Discovering the Heart of Africa
Our Kenya Safari offers everything an adventurous spirit yearns for: magnificent game, primordial landscapes, and thriving indigenous cultures. This is a dream African safari: step by step our journey takes us deep into the real heart of Africa. We begin with the archetypal, not–to–be–missed sights, and proceed to magical experiences in lesser known, out of the way places. As a special feature, we connect all these gems with flights to save precious time and to give us a bird’eye perspective of this marvelous part of the world. Our Flying Safari is perfect for families, as at all locations we can arrange very special, exciting and meaningful activities for children. This adventure tour begins very close to the international airport, where we stay on a rural, historic property, and enjoy an exclusive visit to the adorable baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage. Next day we fly to the world famous Masai Mara National Reserve. Here we witness one of the most staggering wildlife spectacles on the planet: The Great Migration, when over two million wildebeest, zebras and antelopes migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of Kenya’s Masai Mara, crossing the crocodile infested Mara and Talek Rivers. Our base will be the lodge where Barack and Michelle Obama chose to stay with their daughters, because of its eco–friendly pedigree and its involvement with local Masai communities. Beyond the Mara our Kenya Safari takes us further into the savannah, escaping the herds of minivans crowding around lions and other animals, and into the wilds of Naboisho. This is the ancestral land of Masai herders who have set it aside as a land conservancy to protect its habitat and wildlife. Here our skilled Masai guides take us on night game drives when big cats are hunting, and on walking safaris where we learn how to track animals (and how not to get to close to hippos and herds of elephants). The Great Rift Valley stretches out beneath us as we fly north up to the dry highlands of Laikipia, over lakes resplendent with flamingos. After a game drive across the world famous Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, we arrive in a remote and exquisitely designed camp, completely owned and run by the local Masai community to the highest environmental standards. With only six huge bandas, each completely private, this is a unique lodge in a perfect setting. We wake up to see elephants, giraffe and hyena right below us at the waterhole, and beyond them the vast savannah stretching to distant hills. (By special request we can arrange for you to have a ‘star bed’ which is wheeled out onto a huge deck, a very special experience enjoyed by Prince William and Kate Middleton on their visit here! ) We go on guided walks and game drives to see species unique to Northern Kenya, but the real gem is our connection with the Masai community. Each day takes us deeper in local culture as we visit a school, get shown around a village, learn about traditional Masai life and traditions and even enjoy a goat roast! In the heat of the afternoon, we relax by infinity pool, and by night listen to leopards panting and hyenas laughing as we revel in the isolation and beauty of this truly hidden place. After a final delicious breakfast, we transfer to the airstrip, spotting rhino along the way. We complete our Kenya Safari by flying back to Nairobi for homeward flights, or to continue on to one of our spectacular extension trips: please see below for details.
Day 1 — Karen Blixen Cottages, Nairobi Shortly after being met at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, settle into your luxurious cottage in the quiet, leafy area of Karen and soak up the history of this beautiful property where Isak Dinesen, the author of ‘Out of Africa’ once lived. In the afternoon, meet Naipoki and Sities, our adopted baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage. Day 2 — Masai Mara Fly into Masai Mara, gazing down at the profusion of animals moving across the vast plain. Get ready to see elephants at much closer quarters on our afternoon game drive! (Overnight in an eco lodge.) Day 3 — Masai Mara Feel the thundering of thousands of hooves reverberate in your chest as we witness the spectacular wildebeest migration, one of the greatest wonders of the natural world. (Overnight in an eco lodge.) Day 4 — Naboisho Head deeper into the heart of Africa for some up close and personal wildlife encounters, on a walking safari with our Masai naturalist guides. (Overnight in an eco lodge.) Day 5 — Naboisho Look for big cats on the hunt during a night game drive and — with some luck — witness a lion kill. (Overnight in an ecolodge.) Day 6 — Naboisho Have breakfast in the bush, watch elephant family groups gather in the shade beneath acacia trees, and end a perfect day with sundowners out on the savannah. (Overnight in an eco lodge.) Day 7 — Laikipia Fly up the stunning Rift Valley, and past the flanks of Mount Kenya. After a game drive from the airstrip, arrive in our exquisite and remote camp – a truly hidden place – and revel in the amazing stars. (Overnight in a remote ecolodge.) Day 8 — Laikipia Wake up to see elephants at the watering hole! After breakfast by the pool, go driving to see big game species unique to this part of Kenya. In the afternoon, get immersed in Masai life and traditions at a nearby village . (Overnight in a remote ecolodge.) Day 9 — Laikipia Trek at dawn and have breakfast in the bush. Call in to visit a community school and a women’s project. On our final game drive, watch for big herds of reticulated giraffe, grevy zebra and packs of the rare wild dog. (Overnight in an ecolodge.) Day 10 — Laikipia — Nairobi After a final alfresco breakfast, drive back to the airstrip, spotting rhino along the way. Fly to Nairobi to connect with your homeward flights, or continue on to one of our spectacular extension trips. Please note: We arrange special and exciting activities for children on the safari! This itinerary serves as an example of trip highlights and is subject to change.
