Kenyan Safari: Samburu, Aberdare, Lake Nakuru & Maasai Mara

A 10 day trip to Kenya 

This thrilling safari adventure takes in four of Kenya's most evocative parks. Marvel at the famous plains of the Maasai Mara, explore the wonders of Lake Nakuru and Samburu National Reserve, and discover a new wildlife cast in Aberdares Forest. Magical, beautiful, and awe inspiring, this Kenya safari trip offers unique experiences and the very best of Kenya.

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Nairobi, Samburu National Reserve, Aberdares Forest, Lake Nakuru, Maasai Mara National Reserve

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Days 1 – 2: Travel to Kenya

The adventure begins as you fly to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and the starting point for the country's famous safari circuit.

Day 3: A Colorful Tour of Nairobi

The rolling landscapes of Nairobi provide your first glimpse of Africa. Streets are awash with color, from orange stalls to tribal dresses and rich green hills. After being met at the airport you'll be transferred to the Hilton Hotel before touring some of the city's iconic sights. Visit the farm and former home of author Karen Blixen, whose 1930's book Out of Africa was one of the most famous to come from the continent. Continue to the Giraffe Center where Rothschild giraffes effortlessly roam and you have the opportunity to hand feed them. Nairobi's world famous Carnivore Restaurant provides tonight's dinner. Monumental steaks are brought out on Maasai swords and you can try an exotic variety of meats like crocodile, ostrich, and camel.

What’s Included: lunch, dinner, overnight at Hilton Hotel

Days 4 – 5: Spectacular Safari in Samburu National Reserve

Your safari adventure begins with a short journey into the northern hemisphere. Undulating hills become more pronounced as you weave away from Nairobi and head towards Samburu National Reserve. Stop on the magical line for photos, your feet straddling the equator and a signpost revealing the geographic importance of this imaginary line. Animals travel great distances to reach Samburu, searching for the sanctuary of the Ewaso Ng'iro River. Large elephant herds wade into the water, teenagers splashing around with youthful enthusiasm and old males rolling on the murky banks. Out on the plains a variety of mammals are feeding. They seek safety in numbers; impala, Grevy's zebra, and Grant's gazelle always keeping a watchful eye for approaching predators. After arriving by lunchtime on day four, you'll have two afternoon and one morning game drive to explore the wonders of this isolated park.

In northern Kenya there are no fences or barriers to restrict animals' movements. Few people live in this wilderness and there is an encompassing feeling of serenity. Animal sightings intensify as you approach the river. Nile crocodiles wait patiently in the muddy water, while reticulated giraffe wait for a quiet time to come and drink. When they're not sleeping in the afternoon sun, lion prides patrol the clearings. The forest is leopard territory, the stealthy hunter often only venturing out of the trees at dusk. At the Samburu Lodge you're deep in the park, surrounded by tranquility, but on the path of many roaming mammals.

Samburu's isolation has enabled it to offer a unique cast of rarely spotted animals. Long-necked gerenuks put on amusing shows, the slender antelopes standing on their hind legs and stretching to feed from tree branches. Beisa oryx impress with their brilliant long horns, while the diminutive dik-dik is like an even smaller version of Bambi. Eagles soar above your head, hornbills noisily clamber from treetops, and then a wandering cheetah brings silent nods of appreciation from everyone in the safari truck. Samburu is a perfect first stop on the safari circuit. It's compact, thriving with the most sought after mammals, but also full of endearing surprises.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, overnight at Elephant Watch Camp

Day 6: A Feast for the Senses in Aberdare National Park

The forested slopes of the Aberdare Mountains offer a surreal safari experience. As the altitude exceeds 7,000 feet, a new collection of animals find a home. Giant forest hogs waddle in small groups, graceful eland skip away from the trees, while the strikingly red bongo emerges from the bamboo forest. In these dense trees, wildlife can't be spotted from a distance. But don't worry, everything is going to be coming to you. Overlooking a waterhole and salt lick, the Treetop Lodge provides a continual procession of Aberdare's residents. Listen to the sounds and predict the arrivals; an elephant herd bulldozes its way through, while tree hyrax and large spotted genet silently turn up from nowhere.

