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In the Footsteps of the Maasai

Trek with Maasai guides on a traditional hiking safari in Kenya's remote Loita Hills
You won’t find a more unique Kenya safari than this combination of a trek in the Loita Hills followed by the famed Maasai Mara. Your adventure begins with a private hike through the homeland of the Maasai Purko clan, guided by local tribesmen. We spend four days on foot, discovering the Sacred Forest filled with cedar, podo and strangler figs, waterfalls, and spectacular birdlife. Some 2,000 colobus monkeys roam the trees; you’re also likely to see or find evidence of elephant, buffalo, baboon, bushbuck, bush pig, leopard and hyena. Donkeys are used to carry the lightweight camp to our base, located deep within the forest near natural springs and hippo pools. Your route is tailored according to your physical abilities and interests—a rare adventure to thrill even the most seasoned safari-goer!

Trip Highlights

  • Trek through a lush, little-known region of Kenya in the company of resident Maasai guides -- the most intimate way to experience Africa's nature and wildlife!
  • Spend five days exploring two different sectors of the Maasai Mara, home to the densest concentration of wildlife in Kenya
  • Enjoy the unexpectedly deluxe comforts—and unparalleled seclusion—of our Private Mobile Camp, and revel in the wonders of the Mara without the crowds

Full Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Nairobi, Kenya
Arrive in Kenya’s capital, where you are met on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Your transfer to your accommodations will take approximately 45-60 minutes, depending on location and traffic. Enjoy a good night’s sleep before your safari departure tomorrow morning.

Day 2: Nairobi / Loita Hills
After breakfast, depart at 8 am in 4X4 vehicles for the drive across the spectacular Rift Valley, enjoying expansive views en route. After approximately 4 hours we reach Kanunka, where you will meet your Maasai walking guide, porters and donkeys that will transport our gear and camping equipment. Day packs are provided by Leleshwa Camp, and you will pack only what you need for the hike – all other luggage will be transported to Leleshwa Camp to await you at the end of your trek. We commence our walking safari for 3-4 hours this afternoon, hiking through Maasai farmland and broken bush. After a stop for lunch under a classic umbrella thorn tree, we continue our walk toward the hills. As villages become increasingly remote and dirt tracks diminish into footpaths, we eventually leave the last settlements behind and enter the forest. Our first camp, Kalema campsite, is in a clearing on the forest edge. [Total hiking time 3-4 hours, +/- 12 km]

Day 3: Loita Hills - Maasai Walking Trail
We rise early and, after a fortifying breakfast, begin our day on the trail, climbing the hill behind the campsite with our first view over the Shompole & Rift valleys. Following elephant and buffalo trails into the forest, we pass small waterholes and traverse forest glades, dropping into the Seigei Valley to walk along the massive swamp that runs along the valley floor. During our lunch stop we’ll hope to glimpse some of the animals that frequent the swamp – buffalo, elephant, and more.  Along the trail, the views just keep getting better. We enter the Namenkio Forest and spend the night at our second campsite – Alandabibi – which lies within a clearing around a natural waterhole that often has animal visitors at night. [Total hiking time 6 hours, +/- 10 km]

Day 4: Loita Hills - Maasai Walking Trail
After breakfast, we depart camp and climb the Miguu ya Mbwa Hill, to an amazing viewpoint – on a clear day we can see all the way to the soda lakes of Magadi and Natron where Africa’s famous pink flamingos breed; 6,600-foot Ol Donyo Lengai, Tanzania’s only active volcano; and the heights of Gale and Shompole. We’ll stop for lunch here, overlooking this iconic panorama of East Africa. This afternoon, we traverse hillsides and dales to reach Enchipai Valley, one of the largest valleys in the Loita Hills, with a major stream running through it, fed by crystal-clear spring water. Our campsite surveys a series of sweeping bends in the stream in a wide-open part of the valley. By now, we are thoroughly steeped in the solitude and silence of the wilderness—there is simply no match for the wonder of experiencing the African wild on foot! [Total hiking time 6-7 hours, +/- 12 km]

Day 5: Loita Hills - Maasai Walking Trail
This morning we depart on one of the most spectacular walks in the Loita Hills – down the Enchipai Valley to the Alarsu waterfall, a 300-foot drop into an enormous pool. The route was opened up by our Maasai walking guide, Robert Rerende, who leads the way as we negotiate the rocky path down the valley wall. It is a difficult walk but, when we reach the bottom and are rewarded with a chance to cool off in the huge plunge pool, it is well worth the effort. Enjoy a hearty picnic lunch at the base of the falls before climbing back up to through the forest to return to Enchipai Camp, where we will spend a second night. Here we'll enjoy a special celebration on our last night of the walking safari as the Maasai crew, who have become our friends over the past four days, provide some traditional entertainment with music and dance. Involvement by guests is highly encouraged and great fun!  [Total hiking time 7-8 hours, +/- 10 km]

