Wilderness Wonder Tour | Best Safari in Kenya

Days

11

Journey Type

Signature African Safari | Kenya Safari

Cities and Landmarks

Nairobi, Amboseli, Meru, Samburu, Buffalo Springs, Masai Mara

Days

11

Journey Type

Signature African Safari | Kenya Safari

Cities and Landmarks

Nairobi, Amboseli, Meru, Samburu, Buffalo Springs, Masai Mara

Overview

Not for nothing is it said that once you have been on safari, many of the things you once thought important pale in their significance.  Since early explorers first sent back tales of the ‘dark continent’, Africa has captured the imagination of dreamers and adventurers like few other places on Earth.  And of her many and varied highlights, the wildlife of Kenya remains a drawcard for those wishing to see animals as Nature intended them – born and living free.

Our Best of Kenya itinerary showcases a selection of gems from the Kenyan Safari Crown.  Over 11 days, you will travel in comfort – south and north and south again – absorbing as you go the essence of the East African safari experience.

After an evening in Nairobi to acclimatize, you’ll be whisked south in a light aircraft to a land fit for giants.  In the shadow of the monolithic presence of Mt. Kilimanjaro (just over the border in Tanzania), Amboseli National Park boasts the largest population of African elephants in the country.  Not to mention the prolific wildlife that surrounds them.  

From Amboseli, you’ll fly north to what was once the home of a young lioness immortalized in an award-winning book and film, the Meru National Park.  With habitats ranging from luxuriant jungle to coursing rivers, verdant swamps, and khaki savannahs dotted with termite cathedrals – this rugged landscape is rich in game, birdlife, and scenic vistas.

From the lush Meru, you head further north to the semi-arid plains of Samburu National Reserve.  Renowned for unique species such as Grevy’s Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk, and the Beisa Oryx – the reserve also boasts a healthy population of predators.  That aside, the rich culture of the Samburu people is celebrated in vibrant color.

And lastly, you return to the south, to what many consider Kenya’s crown jewel – the iconic Masai Mara National Reserve – home to the so-called ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, where annually millions of harassed, hungry herbivores migrate between the plains of the Masai-Mara and the Serengeti in neighboring Tanzania.

Few other itineraries will offer the passionate wildlife-enthusiast as diverse a range of opportunities to witness the best of Kenya’s wildlife, hospitality, and culture.  By the end, you too will share Karen Blixens’ wish to venture on safari once again.

Highlights

Arrive in Nairobi, Kenya

Touching down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Kenya, you will be met by our representative who will escort you to your lodging for the first night of your vacation.

Giraffe Manor is an exclusive boutique hotel situated within a 140-acre forest dedicated to the preservation of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. Dating back to the 1930s, visitors continue to be delighted as curious giraffes pop their elegant heads in the windows to greet you. Many guests have commented that staying at Giraffe Manor is like being transported onto the set of “Out of Africa”, based on the memoir written by the one-time frequent visitor, Karen Blixen who wrote the classic romance while living nearby.

The stately ivy-clad manor house is furnished in the style of the historic safari era, dotted throughout with African artwork and memorabilia. Meals range from fine dining in the main restaurant to a sumptuous high tea taken on the terrace, under the bemused gaze of towering giraffes. A cozy lounge bustles with the latest safari gossip, the bar pours the best gin & tonic this side of the equator, and the library boasts an impressive collection of period literature. A range of therapies are available, wellness at the spa and retail at the boutique gift shop. There is also a gym and swimming pool if you’d like to get the blood flowing.

Your suite is a tasteful blend of modern neutral tones draped over period furniture – the centerpiece being a romantic four-poster bed to invigorate you for the adventure ahead. Polished parquet floors lead onto private patios with lovely views of the estate – and occasionally looked in upon by the resident giraffe. Your room has comfortable seating and a fireplace. A spacious en-suite bathroom contains a large bath, double vanity, and shower.

Giraffe Manor

Amboseli National Park

Today your safari adventure kicks off in style with a flight south to the picturesque Amboseli National Park – home of Kenya’s largest population of African elephants.  As the plane descends, you will be mesmerized by the view of Africa’s highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro, in neighboring Tanzania.

