Kenyan Safari Holiday
KENYA WILDLIFE SAFARIS
This Kenya wildlife safari explores Kenya's most famous wildlife sanctuaries and discovers the world-renowned biodiversity of East Africa. The African safari tour departs Nairobi and past snow-capped Mt. Kenya to Samburu National Reserve. From semi-desert Samburu, the Africa travel adventure goes to the world-famous Treetops Lodge, built on stilts in the lush forest of the Aberdare National Park or stay at the only tree hotel ever to be built on Mount Kenya National Park, Mountain Lodge Serena. Traverse the Rift Valley to Lake Nakuru, where pink flamingos by the thousands dance along the lakeshore, 'pink lake'. Your African experience is never complete without a visit to the Masai Mara National Reserve, the northern extension of Tanzania's famous Serengeti Plains and Kenya's premier place for wildlife viewing. You may opt to take an optional hot air balloon ride to soar in the air for an aerial game viewing only to touch down for an African bush champagne breakfast.
Day 01: Arrive Nairobi (Kenya)
Arrival in Nairobi, Kenya's vibrant capital. You'll be met and escorted to your deluxe city-centre hotel. This evening, your tour manager hosts an orientation and reception. Overnight at Nairobi Safari Club, Nairobi's only-all suite hotel.
Day 02: Nairobi/ Mt. Kenya/Samburu.
In the next week venture into Kenya's most captivating wildlife sanctuaries, set amid the beauty of the surrounding wilderness. This morning depart northward to the Central Highlands where you cross the Equator as you approach majestic Mt. Kenya, a dormant volcano with a glistering cap of snow and ice. After a stop for lunch, continue your drive to Samburu National Reserve in Kenya's semi-desert, rugged northern frontier. En route to your lodge enjoy your first game-viewing drive. Settle into your comfortable lodge in the heart of the reserve in time for dinner, Samburu Lodge or Samburu Serena Lodge, B,L,D
Day 03: Samburu.
Set in an extraordinary region along the Uaso Nyiro River, Samburu is home to some of Africa's rare game species. The river's permanent waters abound with crocodile and hippo and attract plenty of wildlife including the peculiar Grevy's zebra, the long necked gerenuk antelope, the shy Beisa Oryx and the Somali ostrich. Leopard, cheetah and lion are also found in the reserve. A full day of game viewing starts with an early morning safari. This is when the animals are most active. Keep your camera ready, your game spotter will lead you in search of the animals and you'll have plenty of opportunities to photograph your sightings. Return to the lodge for breakfast and relax by the sparkling pool. Later this afternoon venture out on additional game viewing. Dinner and overnight at Samburu Lodge or Samburu Serena Lodge, B,L,D
Day 04: Samburu/Aberdare - Treetops (or Mt Kenya - Mountain Lodge Serena)
After a morning game-viewing drive. Depart Samburu Reserve and arrive at the elegant Outspan Hotel, surrounded by English-style tropical gardens. Enjoy a sumptuous lunch before heading into the Aberdare National Park, a wonderland of dense forests, tumbling waterfalls and abundant wildlife. Arrive at the world famous Treetops Lodge, built on stilts in the middle of the thick forest. From the rooftop balcony or through ground level blinds you may watch the animals arriving at the floodlit waterhole and saltlicks throughout the evening and night. It is an exhilarating experience, Treetops Lodge or Mountain Lodge Serena in Mt Kenya, B,L,D
Day 05: Treetops/Lake Nakuru.
As you journey southwest today, stop at the impressive Nyahururu Falls, formerly Thompson's Fall and then travel along the magnificent Rift Valley toward Lake Nakuru, world known for its vast population of pink flamingos. Drive through Lake Nakuru National Park, one of Kenya's finest rhino sanctuaries and admire the flamingos and other abundant birds dancing along the lake's shoreline. Arrive at your lodge, overlooking the lake, Lake Nakuru Lodge or Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, B,L,D
Day 06: Lake Nakuru/Lake Naivasha/Masai Mara.
Traverse the Rift Valley en route to Lake Naivasha. Here, enjoy a scenic boat ride on the lake to see the hippos. Take an early lunch at Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge or Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge. Continue with your drive to the fabled Masai Mara National Reserve, rich with wildlife, birds, natural flora and stunning scenic beauty. Arrive at your lodge in the late afternoon in good time for an evening game drive. Tonight enjoy a traditional performance of tribal dances by local Masai Warriors. Dinner and overnight at Mara Sopa Lodge or Mara Simba Lodge or Keekorok Lodge, B,L,D
Day 07: Masai Mara
Masai Mara National Reserve is the northern extension of Tanzania's famous Serengeti Plains. It is Kenya's premier place of seeing wildlife, and home to a thriving population of predators such as lion and cheetah, as well as hippo, crocodile, zebra, giraffe, elephant, wildebeest and impala. Today, enjoy thrilling morning and afternoon game-viewing drives in this photographer's paradise. In between game drives, relax at your comfortable lodge, take a dip in the pool and enjoy the delicious food served, Mara Sopa Lodge or Mara Simba Lodge or Keekorok Lodge, B,L,D
-Visit to a local Maasai village for a Maasai cultural tour: US$ 25 per person
-Hot air balloon ride: US$ 425 per person
Day 08: Masai Mara
Early this morning you may join an exhilarating optional hot-air balloon safari above the Masai Mara's plains. You may also opt to visit the local Masai Village where you'll learn more about their culture and customs. Included in today's program are additional morning and late afternoon safaris led by your game spotter who will take you in search of the Big Five: elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and the much rarer rhino, B,L,D
Day 09: Masai Mara/Nairobi.
