Day 1: Nairobi, Kenya
Arrive in Nairobi, where you are greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Once a rough outpost amidst a highland swamp when it was the colonial capital of British East Africa in 1907, Nairobi today is the urban heartbeat of independent Kenya and one of Africa’s most important cities. Nairobi has long been a meeting point for adventurers and travelers from all over the world, and most Kenya safaris still originate here. Nairobi’s national museum and the historic home of Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa, are popular attractions.
Days 2–4: Laikipia—Lewa & Borana Conservancies
Fly north to Laikipia today. This dramatic region, wild and sparsely populated, has become a center for global conservation leadership. Much of Laikipia is comprised of privately owned ranches that have been combined by local communities to create vast conservancies, with free-ranging wildlife including elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and abundant plains game. Renowned among Laikipia’s sanctuaries is Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, which has played a critical role in sustaining endangered rhinoceros, Grevy’s zebra and the rare sitatunga antelope. Other unique sub-species found in this area include reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, oryx and Somali ostrich. Borana Wildlife Conservancy shares an unfenced border with Lewa so that wildlife traverses freely. Early morning, late afternoon and evening wildlife drives, as well as guided exploration on foot, are offered.
Days 5–6: Maasai Mara Game Reserve
This morning, fly to the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The fabled Mara is one of Africa’s most acclaimed wildlife reserves, renowned for its wildebeest migration, abundant prides of lion, and huge herds of plains game. The Maasai Mara is the northern portion of the Serengeti Plains, and we find excellent wildlife viewing all year long in these grasslands. The reserve is named for the Maasai tribespeople, the traditional inhabitants of the area who graze cattle here, and the Mara River that runs through it. Classic wildlife drives reveal an abundance of varied animals including elephant, giraffe and zebra, set against an evocative backdrop of golden savanna, acacia trees, and a vast blue sky.
Days 7–8: Maasai Mara Private Conservancies
Transfer today via a wildlife drive into the private conservancies surrounding the Maasai Mara. These special concessions are off-limits to the general public, and visitor numbers are strictly controlled, providing a rare experience of exceptional seclusion in the Mara. Expect, however, to see plenty of wildlife during this genuine wilderness immersion. Game viewing continues on twice-daily drives, interpretive nature walks, and even from camp, where the premises are often frequent by wildlife. Take advantage, too, of opportunities for off-road travel and night drives to see nocturnal animals—neither of these activities is permitted in the public reserve. Cultural encounters with local Maasai community members are also available.
Day 9: Nairobi / Depart
Fly back to Nairobi’s domestic airport today, where a day room is reserved for you. Late this afternoon or in the evening, make a short transfer by road to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to meet your departing flight.