Day 01: Arrival Nairobi
You will be met upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by our representative, assisted and transferred to Panafric hotel. Rest of the at leisure with the possibility of realizing optional excursions; accommodation on bed and breakfast basis at the Panafric hotel (BB)
Day 02: Nairobi/Amboseli National Park
After breakfast you will be driven to Amboseli National Park arriving in time for lunch at Amboseli Serena Lodge. Thereafter game drive in the afternoon, dinner and overnight at Amboseli Serena Lodge (LDBB)
Day 03: Amboseli National Park
Early morning game drives returning to the lodge for breakfast. Rest in the morning at leisure; lunch and game drive in the afternoon, dinner and overnight at Amboseli Serena Lodge (LDBB)
In the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, beside acacia trees and a natural spring, amidst more big game than almost anywhere else in Africa, stands Amboseli Serena. Influenced by Maasai Manyatta architecture, the lodge is in harmony with its environment. Guest rooms are appointed with genuine Africana. Unique guest services and exceptional amenities enhance the distinctive ambience. Arid looking as Amboseli is it has, historically, supported both game and the Maasai that kept their herds of cattle here. It is thanks to the waters that run off Africa's greatest mountain that the apparently dry Amboseli, Kenya's first game sanctuary is able to support its wildlife. Mount Kilimanjaro broods high over Amboseli, generally cloaked by clouds but appearing in all its snow-shrouded magnificence from time to time.
Kilimanjaro was once part of Kenya, but on the marriage of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany Queen Victoria gifted it to her beloved grandson, whose colony Tanzania then was, as the perfect wedding present. The mountain now provides water for the park, wonderful views and, of course, the most glorious background for animal photography. There has been serious erosion in the park. Elephant feeding habits combined with light soil have made serious inroads in the Amboseli vegetation. Nonetheless, there are still high numbers of the elephant for which the park is famous, and it is here that much research has been done on the largest land mammal. Indeed, a cursory examination will show that humankind is not the only animal to destroy its own environment. The grasslands in the park can be undeniably lovely when made verdant by the rains and the three major swamps could star in a dinosaur movie. The swamps on the east of the park attract wildebeest, zebra and antelope with the predators that live off them, chiefly lion which tend to be easy to view here. In the south, Enkongo Narok swamp attracts hippos to the larger pools and plenty of buffalo, buck and teeming birdlife including the jacanas that pick their way elegantly and carefully. Giraffe are here and in areas still sufficiently treed there are leopard. Cheetah, caracal and civet may be seen.
In the west of the park lies Lake Amboseli, a seasonal soda lake, sometimes with flamingos. Amboseli is a fabulous place to visit. The overwhelmingly lovely views and good wildlife sightings are too good to miss.
Day 04: Amboseli National Park/Aberdares National Park
After breakfast you will be driven to Nairobi arriving in time for lunch at the Carnivore restaurant. After lunch you will be driven to Nyeri arriving at The Outspan Hotel. Late evening transfer to Treetops Lodge in The Aberdare National Park. Rest of the day at leisure; game viewing from the lodge, dinner and overnight at Treetops Lodge (LDBB)
Note: Only small overnight bags are allowed at Treetops. The rest of the luggage will be stored at Outspan Hotel from where it will be collected the following morning.
Treetops is the original tree lodge, legendary for its historical royal connection, for the animals it attracts and for the sheer joy of exploring a tree house visited by rhino, elephant, buffalo, lion, bushbuck, waterbuck and many other species. You leave the Outspan after lunch for the ten-mile drive to Treetops and are met by a ranger who will help you with the common rules of behaviour necessary for safety and good animal viewing. The lodge rises dramatically out of the ground on stilts and overlooks a water hole and salt lick. It has four decks and a rooftop-viewing platform. Solely dedicated to game viewing, the accommodation is compact and cosy. At 6450 feet above sea level it is chilly at night at all times of the year and during the Kenyan winter, from June to September, you will need sweaters and hats for comfort and warmth. The fifty twin bedded rooms are small and neat and cosy, like cabins on board ship. Dinner is served at refectory tables with bench seating - what fun. Probably the highest national park in the world, Aberdare is all above 7,000 feet.
