Tour Kenya in a four-wheel drive vehicle with a maximum of six people, witness dramatic wildlife interactions on safari in the Masai Mara, spot the Big Five and more in Aberdares and Samburu, meet the world's last remaining northern white rhinos in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Spend time relaxing on the palm-fringed coastline of Diani Beach.
Day 1 (Sunday) - Fly overnight from the UK to Kenya Meal included on the international flight
Fly from the UK to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Upon arrival at Nairobi Airport, you are met at the airport by your representative and transferred to your hotel in the city. Nairobi is the starting point for most holidays to Kenya, and has a good selection of bars, restaurants and various attractions, including an elephant orphanage and a giraffe centre dedicated to protecting Rothschild's giraffes. There are also some fascinating museums showcasing Kenya's past, such as the house of Baroness von Blixen (the Danish author who became famous for her novel ‘Out of Africa’) which is located in a neighbourhood bearing her name. Perhaps head out for dinner to try some traditional East African fare and a Kenyan beer. Day 2 (Monday) - Drive from Nairobi to Aberdare National Park Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After breakfast, drive for around three hours in your safari vehicle on a good paved road to Aberdare National Park, forming part of the Great Rift Valley in central Kenya, in time for lunch at the Aberdare Country Club. Nestled within its own 1,300 acre wildlife sanctuary on the slopes of Kamatongu Hill in Mweiga, this heritage property was once the homestead of an English couple who settled in Kenya almost a century ago. Take in views of Aberdare Mountains to the west and Mount Kenya to the east as you enjoy a leisurely meal. The grounds are home to various animals including zebras, giraffes, impalas and duikers.
After lunch, continue to The Ark, where you will spend the night. The transfer is in a vehicle operated by The Ark with other passengers.* Arrive in the late afternoon, with time to freshen up and start taking in your surroundings in the bush. Modelled on Noah’s Ark, the lodge has viewing decks with balconies and lounges to provide superb game viewing from the comfort of the lodge, as animals make their way to the lodge’s floodlit waterhole and salt lick for a drink.
In the evening, sit down to listen to a lecture which will provide an insight into the Aberdares region, including its history and wildlife. Have dinner at the lodge, then retire to your room. One of the many beauties of a safari trip is that all your meals are included, so you can sit back, relax and fill up on hearty meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. During the night, you can opt for the resident ranger to buzz your room if an unusual animal is spotted at the waterhole, such as a rhino, leopard or even rarer species, including the Giant Forest Hog; the largest member of the pig family with a length of two metres.
*Aside from this short journey from the Aberdare Country Club to The Ark, for the duration of your trip you will be in a comfortable 4 wheel drive vehicle with a maximum of six passengers, plus your driver who will be your guide and accompany you for the duration of the tour, looking after your every need and filling you with interesting facts and anecdotes about the animals, scenery and culture. The vehicle is designed to ensure maximum wildlife spotting opportunities, with a pop-up roof and all passengers enjoying a window seat for unobstructed views of the game. Day 3 (Tuesday) - Drive across the equator from Aberdares to Samburu. Afternoon game drive
Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Today, you continue your journey driving further north for around four hours, crossing the equator where you can stop to stretch your legs and take a photo at this iconic location. Continue through the foothills of Mount Kenya, where the landscape changes to the rugged semi-desert of Samburu National Reserve. Samburu was made famous by the conservationists George and Joy Adamson, as one of the two areas in which they raised Elsa the Lioness, a story which was later made into a book and film ‘Born Free’ in the 1960s. You have time to settle into your lodge in Samburu and have lunch in the restaurant.
In the afternoon, go on a game drive with opportunities to spot some of Samburu’s amazing wildlife. This is when the real adventure begins, as you get your first taste of a safari. The reserve is considered an excellent option for the more discerning safari-goers, due to its lack of crowds compared to more famous locations including the Serengeti and Masai Mara. Elephants are in abundance here, alongside many of Africa’s classic animals – from lions and leopards to cheetahs, buffalos and wild dogs. Birdlife is plentiful in the reserve too –storks, guinea fowls and ostriches to name a few. Return to your lodge for dinner, overlooking the riverbanks where herds of elephant, buffalo and zebra come to drink.
