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Out of Africa

Traditional Luxury Under Canvas on a Privately Guided Classic Safari
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.

Days 2-4: Amboseli National Park – Private Mobile Camp
Fly to Amboseli this morning from Nairobi's Wilson Airport. On arrival, you are met by your private guide, Joe Charleson, co-manager of Natural Habitat Safaris, and transferred by 4X4 safari vehicle to our Private Mobile Camp. The camp is situated within a 30,000-acre private concession bordering Amboseli National Park, where campsites are available only to a few select safari guides. Set in a remote area surrounded by wilderness, the camp offers a feel for what Africa must have been like decades ago.

Elephants abound in Amboseli, and to see these African icons against the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro’s snow-topped summit is a timeless image of the continent. This mosaic of dusty plains and swampy springs is also home to buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, impala, hyena, lion, leopard, cheetah and a third of Kenya’s nearly 1,100 bird species. Nearby are several permanent waterholes and swamps that attract a daily parade of animals during the dry season. Off-road driving is allowed on the concession, allowing us to get close to the enormous herds of elephant the region is famed for, especially as they feed in the dried-out flats of the ancient Amboseli lake bed. A highlight of our mobile camp experience in Amboseli is our encounters with the Kisongo Maasai community, who use this land to graze their livestock. We generally spend a portion of a day enjoying varied cultural interactions during which we get to know community members and learn about their unique customs and traditions.

Days 5-6: Laikipia
Some of Kenya’s best wildife viewing is found in the Laikipia region, gateway to the remote Northern Frontier. Dramatic Laikipia, wild and sparsely populated, has become a center for global conservation leadership. Much of Laikipia is comprised of large, privately owned cattle ranches that were established by colonial families in the early 1900s. Once hunting was banned in the 1970s and the focus turned toward conservation, fences were removed and wildlife encouraged to return.

Some of the most famous private conservancies in Africa are located in this part of Kenya, including Lewa Downs, Solio and Ol Pejeta, all of which are important refuges for both black and white rhinoceros—in fact, more than 30 percent of Kenya's black rhinos are protected in Laikipia. Lewa also plays an important role in sustaining endangered Grevy’s zebra and sitatunga. Also prevalent in Laikipia are elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and abundant plains game, as well as distinctive species found only in the arid north of Kenya, such as reticulated (Samburu) giraffe and Somali ostrich. After Tsavo, Laikipia is Kenya’s second-largest contiguous protected area, and only the Maasai Mara has higher densities of wildlife. Many parcels have also been combined by local communities to create vast conservancies, where livestock successfully share the land with free-ranging wildlife, and conservation-based tourism benefits the local nomadic pastoralist tribes, with whom you will have a chance to interact.

Day 7-10: Maasai Mara National Reserve – Natural Habitat Camp, 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.

Without a doubt, the best way to experience the riches of this vast ecosystem is from your base at Natural Habitat’s own private mobile camp. Regularly moved to where wildlife viewing is best, this tented camp assures you a front-row view on the reserve’s impressive display of species: nearly 100 different kinds of mammals, and 570 types of birds. While wildlife is impressive year-round, the summer migration is phenomenal, 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 also offers the 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 camp, we sleep beneath canvas under a Milky Way thick with stars, listening for the roar of lions in the distance. Despite our remote setting, we lack for no comfort, enjoying deluxe tents with full beds, en-suite facilities and private verandas. Dinners are served on white linen by candlelight, followed by nightcaps around a crackling campfire.

Day 11: Nairobi / Home
Over the previous days, time has seemed to stand still as you've been immersed in a timeless experience of Africa. Yet today your return to the contemporary world begins as you fly back to Nairobi's Wilson Airport, where a day room awaits at a nearby hotel. Here you may relax as you await your evening flight departure for home, or, for those who wish to do some sightseeing at the Karen Blixen Museum, Giraffe Center, Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, or shopping, we can arrange activities plus a day room near these locations at an extra cost. 

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