A short morning game drive. After breakfast at the lodge, drive back to Nairobi. Scenic views of the Great Rift Valley enroute. Arrive Nairobi in the afternoon for barbecue lunch at the world's famous Carnivore Restaurant for succulent game meat. Transfer to Nairobi Safari Club, for an overnight rest. B,D
Day 10: Nairobi/Departure
Transfer to the airport for your flight home. If your flight departs later tonight, spend the day with excursions in the city with time for shopping, visit some of the colourful local markets displaying unique African souvenirs and later transfer to the airport for your return flight home, B.
Kenya wildlife safari price: US$ 2,390 per person sharing. Single room supplement: US$ 780
Tour Cost Includes:
-All ground transport whilst on safari in a comfortable safari vehicle equipped for game viewing, photography and touring
-Full board accommodation and meal plan as described, B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner
-Accommodation in double/twin/triple rooms.
-All park entrance fees to include government taxes
-Service of an English speaking professional driver/guide
-All game drives as detailed in the itinerary
-Bottled water whilst on safari
-Start and end at JKI Airport
-Boat ride at Lake Naivasha
-Carnivore Restaurant lunch
Tour Cost excludes:
-Items of a personal nature
-Optional activities and any other extras not detailed in the above itinerary
Aberdare National Park Map
The Aberdare National Park was created in 1950 to protect the forested slopes and moors of the Aberdare Mountains. The park has elephant, lion, rhino, black leopard and the beautiful but elusive bongo antelope, and is often part of a bigger safari itinerary that takes in the Masai Mara, Samburu National Reserve and Amboseli National Park.
The lodges are one of the main attractions of the Aberdare. Both Treetops and The Ark are built above the ground beside floodlit waterholes with salt licks. Visitors must book in advance and cannot make their own way to the lodges in private vehicles. Instead check-in is at the Aberdare Country club for The Ark and the Outspan Hotel for Treetops, from where guests are bussed to their respective lodges.
Treetops is one of Kenya's most famous hotels - this is where British Princess Elizabeth was informed that she had become Queen in 1952 on news of her father's death. The Ark, however, offers better game viewing, especially at night. Nocturnal game viewing is taken so seriously round these parts that there is a bell in each room which sounds if an unusual animal turns up at the waterhole. Elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard and bushbuck are regular visitors. The hotel is reached via a gangway which takes you to the level of the forest top.
LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK:
Lake Nakuru is one of the Rift Valley soda lakes. It lies to the south of Nakuru, in central Kenya and is protected by a small Lake Nakuru National Park. Greater and Lesser Flamingos flock to the lake. The lake's abundance of algae attracts the vast quantity of flamingos that famously lines the shore.
Other birds also flourish in the area, as do warthogs, baboons and other large mammals. Black and White rhinos have also been introduced. The lake's level dropped dramatically in the early 1990s but has since largely recovered.
Nakuru means "Dust or Dusty Place" in Maasai language. Lake Nakuru National Park, close to Nakuru town, was established in 1961. It started off small, only encompassing the famous lake and the surrounding mountainous vicinity. Now it has been extended to include a large part of the savannahs.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru National Park (168 km²), created in 1961 around Lake Nakuru, near Nakuru Town. It is best known for its thousands, sometimes millions of flamingos nesting along the shores. The surface of the shallow lake is often hardly recognizable due to the continually shifting mass of pink. The number of flamingoes on the lake varies with water and food conditions and the best vantage point is from Baboon Cliff. Also of interest is an area of 188 km around the lake fenced off as a sanctuary to protect Rothschild giraffes and black rhinos.
The park has recently been enlarged partly to provide the sanctuary for the black rhino. This undertaking has necessitated a fence - to keep out poachers rather than to restrict the movement of wildlife. The park now has more than 25 rhinos, one of the largest concentrations in the country, so the chances of spotting these survivors are good. There are also a number of Rothschild's giraffe, again translocated for safety from western Kenya beginning in 1977. Waterbuck are very common and both the Kenyan species are found here. Among the predators are lion and leopard, the latter being seen much more frequently in recent times. The park also has large sized pythons that inhabit the dense woodlands, and can often be seen crossing the roads or dangling from trees.