The habitat of the Aberdare Mountains, like that of Mount Kenya that is on the other side of the Laikipia Plains, ranges from forest and thick bamboo to open moor land. Breathtaking waterfalls, brightly coloured birds, soaring raptors, a fascinating and diverse plant world and gorgeous scenery make this national park both lovely and intriguing. This is the area for those who are keen to fish. A certain Captain Grogan and the fishing, in rivers such as the Naro Moru, the Thego, introduced the trout here in 1906 and the Chania is renowned. The Aberdares are also remembered as the guerrilla base of Kenyan heroes during their war for independence from the British. Established as a national park in 1950, Aberdare lies around two high peaks, Kinangop and Lesatima, with almost 50 kilometres of high moors stretching mistily between them. The scenery here is stunning and the waterfalls particularly dramatic - the Gura Falls plunge and foam down the side of a 1500-foot rock face. Some of the indigenous wildlife in the Aberdares is equally as stunning. Melanistic black leopard, serval and genet can be found here, but are both shy and rare. Large numbers of buffalo, a few rhino, elephant, Columbus monkeys, bush pig and wart hog may be found in the forests. It is said that the elephant still remember the bombing raids by the British during the war for independence, and are thus extremely suspicious of mankind.
The birding is excellent. Brightly coloured parrots, francolin, the strutting secretary bird and green ibis are among the species here. Sunbirds enjoy the open moors and raptors such as the rufous sparrow hawk, goshawk, buzzards and the crowned eagle scour the moors for prey. The Aberdares even has a Hollywood connection. This is where the film "Gorillas in the Mist", starring Sigourney Weaver, was made. The renowned naturalist studied the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and was murdered there. Perhaps even more famously, although rather longer ago, it was to Treetops, that the news of her father's death, and her accession to the throne, was brought to the then Princess Elizabeth.
Day 05: Aberdare National Park/Lake Nakuru National Park
Early morning wakeup call and transfer to Outspan Hotel for breakfast. After breakfast drive to Lake Nakuru National Park arriving in time for lunch at Sarova Lion Hill Lodge. Thereafter game drive in the afternoon, dinner and overnight at Sarova Lion Hill Lodge (LDBB)
Lake Nakuru National park is situated in the heart of the Rift Valley; Lake Nakuru is one of Kenya's most famous soda lakes. A major feature of this park is the wonderful bird life, particularly the thousands of flamingos, which create a shimmering pink hue over the lake. A rhino sanctuary also provides the opportunity to see the endangered black rhino. Sarova Lion Hill offers a unique vantage point. Each of the 64 superbly appointed chalets with private secluded veranda enjoys views over the lake and the distant hills. Even the glorious pool has a view!
Originally declared a national park because of a superbly diverse bird population, which includes many migrants, the park is also a favourite place for travelers to seek the rare black rhino. However, it is for the flamingos that the lake is best known, and it was for their protection that the park was originally created. The level of the blue-green alkaline waters here varies and this, with other accompanying environmental changes, causes considerable variation in the flamingo population, but when they are present, en masse, the whole lake turns a gorgeous rosy pink. Although protection of the flamingo population on the lake was the original rationale for the inception of the national park, further land was included in the early seventies and it is now about 190 sq.m
This expansion, which took in a large grassland area, has allowed the park to protect further species. Buffalo, zebra, antelope and both lion and leopard are to be found. The rather less ubiquitous reedbuck and waterbuck are also here as is the glamorously leggy Rothschild giraffe. Temptingly, the black rhino-breeding programme, started in the late eighties, has proved successful and this is an excellent place to view them.
