(Nairobi, Chyulu Hills, Laikipia, Masai Mara)
Imagine looking out over the bush as the wonders of Africa awaken to the sunrise while you enjoy the tranquility of a morning yoga session.
An intoxicating fusion of cultural experiences, wild safaris, and a whole lot of rejuvenation, this is an all new take on Kenya’s National Parks and exclusive private game reserves. Visit local villages, enjoy safaris by foot, horseback, bike, and 4x4, relax with spa treatments, start the day with a morning yoga session, eat meals under the stars, and receive blessings from the chief of a local Masai tribe. Led by expert private guide, experience the legends of Chyulu Hills, Laikipia, and the Masai Mara. Listen to the rush of the wind as you mountain bike through Ol Donyo in search of lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and more. Hike through a mist forest in search of leopards lurking in the trees. For those looking for an intense test of endurance, tackle a high altitude, long distance run with the manager of your hotel.
From adrenaline-pumping adventure to complete relaxation in the spa and tribal blessings, this is a safari for mind, body, and soul. Take part in traditional Kenyan customs and ceremonies, visit local homes, and trek through the bush with Masai warriors. Learn the secrets to honey harvesting, soar during an optional hot air balloon flight, head out on a camelback safari, visit a stargazing camp, and so much more. Spend evenings relaxing in exclusive tented camps and lodges that offer an intimate experience with the natural world around you. Don’t be surprised if you have to remind yourself that you’re not dreaming; you’re in Africa.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
While you are in the care of Kensington Tours, your safety and security are our number one priority. As such, in the unlikely event of serious illness or injury, all Kensington Tours clients are covered by “Flying Doctors” Insurance policy. This emergency evacuation insurance covers the cost of the evacuation flight back to Nairobi for treatment. This insurance policy however DOES NOT cover the cost of any medical treatment received. We highly recommend travel insurance for full coverage.
A privately driven vehicle will provide you with a transfer to and from the airport.
The Fairmont Norfolk Hotel is situated in the centre of the bustling city of Nairobi, in Kenya, and has grown over time with the city. Surrounded by private tropical gardens, the 165 guest rooms and suites are comfortable and with all the necessities of home. Dining is offered at a number of onsite restaurants, and the breakfast buffet is especially delightful. Spend some time getting to know the city, and then escape to the tranquility of the hotel. At your pleasure enjoy the wonderful swimming pool facilities, the health club and a relaxing spa.
Daily scheduled "air-taxi" flights between Wilson Airport in Nairobi & Ol Donyo Wuas. Flights depart both in the early morning and mid afternoon.
Join on this exploratory activity on the plains, where you'll bike across the savannahs with an armed guide and enjoy the freedom and exhilaration of adventure. In addition to the tracking and walking associated specifically with wildlife viewing, the Mbirikani Group Ranch features an incredible diversity of habitats. Perhaps the most unique is the high-altitude mist forest, where leopard and rhino lurk, and an incredible amount of biodiversity is present. It is a microcosm, unlike any other area of the ranch. A hike to this area, from the lodge, is very rewarding.
Ol Donyo Lodge is located in one of the most spectacular and scenic locations in all of East Africa, with Mount Kilimanjaro visible from end-to-end, the 275, 000 acre Mbirikani Group Ranch offers the Amboseli National Park experience without the crowds, and in utter privacy. Imagine traveling across the archetypal savannahs of East Africa in an open 4x4 guided by the best professional guides, or feeling the rhythm of Africa beneath your feet as you walk with expert trackers, or horseback riding with Mt. Kilimanjaro as a backdrop. Explore this paradise and return to one of the most luxurious small lodges in East Africa where a hot bath or shower, a private swimming pool wait – all with inspiring views of Africa – plus delicious food, charming hosts and world-class service. Does this sound like fantasy? It is real and it is called… Ol Donyo Wuas.
Ol Donyo is one of the most luxurious small lodges in East Africa, set against the slopes of the Chyulu Hill. It presents the perfect setting for an adventurous, yet revitalizing safari experience. Start your mornings with bush yoga practiced on your private veranda, with a view over the open plains. An incredibly unique experience, placing traditional wellness in a contemporary setting. Throughout your day, between safaris by foot, 4x4, and horseback, indulge in your private swimming pool, hot bath, or indoor/outdoor shower. The lodge also offers sublime spa services for those wishing to unwind and relax at the end of a busy day, enjoy expert massages, or other treatments, in the comfort of your own room. Ol Donyo Lodge is a holistic experience not to be missed.