Day 6: Loita Hills / Leleshwa Camp
After one last breakfast in the bush, it’s time to begin our 2-hour walk back to the civilized world of roads, vehicles and agriculture. Once we reach the vehicles, we say a fond farewell to our Maasai guides, who have shared and shown us so much. We drive in 4X4 safari trucks to Leleshwa Camp, our destination for the next two nights. Leleshwa is an intimate tented safari camp set within the private Siana Community Conservation Area on the edge of the famed Maasai Mara National Reserve. Resting in a pristine stream valley overlooking hills and plains dotted with resident game, Leleshwa is a peaceful haven where guests enjoy warm hospitality and attention to detail, both in camp and in the bush. [Total hiking time 2 hours, +/- 7 km]

Day 7: Maasai Community and Culture
The Maasai people are traditional pastoral herders who have grazed cattle in East Africa for centuries. Their rich culture is one of the most famed in Africa, well known for regal pride, warrior prowess, intricate beadwork and traditional red plaid attire that was adopted during the colonial era and made their own. Today is devoted to a host of community activities through which we’ll get to know some of the local people and learn more about their lifestyle and traditions. Options include visiting a nearby village, school and market, and bush walks close to camp. While most safari-goers come to Africa to see wildlife, they come away equally enriched by getting to know the local people that benefit from their visit. All Natural Habitat Safaris camps, including Leleshwa, play an important role in contributing to the wellbeing of the communities they are in contact with.

Days 8-10: The Hidden Maasai Mara
The Maasai Mara is one of Africa’s most acclaimed wildlife reserves, renowned for its annual wildebeest migration, prides of lion and huge herds of hoofed game. The Mara is the northern portion of the Serengeti Plains, and we find excellent wildlife viewing all year long in these grasslands that share a border with Tanzania. The reserve is named for the Maasai tribespeople, the traditional inhabitants of the area, and the Mara River that runs through it. The private Siana Conservancy offers a rare experience of the “hidden” Mara, unsullied by crowds of tourists that safari-goers often encounter in other sectors of the region. The conservancy boasts a rich diversity of game and bird species—resident predators include three lion prides, numerous leopards, and cheetah in pursuit of large herds of plains game.

More of the legendary Mara is on display on the safari drive from Leleshwa Camp to Natural Habitat Camp, Maasai Mara, our own private mobile camp situated within the reserve itself, in a remote location where wildlife viewing is best. The Mara is always replete with thrilling wildlife encounters: the reserve’s 580 square miles are home to nearly 100 species of mammals and 570 bird species. While wildlife is impressive year-round, the summer migration is of course incomparable, when nearly two million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle move in long, flowing columns across the plains toward the new grass that comes with the rains. The Mara offers a chance to see the classic Big Five – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard – while cheetah, giraffe and varied antelope are also common sights.

Back at Natural Habitat Camp, Maasai Mara, we sleep beneath canvas in the bush, under a Milky Way thick with stars, listening for the roar of lions in the distance. Despite our remote setting, we lack for no comforts, enjoying spacious safari tents with full beds, en-suite facilities and private, shaded verandas. Dinners are served on white linen by candlelight, followed by nightcaps around a crackling campfire. [For guests who prefer a more opulent setting, we can arrange for an even more deluxe level of mobile camp—inquire with our staff.]

Day 11: Nairobi / Home
All too soon it is time to depart, though the memories of your time in the hills, on the plains and in the company of the Maasai will remain with you for a lifetime. The magic of Africa never fades! After breakfast this morning, depart by air for Nairobi where a day room awaits, before connecting with homeward flights. Should you wish to arrange activities for this afternoon, such as a visit to the Giraffe Center, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and elephant orphanage, or the Karen Blixen Museum, we can set up a day room for you in that region at an additional cost.

Contact Us To Enquire or Book >>

Sample Itinerary

  • Day 1: Nairobi, Kenya
  • Day 2-5: Loita Hills - Maasai Walking Trail
  • Day 6-7: The Hidden Maasai Mara - Leleshwa Camp
  • Days 8-10: Maasai Mara Game Reserve – Private Mobile Camp
  • Day 11: Nairobi / Home

Cost: From $5,115 per adult sharing

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