Kenyan Exclusivity & Luxury Safari: Siana Reserve, Leleshwa Camp & Masai Mara

A 7 day trip to Kenya 
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Explore the famed Mara-Serengeti eco-system with unprecedented privacy and intimacy through this one-week tour of the Siana Reserve and the Masai Mara National Park. This tour revolves around providing numerous encounters to observe lions, leopards, elephant and the Great Wildebeest Migration (Migration dependent on month traveling).  You will stay in luxurious lodges and tented camps in quiet corners of this often-crowded region. With opportunities to meet locals and support local communities through successful eco-tourism initiatives, this is one of the most comprehensive ways to experience this stunning part of Kenya. 

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General Information

Photos
Warrior in Masai Mara National Park.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Nairobi, Siana Community Conservancy Area, Masai Mara National Reserve

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Welcome to Kenya! Arrive in Nairobi and Drive Macushla House

Touching down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi will mark the beginning of your exclusive African adventure. After meeting your guide in the arrivals hall, you will drive into Nairobi’s leafy suburbs of Langata, arriving at the Macushla House. Founded by an Irish family, this property offers the amenities of a hotel in a personal and warm home environment. With two cozy lounges, a large covered verandah and a swimming pool nestled within a lush garden, this will be the perfect place to unwind after a long day of travel.

Depending on your arrival time and energy level, it may be of interest to explore the neighborhood before joining the lodge for dinner. The hotel is located within walking distance of Giraffe Manor, a conservation site for the Rothschild Giraffe. Here, you can visit an iconic colonial house – currently operating as a lodge – in addition to visiting the AFEW Giraffe Center. Alternatively, the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is only a short drive away, and gives visitors the opportunity to watch the adorable orphaned baby elephants interact with their caregivers and each other twice daily. For those interested in absorbing some Kenyan history and culture, the Karen Blixen and Nairobi Museums are only a short drive away, as are a number of craft centers. You will return to the lodge in time for a fresh and local evening meal, served within an intimate dining room, before returning to your private suite for the evening.

Day 2: Fly from Nairobi to the Siana Community Conservation Area 

This morning following breakfast at Macushla, you will be driven to Wilson Airport in Nairobi to catch your shared charter flight to the 29,000-acre Siana Conservancy on the border of the Masai Mara National Reserve. A new representative will greet you on the bush airstrip, driving you through the conservancy to Leleshwa Camp in time for lunch.

The camp itself is located in a quiet corner of this private conservancy, giving guests total exclusivity and intimacy in this iconic ecosystem. With only eight canvas tents, each with a unique view of the Loita Hills and the surrounding streams, this camp fully immerses guests in the wilderness, with just a touch of simple luxury and elegance. Enjoy a hot shower in your private en-suite, before joining the warm and friendly camp staff for a fresh and organic lunch in the shade of an acacia tree.

As the sun’s strength lessens, you will set out on your first of many game drives through the area. The park shares a border with the Masai Mara and as such, also shares wildlife and landscape. The only difference is that it does not share the throngs of safari vehicles and camera lenses that have come to characterize explorations through this park. Over the coming days, you will have the opportunity to intimately observe a pride of lions as they bask in the shade or a cheetah as it feasts on its most recent kill. As elephants grace the landscapes around you, with giraffes poking their heads out through acacia canopies you will observe an ecosystem that has inspired artists, musicians and conservationists alike.

In the late afternoon, you will drive to a scenic lookout point for sundowners as the sun sets over the spectacular landscape. Meandering back to camp under the starry night sky, you will have the opportunity to watch as the bush transforms under the light of the moon, with new creatures and behaviors emerging. You will return to a camp lit up by lanterns, just in time for a peaceful dinner under the stars before returning to your tent for the evening.

Day 3: Game Drives across Siana Conservancy, Searching for the Big Five and Learning of Eco-Tourism Initiatives

Today you will spend the entire day exploring the many facets and quiet corners of the Siana Conservancy. While the day will be entirely yours to customize, we would recommend beginning with an early morning walk through the bush with your guide and Masai tracker. Exploring the area on foot is a rare opportunity for intimacy with the bush. As you learn to spot the tracks and signs of larger mammals, you will also interact with the smaller insects, reptiles and plants that sustain the park. Your Masai guide will highlight the importance of these smaller creatures to their culture and survival, teaching you of their many functions and uses. You will stop in the bush for a stunning picnic as the sun strengthens, before returning to camp for the late morning. For those interested in the conservancy’s community development projects, there is also an opportunity to visit the Mpopongi Primary School when it is in session.

The peak hours of the day are best spent relaxing in the shade and comfort of your private tent.  Join the lodge for lunch in a shady portion of the camp, where a cooling breeze provides relief from the rising temperatures. Later in the day, you will have the opportunity to travel to an authentic Masai village. While many Masai village tours have garnered a somewhat negative reputation, this village is home to many of the lodge staff. Visiting their friends and families, and witnessing the rhythm of life in the boma (homestead) will give you a unique perspective on this stunning and unique culture. It will also give you the opportunity to see the positive impact this lodge and conservancy has had on these often-struggling communities. Following the tour, you will embark on a late afternoon safari, which will culminate in a new unique location for sundowners, a bush dinner and a Masai dance performance.