The Chyulu Hills and its diverse ecosystem lend itself perfectly to horseback safaris. From the mist forests, to the open plains, to the dense woodland, a horse navigates the landscape gracefully. To come along for the ride, and experience wildlife on horseback, is an experience not to be missed. Our team of 20 horses – ranging in size, and for different riders – takes you safely through the ranch with excellent prowess. Many people who are familiar with excellent horseback safaris elsewhere in Africa have stated, "This is the best horse riding country in Africa." We take pride in the training and care of our horses and have safaris for all levels. For guests of the lodge, horseback safaris are a full or half-day activity.
Daily flights depart Ol Donyo Wuas at approximately 8:30am and arrive Nairobi at 9:40am The aircraft serving this route is a 10-seater Cessna Caravan.
This morning you'll meet up with your guide and head off to Laikipia. The drive from the urban center of Nairobi, through the fertile highlands, the semi-arid frontier of Kenya is breath-taking and great way to see the countryside. The drive will be about 3 hours.
A representative from your lodge will pick you up and transfer you between the lodge and airstrip.
During your stay at Lemartis Camp you are considered a guest of the local community. You may find that you develop a special friendship with one of our staff who invites you to see his homestead and visit with his family. You will be in invited to attend any ongoing ceremonies as well as partake in activities such as the hunter gatherer (Ndorobo) and methods of honey harvesting from local bee hives hung in trees along the river. Should your stay fall on local market day, this is a wonderful visit.
Lemarti’s Camp is in an oasis surrounded by palm groves and fig trees, and run by Samburu and Maasai tribesmen. The five large and luxurious tents are located on platforms overlooking a river bend and were designed and furnished by interior designer Anna Trzebinski. The tents have huge en suite bathrooms with bucket showers and old colonial-style bathtubs.
Days can get hot, so most activities are planned for early to mid morning and then again mid afternoon. Lemartis Camp places its emphasis on walking in the bush as the indigenous people do. You will walk with warriors, safe in their care and actually be in the African bush rather than simply observing it from a vehicle. Whilst walking your guides have a breadth of knowledge to share with you; tracks and signs of wildlife, flora and fauna, as well as a vast knowledge of traditional herbal medicine. Every walk comes with its own surprises, and depending on the season there is a varied amount of wildlife in the area.
Activities on site include walking safaris with local warriors and camel safaris. For the very energetic enjoy mountain biking to local markets. For the exceptionally well trained and fit there is high altitude running with the lodge manager, Lemarti. Being a good rift valley Kenyan, Lemarti is a keen runner, tackling fast and long distances at high altitude. Anyone wishing to join, good luck!
Aside from the many activities, enjoy peaceful sunset on top of some beautiful rock outcroppings or under a tree with spectacular views. Here the focus is on nature, on the local tribes and rare glimpse into a more simple life. Enjoy walking, driving or camel safari. Bush breakfast, picnics or dinner under the stars. For those who want to spend the night out, enjoy the Nomadic and Stargazing camps. Nothing at Lemartis Camp is staged in anyway.
When relaxing in camp there is always plenty going on. First and foremost, the area is an ornithological paradise. The river and its abundant trees offer an oasis in the semi-arid landscape, so bird life is exceptional. When in the mess your hosts and staff of the camp are usually paying “Mbao’ (a traditional board game, which is exciting to learn). There are often other spontaneous games and competitions amongst the warriors, anything from spear throwing to games played by the fire that reduce everyone to fits of laughter. Here the focus is interactive as you get to know the local communities, wildlife, fauna and tribes.
Enjoy this short flight departing Loisaba, Laikipia and arriving in Masai Mara, Kenya today. The flight duration is approximately 45 minutes.
Head out in the afternoon on a game drive with others at the lodge. Drives typically head out around 4pm when the game is becoming more active and emerging out from shade as the hot sun decends. See if you can spot a herd of elephants as they approach watering holes and rivers to cool down with a drink and mud bath.
Elephants are the largest living land animals on Earth today. When pregnant, an elephant's gestation period is 22 months, the longest of any land animal. At birth, an elephant calf typically weighs 105 kilograms (230 lb)!! They typically live for 50 to 70 years, but the oldest recorded elephant lived for 82 years. The smallest elephants, about the size of a calf or a large pig, were a prehistoric species that lived on the island of Crete. Aristotle once said the elephant was "the beast which passeth all others in wit and mind." The word "elephant" has its origins in the Greek ?λ?φας, meaning "ivory" or "elephant". Today African elephants are the largest of their species. Healthy adult elephants have no natural predators, although lions may take calves or weak individuals. They are, however, threatened by human intrusion and poaching.
