Masai Mara to Mombasa Beach: Stunning Four Park Kenya Safari

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Kenya Masai warrior blowing into a long twisted horn | Maasai Mara National Park
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Total Trip:

14 Days
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Countries Visited:

Kenya
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Places Visited:

Nairobi, Mara North, Amboseli National Park, Chyulu Hills National Park, Tsavo West National Park, Mombasa, Diani Beach
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Dusty elephants roam arid plains beneath the epic shadow of Kilimanjaro, Masai warriors walk amid herds of zebra and buffalo, and hippos quarrel at a dwindling waterhole. There is a whiff of legend to Kenya’s safari destinations. Each is different, emanating its own unique surprise and charm. From Masai Mara to Amboseli, this handcrafted safari connects two famous destinations with lesser-known Kenya. Then travel overland to Chyulu Hills, Tsavo West, and the beach. Here, there will be wildlife

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Day 1

Nairobi – Comfortable City Layover

Almost every visitor to Kenya needs to do a layover in Nairobi. Domestic flights to safari destinations leave early in the morning, so you must wait a night before the adventure truly begins. Still, Nairobi is a very pleasant place to be, particularly because wildlife roams within the city. A national park is at the heart of Kenya’s capital, which is home to elephants, giraffe, rhinos, and lions. The famous Big Five are here, and although you are not going on a safari today, these animals can be seen directly from your hotel. So, you will spend this first night at your hotel along the park’s boundary, getting excited for the more personal animal encounters that are yet to come.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Breakfast

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Day 2

Mara North – Lions Distinguish Your First Day on Safari

Flying south, you will admire Kenya’s vast and wild lands. There is not too much here, just a couple of roads and open pastures. You will start to appreciate Kenya’s scale, and this impression is more evocative upon landing in Mara North. On a game drive, it will seem like there is no end to the grasslands. Lions will sleep on sun-scorched boulders with one eye open as you drive past, and a lone elephant will wander by with a look of melancholy in their face. Further along, you will find zebra grazing, many hundreds of them in a tightly packed formation.

Mara North is a private conservancy so the safari will be much more personal than in the main national reserve where vehicles and visitors can be a little too abundant, particularly between June and August. Here, you can also drive off the trail, which is important when you want to be in close proximity to the predators. So, on this first day of game drives, it will likely be lions and leopards that offer the most memorable moments, and you may even be lucky enough to spot these animals stalking for prey. Your camp will be located in the heart of the conservancy and will be open on all sides to wildlife roaming past. Tonight, it will be the wildlife providing your lullaby, and it will be for the following eight nights to come.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 3

Mara North – Hot Air Balloon Flight and Along the Mara River

Today, you will wake a little early and ascend above the grasslands, gazing down on a patchwork of plains and herds. In a hot air balloon, you will see how the landscape is divided with sections that have already been grazed and lush patches that have not been touched yet on the herds’ migratory route. You will descend to a second breakfast and continue your safari, spending a whole day in Masai Mara National Reserve. You will cover a large distance and take lunch by the Mara River where the antics of hippos will provide early-afternoon entertainment. With a full day, you will start to understand the sheer scale of this ecosystem and how there can be hundreds of thousands of mammals coexisting in one place.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 4

Mara North – Completing the Masai Mara Experience

Most itineraries in a Masai Mara concession follow the same three-day program, using the middle day to explore the national reserve. Back in the concession, the encounters will be more personal and intimate. As there are fewer visitors and vehicles, these lands are also more appealing to certain animals. Big cats are among those that come here to raise their young. Today’s safari is likely to focus on these big cats, particularly leopards and cheetahs. Guides know where they hide, but at first, they will be hard to spot. Their camouflaged fur will prove very impressive, but a tail will move, the grass will rustle, and your eyes will refocus on the spotted cat that is far closer than you initially thought.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 5 - 6

Amboseli National Park – Iconic Elephants and Mount Kilimanjaro

The Masai Mara and Amboseli are geographically very close. Some wildlife wanders between the two parks, but there is no road. Going overland would take 12 hours via Nairobi, so it will be much better to fly. The plane will descend alongside the snow-capped cone of Mount Kilimanjaro, which will be a truly spectacular sight. Amboseli is the land of giants, and you will soon be among elephant with their tusks long and proud, using Kilimanjaro as a backdrop. Hippos will wade in the marshlands while buffalo grunt in swamps. Giraffes are conspicuous, and their necks will continually be silhouetted along the horizon. Lions are another species that will be easy to spot here as prides often emerge from layers of roving dust.

