Day 1 : Nairobi
Arrive Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. After clearing customs and immigration formalities you will be met by a representative and transferred to Ngong House for check-in.
A unique and very peaceful residential retreat, Ngong House offers luxurious accommodation in five ‘treehouses’ with beautiful sunset-facing views of the Ngong Hills. This private retreat is only half an hour’s drive from downtown Nairobi, yet feels a world away from the city’s bustle.
The treehouses, scattered through 10 acres of forested gardens, are all beautifully furnished, with luxurious double beds, overstuffed sofas and beautiful glass and metalwork sculptures by local artists. Guests also have access to the main house, with its luxurious living room, pool table and swimming pool.
The house is managed by Paul Verleysen, a Belgian construction engineer and a former diplomat, who takes great pride in their hospitality – particularly in the beautifully presented cuisine, which is served in an open-fronted rondavel in the garden or on the lawn beneath the boughs of one of the many blossoming indigenous trees.
Days 2-4: Chyulu Hills
Campi Ya Kanzi
You will be driven to Wilson airport where a scheduled flight across the Athi Plains will carry you down to the Chyulu Hills and your home for the next couple of days, Campi Ya Kanzi.
One of the world’s youngest mountain ranges, the Chyulu Hills give little indication of the violent volcanic activity that created them just four or five centuries ago. Located on the western edge of Tsavo West National Park, the Chyulus look out over one of the most peaceful panoramas in all of Africa – the sprawling plains stretching to the distinctive snow-dome of 19,340-foot Mount Kilimanjaro. The forested hills are home to large numbers of plains game and accompanying predators, especially lion. To the east of the Chyulus is the famous volcanic wasteland of the Shaitani Lava Flow.
Perched on the panoramic ridge of the Chyulu Hills, with spectacular views of the giant snow-dome of Mount Kilimanjaro, Campi ya Kanzi is both a beautiful wildlife-viewing retreat and a pioneering ecotourism destination. Built by Luca and Antonella Belpietro, the lodge comprises a large and luxurious main house, with six spacious tents scattered around the surrounding countryside. Luca and camp manager Dave Nicholas offer very professional guided walks in this rugged wilderness, where it is quite possible to meet a pride of lion on foot!
Built in partnership with the Maasai community of the 280,000-acre Kuku Group Ranch, Campi ya Kanzi has a unique commitment to community development and environmental sustainability through ecotourism. Campi ya Kanzi has earned a reputation for its close relations with its Maasai landlords, who are paid a proportion of the camp’s revenue. The camp’s eco-practices include providing used water to local wildlife and powering all its facilities with solar panels and coal made from coffee husks.
Campi ya Kanzi has founded the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, which employs nearly 200 local people; runs conservation, education and health programs; and invests US$1,000,000 per year into the community. For every day you spend at Campi ya Kanzi, a US$100 conservation fee is set aside to assist the Maasai community and to protect their wildlife. You will be seen for what you are: a benefactor, not simply a tourist. Your connection with the Maasai community not only will be genuine but also profound. While staying at this camp, you will have the opportunity to visit conservation and educational projects.
Day 5-7 – Lewa Downs
Lewa Safari Camp
After breakfast you’ll fly up to Nairobi to connect with your scheduled flight up to the northern bush airstrip of Lewa Downs.
The Laikipia region is a broad swathe of game rich grasslands and hills that reach Mount Kenya to one side and the wild deserts of the north to the other. Outside of the Maasai Mara, Laikipia can boast the greatest wildlife experiences in Kenya.
Lewa Conservancy is probably East Africa’s finest conservancy and has been the home of the Craig family since the 1920’s. Delia, the grandmother, was awarded it in a post war colonial land lottery. She had qualified to enter the land hand out through her services as a nurse in the trenches. With a handsome chunk of Kenya to her name, she was soon married to David and they ran the area as a cattle ranch up in to the late 1980’s.
At this time and with the support of various benefactors, Royal and otherwise, they decided to concentrate on the conservation of game and are now one of the country’s great success stories. The Conservancy counts over 100 black rhino and white rhino in its protectorate and over 400 Grevy’s Zebra.
The Conservancy sponsors development and educational projects for the local community, including micro-credit and water stewardship programs, health clinics and schools. Lewa has become a catalyst for surrounding conservancies, setting the standard for converting privately-held land into community conservancies.