Day 4 (Wednesday) - Game drives and sundowner in Samburu National Reserve
Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Head out into the Samburu National Reserve on an early morning game drive which will give you the best chances of spotting myriad species, as they hunt for food before it gets too hot. One of the biggest reasons to visit Samburu is that it is home to the Samburu Special Five, a collection of rare animals which you won’t find in the Masai Mara and Kenya’s southern reserves. These are the Grevy's zebra, the reticulated giraffe, the gerenuk, the Somali ostrich and the Beisa oryx. As the day draws to a close, your driver will park at the top of a hill where you can sip a sundowner and enjoy refreshments whilst taking in the breath-taking sunset over the reserve. There is no better way to spend an evening in the bush than to watch the sun sinking away into the horizon whilst toasting to your safari holiday with a crisp glass of wine and some nibbles. Return to the lodge for dinner and a relaxed evening. Day 5 (Thursday) - Game drives in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Optional night game drive. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Check out after breakfast and head back south as you drive for around three hours to Nanyuki, a town serving as a gateway to one of Africa’s most important wildlife conservation areas. Continue to the Ol Pejeta Game Conservancy, spread over 90,000 acres and home to Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino). Have lunch at your new safari camp, located within the conservancy, then in the afternoon head out on a game drive.
Ol Pejeta is home to the largest population of black rhino in East Africa, and, sadly, the last two northern white rhinos in the world, which you may catch a glimpse of if you are lucky. Visit the Chimpanzee Sanctuary for a chance to learn about the day-to-day care of these amazing creatures, with access to feeding time and enrichment activities. Chimpanzees are not indigenous to Kenya, but the Jane Goodall Sanctuary opened its doors to these amazing animals when a rescue centre in Burundi had to be closed following the civil war outbreak in 1993. You also get to meet Baraka, a blind black rhino and a brave ambassador for his species.
Have dinner at your camp, with views of the water hole so you can indulge in locally sourced fare whilst gazing out at elephants and other species having a drink, with a majestic backdrop of Mount Kenya. For those craving something a little more exhilarating than an evening by the fire, there is an optional night game drive organised by the lodge, where you can see some of Kenya’s rare wildlife including the aardvark, white-tailed mongoose, caracal, bat-eared fox and even lions and leopards. Return to camp and settle in next to the fireplace with a local beer or wine, sharing stories and recounting a successful day of wildlife viewing with the rest of your group. Day 6 (Friday) - Drive to Lake Nakuru via a weavers' cooperative. Afternoon game drive Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Wake up to a stunning view of Mount Kenya, then after breakfast, drive to Lake Nakuru National Park, known for being home to vast flocks of flamingos, one of the greatest bird spectacles on earth. Soon after leaving the conservancy, stop to visit the spinners and weavers at Nanyuki, a craft cooperative which was set up with the aim of empowering women to pursue sustainable lives. Founded in 1977 and now providing employment to over 100 women who were mostly poor, widowed and single, the women show you the process of spinning, cleaning and dying the wool, then you have the opportunity to browse the selection of rugs, shawls, bedspreads and carpets on sale in the gift shop, with half of the proceeds going directly to the spinners and weavers. There is no obligation to buy anything.
