Join us for a spellbinding safari adventure that takes you to some of the most densely populated wildlife areas in Kenya. Visit the country’s only chimpanzee sanctuary, behold the majesty of the 5,200 metre Mount Kenya and immerse yourself in wild and wonderful wetlands teeming with pink flamingos and great white pelicans. Experience nature at its rawest over eight unforgettable days in the wild.
Flamingos: Seeing lakes take a shimmering pink appearance when thousands of these birds flock to them in wet season
Big cats: Observing lions, leopards and cheetahs relentlessly track wildebeest during the wet season Great Migration (subject to wildlife movement)
Chimps: The Jane Goddall chimpanzee sanctuary in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and find out how they have been saved, nurtured and released back in to the wild
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
Ol Pejeta Conservancy: Home to the Big Five and also the only chimpanzee sanctuary in Kenya as well as a black rhino refuge
Mount Kenya: Behold the breathtaking beauty of the rugged peaks of the country’s highest mountain
Lake Nakuru National Park: Fully fenced park that is home to flamingos as well as black and white rhinos among others
Lake Elementaita: Wetland that is East Africa’s only breeding ground for the great white pelican
Maasai Mara National Reserve: Located in the African Great Rift Valley and a habitat for the Big Five
Upon arrival at the Nairobi airport, be met by a representative for your transfer northwards, passing near Thika and continue through breathtaking scenery dotted with rushing mountain streams and plantations of tea and coffee in the shadows of Mount Kenya, the country’s highest mountain and second in Africa only to Kilimanjaro. Arrive at Serena Mountain Lodge in time for lunch. Situated just below the halfway point of Mount Kenya, this timbered tree hotel offers sweeping views across the tree-canopy, sparkling trout streams and fascinating forest walks. The lodge boasts an open-air viewing-deck that looks down on to its own water hole and salt-lick, which attract numerous elephants and buffalos. There is also a tunnel leading to a photo-hide, which offers astonishingly close viewing and photographic opportunities just metres away from the wildlife at the water hole. Rest of the day at leisure, viewing game from the lodge balcony and viewing platform. Optionally, you can venture into the Mount Kenya forest on an escorted walk to explore the rich flora and fauna that this magical indigenous forest has to offer. The forest has more to it than woodlands and wildlife as it was a key theatre of action during Kenya’s struggle for independence, and the guide will be more than happy to share historical anecdotes with you (escorted trip not included).
Take to the road after breakfast for a scenic drive to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, arriving at Sweetwaters Tented Camp in Nanyuki in time for lunch. After dining and a rest, depart on an afternoon game drive, which also includes a visit to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The awe-inspiring Ol Pejeta is also home to east Africa’s largest black rhino refuge, which is also on the itinerary visited, and holds some of the highest predator densities in Kenya. The conservancy is a favoured stomping ground of the other Big Five as well as giraffes, zebras, elands, oryxes, waterbucks, gazelles, cheetahs, baboons and silver-backed jackals. There are also several hundred bird species to be observed. The Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary is home to chimps that came from the Jane Goodall Institute in Burundi. Most of these primates were rescued from appalling conditions and to see them thriving in the riverine forests of the conservancy is a heart-warming experience. Return to the camp as the sun sets. Sweetwaters is located is sweeping savannah grasslands, punctuated by 'whistling thorn' shrubs and acacia trees. This veritable oasis features 30 luxuriously appointed en suite tents, which boast magnificent views across the plains to the snowcapped peaks of Mount Kenya. Facilities include a swimming pool and colonial-themed bar. A waterhole allows for up-close viewing of wildlife. A resident naturalist is always available to help you with queries you may have.
After breakfast, transfer to the Nairobi Serena Hotel. Enjoy the afternoon at your own leisure, perhaps taking advantage of the luxurious facilities, which include an Ethiopian-themed bar, a swimming pool and a spa. The Serena group is renowned for its excellent standards and the Nairobi Serena is no exception. Shaded by the glorious jacaranda, bougainvillea and acacia trees and surrounded by lush landscaped gardens, the hotel provides a peaceful and luxurious retreat. The centrally located Serena overlooks Central Park and is a brief walk away from landmarks such as All Saints Cathedral, the Supreme Court, City Hall and the parliament. A visit to Nairobi city centre, which is just a 10-minute walk away, is also an option. Suggested Optional Nairobi excursion: Out of Africa - Karen Blixen Museum
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 Mara Serena Safari Lodge in time for lunch. Afterwards, it’s time for a game drive, returning to the lodge as the sun sets.