You will stay at Lewa Tented Camp and will be looked after in fine style. Each tent is spacious, discreetly spaced from one another and has running hot and cold water and a flush lavatory. Not only is the location exceptionally beautiful but the food is also excellent and every last morsel is an organic product of the farm.
At Lewa, you will have the opportunity for the first class wildlife viewing that is the happy outcome of conservation efforts, and you will visit community projects according to your interests.
Days 8-10: Il Kerrukki
After breakfast drive to the nearby Il Kerrukki community ranch. Tassia Lodge, on Lekurruki Community Conservation Ranch which borders Il Ngwesi Ranch, is a local community venture, completed in 2001, to help safeguard the wildlife by allowing the Masai to reap the benefits of allowing the wildlife free haven on their land.
Tassia gently sprawls over a rocky bluff with a magnificent view over the surrounding Northern Kenya plains and hills. The six double bedrooms have bathrooms ensuite and there is a kid’s bunkhouse with three bunk beds and shower room. The lounge/dining area overlooks a stunning swimming pool built into the rocks.
No trees were felled to create Tassia which was built entirely with local materials by the Maasai with conservation and environment foremost in mind. The area offers walking through unspoilt and uninhabited bush, climbing in the Tassia Lugga or wallowing in pools under waterfalls when the river flows following rain. The nearby Mokogodo forest is home to butterflies, birds and rare plans and for the really intrepid paragliding from the top of Ol Donyo Lossos is possible.
The local Maasai will make your stay memorable with their expert knowledge of the local fauna and flora, medicinal properties of plants, tracks and spoor and local legends.
These three days will be a chance to participate in local community projects such as a school, clinics, ranger post and outbuildings etc.
This is an unrivalled opportunity to get to interact with the local nomadic morani (warriors) and to get an insight into the little understood, traditional Maasai and Samburu customs and it will be an incredible amount of fun for all.
Days 11-13: Maasai Mara
After breakfast, drive to Lewa where you’ll connect to your scheduled flight down to Maasai Mara Game Reserve. You will be met by your driver/guide and transferred to Serian Camp.
Serian and Ngare Serian are on the Mara River overlooking a valley and the Olooloa Escarpment in the private Mara North Conservancy (MNC). The conservancy is home to the renowned Leopard Gorge, which has been the thrilling stage for numerous BBC Big Cat Diaries and National Geographic documentaries. Home to the Mara Predator Project and with approximately 10% 0f Kenya’s Lion population, MNC is a very important dispersal area.The privately & professionally managed Mara North Conservancy is a partnership between ten member camps and over 800 local Masai landowners. The aim, to create an incomparable conservancy with longterm commitment to the environment, wildlife and local community.
The main Serian camp comprises eight marquee style tents set on grass plinths with hardwood decks. Beautifully decorated with four-poster beds, swathed with netting, this is an extremely glamorous and exclusive camp.
THE SERIAN TRUST is a Kenyan registered non-governmental, non-profit organization. The organization aims to provide non-discriminatory charitable giving that encompasses conservation, education and humanitarian assistance to local communities based on need.
The program provides charitable support in these areas:
- Sustainable Community Conservation Projects
- Environmental Health & Safety
- Long Term sustainable conservation projects
- Charitable Economical Assistance (micro finance)
Serian is perfectly situated for game-viewing all year round and for the wildebeest migration for which the Mara is famous. Owner Alex Walker is a professional filmmaker, photographer and guide, and can explain conservation efforts in the Mara North Conservancy at length.
Your days in the Mara will be filled with abundant game viewing as you learn about protective efforts for this exceptional wildlife area. Swaying grasslands ensure that animals are never out of sight. Elephants browse amongst the large herds of wildebeest and topi, eland and buffalo, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle. The plains offer a rich variety of food for the dominant predators: lion; leopard; hyena and cheetah. In the Mara River, hippos submerge to snort and grumble while crocodiles sunbathe, mouths agape, on the riverbanks.
Day 14: Departure
Today catch a scheduled flight back up to Nairobi.
This evening you will be driven to the international airport for your onward flight.
Interested in booking this itinerary or customizing a trip to Kenya? Get in touch with a private travel designer!