Leaving the mountains and forests behind you, the picturesque journey to Lake Nakuru lasts around five hours and takes you through Kenya’s mid-west region, winding through agricultural landscapes dotted with local villages. Stop to stretch your legs at Nyahururu Falls (previously Thomson Falls), one of Kenya’s highest waterfalls at a height of 74 metres. Continue to the lake where you arrive in time for lunch. Over 400 species of birds can be spotted in the park, with the most famous being the pink flamingo, which flock here to feed on the algae in the lake’s alkaline waters, turning the landscape into a vibrant pink painting. Due to the water level rising, the flocks are not as large as in previous decades, but the sight is still magnificent. The area surrounding the lake is a 188-square-kilometre sanctuary which was established to protect giraffes and rhinos. This is Kenya’s first and largest rhino sanctuary, and you have excellent chances of seeing both black and white ones as well as plentiful waterbucks, warthogs, zebras, gazelles and buffalos grazing on the shoreline. The park also has its fair share of lions, Cape buffalo and a staggering array of birdlife such as spoonbills, eagles, starlings and herons.
Explore Lake Nakuru National Park on an exciting afternoon game drive then return to your lodge before dusk, with time to relax and eat a delicious meal in your new surroundings. Situated within the national park, the lodge has plenty of spots where you can get unobstructed views of the lake and wildlife. Day 7 (Saturday) - Drive to Masai Mara. Afternoon game drive. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After breakfast, get back on the road and continue your journey through Kenya as you head to one of Africa’s most iconic safari locations and the place that made the Masai people known throughout the world; the Masai Mara. Make your way south for five to six hours, getting an insight into the daily life of Kenyan people as you cross a beautiful part of the Great Rift Valley, passing through traditional villages, lakes, rocky highlands and farmlands on this stunning journey.
Arrive for lunch with some time to freshen up and relax before an afternoon game drive. The area is famous for being the setting of the annual great migration. This amazing spectacle happens between June and September, when over a million wildebeest and zebras make their way across the crocodile-infested Mara River, which forms a natural border between Kenya and Tanzania, to reach the savannah. Those visiting outside this period will still get to experience some of the best game viewing in the world, with the Big Five as well as abundant cheetahs, giraffes, hyenas, hippos and over 450 bird species including ostriches, cranes, bustards and secretary birds. Have dinner at your lodge and reminisce about your day on safari in the Masai Mara.
Day 8 (Sunday) - Full day game drive in the Masai Mara
Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Today is a full day exploring the Masai Mara Game Reserve, taking in its spectacular scenery with endless plains dotted with acacia trees as far as the eye can see. Head out early for the best chances of seeing some of the Mara’s most iconic wildlife - elephants, black-maned lions, leopards, buffalos, cheetahs, zebras, buffalos and gazelles, accompanied by your expert guide who brings it all to life. Stop for a packed lunch in a scenic spot, before continuing your game drive though the rolling plains.
Between June and October, the ‘greatest show on earth’ happens as over a million wildebeest, zebra and antelopes thunder across the vast plains in search of water and green pastures to graze on. During the annual movement, the animals make the way from the Serengeti in Tanzania to Kenya’s Masai Mara, and back again. Watching the animals cross the river is so intense that the ground tremors beneath your feet, creating dust clouds from the sheer volume of animals moving together. This is one of the most exhilarating safari experiences you can get and a genuine opportunity to witness the survival of the fittest and the gruelling realities of nature, as predators lurk under the water and around each corner to snap up the weaker animals.
In the evening, have time to relax before sitting down to another hearty meal. Day 9 (Monday) - Morning school visit. Afternoon game drive Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Although game drives are undoubtedly the main reason many people choose a holiday in Kenya, there are also many unique opportunities to become involved in the local culture, experience the reality of rural life in Kenya and give back to the communities you are visiting. After an early breakfast, drive for around 20 minutes to a nearby town where you will visit a school built by local Masai guides to help better the children’s lives through education. The school has three classrooms and a staff room, all funded purely by donations from tourists visiting the Mara. During the visit, the school patrons will give you a tour of the classrooms to meet the pupils and their teachers. If you want to, you can bring gifts for the children including basic school supplies (pencils, notebooks, crayons, art books, pencil sharpeners and rubbers) or clothing, shoes, toys and footballs. Expensive toys, electronic items and food items are not recommended.