Cottar’s Camp is an intimate family built camp located in a private reserve near the Masai Mara National Park, in Kenya. With eighty years of Safari service the Cottar family leads you by the hand in exploring this diverse landscape. The camp provides tents for up to 12 guests in a relaxing setting built with a 1920's antique charm. Dining consists of local bush cuisine, often taken beside the waterfalls or on game drives. The outdoor veranda offers a stunning view of the surroundings and the opportunity to take a bush bath and perhaps a massage on the doorstep of this backdrop is swoon-worthy.
Today as you set on the early morning game drive with your expert guide from your lodge. The Masai Mara Park will offer you a diverse range of animals. The park is home to the Big Five (Lion, Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo and Leopard) and numerous other antelopes including Thomson's and Grant's Gazelles, Impalas, Topics, Hartebeest, Zebra and Masai Giraffe. It's also home to over 450 species of birdlife among these are vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested eagles and African pygmy-falcons.
Sign up for optional activities (not included in tour price); guided nature walk, hot air balloon ride, cultural tours and more. You can also arrange to volunteer for the day at Mara West and pay any associated fees directly on-site. Volunteer activities range from individual to community projects.
This afternoon's game viewing will be exciting as you are searching for game with your guide and others from the lodge. Today keep your eyes open for giraffe.
The giraffe is the tallest living terrestrial animal in the world. Its specific name refers to its camel-like face and patches of color on a light background, which bear a vague resemblance to a leopard's spots. The giraffe is also noted for its extremely long neck and legs and prominent horns. It stands 5–6 m (16–20 ft) tall and has an average weight of 1,200 kg (2,600 lb) for males and 830 kg (1,800 lb) for females. The giraffe's scattered range extends from Chad in the north to South Africa in the south and from Niger in the west to Somalia in the east. Giraffes usually inhabit savannas, grasslands, and open woodlands. They prefer areas with plenty of acacia trees, which are important food sources, and can browse at heights that most other herbivores cannot reach. While adults are nearly invulnerable to predation, lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and wild dogs prey on baby calves. Giraffes commonly gather together to eat or socialize for a few hours and then roam off to graze separately. Males establish social hierarchies through "neckings", which are combat bouts where the neck is used as a weapon and they butt their necks against each other. Dominant males gain mating access to females, who bear the sole responsibility for raising the young.
Early this morning you will meet up with others at the lodge for your game drive. Drives are typically done in the morning at 6:30am for a few hours. See if you can spot the ellusive leopard.
The smallest of the four "big cats" the leopard was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its range of distribution has decreased radically because of hunting and loss of habitat. It is now chiefly found in sub-Saharan Africa. Because of its declining range and population, it is listed as a "Near Threatened" species. Compared to other members of the Felidae family, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more slightly built. The species' success in the wild is in part due to its opportunistic hunting behavior, its adaptability to habitats, its ability to run at speeds approaching 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph), its unequaled ability to climb trees even when carrying a heavy carcass, and its notorious ability for stealth. The leopard consumes virtually any animal that it can hunt down and catch. These stealthy animals are one of the prize sightings you may see in Masai Mara.
Maasai culture is an important and deep-rooted part of any visit to Cottars Camp. The Camp maintains close ties to the neighbouring Maasai community, and a stay at Cottars provides guests with insight into this unique and vibrant society. Through Cottars Wildlife Conservation Trust, the camp has been able to assist in various successful projects. During your stay, you can visit the local market and shop for beadwork and traditional handicrafts. The Cottar's do not believe in owning large tracks of land in Africa, but rather manage land on behalf of the Maasai community partners, and this makes for an enriching safari experience.
Your expert guide will meet you, and other guests, at your lodge for an afternoon game viewing drive in and around Masai Mara. See if you can spot lions in the park today. Lions live for 10-14 years in the wild. They typically inhabit savanna and grassland, although they may take to bush and forest. Lions are unusually social compared to other cats. A pride of lions consists of related females and offspring and a small number of adult males. Groups of female lions typically hunt together. Highly distinctive, the male lion is easily recognised by its mane, and its face is one of the most widely recognised animal symbols in human culture.
The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the four big cats, 3 of which are found in Africa - lion, lepard, cheetah. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight, lions are the second-largest living cat after the tiger. Until about 10,000 years ago, the lion was the most widespread large land mammal after humans. They were found in most of Africa, across Eurasia from western Europe to India, and in the Americas from the Yukon to Peru. However the lion is a vulnerable species, having seen a possibly irreversible population decline of thirty to fifty percent over the past two decades in its African range. Outside of designated reserves and national parks, you will rarely if ever see a lion. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the greatest causes of concern. Reserves have helped to boost the lion population and help to bring back their numbers.
