Embark on an awesome odyssey through southern Kenya’s most majestic wildlife parks, coming face to face with the mammals and birds that roam these endless savannahs before ending your journey on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Over eight unforgettable days, this comprehensive safari visits four extremely diverse wilderness areas, from the lakes of the Great Rift Valley and open plains of the Mara to the undulating hills of Tsavo and on to the Mombasa coast.
Flamingos: See lakes take a shimmering pink appearance when thousands of these birds flock to them in wet season
Big cats: Observe lions, leopards and cheetahs relentlessly track wildebeest during the wet season Great Migration (subject to wildlife movement)
Amboseli: The picture-postcard views of majestic Mount Kilimanjaro and its snowcapped peak while herds of elephants roam the park’s open spaces
A wide range of optional excursions and pre and post-programme extensions are available on request. Please ask tour designer Taqi Moledina for rates and conditions
Maasai Mara National Reserve: Located in the African Great Rift Valley and a habitat for the Big Five.
Lake Nakuru National Park: Fully fenced park that is home to flamingos as well as black and white rhinos among others
Amboseli National Park: Stunningly located near the foot of the 5,900 metre Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain
Tsavo West National Park: A water-level bunker allows rare insights into the activities of wildlife at Mzima Springs
Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary: Compact park where you can head straight to the action in search of 50 mammal species
Tsavo East National Park: Animals are easy to spot congregating by the reservoir created by a dam in the park
Upon arrival in Nairobi, you will be met by a representative and transferred to the Eka Hotel. Enjoy an afternoon at your own leisure, perhaps taking advantage of the modern facilities, which include two restaurants, a bar, and a swimming pool. This contemporary-style hotel provides comfort and convenience before you embark on your Kenyan odyssey. The Eka is located on the Mombasa Road in southern Nairobi. It is close to both the international and domestic airports as well as the city centre. Rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated, and all have air conditioning. Optional excursions for early morning arrivals: Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage visit, Out of Africa (Karen Blixen Museum and Giraffe Centre visit)
Leaving Nairobi after breakfast, travel towards Kenya's fertile highlands and head down the Rift Escarpment on a road built by Italian prisoners of war during World War II. Keep an eye out for the charming chapel they built at the foot of the escarpment. Pass the futuristic Longonot earth satellite station as you head across the valley to Narok, and then travel through fields of wheat and barley, before reaching the Maasai Mara and Keekorok Lodge in time for lunch and perhaps a siesta. Afterwards, it’s time for the first game drive of the tour. Keekorok is strategically located in the direct path of the annual Great Migration, and was the first lodge to be built in the Mara. At the height of the migration, Keekorok is surrounded by a swarming mass of hundreds of thousands of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles, all relentlessly tracked by predators, and there is hardly need to go on a game drive. Sandstone, cedar wood and other indigenous materials are used in all rooms and public areas. In front of the lodge, there is a 300-metre-long elevated walkway that meanders through a small riverine forest to a bar. This overlooks a dam where resident hippos and other game are regularly seen. There are no fences around Keekorok and it is not uncommon to see elephants and buffaloes on the perimeter of the grounds or even strolling in – though there are watchmen on the constant look out!
Enjoy an early breakfast before departing for a morning game drive. The Maasai Mara National Reserve is home to millions of wild animals, including the fabled Big Five of lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros as well as antelopes, gazelles and wildebeest among others. Return to the lodge for lunch and perhaps a siesta before setting off for an afternoon game drive, returning to the lodge as the sun sets. An optional early morning hot air balloon safari is available today. Pick-up is before sunrise and flight begins at dawn. Flight time is approximately one hour and champagne bush breakfast and return transfers are included.
Bid farewell to the Maasai Mara after breakfast and travel across the ‘breadbasket’ of Kenya. Acres of wheat and barley dominate the landscape as you head north to Narok, the district headquarters of this part of Maasailand. Cross the vast plains on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, keeping an eye out for herds of giraffes and gazelles as you head up the Mau Escarpment, before arriving at Lake Nakuru around midday. The waters here are often coloured a shimmering pink, from the thousands of flamingos that line its shores. After lunch, depart for an afternoon game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park. As well as all the beautiful flamingos, both black and white rhinos are being carefully protected and given a new lease of life in this 188 square kilometre, fully fenced park. The rhino population numbers more than 50 and continues to multiply. The Rothschild’s giraffe is another rarity and the park has its fair share of buffaloes, leopards, zebras, elands, waterbucks and lions. Lake Nakuru Lodge is situated in the heart of what is Kenya's most densely populated wetland national park, which is one of six internationally protected marsh areas, known as Ramsar sites, in the country. Lake Nakuru Lodge is in the south-east ecological niche of the park, with commanding views of the lake and the flamingos. Lush gardens surround the lodge and cottages, and there is an exciting programme of activities and evening entertainment.