We think of our itineraries as melodies: they have a beginning and an end, a certain arc, dramatic highlights and a few surprises. We like to improvise, to adapt to the mood of our guests or to circumstances that arise — an invitation to a traditional wedding, say, or a local ethnic festival… Crafting beautiful, harmonious trips with delightful twists is our trade mark and passion.
What sets this trip apart?
- Escape the crowds in exclusive wildlife conservancies that cater to only a few small groups
- Watch big game without the usual cluster of minivans!
- Walking safari, night game drives
- Connect closely with a Masai community who run our Laikipia eco–lodge
- On the departures between July and September, witness the Great Migration in Masai Mara, one of the world’s most amazing wildlife spectacles
- July through September is a dry time of year in Kenya with pleasant temperatures: cool at night, warm during the day
- The productive savannah of the Serengeti–Mara ecosystem with its incredible wealth and diversity of wildlife — close up encounters with big game guaranteed!
- The dry highlands of Laikipia ecosystem with the fascinating Masai people
Why is this called a Flying Safari?
Travelling between our main destinations by mini van would be time consuming and tiring. So we connect the dots with scheduled flights in small planes. Rather than spending days on dusty and possibly dangerous roads, we enjoy Kenya from a bird’s–eye view.
What about safety on this trip?
Where does the trip start and end?
How do I get to Nairobi?
Nairobi is one of Africa’s biggest hubs with many flight connections to Europe. You can get direct flights with major carriers from London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
What are the physical activities on the trip and what level of fitness do I need?
Most activities on this trip are considered easy. We will have some walking safaris: two to three hours over uneven ground. We recommend a walking pole for these treks.
What are the activities for children?
We tailor these to the ages of the children, but they include: finding and identifying animal prints with our Masai guides and taking plaster casts as keepsakes; making traditional bows and arrows; visiting a Masai school and village; helping Masai children herd goats and collect firewood; playing football with Masai children and learning about traditional Masai games.
What is the food like?
We happen to be foodies so this is always an important consideration when we design trips. Three of the places we stay are camps in the remote savannah, but despite this the cuisine is surprisingly good. Mostly it is Western in style.
I’m a vegetarian, is that a problem?
Not at all, but please let us know in advance, and advise us on what you can’t eat.
Do I need a visa?
Yes. You can either apply for one ahead of the trip through a visa agency or the nearest Kenyan embassy. Alternatively, you can get one on arrival at Nairobi airport, although this can involve a long wait.
Do I need any special insurance?
Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
Do I need vaccinations?
Your routine vaccinations (Tetanus–Diphtheria, Poliomyelitis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella) should be up to date. In addition, for travel in Africa yellow fever and hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended.
What about malaria?
Malaria is endemic throughout East Africa, however our safaris are at relatively dry times when the risk is low. Despite this, it’s recommended to take prophylactic medication. Please consult with your travel clinic.
What does the Land Cost cover?
Airport transfers on the first and last days of the trip, all guiding, game drives, trekking, National Park Fees, Conservation Fees in Laikipia and Naboisho all accommodation (based on double occupancy) meals as shown on the itinerary, and house wines and beers in Naboisho.
What does the Land Cost not cover?
International and internal flights, airport transfers not on the first or last days of the trip, beverages, alcoholic drinks (apart from house wines and beers in Naboisho), personal insurance and gratuities.
How can I access cash when I’m on the trip?
What clothes and equipment will I need?
I’m travelling alone, is that a problem?
How does this trip benefit the environment and local communities?
- In the areas where we operate, traditional communities get direct benefit through significant land use and conservation fees and from employment as naturalists and guides.
- We have carefully chosen operators and partners who are actively involved in conservation and community development.
- We stay at safari camps which are built in a low–impact style and use environmentally friendly treatment of waste.
- Two of our camps are on conservancies, which were set up with and benefit the local Masai communities. Our camp in Laikipia was one of the first in Kenya to be completely owned and run by Masai people. All its profits go to the local community.