From the airstrip, you will be delivered to your home for the next two nights – Tortilis Camp Amboseli.  The Umbrella Thorn – botanical name Vachellia tortilis – is widely associated with Africa.  Its tall trunk radiates into a flat-topped canopy providing shady relief to both man and beast in the heat of the day.  So too does the camp, which is itself located on a breeze-cooled hilltop, amid a stand of these iconic trees. 

The camp is on a private concession, thanks to a partnership with the local community from which most of the staff are employed.  This means that within this area, your guide will be able to take you on walks, venture off-road, and conduct game-drives after dark – all of which may not be done within the national park proper.

The central hub is the focal point of activities at the lodge. Here you can get to know your fellow guests, chatting in the lounge, bar, or over a meal taken indoors or out, depending on the weather.  Built of locally sourced timber and thatch, the building has a broad veranda, leading out to a swimming pool; all of which overlooks a waterhole frequented by thirsty wildlife throughout the day.

While in the past safari often meant lodging in a sagging tent and bathing with cold water, you’ll be pleased to see that your modern safari tent is a tent in name only.  Decorated with traditional artworks and bold African prints, your suite is a private enclave with an en-suite bathroom and a veranda overlooking the spectacularly vast landscape.  For a little pampering, arrange for a visit from a trained wellness practitioner to administer a soothing massage or luxurious manicure.

The word ‘Amboseli’ means salty dust in the language of the Maa people – a reference to the dust devils that swirl over the salt marsh in the dry season.  The landscape of Amboseli is a tapestry of habitats, ranging from alpine meadows to forests, mixed woodlands, arid bush, grassy savannas, swamps, lakes, and lava flows.  This fantastic diversity in turn is home to a spectacular myriad of fauna and flora occupying every conceivable niche of the ecosystem.

A typical day on safari begins at dawn, optimizing the cooler hours of the day when the animals are most active.  In the company of an experienced guide, you will set off on the first of two daily game drives (the other in the late afternoon), in search of game.  While you never quite know when Nature is going to bless you with a sighting, Amboseli is renowned for its excellent game-viewing.  

Predators abound – with healthy populations of all Africa’s big cats – lion, leopard, and cheetah – as well as clans of spotted hyenas.  To appease their appetites, herbivorous prey species such as Cape buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, and a variety of antelope and gazelle abound.  This is also a bird-watchers paradise – yet even the layperson will appreciate the elegant flocks of flamingos skimming the shallows of the central lake.

No game drive is complete without sundowners and no sundowner is complete without a gin and tonic (or G&T as they’re affectionately known).  The equatorial sun appears to be so much larger as it dips below the horizon, and the colors defy description.

From the lodge, a local Maasai guide, robed in the deep red blankets synonymous with their culture, leads a fascinating nature walk; revealing their traditional relationship with the environment along with the intricacies of Nature often missed from a vehicle.  You are welcome to ask to visit their ‘manyatta’ – a temporary residence where life goes on according to ancient traditions.

Tortilis Camp, Amboseli

Meru National Park

After breakfast, you return to the airstrip for an onward connecting flight to your next destination in central Kenya.

In 1960, a book was released to sensational reviews.  A few years later, it was made into a film that went on to win an Academy Award, and with it the heart of a generation.  The story was ‘Born Free’ –  which told of how an abandoned lion cub was rescued and returned to the wild by a conservationist couple, Joy and George Adamson. And the location where this uplifting story took place was Meru National Park.

The camp where you will stay is located on a small hill, or kopje, named for that lioness – Elsa’s Kopje Meru – which you will reach via connecting flights from Amboseli.  In a beautiful example of paying it forward, the camp was also instrumental in saving the park as a whole, after a lack of funding threatened it with closure.

Home for the next two nights, Elsa’s Kopje Meru is cleverly built amongst the boulders that crown the kopje and it is only when you are nearly upon the camp that its presence is revealed.

Now an award-winning boutique lodge, you can look forward to some of the most spectacular scenic vistas from this elevated locale.  A cozy central building is the meeting place for drinks and meals, and the swimming pool, built into the natural rock formations, offers a cool place from which to view the rugged plains below.  Be sure to book a massage treatment in the spa room.  While your eyes rest on the endless view, your body will be rejuvenated by healing hands and sensuous fragrances.

