Travelers who enjoy the finer things in life while getting out into nature will love this 12-day luxury safari tour in Kenya. Stay in some of the country’s most beautiful and distinctive safari lodges and city accommodation, including the unique Giraffe Manor, where you can get up (very!) close to the beautiful creatures. Meet Maasai people and learn about their lives at the Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp. Spot a wide variety of animals and birds at numerous wildlife reserves, including buffalo, wildebeest, zebras, lions, and much more
Day 1: Arrive in Nairobi – Transfer to Giraffe Manor
On arrival at Nairobi International Airport, meet your driver from Giraffe Manor, who will transfer you to the hotel.
Giraffe Manor is an exclusive boutique hotel, set in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest in the Langata suburb of Nairobi. As one of Nairobi’s most iconic buildings, Giraffe Manor has extraordinary appeal. It harks back to the 1930s, when European visitors first started to flock to East Africa to enjoy safaris. With its stately façade, elegant interior, lush green gardens, sunny terraces, and delightful courtyards, guests often remark that it’s like walking into the film Out of Africa. Indeed, one of its 12 rooms is named after the author, Karen Blixen. The most fascinating thing about Giraffe Manor is its herd of resident Rothschild’s giraffe, who visit morning and evening. They sometimes poke their long necks into the windows in the hope of a treat, before retreating to their forest sanctuary.
Day 2: Nairobi Area Touring
Elephants in Nairobi
Spend the day exploring Nairobi, based on your interests. Your hotel will provide transportation throughout the day to local sights such as the Giraffe Center, for a hands-on giraffe encounter and educational experience on giraffe conservation, or the Kazuri Bead Factory, to learn how beads and pottery are made using local Kenyan clay. It was established as a women’s work cooperative, and provides quality employment for women.
Day 3: Fly to Samburu – National Park Activities
Take the morning flight from Nairobi to Samburu, in the shadow of Mount Kenya. Arrive in time for lunch and afternoon game drives, as well as guided walks, bird watching, stargazing, or a visit to SpaSaab, for world-class beauty treatments.
Samburu National Park is rich in wildlife, with rare northern species such as the Grevy zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, and the Beisa oryx, along with more than 900 elephants. Predators such as the lion, leopard, and cheetah, as well as wild dog sightings, are also common to this unique protected area. Birdlife is abundant, with over 450 species recorded. Vulnerable species like the lesser kestrel, Taita falcon, African darter, great egret, white-headed vulture, martial eagle, and the yellow-billed ox-pecker appear here, as well as the critically endangered pancake tortoise.
Here you’ll be staying at Sasaab, a luxurious Moroccan-inspired camp. Each of the nine large rooms have an enormous open-air bathroom and private plunge pool. From the veranda, guests can take in the remarkable views across the Laikipia Plateau toward the jagged peak of Mount Kenya. From its position on the river you’ll see herds of elephant come to bathe.
Day 4: Samburu and Buffalo Springs Safari
Elephants in the wild
Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives, along with other camp activities such as guided walks, bird watching, stargazing, or spa treatments. The adventurous can even take a camel ride.
Days 5-6: Solio Game Reserve & Aberdare National Park
This morning, fly on a small plane from Samburu to the Solio Game Reserve.
Solio Game Reserve is Kenya’s oldest private rhino sanctuary, carved out of a cattle ranch in 1970. Initially focused on breeding critically endangered black rhinos, it added a white rhino breeding program, and translocates both species to other protected areas in Kenya. With more than 45 black rhino and 185 white rhino, you will see large herds of white rhino on the open plains, many of them with impressive horns. The shier black rhinos are a bit less outgoing, but still very easily spotted. All live in harmony with buffalo, lions, zebras, cheetahs, giraffes, leopard, eland, oryx, impala, waterbuck, Thomson’s gazelles, and warthogs, along with abundant birdlife, among the permanent water holes and the acacia-lined Moyo River.
Enjoy day and night game drives in the reserve, along with full-day excursions into Aberdare National Park, traversing farmlands to drive through dense mountain forest, cut through by streams and inhabited by elephants, buffalos, giant forest hogs, and colobus monkeys.