This short domestic flight departs from Masai Mara and arrives at Wilson Airport in Nairoba, Kenya today. The flight duration is approximately 45 minutes. On all services the luggage allowance is 15 kilos in soft bags. This allowance shall include all hand baggage.
Stop by Palacina's Moonflower Restaurant and Lounge for a three-course a'la carte meal. Take advantage of the free wireless internet connection and lounge before catching your flight tonight. Consistently rated among the top dining establishments in Nairobi, The Moonflower embodies the finest of Kenyan cuisine & hospitality. The subtle fusion of Mediterranean & Swahili cultures is evident in the contemporary menu featuring the very best of Kenyan produce. The Moonflower is a 50-seat a' la Carte restaurant featuring a live Jazz band as well as background Jazz music. You will receive a transfer to the airport after dinner.
Depart from Nairobi international airport - end of itinerary.
November 08, 2012
"I am a world traveller and this was one of my Top 3 vacations ever! Kensington Tours did a great job with EVERY little detail, from the planning to being met and catered to every step of the way. Our favorite lodges were Tau Pan in the Kalahari, Botswana & Moon Mountain in Sossusvlei, Namibia. We especially loved the Batswana people and all the animals we saw at Camp Moremi on the Okavanga River. The highlight of our trip was actually our stay in Swakopmund when we stayed on the South Atlantic & went for an exciting boat ride to see all the sealife up close and personal (like a seal coming onboard the boat!), a rollar coaster dune ride in a 4 X 4!! the balloon ride over the red sand dunes over Namibia and several champagne brunches in the middle of the desert. Also, will never forget all the sundowmer game drives which ended with our favorite cocktail, watching the sunset with wildlife close at hand!
Unforgettable. Thanks Ivona for planning it all!"
October 26, 2012
"35 Goose Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773
Re: Steven Weru Kinyua, Kenya tour guide
We recently returned from a wonderful 8 day tour of Kenya with Steven, he is an exceptional individual. But one example: As we returned to the Samburu lodge from our first game drive, Steven pointed out a young, sick-looking lion in the shade of a tree. We observed it momentarily and soon returned to the lodge for dinner.
The next day Steven mentioned he had reported the weak young lion to the local Samburu ranger. Steven explained that due to the arrival of a new alpha male in his pride the young lion had likely been chased out before he was able to hunt for himself. He further explained that the young lion would be welcome back in a week or two, if he were alive. I pursued the full story w/Steven. The ranger Steven had reported the weak lion to had been unresponsive, indicating he would do nothing. Steven, unsatisfied w/that response told the ranger to report it to the Head Park Ranger, or he would. The Head Ranger agreed with Steven's analysis of the situation; bought 10 kilos of meat for the young lion; and directed his staff to feed it appropriately.
Steven understood the workings of that lion pride, and has an exceptional knowledge of all the wild animals of Kenya. Furthermore he has a passion for their well-being. He would not accept a lazy, disinterested response from the local ranger. During our trip in Kenya I had occasion to speak to groups of secondary school students. I related Steven's actions as an excellent example of a Kenyan's knowledge, passion and commitment.
One day Steven pointed out a cheetah. We saw the cheetah w/a young impala in its mouth. After the cheetah had choked the young impala, Steven explained the mother cheetah was calling her cubs --it was thrilling to see the 3 cubs come tearing across the plain creating a mini-dust storm in their wake. The mother gave the kill to her cubs. Steven explained they had to learn to open it up. Shortly she sent them off the kill, twenty paces or so, then froze, looking westerly. A lion, smelling the kill Steven explained, was moving off to the north about a 1000 yards away. Intent on the lion the mother cheetah remained frozen in place (as we're the cubs, mimicking their mother). After the lion passed the mother called the cubs back to the kill. Not 15 minutes later the lion came back, followed by yapping jackels, this time moving off to the east of the cheetahs. As soon as the lion appeared, the mother cheetah repeated her previous actions, sending off the cubs and freezing over the kill, intently watching the lion. Steven explained that the jackels were distracting the lion from the kill, knowing if the lion found the kill, nothing would be left for them. Again the lion passed off to the southeast, never able to find the cheetah kill.
This summary highlights events that played out over a 90 minute period. In that time several tourist rovers and vans came, took pictures of the cheetahs, and left. None of those tourists had a complete explanation of the scene that was playing out before us. Game-viewing w/Steven is a rich experience, a clear cut above the average.
