Untouched Masai Land: Safari of Ancient Cultures & Thrilling Wildlife

A 8 day trip to Kenya 
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Immerse yourself in the authentic and unchanged culture of the Masai and enjoy a safari that mixes wildlife wonders with intimate traditions. Masai warriors lead you across the plains to reveal the resplendent mammals of the Mara and the intricacies of animal tracking. Then they invite you into their customs with a visit to local villages, and the chance to watch their iconic dances and ceremonies. Split across the Masai Mara and Chyulu Hills, this 8-day safari will combine rich culture with pristine nature.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Nairobi, Masai Mara, Mara North Conservancy, Lemek Conservancy, Chyulu Hills, Mount Kilimanjaro

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Nairobi to Masai Mara (Lemek Conservancy) – First Journeys on the Masai Plains

The Masai Mara plains come from the annals of African travel reverie. Masai warriors lead their goats across the grasslands, carrying traditional spears and avoiding confrontations with lion pride. Their red blankets flow in the breeze as they pass huge numbers of zebra and wildebeest. Elephants also make their nomadic journeys while cheetah rises on rocks that protrude from the plains. Nothing is quiet here, and on your first journeys, it's hard to go a few minutes without an inspiring impression of old-world Africa with zebra galloping, buffalo on the march and giraffe loping past the camp. In many ways, it is all just how you had imagined.

After landing at Nairobi International, you will be transferred to Nairobi Wilson Airport where a local flight will take you to the Mara North airstrip. Masai guides will collect you at the airstrip, and your journey to the Saruni Wild camp is a game drive that will quickly reveal so many of the dreamy Mara impressions. As animals fill your view, you will quickly realize that this is also a landscape of surprise. Unusual antelopes gallop past, hyena send echoed calls across the plains, and a baby elephant swings his trunk as he wanders directly past the camp. Relax in your spacious boutique tent and watch the charms unfold from your private wooden verandah.

What's Included: accommodation at Saruni Wild, transfers, local flight, lunch, dinner

Day 2: Masai Mara (Lemek Conservancy) – Tracking Animals on Foot with Masai Warrior Guides

To understand the Mara and the Masai, you must admire its detail. While this safari destination is famous for its scale, it's the nuances and subtleties that hold its secrets. In the light of dawn, you will begin walking across the Masai Mara with your journey led by spear-carrying Masai guides. For thousands of years, the tribe have lived harmoniously with the animals and have created a blueprint for ecological living. Using ancient techniques they track the presence of wild game to lead you safely across the realm of the big cats. Walking quietly, you will encounter large numbers of zebra and wildebeest and admire how the herds are filled with the emotion of individuals. Thompson's gazelle stop their skipping to return your gaze, while elephants can be spotted marching along the plains.

A walking safari will force you to move slowly, and you can appreciate all of the landscape's clues.  Fruit trees inhabited by rare monkeys, leopard and cheetah paw prints across your path or a walkway cleared by buffalo herds all assist in paving your way. Your Masai guide understands this world in the same way you understand where to turn in your home city. Signposts are animal tracks, landmarks are baobab and acacia trees and the morning rush is thousands of ungulates galloping across the plains. After the morning's walking safari, you will return to camp for a relaxed lunch and some quiet hours through the heat of the day, and then a choice of walking safari or game drive in the late afternoon.

What's Included: accommodation at Saruni Wild, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: Masai Mara (Lemek Conservancy) – Game Drives Reveal the Big Cats and Wildebeest Herds of the Mara

A wildlife theater is narrated across the Mara plains. Big cats are the leading actors as they create scenes of drama as they head out on a hunt. The ungulates are more than just extras, and their poignant emotion can be followed across the grasslands. Game drives explore it all, and you will not watch the theater from the best seats as you are the one on stage, overlooking it all. Gasp with surprise as a cheetah emerges from her hiding place and chases an isolated gazelle. Watch lions play out a detailed mating tale, with three males pining after a seductive lioness. Find a leopard in its hiding place and then watch it elegantly jump down from the tree. Even outside the migration, there are always thousands of wildebeest and zebra in the Mara, their antics the charming constant on your game drives.

The Masai Mara is Kenya's flagship safari destination, and Saruni Mara is ideally situated for exploring its many enchanting scenes. This boutique camp provides a luxury safari under canvas with all of the necessary comforts as you are fully enveloped by the wild. Masai guards lead you around as wild animals regularly inhabit the grass around the unfenced camp as local Masai techniques are used to keep the predators and larger animals to a safe distance. Saruni Mara is located on the boundary between the private Lemek and Mara North Conservancies, areas of the Mara that are exclusive to guests staying at one of the conservancies' camps. Game drives are permitted to go off the trail here, enabling you to get as close as possible to the wildlife. Also, you can visit the main Masai Mara National Reserve to explore the scale of the landscape. Today you will enjoy flexible game drives led by Masai guides in both the conservancies and national reserve.