A variety of balconies provide prime inside and outside viewpoints. Aberdare should introduce some new and rare sightings to your photo collection, but the big cats also lurk in this wilderness. The sounds of the forest filter into your en-suite room, and a meandering flurry of noises suggesting that maybe it's worth staying up for another hour. Treetop even provides a wake up service if your favorite animals put in an appearance at the waterhole during the night. Aberdares is not a traditional safari experience. Rather than explore the park, you just put your feet up and wait for the wildlife to arrive.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, overnight at Treetop

Day 7: The Full Big Five in Lake Nakuru

Kenya's safari circuit revels in its diversity. Each different habitat brings a new experience and a new backdrop for the afternoon game drive. In Lake Nakuru you're greeted by a patchwork quilt of pink, a million flamingos stretching along the lake shore. Other birds have found havens here, like the eagles that effortlessly soar on the thermals, or the pelicans and storks that compete for wading space. Lake Nakuru certainly offers a flying spectacle, but there's plenty more on ground level to excite your eyes. Giraffe and buffalo stand proud, one elegant and colorful, the other heavy-set and powerful. Big cats go in search of an evening meal, roaming in the dying light as they hunt for waterbucks beside the lakeshore. Lion prides, leopards and hyenas, all scan the plains, ever hopeful for a full stomach.

Now comes an increasingly rare sight. Emerging from the trees they plod without inhibition, slowly casting a glance at the safari truck. Is that a black or a white rhino? Your guide will reveal the difference as this is one of the few places in East Africa where both of these endangered species can be spotted. They look majestic on the open plains, their protruding horns and armored skin revealing both power and a certain enchantment. As they wander past, the safari truck drops into silence, all eyes watching the slow deliberate movements of a mammal that is at serious risk from extinction. The rhino should complete your Big Five safari tick-list, and fill a huge amount of space on your camera's memory card.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, overnight at Lake Nakuru Lodge

Days 8 – 9: An Unforgettable Experience in the Maasai Mara National Reserve

Few places in the world can ignite the imagination like the Maasai Mara. Endless grass plains stretch into the horizon, the landscape punctuated by great herds of zebra and wildebeest. More than two million mammals graze on this land during the great wildebeest migration. That's just in addition to those that have made the Maasai Mara a permanent home. Masses of four hooves covers the grass, the greenery often disappearing beneath a whirlwind of dust. Look closely and individual scenes reveal themselves. A young calf tries to keep pace with the herd. Zebras relax by romantically resting their heads on another's back. Thompson gazelle join this animal party, small herds looking to fatten up on the profuse grass.

You won't be the only thing that's closely inspecting the herds. Trailing their movements is an abundant collection of predators. The big cats may be found in many parks across East Africa, but nowhere can rival the Maasai Mara for its sheer concentration of these imperial predators. Lionesses hunt in large prides, working together to isolate targets and pounce from close range. During the warm afternoons they laze with satisfied stomachs, often being spotted just a few meters from the safari truck. Leopards have different tactics. They approach slowly, cleverly, dipping beneath the grass with solemn and precise movements. With so many watchful sentinels in the herd, it's not easy to go unnoticed. Yet on these untamed plains a small mistake can mean the difference between life and death. A young wildebeest has strayed from the herd. Not far, but far enough. After silently biding its time, the leopard's final attack is over in a furious blur that lasts just a few seconds.

You'll arrive in the Maasai Mara in time for lunch and a long afternoon game drive on day eight. At an extra cost there is the opportunity to take an early morning balloon safari over the plains. Viewed from the sky, the sheer scale of the Mara takes the breath away. The great herds turn the landscape into a black and green blanket, huge patches of wilderness covered in wildebeest. Epic panoramas continue in every direction, the landscape providing indelibly beautiful images that will forever linger in the memory. The balloon safari also includes a champagne breakfast upon landing. Alternatively, take an early morning game drive and watch the Mara unfold from ground level.

Two days will provide ample opportunity to explore the wonders of this park. Gaze upon swamps that are filled with hippos, watch elephants slowly wander into the sunset, and continue your first- hand experience of nature's great predators. Your lodge is deep within the wilderness, ensuring that animal sightings continue throughout the night. Perhaps a herd of buffalo make a closer inspection of the lodge. Or a giraffe silently walks past in the mid-afternoon sun. The Maasai Mara isn't about glimpsing the Big Five or going on a search to spot wildlife. A unique animal world surrounds you, and an unforgettable succession of sights provide an experience that is difficult to find anywhere else on the planet.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, overnight at Mara Simba Lodge or Keekorok Lodge

Day 10: Farewell to Africa

You'll leave the Maasai Mara behind and be driven to Nairobi for a chance to do some last minute shopping. Dayroom use of the Hilton Hotel is provided ensuring you can relax and rest before your overnight flight back home. 

Price

Starting Price 

$4,495
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.