Above the forest, from about 7,874 feet (2,400 m.), there’s a dense zone of giant bamboo, growing to 65 feet (20 m.) or more in height. Climbing above 9,186 feet (2,800 m.) you reach more open country, with tall, tussocky grassland. Above the tree line, the region’s famous Afro-alpine vegetation appears, with giant groundsel and ostrich plume plant, or giant lobelia (a strange, furry-looking giant herb), also found on Mount Kenya. Visit the Chania Waterfall, and if there’s time, to the Karura Falls Lookout, with a stunning view of the Gura Falls across a huge, jungle-swathed chasm.
Stay at Solio Lodge, in a valley between the dramatic slopes of Mount Kenya and the rolling peaks of the Aberdare Mountains. As the only lodge located in the Solio Reserve, this fantastic retreat has access to a diverse and flourishing population of wildlife. With just five contemporary and spacious rooms, expect exclusivity. Floor-to-ceiling windows unveil the conservancy’s dramatic landscapes. Spacious sitting rooms offer the perfect setting to unwind after an adventure-filled day and, in the cooler evenings, a roaring fireplace creates a cozy atmosphere.
Additional activities at Solio include guided running, walking, horse riding, and cycling in safe areas outside the rhino sanctuary. The rooms have yoga mats, and you can also order a massage and other treatments in your room at an extra charge.
Days 7-8: Maasai Mara Reserve – Sala’s Camp
After breakfast, take a flight to Maasai Mara, to arrive in time for lunch and afternoon game drive.
The world-renowned Masai Mara National Reserve needs little introduction. Its tawny, wildlife-stuffed savannahs are familiar to anyone who has watched nature documentaries. Reliable rains and plentiful vegetation underpin this extraordinary ecosystem, and the millions of herbivores it supports. Wildebeest, zebras, impalas, elephants, Masai giraffes and several species of gazelle all call the Mara home. This vast concentration of game accounts for high predator numbers, including cheetahs, leopards and the highest lion densities in the world. Elephants, buffalo, and many other species also abound.
Stay at Sala’s Camp, which combines tradition, comfort, and understated luxury in just seven luxury tents. Its location in the southern, wilder corner of Kenya’s mighty Masai Mara Reserve, close to the confluence of the Sand and Keekorok Rivers, is teeming with wildlife. It is close to Tanzania, with wonderful views of the Serengeti National Park. After an exhilarating game drive, return to relax on your deck by your private plunge pool, or meet up for sundowners by the campfire before enjoying dinner served under the stars.
Day 9: Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp Cottages
Chief Salaton Ole Ntutu and warriors at Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp
After breakfast, drive by private safari vehicle to Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp, which offers an authentic cultural experience and a way to meet local people, with opportunities to take beautiful photographs.
Enjoy local culture, wildlife, and the environment in the Loita Hills and Plains, and explore local education, health, and conservation projects supported with donations from our tours. Spend time with local people to experience their lives and understand their culture, challenges, and ways they are adapting to outside influences.
Activities throughout the day could include:
Warrior welcome and training demonstration
Walks the Loita Hills and Plains for wildlife viewing
Ceremonies for blessings in and around the village, and a visit with a medicine woman
Gather medicinal plants and learn about their uses
Daily life in the village (beading, cooking, water collection, laundry)
Bathing at a hot spring
Campfire, storytelling, and songs
School and community visit
Day 10: Maji Moto Maasai “Olpul” Bush Camping
Today, trek across the plains to a forest bush campsite, where we’ll construct a traditional Maasai temporary camp and sleep out under the stars. Slaughter a goat in traditional “Olpul” style, with warriors and elders, enjoying songs, stories, and blessings around the campfire. Share the ceremonial local brew, made for special occasions from aloe root, honey, and herbs.
Spend the night at the bush camp, on traditional leafy beds under the stars in sleeping bags (provided), with the protection of warriors throughout the night.
Day 11: Return to Nairobi
Depart Maji Moto after breakfast, and return by private car to Nairobi. Reach the hotel by late afternoon, and enjoy some optional touring, shopping, or dining along the way.
Day 12: Depart Nairobi
Say farewell to Kenya
Relax at the hotel until it’s time to transfer to the airport, just three minutes away by hotel car.