What's Included: accommodation at Saruni Wild, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

 Day 4: Masai Mara (Lemek Conservancy) – Hot Air Ballooning and Traditional Masai Dances

Your hot air balloon will rise as a raw African sun emerges from the horizon. Stripes of orange and red will reflect off of the grasslands and glisten against the kopjes (rocky outcrops). Wildebeest and zebra herds cover the Mara like a patchwork quilt as the black dots contrast against the rainbow of green. From above, you will also see the elephant and giraffe along with the Masai as they herd their goats and cows. For over an hour your balloon will drift across the plains to offer an appreciation of the scale of it all to complement your previous experience with the detail. Touch down and a champagne breakfast is followed by a game drive back to Saruni Wild.

In the afternoon, you can select either a game drive or walking safari before the culture of the Masai is further illustrated in the evening. A dining table is erected on the plains, far from the camp and engulfed by the calls of nocturnal animals. A campfire spits and crackles, the light and heat keeping away the hyenas. Masai warriors protect the table, and they launch into a traditional mode when the dinner is complete, jumping and singing through a rendition of their dances. Throaty warbles provide the backing track as warriors jump high in the air, their blankets flowing softly in the breeze and they bounce above the plains. As they perform deep in the bush, this experience aptly connects the wildlife and cultural sides of the Masai Mara.

What's Included: accommodation at Saruni Wild, tour, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Chyulu Hills – Following the Masai Herders Beneath Mount Kilimanjaro

After a relaxing morning, you will leave from the Mara North airstrip on a chartered light aircraft flight to Chyulu Hills, landing two hours later for a sumptuous lunch overlooking the hills. Nothing is flat here as the undulating foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro stretch out beneath a volcanic dome. Masai herders lead their cattle across this verdant land, and you will see various traditional bomas (homesteads) on the journey from the airstrip to Campi Ya Kanzi. As in the Masai Mara, local warriors will guide your experience here and teach you the ways of survival on a landscape packed with wild game.

Learn how to launch spears and then watch how the locals perform Olympian-like throws. Discover the significance of color and how different Masai blankets have different meanings. Enjoy rather uncensored accounts of a Masai's journey from boyhood to warrior, including the encounters with wild lions. You will also enjoy an insight into how their proud culture is slowly changing, along with measures put in place to keep traditions firmly intact. Campi Ya Kanzi has a remarkable relationship with the local Masai community, and much of it runs to a Masai-informed ecological rhythm. You will stay in a secluded luxury tented cottage that's surrounded by exotic birdlife and wandering antelope. After a relaxed afternoon game drive, you will complete your day with the sunset and sundowners against the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro.

What's Included: accommodation at Campi Ya Kanzi, transfers, domestic flight, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Chyulu Hills – Horse Riding Safari and Bush Walks Through Verdant Masai Land

Part cloud forest and part savannah plains, Chyulu Hills is home to diverse and unusual game, from rare antelopes to bashful colobus monkeys that swing through the trees. Some species you will have seen before – zebra, buffalo, elephant, wildebeest and more – while others offer new safari memories, like the hartebeest and the kudu. Other than a handful of leopards and hyenas, there are not many other predators here which provide the option of a horseback safari. Ride beneath the forest canopy as baboons jump across the branches, and then gallop onto the plains and ride up to the herds of zebra and gazelle. Bush walks are equally intimate with further opportunities to trace the details of wild Kenya. These two activities can be complimented by an afternoon game drive or a reenergizing afternoon in the camp's spa. An optional extra is a scenic flight over the Kilimanjaro region.

What's Included: accommodation at Campi Ya Kanzi, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Chyulu Hills – A Day With a Local Masai Community

Over the last days, you have been guided by Masai warriors to immerse yourself in one part of tribal culture. By spending a day at a Masai village, you will discover more about the role of women in their culture and share stories with the women of the community. The tribe's systems are very different from the West, and there will be a high degree of cultural exchange. Dare yourself to taste traditional foods cooked over the fire, visit a local school, and discover what a local homestead looks and feels like. Your experience will be focused on friendship and a sharing of ideas, and as the time comes to leave, the locals will provide vibrant photos to complement your memories. Your final afternoon and evening will be rather relaxed, with a chance to choose a final safari activity before the sundowners.

What's Included: accommodation at Campi Ya Kanzi, tour, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Chyulu Hills to Nairobi – Departure

A light aircraft will bring you north from Chyulu Hills to Nairobi Wilson Airport, where a representative will assist to transfer you to Nairobi International and your intercontinental departure. You will have full use of the camp's facilities before departure, and there will be plenty of time to say fond farewells to your Masai guides.

What's Included: transfer, domestic flight, breakfast, lunch

Price

Starting Price 

$3,595
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.