A masterful interpretation of a traditional Masai village, Mara Serena Safari Lodge seemingly floats on a sea of savannah and the beautiful pool looks out over the wide plains, offering stunning views. The rooms are Masai-influenced in style yet extremely comfortable. The main dining room, where delicious meals are served, has three large domes and three small ones depicting Maasai manyattas (villages). An African al fresco barbecue is occasionally served by the pool overlooking the Mara plains. It is on this very terrain, stretching endlessly before the lodge, that the annual migrations take place, where millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle pass through on their way to and from their alternative feeding grounds in Tanzania.
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 lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes and black rhinos as well as antelopes, gazelles and wildebeest among others. Return to the lodge for lunch and perhaps a siesta before setting off to visit a Maasai village followed by 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 at about 04:30 hours and drop off is at about 10:00 hours. Flight time is approximately one hour and champagne breakfast and return transfers are included.
Added value: Mara Serena hippo pool breakfast. Crown your game viewing experience in the Mara with a ‘bush breakfast’ by the Mara River hippo pools! One cannot resist the charming Jambo (hello) from the chefs and Masai warriors as they welcome you to our wonderfully set breakfast buffet of cold cuts, fruit, cereal and hot dishes with eggs, made to your specifications. The hippos keep you company and only say Kwaheri (goodbye) after you have had enough.
Bid farewell to the Masai Mara after breakfast and travel across the ‘breadbasket’ of Kenya, where acres of wheat and barley dot the landscape as you head north to Narok, the district headquarters of this part of Maasailand. Continue across the vast plains on the floor of the Rift Valley, keeping an eye out for herds of giraffe and gazelle as you head up the Mai-Mahiu, before arriving at your lodge at Lake Elementaita around midday. Following lunch, depart for a game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park, arriving to your lodge as the sun sets. The waters of Lake Nakuru are often coloured a shimmering pink, from the thousands of flamingos that line its shores. As well as all the beautiful flamingos, both black and white rhino 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.
Located in the Soysambu Wildlife Conservancy, Lake Elementita Serena Camp is on the northern shore of the lake. It offers a blend of exclusivity and adventure, with luxury tents, a dining and lounge area, spa and swimming pool. As well as boasting unparalleled views of the lake and its birdlife, it is East Africa’s only breeding ground for the great white pelican, and also home to a range of wildlife.
Following an early breakfast, we leave the Rift Valley behind and proceed to Nairobi for an early lunch (or picnic lunch dependent on road conditions), then continue south towards Amboseli, arriving at your lodge by late afternoon. Lying in the shadow of Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli Serena Lodge is surrounded by a thick forest of acacia trees and exquisite gardens. Brightly decorated in an African motif, the lodge's 96 comfortable rooms emulate the architecture of a Maasai village with its manyattas, or homes. In the late afternoons and evenings, relax on the beautiful lounge terrace adorned by gardens, pool and paths. From here, watch the nightly ritual of wildebeest, antelope, elephant and other animals coming into graze.
Feast on breakfast in preparation of a morning and afternoon spent on game drives in Amboseli National Park. 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 Mount Kilimanjaro, which rises some 5,000 metres above the national park.
Added value: Amboseli tree planting. Plant a tree for Africa and invest in the earth’s future.
Following an early breakfast, take in your last views of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro as you depart Amboseli. From here, turn north across the beautiful and seemingly never‑ending Athi Plains, arriving in Kenya's bustling capital city of Nairobi by midday. Once in the city, you will be dropped off at the drop off point in the city centre or at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for ongoing travel arrangements.
We can also set up a plethora of optional activities upon your return to Nairobi, including lunch or dinner at Carnivore Restaurant, Out of Africa excursion (Karen Blixen Museum), a shopping trip to Utamaduni craft centre and Kazuri Bead Factory, or use of Pollman’s Club Lounge.