+ Add On Excursions
Safari Extension: Elephant Reintroduction Camp
Join us on a magical excursion to Tsavo National Park, for a special access visit to the camps where orphaned elephants from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust are reintroduced to the wild. Astounding things happen here: watch older orphans, who have been released many years ago, come and train younger orphans how to live in the wild. An amazing experience you will never forget. Final details are yet to be arranged but we plan to make it a 4 or 5 day trip. Limited to 6 guests! S0 please let us know a.s.a.p if you are interested.
Safari Extension: Rwanda Mountain Gorilla
See mountain gorillas in their natural habitat — the ultimate wildlife experience! A short flight from Nairobi takes us to Rwanda, the ‘Switzerland of Africa’, and its peaceful capital, Kigali. After settling into our five-star hotel we have a city tour, learning about Rwanda’s miraculous recovery from its recent history. Next day, we drive through the storybook scenery of this ‘land of a thousand hills’ en route to glittering Lake Kivu, our base for the next two nights. From our lakeside hotel, a very early start takes us to Volcanoes National Park, where Diane Fossey did her groundbreaking research on mountain gorillas, and helped bring them back from the brink of extinction. We trek through magical rainforest for astoundingly close encounters with a family group of these extraordinary animals – some of the last remaining 780 individuals in the world. The following morning we can choose between another gorilla trek (optional add-on) or a land and boat tour on the shores of Lake Kivu. In the afternoon we return to Kigali to celebrate our once-in-a-lifetime experience over a fabulous dinner!
Safari Extension: 100 Miles for Elephants
Trekking 100 miles with camels – for elephants! Our destination: The Kirisia Hills, a crucial wildlife corridor, where Hidden Places is supporting the efforts of a local community association to protect the pristine forest here, and halt the elephant poaching now rife in the area. Right after the Flying Safari, we set off to walk for four days, with our six camels and their herders, across the high plains of Laipikia,and into Samburuland. We will be walking for approximately five hours a day (the camels carry our luggage), spotting elephants, rare Grevy’s zebras, oryx, impala and an abundance of bird life. By night we eat around a camp fire, and sleep soundly in our mesh tents beneath an astounding canopy of stars. On reaching the Kirisia Hills, we settle into our basecamp, home for the next three days. From here we explore the forest and meet Samburu forest scouts and community leaders to learn first hand about Hidden Places’ work to preserve this important ecosystem and its elephants. On our last morning we transfer by 4×4 vehicles to an airstrip for a flight to Nairobi. This is a trip for those who enjoy a physical challenge, and want to fundraise! The walk to the Kirisia Hills is across a plain of fairly flat but uneven ground, at an altitude of just over 5000 ft. In the Kirisia Hills we will be doing two hikes through the forest.
Land Cost From US $4990 Children up to 12 years: 50% discount
Dates Private: May through Feb
Trip Length 10 days, 9 nights
Group Size 12 maximum
Accommodation 1 night luxury inn 8 nights safari lodges
Begins/Ends Nairobi, Kenya
A trip of a lifetime, from one magical moment to the next. Etched into my memory and heart are the strength and resilence of the Masai and Samburu people, and their willingness to share this incredible land and its story book animals.
This safari has enriched my life. Thank you for making it so wonderful.
Amazing! Fabulous! Such attention to detail. We were so pampered and the food was spectacular. Your Flying Safari is the only way to travel in Kenya.
You have outdone yourself – and that is saying a lot! We’ve seen everything from hyena poop to a cheetah kill, a hunting lioness and a super herd of elephants – it has been perfect.
"I can’t thank you enough for showing me the most exotic place I’ve ever been. This trip has surpassed everything I could have imagined. " Savanna C, New York, NY, USA
Thank you for such a wonderful sampling of Kenya. The accommodations were the perfect way to enjoy our stay, the people and staff were so friendly and the service was exceptional.
The trip of a lifetime! Thank you for incredible experiences with wildlife (elephants outside my bathroom!), the gold standard guide of all time, and you – Maria, you are a true gem.
An absolutely amazing adventure in a fantastic country. Our experiences were endless; we saw everything we asked for, as well as things we never imagined. This was all due to Dag and Maria’s knowledge, experience and contacts.
I have been on six previous safaris, but never on one like this. Not only was the game viewing superb, but we also met and interacted closely with some totally unique people.
This was our trip of a lifetime. We hope to go back to Africa as we are really missing these beautiful animals and feel really blessed to have been able to share their space for a short period of time.