Day 1: Nairobi, Kenya
Arrive in Kenya’s capital where you are met at the airport and transferred to your boutique hotel in the quiet suburb of Karen. Once a rough outpost amid a highland swamp when it was established as the colonial capital of British East Africa in 1907, modern-day Nairobi is the urban heartbeat of independent Kenya and one of Africa’s most important cities. Nairobi has long been a meeting point for global adventurers and travelers, and most Kenya safaris still originate here. Nairobi offers many sightseeing options, including the national museum, the historic homestead of Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa, the Daphne Sheldrick elephant orphanage, local crafts centers, and a chance to feed Rothschild giraffes at the Giraffe Center.
Day 2: Nairobi / Loita Hills
Depart after breakfast in 4x4 vehicles for the westward drive into the Loita Hills. After approximately four hours, arrive in Morijo where you'll meet your Maasai guide, porters and donkeys that will transport your camping gear. Day packs are provided, and you'll pack only what you need for hiking—the rest of your luggage will be transported to Encounter Mara Camp to await you at the end of the trek. We commence our walking safari for 3-4 hours this afternoon, hiking through Maasai farmland and broken bush 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 is in a clearing on the forest edge, overlooking a natural waterhole with wildlife visitors. [Hiking time is 3-4 hours, +/- 7 miles]
Days 3–5: Loita Hills—Maasai Walking Trail
The next few days provide a peerless adventure as you discover the Kenyan wilderness on foot. Guided by local Maasai who know this territory intimately, you'll follow elephant and buffalo trails through the forest, shaded by cedar and strangler fig trees where monkeys swing through the branches. Look, too, for wildlife that frequents the massive swamp on the floor of the Sergei Valley. Our second camp is near a natural waterhole that often sees nocturnal animal visitors.
The route continues up Miguu ya Mbwa Hill to a fabulous viewpoint: on a clear day you can see the soda lakes of Magadi and Natron, where Africa’s famous pink flamingos breed, and 6,600-foot Ol Donyo Lengai, Tanzania’s only active volcano. Our third camp is along a clear spring-fed stream that courses through the wide Enchipai Valley. A spectacular side hike to 300-foot Alarsu waterfall is worth the challenge as you’re rewarded with a chance to cool off in the huge plunge pool at the base. On your final night you’ll enjoy a special celebration as your Maasai crew, who have by now become friends, provide traditional entertainment with music and dance—and invite you to participate! [Hiking time is 3-4 hours each morning and 2-3 hours each afternoon; 6-7 miles total each day]
Days 6 & 7: Loita Hills / Maasai Mara—Naboisho Conservancy
After a last breakfast in the bush, it’s time to begin the 2–3 hour walk back to the civilized world. More adventures lie ahead as you traverse the savanna by 4x4 safari truck to Encounter Mara Camp within the private Naboisho Conservancy, a drive of approximately 3-1/2 to 4 hours. The conservancy offers a rare experience of the “hidden” Maasai Mara, unsullied by crowds. The Mara is one of Africa’s most legendary wildlife realms, renowned for its annual wildebeest migration, huge herds of hoofed game and some of the greatest lion density in Africa. As the northern portion of Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains, the Mara region offers excellent wildlife viewing year-round, which you'll discover on exhilarating game drives during our stay.
This afternoon, visit a Maasai village and market. The rich culture of these traditional pastoral herders is one of the most famous in Africa. As you learn more about the lifestyle and traditions of the local people, you'll come away enriched by getting to know these community members who benefit from your visit. [Hiking time is approximately 2-3 hours, 4.5 miles]
Day 8: Maasai Mara National Reserve
From your base at Encounter Mara Camp, enjoy a full-day game drive in a remote sector of the national reserve where wildlife viewing is superb. Home to nearly 100 species of mammals and 570 bird species, the Mara offers a chance to see the classic Big Five—elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard—while giraffe, zebra and varied antelope are also common sights. Predators are prolific, too, with resident lion prides, numerous leopards, and cheetah in pursuit of large herds of plains game. Back at camp, gather around the campfire beneath a sky full of stars, listening for the roar of lions in the distance.
Day 9: Nairobi / Depart
Fly to Nairobi today, where you’ll have access to a day room at Ole Sereni Hotel overlooking Nairobi National Park, just 15 minutes from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. This evening, a transfer to the airport included to meet departing flights.
Physical Rating: Moderate to Difficult
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Ol Donyo Lodge Extension
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Extension
Custom Kenya Safari Camp Extension
Year-Round, From $2395
Custom Tanzania Safari Camp Extension
Year-Round, From $3225