Day 1: Home to Nairobi
Depart the home land on your flight to Nairobi. On arrival, transfer to the comfortable Nairobi Serena to relax ahead of your safari. Stay: Nairobi Serena Hotel.
Day 2: Nairobi to Samburu
Drive to Samburu with lunch en route at the Trout Tree Restaurant – a unique dining venue set inside and around a giant fig tree. When you reach Samburu’s arid landscape, you’ll have an afternoon game drive to get to your accommodation – the Samburu Sopa Lodge, which perches on a hill inside the reserve with far-reaching views and rooms housed in traditional Samburu cottages. Tonight there’ll be a welcome dinner for you and your group. Approx. journey time: 6 hours. Stay: Samburu Sopa Lodge. B, L, D.
Day 3: Samburu
Head out with your group into the Samburu reserve on morning and afternoon game drives. Lesser visited than its more southerly neighbours, this relatively small reserve’s arid landscape is home to ‘dry country’ animals rarely found outside the park. Its ‘special five’ are the long-necked gerenuk, Somali ostrich, Grevy’s zebra, beisa oryx and reticulated giraffe. Stay: Samburu Sopa Lodge. B, L, D.
Day 4: Samburu to Aberdares
Drive south to the Aberdare Mountain Ranges. The Aberdare National Park was created in 1950 to protect the forested slopes of the ancient Aberdare Range, with wildlife ranging from elephant and lion to the black and white Colobus monkey and beautiful but lesser-sighted bongo – a horned antelope with distinctive white stripes. Have lunch at the Outspan Hotel, then drive on to the famous Treetops, your spectacular viewing perch for the night and the place where Princess Elizabeth was staying when she ascended to the British throne in 1952. Game is attracted by the waterholes and salt licks around this unique tree lodge. Approx. journey time: 3 hours. Stay: The Ark (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 5: Aberdares to Lake Naivasha
Have breakfast at Treetops before driving via Thomson’s Falls – a scenic waterfall on the Uaso Nyiro River – to Lake Nakuru National Park for lunch and a game drive. The park is a haven for bird lovers, with over 400 species of bird, and provides habitat for lion, leopard and Rothschild giraffe. It also offers fantastic chances of spotting herds of white rhino. Continue on to Lake Naivasha for the night and the Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge, which has resident monkeys, giraffe and hippo inhabiting its 150-acre grasslands. Approx. journey time: 3 hours. Stay: Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge. B, L, D.
Day 6: Lake Naivasha to Maasai Mara
After breakfast, set off for the Maasai Mara, home to the residents of the BBC’s ‘Big Cat Diary’ series and a whole host of other wildlife amongst its rolling plains and open savannah, including elephant, giraffe, hyena, wildebeest and buffalo. Arrive for lunch at your lodge, that dates back to 1962, then head out on an afternoon game drive before returning for dinner. Keekorok sits in the heart of the Mara with sprawling lawns and lovely river stone and cedar wood bungalows. With no fences around the property, elephants and buffalo often wander nearby. In the evenings, relax around the roaring log fire in the lounge with your fellow guests. Approx. journey time: 5 hours. Stay: Keekorok Lodge. B, L, D.
Day 7: Maasai Mara
This may be the last day of your safari, but it could be the most thrilling as today there’s the opportunity to take a hot-air balloon safari to gain a whole new perspective of the Maasai Mara. This is our most highly recommended optional experience in Kenya. Wake early and watch as the balloon is prepared, then take flight and drift upwards as the sun rises; the bright pink-orange haze visible for miles across the vast savannah and the wildlife roaming below you. This will be followed by an impressive Champagne breakfast that will be set up for your group wherever you land. Then head out on morning and afternoon game drives into the heart of this wildlife-rich reserve – a fitting end to an exciting safari. Stay: Keekorok Lodge. B, L, D.
Day 8: Maasai Mara to Nairobi
If you’re travelling on to Kenya’s coast, you’ll fly directly from the Mara to Mombasa in the afternoon. Otherwise, leave the Mara after breakfast, arriving in Nairobi in time for lunch. Approx. journey time: 5 hours. You’ll then be taken to a central hotel for the afternoon where you might like to pre-book a day room before your return flight to the UK, arriving the following day. B