Follow the Herds Across the Maasai Mara in Africa's Most Celebrated Safari Destination
The following itinerary applies to departures that stay at Encounter Mara in the private conservancy first, and our exclusive mobile camp in the Maasai Mara National Reserve second. The August 21-28, 2017 departure operates in the opposite direction, staying in our mobile camp first, followed by Encounter Mara.
Day 1: Nairobi, Kenya
Our Kenya safari tour begins in Nairobi, where we transfer to the House of Waine, located in the quiet residential suburb of Karen on the outskirts of Nairobi. Originally built as a lavish private estate, today the stately home and gardens are one of Nairobi's most elegant boutique hotels. Guests enjoy an authentic experience of personalized African hospitality and traditional Kenyan charm. This evening we enjoy a welcome dinner with our safari Expedition Leader.
Days 2 & 3: Private Maasai Mara—Mara Naboisho Conservancy
Transfer to the airport for our flight to Encounter Mara. Secluded within the private 50,000-acre Mara Naboisho Conservancy, this intimate tented camp is surrounded by all the natural wonders of the Maasai Mara ecosystem without the crowds. The conservancy, established in 2011, is already making a name for itself as a place to experience the Mara’s spectacular wildlife in peaceful seclusion, and Encounter Mara is one of just a handful of camps located within its bounds. Strict limits on guest numbers means
unprecedented wildlife viewing without crowds, especially of the wildebeest migration that occurs in close proximity. The conservancy serves as a migration corridor for several hundred thousand animals between the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Loita Plains to the east.
A multitude of species flourishes here, and Naboisho actually has a higher density of wildlife than the adjacent Maasai Mara National Reserve. Great herds of antelope dot the grassy, rolling plains while stands of acacia woodland hide prolific birdlife. Rich volcanic soils nurture a verdant landscape where we find more lion per square mile than anywhere else in Kenya—some 100 lions live on the conservancy, including the largest pride in the Greater Mara region. Impressive herds of elephant, giraffe and zebra are at home here. Our activities make the most of our unrivaled access to pristine wilderness. In addition to daily wildlife drives, we enjoy guided bush walks, wilderness picnics, off-road safaris and night drives in search of nocturnal wildlife—pursuits not permitted in the national reserve.
Days 4–7: Maasai Mara National Reserve—Natural Habitat's Migration Base Camp, Maasai Mara
We transfer today via a safari drive into the Maasai Mara National Reserve, for another exhilarating vantage point on the heart of the annual wildebeest migration. The legendary Mara is the northern portion of the Serengeti Plains, and we find excellent wildlife viewing in these grasslands. The reserve is named for the Maasai tribespeople, the traditional inhabitants of the area who still graze cattle here, and the Mara River that runs through it.
We stay at Natural Habitat's Migration Base Camp–Maasai Mara, our own luxury mobile camp that allows access to an exclusive campsite near the Mara River where wildebeest cross during the migration. Our deluxe canvas tents are situated in a private and secluded spot, with ample trees providing shade from the midday heat. Located in a wildlife hotspot, the site also provides easy access to the rest of the reserve, including the main river systems. Wildlife drives take us among myriad plains animals—not only the thundering herds of thousands of wildebeest and their zebra companions but also gazelle, impala, hartebeest, topi
and giraffe. Predators follow in close pursuit, and the Mara is especially famed for its lions—we may see them hunting in the early morning or evening, or resting beneath acacia trees in the heat of the day. Hyenas also patrol the plains in some of the largest numbers in Africa. Optional hot air balloon safaris with a champagne breakfast on landing are also available (additional cost) during our stay at Natural Habitat's Migration Base Camp.
Day 8: Nairobi / Depart
Fly back to Nairobi today for the close of our Kenya safari tour, where day rooms await for relaxing prior to a group farewell meal and standard evening departures for international destinations.
Physical Rating: Easy