Day 06: Lake Nakuru National Park/Masai Mara Game Reserve
After breakfast drive to Maasai Mara Game Reserve arriving in time for lunch at Keekorok Lodge. Thereafter game drive in the afternoon, dinner and overnight at Keekorok Lodge (LDBB)
Day 07: Maasai Mara Game Reserve
Very early in the morning, after a cup of coffee or tea in the lodge you will join your driver-guides and set out for an early morning game drive in the reserve. This is usually the best game viewing time as during the early hours, temperatures are low and the animals are the most active. The plains game roams the savannahs licking on the morning dew on the leaves, watching all the while for the predators. Back in the camp, enjoy your sumptuous buffet breakfast then it's time to relax or swim in the camp's pool. Mid-morning game drive followed by lunch in the lodge. Thereafter game drive in the afternoon, dinner and overnight at Keekorok Lodge (LDBB)
Amid the vast sweeping plains of the savannah stands Keekorok, the Maasai Mara's first game lodge, in the direct path of the spectacular annual migration. Built in 1962, on the site of a 1920s hunting camp, against the backdrop of Kenya's most magnificent scenery, Keekorok boasts an abundance of wildlife, unsurpassed for its numbers and diversity. After undergoing recent renovations, Keekorok offers you a unique safari experience; an environment of contemporary African style and natural charm, with all the magic of the Maasai Mara. Spot the Big Five on a single morning game drive, or enjoy a leisurely sundowner on the elevated 300m walkway and see hippos and other animals and birds, without even leaving the lodge! Accommodation at Keekorok comprises single storey bungalows constructed from natural materials. All have ensuite bathrooms and private verandahs with views over the plains and distant hills. The bedrooms are equipped with the finest linens and furniture and electricity is provided on a 24 hour basis. For those with a taste for Kenya's pioneering days, a number of luxury tents on stone hardstands are available, all fitted to the highest standards. Dining at Keekorok is a stylish affair in an open-sided dining room affording stunning views over the Mara. Breakfast and dinner are served a la carte while packed lunched are available for those looking to explore the far corners of the reserve. After a strenuous day of game spotting and nature watching, what better way to relax and feel re-invigorated than by taking a swim in the cool, clear waters of the pool. The al fresco lounge/bar, which is open throughout the day and especially for Kenya's famous evening? Sundowners, has been designed with a distinctly African? feel. An attractive and certainly unique feature here is an elevated 300 meters long walkway from the bar to a small dam in which a family of hippos have made their home. Watch the hippos and other animals and birds from the safety and comfort of the cocktail bar. The shop stocks every conceivable item for a comfortable safari and much more including many items of high quality merchandise, giftware, paintings and sculptures. The latter are rotated throughout the communal areas of the lodge enabling guests to view them.
Probably the most famous of the reserves, the Maasai Mara, in Kenya's southwestern corner, boasts an astonishing amount of game. Unfenced, the Mara is bounded in the east by the Ngama Hills and in the west by the Oloololo or Siria Escarpment. Gazelle, wildebeest and zebra graze in large numbers and where prey is found so are predators. Not only is this a great place in which to find game, but also the wide greenly-gold savannahs spotted with thorn trees make it ideal for photography. The Mara, as it is known in Kenya, is ravishingly beautiful and also offers long, undisturbed views and utterly dramatic panoramas. The weather really means something here. The sun may beat down unforgiving, huge clouds in fabulous shapes may sweep across the widest of skies; the wind ripples the grasses as though a giant hand strokes them. The landscape is stunning. The famously black-manned Mara lions are possibly the stars of the Mara show, but cheetah, elephant, kongoni, topi, Thompson's gazelle, waterbuck, hyena, and primates are all here too. As with the rest of Kenya, the birding is good. There is no settlement within the reserve however; the Mara is in theory owned by the Maasai, pastoralists and, in earlier times, renowned lion-killers. Lodges and hotels offer the opportunity to buy their beadwork, checked cloths and copies of their spears. It is said that if lions scent approaching Maasai on the breeze they move swiftly in the opposite direction.
Famously, the Mara is the northerly end of the Great Migration, that great primeval surge of wildebeest, zebra and antelope that sweeps in from Tanzania's Serengeti to Kenya's Maasai Mara as the Tanzanian grass starts to fail. The large predators who pick off the weak, the stragglers and the young track them; the great herds, nearing their destination by July, in mass along the Mara River, pushing, shoving and fantastically noisy; just waiting for the first animal to cross so that they can all follow, lemming-like, on the final leg of the journey. However, crocodiles lie in wait, sluggishly cruising the waters, fully prepared for their best meal of the year. Many fail in the life-and-death struggle - drowned, eaten by the crocodiles or, made careless or weak by their stressful swim, brought down by lions. The Maasai Mara is terrible yet wonderful, and not to be missed.
Day 08: Masai Mara Game Reserve/Nairobi/Departure
After breakfast drive to Nairobi, Kenya colourful capital city. Drop off at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your onward departure flight.
Listed below are hotels/lodges/resorts that the safari tour operator can accomodate for you.