Day 4: Drive from Siana to the Masai Mara National Reserve

This morning you will leave the main Leleshwa camp and embark on an adventure into a private corner of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Your drive towards this private mobile campsite will be a safari in and of itself as you pass through the edge of the conservancy into this infamous park. Zebra, gazelle and wildebeest will dot the landscape, with the occasional predator lurking in the shadows. By lunchtime, you will arrive at your private mobile camp, which will serve as the base for your party over the coming days. Your guide will be your host, and each tent comes with a steward who will ensure your laundry is done daily, your bucket showers have hot water, and that you are always cared for. This will not be an ordinary camping experience. 

The tent itself is fully furnished with a king-sized bed, crisp linens, canvas shelves and a private verandah. Bathrooms are equipped with flushing toilets and an ever-hot traditional bucket shower. The entire camp works off solar electricity.  However, the atmosphere that comes from the kerosene lanterns in the evening is simply magical. Remarkably, the entire structure leaves no impact on the land and will be packed up in its entirety when you return home. 

Upon arrival, you will be greeted with a cold drink and fresh bread baked in the remarkable bush oven, along with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables from the Leleshwa Main Camp. During the late afternoon, you will have the opportunity to set out on a game drive in the surrounding regions, or simply laze around the camp with a book in your quiet corner of the Mara. Evenings at the mobile camp are a truly enchanting experience. A phenomenal dinner cooked over coal is served on a white tablecloth under the uninterrupted starry night skies. Afterwards, you and your guide will retire around the campfire with wine and whiskey in hand, to share stories of the day and listen to the sounds of the bush.

Day 5: Game Drives Across the Famed Plains of the Mara

Over the coming two days, you will embark on several game drives throughout the Masai Mara National Reserve. While this is often known as a high traffic national park, the Leleshwa Mobile Camp will be established in a quiet corner of this 750 square mile park, giving you privacy and intimacy as you explore the infamous Serengeti/Mara ecosystem. The camp is also strategically positioned to provide you with the absolute best game viewing for the particular time of year.

This region is home to some of the densest and most prolific wildlife populations, which will make every moment of your game drives a thrill. As you set out in a private vehicle with your guide, you will begin to search for favorite animals while learning of some of the lesser-known species. If your timing is right, you will have the opportunity to drive through enormous herds of thousands of wildebeest, impala and zebra as they reach the northernmost point of their annual migration. Depending on the location of the mobile camp, you may even have the opportunity to venture to the shores of the Mara River, where wildebeest must boldly cross these hippo and crocodile-infested waters.

For those visiting during the wetter months, you may wish to spend today sitting quietly in a shaded area with a pair of binoculars, observing the rich birdlife that migrates to the area during this period. From storks to shoebills, and Secretary Birds to swallows, the Mara is an absolute paradise for ornithologists. No matter what your interest and experience in birdlife is, be sure to spend time learning from your guide about the incredible habits of the varied birdlife here.

Whether you opt for a picnic lunch in a shaded forest, or return to the camp for lunch and rest, today will be a thorough exploration of the region. Tonight you will gather around the familiar fire to share stories of the day under the starry night sky. You will inevitably collapse into your large wilderness bed, falling asleep to the faint roar of a lion or the grunt of a buffalo.

Day 6: Further Explorations of the Masai Mara Ecosystem

This morning you would be wise to rise early before the sun in order to catch the bush while it bursts with activity. Your guide will wake you with a fresh cup of hot coffee or tea before you venture out for a final day of game drives across the golden plains. Whether you spend today seeking out a few final moments with a lion, leopard or buffalo, or in search of the few remaining creatures you have yet to see, take time to marvel at the spectacular landscapes that surround you. These plains, woodlands and the always-theatrical sky have inspired the writing of Ernest Hemmingway and the songs of Paul Simon, and today you will have the opportunity to understand exactly why.

As the day winds to a close, you will search for the perfect spot for a final cocktail in the bush. As the land transforms with the cooling temperatures, you will have an opportunity to reflect upon the magic of this area you have been privileged to explore. Return to camp for a final bit of bush cooking, before spending the rest of the night gathered around the fire. Tonight you may wish to ask your guide to teach you about the constellations of the southern hemisphere before you retire sleepily to your tent. With some luck, the sounds of the wildlife will be louder tonight, working their way into your dreams.

Day 7: Return to Nairobi by Road, in Time for an International Departure

This morning, following a final breakfast in the mobile camp, you will return to the airstrip for your shared chartered flight back to Nairobi. As you ascend, you will be given a final look at the endless plains of the Masai Mara – possibly spotting a few final herds of wildebeest and zebra dotting the landscape below.

Returning to Nairobi, you will be met by a representative who will either transfer you to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your international departure, or take you to various sightseeing and shopping destinations for your final afternoon.  The City Market is a popular place to pick up woodcarvings, drums and plenty of Masai jewelry. Elmenteita Weavers is a fantastic location to pick up high quality woven products, including rugs, carpets and cotton wraps, from a local cooperative. The Bombolulu Workshop and Cultural Center is also worth a visit. This non-profit organization sells high quality crafts and uses the profits to provide vocational training to disabled individuals. It is also possible to spend the afternoon visiting the museums and conservation centers you may not have had time for on your first day in Nairobi.

No matter how you spend the day, you will return to Jomo Kenyatta in time for your international departure. However, for those guests wishing to add on just a few more days in Kenya or East Africa, consider planning a few days along the Indian Ocean for some final rest and relaxation. 

Price

Starting Price 

$6,995
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.