Rise early for breakfast before taking to the road, driving towards Nairobi and pausing along the way for a picnic lunch. Head south to Amboseli National Park, arriving at Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge in time for an afternoon game drive en route to the lodge. The lodge lies at the heart of Amboseli National Park, which is itself at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, and is considered one of the best spots for viewing elephants at close range. Most of the park consists of a partially dry lake bed of evaporated salts and fragile grassland with patches of acacia woodland. You can see most types of game in the park, including rhinos, giraffes, gazelles, lions, cheetahs and leopards. Birdlife is prolific, too, especially around the swamp areas. This entire experience is carried out under the shadow of the majestic Kilimanjaro, which rises some 5,000 metres above the national park. Return to the lodge as the sun sets over this magical landscape. Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, with luxury en-suite rooms are accommodated in two single-storey dedicated buildings, which lie to the right and left of the main reception and dining areas. Each tastefully appointed room features a Maasai inspired, hand-painted wall fresco, king-sized bed or luxurious twins, lavish all-encompassing mosquito curtaining, bathroom (with walk-in shower), writing/vanity unit, and private veranda. Triple rooms can be made available. The central dining area is reached by a timbered bridge over a melt-water stream, while the lounge and bar feature a broad terrace and a blazing fire-pit where evening cocktails can be enjoyed. Activities include daily game drives in custom-built traditional safari vehicles, sundowners on Observation Hill, bush breakfasts, bush dinners, Maasai dance performances, visits to Maasai villages and tree-planting programmes.
Following a morning game drive, the rest of the morning is at leisure followed by lunch at the lodge. Following lunch, depart to Tsavo West which takes you east, across the spectacular Shetani lava flow, a harsh and forbidding lunar-like landscape created by the molten outpouring spewed down the scenic slopes of the nearby Chyulu Hills. A zigzagging road through scrub thorn and acacia leads to Tsavo West National Park, which when combined with Tsavo East National Park forms the largest of Kenya’s parks. Game can be spotted along the way, especially gerenuk driving towards Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge. Superbly situated in the lee of Mount Kilimanjaro and sheltered by the volcanic splendour of the Chyulu Hills, this classic stone-built lodge overlooks its own water hole, which is visited daily by elephants, buffalos and a wide variety of plains game. One of the first lodges ever to be built in a national park, the lodge is cool, tranquil and hushed for optimum game-viewing. It is also ideally placed for visits to all the park's prime attractions. Faced in volcanic stone and utilising the natural rocky outcrops of a valley known as ‘the place of the young rhino', from which it takes its name, the lodge features a thatched central dining area and a rock-built bar, with a viewing terrace looking directly down on to the water hole.
After breakfast, there will be a game drive in the park and a visit to Mzima Springs, where a viewing chamber just below the waterline offers a fascinating insight to the waterborne wildlife of the park such as hippos and crocodiles. Following lunch at the lodge, you will depart Tsavo West and continue to Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. Arrive for check-in at Sarova Salt Lick Game Lodge at about sunset. The lodge is located in the heart of the private sanctuary, which is adjacent to Tsavo West National Park. All rooms are built in two-storey blocks from a central pod and linked together by elevated platforms that overlook a salt lick and a small water hole, which is floodlit at night. Rooms are spacious and have all the necessary modern conveniences. The restaurant, bar and main balconies have views over the water hole and salt lick, which are constantly in use by the park’s wildlife. There is also an underground bunker with ground level windows, allowing for unbelievably close but safe encounters.
Enjoy a final bush breakfast before departing on a morning game drive in Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. Return to the lodge for lunch and then undertake the last leg of the adventure, heading to Mombasa with the aim of reaching your northern or southern coast beach hotel by late afternoon or the Moi International Airport (onward flights to be booked 19:30 onwards).