Habitat and Wildlife
Lake Nakuru, a small (it varies from 5 to 45 square kilometers) shallow alkaline lake on the southern edge of the town of Nakuru lies about 160 kilometers north of Nairobi. It can therefore be visited in a day tour from the capital or more likely as part of a circuit taking in the Masai Mara or Lake Baringo and east to Samburu. The lake is world famous as the location of the greatest bird spectacle on earth - myriads of fuchsia pink flamingos whose numbers are legion, often more than a million - or even two million. They feed on the abundant algae, which thrives in the warm waters. Scientists reckon that the flamingo population at Nakuru consumes about 250,000 kilos of algae per hectare of surface area per year. There are two types of flamingo species: the Lesser flamingo can be distinguished by its deep red carmine bill and pink plumage unlike the greater, which has a bill with a black tip. The Lesser flamingos are ones that are commonly pictured in documentaries mainly because they are large in number. The number of Flamingos has been decreasing recently, perhaps due to too much tourism, pollution resulting from industries waterworks nearby who dump waste into the waters or simply because of changes in water quality which makes the lake temporarily inhospitable.
Usually, the lake recedes during the dry season and floods during the wet season. In recent years, there have been wide variations between the dry and wet seasons' water levels. It's suspected that this is caused by increasing watershed land conversion to intensive crop production and urbanization, both which reduce the capacity of soils to absorb water, recharge groundwaters and thus increase seasonal flooding. Pollution and drought destroy the flamingos' food, Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, and causing them to migrate to the nearby Lakes, more recently lakes Elmenteita, Simbi Nyaima and Bogoria. Local climate changes have also been hypothesized to contribute to the changing environmental conditions in the lakes catchment. Recent media reports indicate increasing concern among stakeholders, as mass flamingo migrations and deaths could spell doom to the tourism industry. The flamingos feed on algae, created from their droppings mixing in the warm alkaline waters, and plankton. But flamingo are not the only avian attraction, also present are two large fish eating birds, pelicans and cormorants. Despite the tepid and alkaline waters, a diminutive fish, Tilapia grahami has flourished after being introduced in the early 1960s. The lake is rich in other birdlife. There are over 400 resident species on the lake and in the surrounding park. Thousands of both little grebes and white winged black terns are frequently seen as are stilts, avocets, ducks, and in the European winter the migrant waders. Also they have a bunch of Zebra.
Masai Mara Balloon Safari, Kenya
Close your eyes, and for a moment feel your body lift up, with you having no control over it, and there is a certain part of you, inside you, saying to yourself, I am crazy for taking this balloon safari. This is what most people feel, when the excitement of a Masai Mara hot air balloon safari crosses one's emotion of self-control and independence.
More about Masai Mara Balloon Safari in Kenya:
The feeling is indescribable, crispness of the African air, chill in the wind that hits your face as your Mara hot air balloon gradually rises, smoothness in the exhale of your breath, and the excitement to see and learn more. One's physical presence can be felt on the plains of the Masai Mara when reading this.
You trip begins when you get your wake up call at your safari lodge or tented camp in the early hours of the morning, as you yawn away, and thoughts about your wildlife viewing from an elevated position begins to stir your mind. The fresh Kenyan traditional hot tea and coffee quickly awaken you, in fact preparing you for a "mission".
By 6.00 a.m. you are almost arriving at the hot air balloon site in the Masai Mara. As you approach the site, the balloon seems bigger than you expected, the experience is one that has never been visited, and you are about to have a trip of a lifetime.
Liftoff! Up and away we go! At 6.15 a.m., the hot air balloon safari starts. The captain asks you to relax and experience the wonders under the African sky. As you finally start to get a grip on the elevation, an inner smile that resonates on one's face does not need an explanation. The wildebeest moving in large numbers across the Masai Mara plains, the beauty of the landscape when the rising sun's bright orange colors are displayed, the elephants at the water pool, and the gazelles and zebras scampering away, just if it was their first time to witness an alien object in the sky.
By 7.15 a.m., one is very content with balloon safari, and it is almost touch down time. There is a celebration, and for those who prefer a toast, champagne is served, as hot breakfast in the bush is being prepared. You ask yourself, is this true? I am really doing this trip of a lifetime in Kenya? In the Masai Mara? As the sweetness and aroma of the African coffee surrounds you, with fresh eggs being served as you like it, you hope for another ride, and wish that such luxury never ended. By the time you finish your breakfast, you have made up your decision to immigrate to Kenya because such life is only found here. You begin to question yourself, and you feel an urgency to seek, live and enjoy this pristine beauty, a once in a lifetime "thing".
By 9.00 a.m., you have been declared a champion, a mighty certificate of completion handed out to you which you hope to display in your home country, to family, friends, coworkers. Clapping and participation by everyone present makes you proud to have achieved a trip as wonderful as this. By then you hear a blaring sound of music or even an annoying buzz, you turn around and switch of the alarm clock. Your eyes wide open, you know that you have to get back to Kenya, to Masai Mara, again otherwise the recurring dreams will drive you mad.