On arrival at Nairobi Airport, a representative will meet you and drive you to Giraffe Manor where you will be spending the night. This elegantly charming manor house was built in 1932 by Sir David Duncan and is set in 120 acres of rolling grounds. In 1974, Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville purchased the house and founded the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife on the property. Their first move was to bring in five baby Rothschild’s giraffe, a highly endangered subspecies found only in this region of East Africa. They thrived under the Leslie-Melville’s care, and grew to produce offspring of their own, who now freely wander the grounds of Giraffe Manor. Betty chronicled the tale in her wonderful book, ‘Raising Daisy Rothschild’. Staying at Giraffe Manor contributes to conservation of endangered species and the education of African schoolchildren in the importance of preserving their unique wildlife heritage, as a portion of your fee is set aside for these causes.
Day 2 - 4
As your flight takes off from Nairobi and gains altitude, you will make out the Aberdare Mountain Range that forms a part of the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley. Soon the patchwork of farmland gives way to a wild, rugged terrain with the ribbon of the Uaso Nyiro River cutting though it, and Mount Kenya looming in the distance. Touching down, you will meet your guide who will take you for a short game drive to Joy’s Camp. This oasis of elegance and tranquility is situated on the site of Joy Adamson’s former home, and is where Penny the Leopard, heroine of her last book, used to live. Overlooking a waterhole fed by a natural spring, the waters attract elephants and buffalo at all times of day. You are able to relax on your private verandah outside your sumptuous suite and simply gaze at the passing parade of wildlife, lost in the wonder of being in such a wild place, yet with every luxury at your fingertips.
Set off on a late afternoon game drive with your guide, and feel the pulse of this unique environment flow through you as the breeze gently ruffles your hair. This harsh but hauntingly beautiful environment is home to an extraordinary variety of wildlife, from some of Africa’s largest bull elephants to all of the big cats. Leopards in particular love the large and spreading acacia tortilis trees that are everywhere, using them as a refuge to stash their kills out of lions and hyena’s reach.
Returning to the lodge in the evening, you will find it bathed in welcoming lantern light, and after a fireside cocktail below a sweeping gallery of stars, delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen draw you to the dining room. Enjoy a sumptuous three course meal accompanied by fine wines while gentle conversation and easy laughter fill the room. Later, as you slip between the covers in your suite, lie back and listen to the sounds of the African night outside as they gently lull you to a blissful slumber.
Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Day 5 - 7
After your final morning game drive, enjoy a delicious brunch on the terrace before departing for the airstrip. Fly southwards to the great open plains of the Masai Mara that open out before you in a vista that seems to go on forever.
This is the scene where one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth takes place- the Great Migration. At certain times of year, in excess of a million wildebeest, zebra and gazelles pass through this region on their endless circular trek in search of water and fresh grazing brought by the rains. Undeterred by voracious predators that follow, and treacherous river crossings teeming with enormous crocodiles, they march blindly forward, driven by an instinct older than time.
Outside of the migration, a host of resident animals remain, and big cats sightings here are considered some of the best in Africa.
The game drive gives you a taste of the wide-open spaces, gentle hills and epic plains of the Mara before you arrive at Elephant Pepper Camp. This intimate and eco-friendly camp sits with a light footprint in a grove of shady trees with sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. Although being extremely environmentally friendly, no concession to comfort and luxury is spared. Elegantly designed and gorgeously furnished with a blend of tribal fabrics and artworks mixed together with tasteful antiques, the lodge feels as much as part of the landscape as the surrounding trees that envelop it.
In the company of an expert guide, you set off into the wilds to experience the magic of the Mara for yourself. The gentle hills are coated in acacia trees- the iconic, flat-topped trees that immediately bring the image of Africa to mind. The Mara River is the lifeline of the region and a source of fresh water for a multitude of animals, but it is also, however, a dangerous crossing point for the wildebeest and zebra during the migration. The masses build up along its banks, fervent with an almost palpable anxiety before the first animals take the plunge and begin to cross, spurring those behind into action. The raging torrent claims some of the weaker swimmers, and the Mara’s enormous crocodiles fight amongst themselves for their share of the bounty. The crossings are fraught with tension and drama, and few will fail to be moved by this incredible sight.