Dry season game viewing is incredibly easy in Amboseli National Park. This is a small park with five swamps to drink from, and there is little vegetation or other features for animals to hide. During the early mornings and late afternoons, you will follow animals across the open savanna, and these cooler hours are when almost everything is on the move. During the middle of the day, you will encounter wildlife around the swamps where species rest from the scorching heat. Such an easy safari experience does make the park a little busy, although this should not be off-putting. Remember, when elephants and Kilimanjaro are part of the vista, it will always be a memorable evening at the camp.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 7 - 8

Chyulu Hills – Exploring Wildlife with the Masai

Chyulu Hills is almost connected to Amboseli. Here, wildlife moves freely in a corridor between the parks. Beyond Chyulu, you will travel to Tsavo West and Tsavo East. One thing that Kenya has always got right is habitat fragmentation. Migratory routes have been kept open, and there is even one that goes in and out of Nairobi National Park. So, in this land without fences, you can move with the animals, gaining an understanding of how different animals prefer different habitats. Crossing Chyulu Hills, you will notice a lack of the bigger, more famous animals. Although elephants and lions are present here, the experience will be nothing like in the Masai Mara and Amboseli. There are new highlights here for you instead.

Eastern black rhinos will move bashfully across the savannah, eland will march in large herds, reedbuck and bushbuck will populate the plains, and some buffalo will congregate in large friendly harems. Then there will be the bachelor buffalo herds, emanating aggression and testosterone. Zebra will graze out in the open along with their wildebeest friends. Rather than encountering this life from a vehicle, you will spend these two days being guided on foot. Masai warriors will be your guides, and they are the gatekeepers to the land and experts in safely coexisting with four-legged mammals. A safari with them will be both cultural and natural, as you will learn the secrets to animal tracking and staying safe.

With walking safaris, you are not threatening. Most of the animals will tower above you, and they will gather in larger numbers. Wildlife does not see you on a game drive; it only sees a vehicle or something large and potentially dangerous. When exploring on foot, the animals will not run away. They will stop and stare, as they will be curious as to who their visitors are. Often times, you will walk amid the herds with animals grazing in all directions. Sometimes, it will seem like you are close enough to touch, although obviously no touching is allowed. You can supplement your walking safaris with downtime at your camp that will be perched on a hill in the midst of Chyulu Hills.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 9 - 10

Tsavo West – Wild and Rugged Plains Complete the Safari

Your safari will continue from vast, open pastures to arid plains. Initially, Tsavo West will appear to be inhospitable. Granite peaks will rise above dustbowls, and it will be so brown and unforgiving. Somehow, life survives here. Shriveling rivers provide bathing spaces for huge hippos. On this legendary landscape, there are so many animals, but you need to employ a little patience.

Tsavo West safaris are adventures. You can go an hour without seeing much, but around a corner and across a ridge, there will be an elephant. If you follow its path, more elephants can be seen. Journey with them, and you will find water. The elephants tend to cause a bit of commotion as they push the buffalo away from a watering hole. Warthogs may scurry up, hoping to get a sip, and only to be rebuffed by trunk-swinging elephants. Zebra will wait patiently, scanning for danger and hoping the giants will leave soon. Drama is likely to follow, although this type of animal theater can never be predicted.

In Tsavo West, you will revert to game drives, which is the essential activity as you need to cover large tracts of land. The park is vastly under-visited. It is almost 30 times larger than Amboseli, yet it receives less than a quarter of the visitors. Hopefully, this gives you an idea of the two how safari experiences can be different. This will be an ideal final stop. By now, you will have encountered all the famous animals, so there will be no fear of missing out when you cross empty wilderness. Instead, you will be in search of wildlife scenes and moments of theater that showcase wild Africa at its best.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 11 - 13

Mombasa to Diani Beach – Relaxed Days After the Overland Safari

You will spend half the day exiting the park where you will have a long game drive to Tsavo West’s eastern boundary. From the park gate, it will be less than two hours to Diani Beach. The safari is no more, but the animal encounters continue. A thick forest will backdrop the beach, and it will be populated by monkeys, both vervet and colobus. Such a backdrop enhances the serenity, cutting you off from the modern world. You can wander the white sand as it will seem endless, stretching for many miles in both directions. The lodges are spacious here, and the beach is never busy. You will mostly have everything to yourself, including picturesque tracts of the turquoise ocean. So, check into your suite that overlooks the Indian Ocean and spend three days in ultimate comfort and peace.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch

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Day 14

Mombasa – Departure

From Diani Beach, it will be a one-hour transfer along the coast to Mombasa where you depart Kenya from the country’s second busiest airport.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Witness elephants wander beneath Mount Kilimanjaro, which is the iconic highlight of a safari in Amboseli National Park
  • Traverse across the Chyulu Hills with Masai warriors, gaining an intimate perspective on wildlife and culture
  • Explore the rugged mountains of Tsavo West National Park, watching natural drama unfold around swamps and rocky peaks
  • Escape to the coast as you drive from wilderness to beach, ending the vacation with three days on Diani’s white sand
  • Cruise above the Masai Mara in a hot air balloon
  • Discover the Masai Mara without the crowds as you stay in Mara North, a private conservancy
  • Getaway at two of East Africa’s most remote camps, finding refreshing solitude and a chance to relax
  • Experience how landscapes change and follow migratory wildlife patterns
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Detailed Description

Kenya is home to the famous Masai Mara where wildebeest and zebra herds roam before the eyes of predators. It is also home to Amboseli, which is a land of elephants that live in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. These legendary destinations are the mainstay of most Kenya safaris, which are iconic places that surround you with an abundance of life. Kenya has many dozens of wildernesses, each unique from the next. Other than the Masai Mara and Amboseli, these wildernesses do not see many visitors. You escape into silence and solitude until a buffalo herd marches past or you are woken by quarreling hippos.

Do not think that the lesser known destinations offer less of a safari experience. It is true that the Masai Mara has more animals, and that in Amboseli, the wildlife is very easy to encounter. Destinations like Chyulu Hills and Tsavo West make you work a little harder for the sighting, requiring a little patience. However, the encounters can be more spectacular and certainly more dramatic. You can be exploring for an hour without seeing much, and then all of a sudden, there will be hyenas battling over a carcass, or giraffes swinging their necks in battle. Chyulu Hills and Tsavo West emanate legend and provide a superb contrast to the Masai Mara and Amboseli. So, after the famous herds and big mammals, you will discover the secrets of a safari.

Piece the four parks together on this handcrafted safari that offers a very rounded wildlife experience. After a night in Nairobi, you fly to the Masai Mara, spending three nights in the Mara North Conservancy. Discover the famous wildebeest and zebra herds, track all the predators, discover how air balloons move above the Mara and immerse yourself in the famous grasslands. From here you fly to Amboseli, touching down beside Mount Kilimanjaro. This is a very small park with wildlife clustered around swamps and marshes. It is arid and open, making wildlife incredibly easy to spot. Then, in the late afternoon, the landscapes are of painted pink by the sunset, making for magical photos of Africa at its picturesque best.

From Amboseli, there is a superb overland route to Mombasa and the Indian Ocean. Almost the entire route is within national parks, and your journey to Diani Beach takes five days. Masai people dominate Chyulu Hills, which is a rustic park that is home to an eclectic range of smaller wildlife. With fewer predators, it is safer to walk out in the open, especially with Masai warriors as your guides. You will also notice a dramatic change in the number of other vehicles and visitors. The Masai Mara and Amboseli are understandably famous, and you cannot expect to have them to yourself. In Chyulu Hills, you will hardly see another visitor.

From rolling hills, you travel onwards to arid escarpments and sun-scorched peaks. Tsavo West is like the Wild West of safari landscapes. You need patience as animals cannot thrive in huge numbers, but the scenes that you will witness will be dramatic. This park was made famous by man-eating lions during colonial times. Here, the atmosphere remains theatrical with wildlife stories unfolding on landscapes that are rarely seen by people. For example, in Chyulu Hills you will use a very remote camp, which is a place for you to feel the escapism of a Kenyan safari.

Driving out of Tsavo West, you head to Mombasa and then an hour south to Diani Beach. Monkeys live in the forest here, so wildlife encounters will remain part of your day to day. Mostly, there is just a 30-mile white beach and a handful of spacious lodges. It is an Indian Ocean paradise, just not as well-known as the oceanic islands. After bumping around on your safari, you will have 72 hours to do nothing at all. Just like some of Kenya’s safari destinations, the lack of crowds will make Diani a magical place to be. Don’t take just our word for it - consider reading some of our travelers’ reviews of Africa and see how you can customize your own dream vacation.
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Starting Price

$6295 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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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.

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