drive partway up Naunare Hill to enjoy a memorable sun downer outing in the bush as we watch the sun go down over the Mara and enjoy a snack – enthusiastic trekker can hike to the top of the hill for a fabulous view of the Mara park. Weather permitting we get a chance for a brief night game drive within the Siana wildlife conservancy (adjoining Mara Park) for the only chance to observe nocturnal wildlife - no extra cost charged for the night game drive but advise us in advance please. Dinner and overnight in our comfortable permanent tented safari camp with en-suite facilities. (B,L,D).
Day 13: Explore Masai Mara.
A day dedicated to game viewing in Maasai Mara. Now the seventh wonder of the modern world, Maasai Mara an extension of Serengeti is a country of breathtaking vistas, vast rolling plains and rounded hills, acacia woodlands, dense thickets of scrub and the riverine ecosystem of the Mara River. It’s vast plains team with endless herds of grazing Game together with the associated predators, this is where you can see elephant, buffalo, lion, cheetah, leopard, zebra, giraffe, hippo, crocodile and a whole ark-full of other animals. Our expert naturalist guides and sturdy vehicles ensure you have the best chance of seeing them all and understand their habits. (B,L,D).
Day 14 Journey back to Nairobi
An early morning game drive (6am) in the Mara trying to spot any animals you may have missed on previous game drives, (or a hot air balloon safari at your own cost). For bird lovers this early morning is the best chance to see species that include eagles, vultures, marabou, ostrich, touraco, guinea fowls, bustards, secretary bird, cranes, and many more. Return to camp for breakfast then commence the 5h (230kms) journey back to Nairobi. Lunch is provided at our Rock House before you proceed with your onward arrangements. (B,L)