If you are there outside of the migration period, you can expect to enjoy this untrammeled wilderness in almost total exclusivity- when the masses depart, they leave behind a host of resident animals that are bound to their respective territories. The lions of the Mara are famed for having large prides, and you have an excellent chance to encounter the cheetah, the most sleek and graceful of the big cats.
After a day of exploration and wonder, you return to the welcoming embrace of the camp, bathed in soft lantern light, with a campfire blazing outside. Accept a cocktail and sit in its warm glow, gazing up at the glittering expanse of the Milky Way, listening to the convivial banter and tall tales of the bush from your hosts and companions. Delicious aromas from the kitchen draw you to the dining room, where an indulgent meal accompanied by delectable wines is a fitting end to a beautiful day. Slipping between your cool sheets later on, you drift off to sleep with the sounds of the African night echoing around you like a lullaby.
On one morning, you have the option of taking a hot air balloon ride over the teeming plains. Drifting silently along like a bird of prey, you are treated to what must be the most spectacular view in Africa, the huge expanse of the Mara below you, and herds of animals everywhere you look. Coming back down to earth, you find a sumptuous picnic breakfast table set up for you in the shade of an acacia tree, with nothing but the wilderness around you. You are graciously offered a glass of champagne, and the bubbles in the drink quickly transport you back to the deliciously dizzying heights from which you have just returned.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - 11
A charter flight wings you directly from the Masai Mara to Ukunda on the Indian Ocean coastline. A representative will meet you at the airport and drive you to Kinondo Kwetu. Situated in an idyllic location south of Diani Beach, this intimate resort is surrounded by a protected area of holy forests and sacred land. Crystal clear water gently laps the white sandy beach that is secluded and uncrowded, a picture of tropical bliss.
The hotel is designed in an eclectic mixture of Swahili handicrafts and East African antiquities, creating an inviting and peaceful atmosphere that draws you irresistibly into a feeling of calm and tranquility. You kick off your shoes, feel the squeaky clean sand between your toes, and give in to ultimate relaxation.
Here you can be as active or as relaxed as you wish: a host of activities and sports facilities are on offer, including scuba diving, fishing and horse riding, or you may simply choose to enjoy an invigorating spa treatment and relax on the pristine beach.
The gentle rhythms of the day are punctuated by wonderful al fresco mealtimes that feature surf-fresh seafood, juicy tropical fruits and fish pulled straight from the sea. Listening to the waves gently wash against the shore, while a cooling ocean breeze ruffles your hair, you indulge in lovingly prepared cuisine with your toes in the sand.
Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast
After four days of tropical bliss, it is finally time to depart your little paradise of Kinondo Kwetu. A charter flight waits to wing you back to Nairobi, where you join your connecting flight home.
Begin the journey in Nairobi, where you spend a night at the gracious Giraffe Manor, founded as a sanctuary to protect the endangered Rothschild’s Giraffe. Their breeding success as resulted in them roaming the lush grounds like oversized pets, and they often poke their heads into the windows at mealtimes to scrounge a tidbit or two!
Next, you fly to Shaba, a private reserve bordering on Samburu National Park, home to the colorful and proud Samburu tribe. You will stay at the beautifully elegant Joy’s Camp, on the site of Joy Adamson’s former home. From there you will explore this fascinating ecosystem and its wildlife by 4 x 4 and on guided safari walks.
After three nights at Joy’s Camp, you fly south to the famed plains of the Masai Mara. Elephant Pepper Camp offers an authentic, old fashioned safari experience with front row seats to the epic scene of the Great Wildebeest Migration during certain times of year. Outside of this season, a host of resident wildlife remains, including the region’s famous lion prides, among other predators.
After six nights on safari, it is time to relax, and soak up the blissful tropical Indian Ocean at the romantic Kinondo Kwetu retreat, set upon a white sandy beach lapped by gentle azure waves.
This journey contains all the ingredients for a perfect honeymoon: adventure, wildlife, spectacular African scenery combined with barefoot luxury on a secluded beach. To add on to this incredible adventure, visit the reviews of Kenya luxury vacations for ideas and travel reviews.
$5095 per person (excluding international flights)
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