In our time w/Steven we had lengthy conversations about the pluses and minuses of grass-burning, the challenges of maintaining wildlife corridors, park encroachment by locals, roadway underpasses for big game, etc. in addition we discussed ukabila and other political challenges facing Kenya. Steven Kinyua is an exceptional Kenyan guide. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and made our Kenya safari a wonderful learning experience we will cherish for years.
Mark Masterson, Ed.D."
Irene Saurwein ,
April 21, 2014
"I thought that both Raymond and Mike were outstanding guides. Our trip was wonderful. The only point I want to make that the food at the Farm House was not very good. Pretty disappointed. Our stay at the Serena in both locations was great. Overall great trip that we will never forget."
Francis Quinn ,
April 21, 2014
"The Mbugani Camps were nice but the beer was warm and they don't have ice. The owner was a great guy. Enjoyed Mara West. The staff and food were great. The second evening the loud mouth owner conducted a business meeting on the front porch disrupting a peaceful cocktail hour. It was totally inappropriate since he was very loud and discussed his business dealings with Kensington with others. They also need an ice machine. They ran out every night. Albert is probably the best guide I have ever had. Very knowlegeable. Mike was great too. Fabulous trip. You guys did a great job. We had a wonderful time."
Shayna Maislin ,
April 21, 2014
"Our party of 4 believe that we were given incorrect information regarding the type of suitcase that we should purchase for this trip. We were advised to buy a suitcase that was soft sided and no wheels. We arrived in Africa to see many others going on Safari with suitcases that had wheels. It was difficult for us to manouever our bags. I would highly recommend the tour guide that we had in the Serengetti . He was extremely knowledgeable, very helpful and courteous. We learned a great deal from Wasari . Our tour guide in the Mara was just ok . It would have been great to have the tour guide that we had in Serengeti for the complete trip. We understood that he could have crossed over from Tanzania into Kenya to get us . There was one flight within the country that we felt we may have been better off driving. We all believed that our Sales consultant could have spent more time with us on the phone going over the itinerary and guiding us through some of the decisions that we were making. For example Lake Manyara was not really necessary and perhaps we could have used that extra day in Zanzibar . These are some of the decisions that we felt our consultant could have assisted us with . We all agree that Kensington has first class staff working for them in Africa. All the camps that we stayed at were absolutely beautiful except perhaps for the one in Lake Manyara. All in all it was a spectacular trip!"
Jeanne Tarvin ,
April 21, 2014
"The tour was absolutely fabulous. It all started with the planning. Kathryn graciously accommodated our tight schedule and multiple needs, including a mid-trip change in plans. The tour guides and drivers were all great and extremely knowledgeable. The accommodations and meals were fantastic. I was apprehensive about going to China not knowing the language but it worked out great!"
Frank Manna ,
April 21, 2014
"Our guided transfers were exceptionally accommodating even though our flights were considerably delayed. The Annavillanas Jungle Lodge was spectacular for location, accommodations and food. The Rio Carnival experience was unique and unforgettable and our seats were wonderful. Loved the location of our hotel in Rio.......right on the street of Copacabana Beach.......fantastic. The only negative during our entire trip was the routing of the airline flights. Was there no way to avoid the flight from Rio to Manaus and then Manaus to Rio for our flight home. We seem to have travelled 2000 miles to the same starting location. Next time I would appreciate a more thorough exploration of all possible routes that would be more expedient and less strenuous for the travelers. I realize that there are limitations but I rely on Kensington to assist me in making the best decision for my wife and me."
Michael Melvin Marsh ,
April 21, 2014
"The trip was very special and i credit Sunita Singh for helping to make it such. We worked on the itinerary for three months and she was very helpful, knowledgeable and present."
Lucy Gilkes ,
April 21, 2014
"The whole trip was wonderful but the guides were what made it for us. They were knowledgeable and thoughtful a pleasure to spend time with."
Janine Chey ,
April 21, 2014
"Our trip to Masai Mara via Kensington ran very smoothly. We stayed at the Mara West Lodge. Beautiful location atop a ridge overlooking the Masai Mara plains. Our luxury tents were quite comfortable and the staff/service at the lodge were great. Meals were very nice especially the daily soups. Our guide, Steve, was also great...so knowledgeable and eager to show us many interesting things. He planned our daily game drives and took us on a nature hike one afternoon. He clearly knows and understands this ecosystem. He has an amazing eye, finding animals in fields of tall grasses. Our entire family had an amazing time, trip of a lifetime...would love to go back!"
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