After this enriching visit, return to the lodge and take your final game drive in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Cross rolling grasslands and wide-open savannahs, pausing to watch lions stalking through the long grass and leopards taking shade in the treetops. This is perhaps the only region left in Kenya where you can see animals in the same abundance as they existed a century ago. Return to the lodge for dinner and drink a toast to your final evening in the bush.
Day 10 (Tuesday) - Return to Nairobi and visit a tea farm Breakfast and lunch.
Have your final breakfast at the lodge in the Masai Mara then check out around 7am for the seven-hour drive back to the hustle and bustle of Nairobi, stopping for lunch at the picturesque Kiambethu tea farm. Located an hour from the city at an altitude of 2,200m, the visit provides an amazing insight into life on a settler farm. Ab McDonell, who bought and farmed the area in 1910, was a pioneer in the tea industry, being one of the first to make and sell it in Kenya before it became one of the country’s largest exports. Since then, five generations have run the farm which is surrounded by acres of tea plantations and indigenous forests home to the Colobus monkey. Sit down for lunch served on the beautiful lawns or in the farm house, weather permitting, then take a tour of the plantation with the farm owner, who will teach you about the process of growing, harvesting and processing tea, as well as its history in Kenya.
Have tea or coffee in the farm house and learn more about the history of the farm then continue the drive into Nairobi where you spend the night in a hotel near the airport.
Day 11 (Wednesday) - Fly to Diani Beach Breakfast and dinner.
Transfer from your hotel to Wilson Airport on the outskirts of Nairobi for your midday flight to Ukunda Airport near Diani (the flight is around one and a quarter hours).* Kenya’s coastline is dotted with beautiful beach resorts offering the perfect place to relax and unwind after an action-packed safari of early starts and wildlife-filled days. You are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel on Diani Beach.
Have the rest of the day to relax on the beach or try your hand at one of the many complimentary activities on offer including tennis or squash, or you can arrange a water activity locally. Drink a toast to your final few days in Kenya and have a delicious meal in the restaurant overlooking the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.
*For a supplement, you can fly directly from the Mara to the coast on the previous day.
Day 12 (Thursday) - Free day to relax on the stunning Kenyan coastline Breakfast and dinner.
Spend the day at leisure on Diani Beach. Surrounded by the crystal-clear Indian Ocean, fringed with white sandy beaches and lush greenery, Diani is the perfect place for a post-safari retreat. With its beaches stretching for 17 kilometres, it has been awarded the best beach destination in Africa for five years running. Diving or snorkelling with sea turtles and dolphins in the marine national park is possible, or you can take out a traditional wooden sailing dhow to the coral reef. For the more daring, try kitesurfing or even skydiving which can be arranged locally. After a day on the beach, freshen up then watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean before dinner.
Day 13 (Friday) - Another free day to enjoy Diani Beach Breakfast and dinner.
Another free day to soak up the African sun, doing as much or as little as you fancy. Perhaps spend it reclining on a beach lounger, or taking refreshing dips in the pool and sipping cocktails by the bar, with time to unwind in the Jacuzzi too. And why not indulge in a massage in the spa for a special treat on your penultimate day? There are also some excellent restaurants and shops in the vicinity, if you want to pick up last-minute souvenirs before your flight the following day. Indulge in a superb meal and your favourite tipple from the bar for your final night. If you like the idea of spending longer on this fabulous coastline, let us know.
Day 14 (Saturday) - Fly from Diani Beach to Nairobi for your connecting flight to the UK Breakfast and meal on the international flight.
Depending on your flight time, you may have a final chance this morning to relax on the gorgeous beach. Later, transfer to Mombasa, a two hour journey which involves the Likoni Ferry. The ferry ride takes less than ten minutes although there are sometimes queues to embark. Fly from Mombasa to Nairobi for your connecting flight to the UK.