Your cottage is the epitome of romantic Africa, designed to optimize the view and give a sense of immersion into the surroundings.  From a spacious veranda, the open-fronted thatch structure leads into an open-plan lounge and bedroom.  You truly could lie in bed and enjoy the view for the duration of your stay.  Furnished with pieces that reflect Kenya’s safari heritage, your cottage has an en-suite bathroom, with a bath and you can shower both indoors and out.

As tempting as it might be to simply stay in your gorgeous suite, Meru National Park offers so much to see that you will not be able to resist.  With no less than 13 rivers running through this 215,000-acre park, water is abundant, and with it the fauna and flora.

Among the special sightings to be had at Meru, Grevy’s zebra, gerenuk, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, and the rare lesser kudu are highlights on the species checklist.  Also, in the center of the park, a 30-sq. mile enclosure keeps endangered rhinoceros safe from the threat of poachers.  

The western area of the parks is made up of wooded grasslands, the north of thorny bushland, with open grassland elsewhere. There are also dense riverine forests of Doum and Raffia palms.  The various habitats are home to a pleasing variety of wildlife typically seen on Kenyan safaris.  

Both Africa’s largest and one of its smallest antelopes – the bulky eland and diminutive suni respectively – are found at Meru.  These feed alongside some of the country’s largest herds of Cape buffalo, while zebra, hartebeest, warthog, and hippos are also seen throughout.  And don’t forget the honey badger, hyrax, and various species of monkey.  

With all these species around, little wonder you also have an excellent chance of spotting lions, leopards, cheetahs, and the occasional pack of painted wolves.  Three members of the hyena family: spotted, striped, and aardwolf are also seen.  Smaller predators such as serval, caracal, genet, African wild cat, and various species of mongoose are also found in the park.  

And last, but not least, the park is rich in birdlife – boasting some 420 species.  Soon you will be able to identify the impressive martial eagle and the comical vulturine guineafowl.

All of this and much more will be pointed out and elaborated upon by your qualified professional guide in both vehicle-based and walking safari activities.  Don’t be too surprised if you stumble upon a breakfast setting or drinks table laid out in the course of either.  You can also arrange a visit to the local school that is supported by the lodge.

Elsa’s Kopje, Meru

Samburu & Buffalo Springs

Your stay at Elsa’s Kopje now complete, your next flight delivers you to the airstrip of Sasaab Camp in Samburu country – which coincidentally is where Elsa spent some of her youth.  This beautiful camp is located within a community conservancy bordering the Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves and is managed in partnership with the local community who are passionate stakeholders in the enterprise.  The area is sometimes referred to as the gateway to the North – where the landscape and cultural influences begin their slow transformation to the influences of North Africa.

To use the word scenic to describe the camp and its surroundings, would be a profound injustice.  It sits in an elevated position, overlooking the all-important Ewaso Ng’iro river (meaning “brown water” and pronounced U-aa-so-Nyee-ro) that separates Samburu from Buffalo Springs.  The river provides year-round water, attracting wildlife from far and wide to what is one of Kenya’s premier safari destinations.  In keeping with the colorful traditional costume of the local people, the lodge is a vibrant display of African culture, with shades of Swahili and Moroccan architecture overlaid with rich earth tones in the fabrics used.  Wrought-iron furnishing, intricate artworks, and sculpted designs create an idyllic oasis-like ambiance that is sure to captivate you.

In the main thatched building (or mess tent), you will find a breeze-cooled social hub, housing a lounge, bar, gym, and spa.  Dining locations depend on the weather and time of day – either indoors or on an elevated deck beneath the twinkling stars.  A stunning pool reflects the endless blue skies, adding color to the dramatic vista of plains studded with mesa-like kopjes stretching into the distance.

With echoes of the Arabian Nights, your thatched, tented suite is a tranquil environment designed and furnished with your absolute bliss a foremost priority.  Taking full advantage of the view, the open-fronted design leads from a plunge pool and veranda into a beautifully sculpted dual-level interior.  Simultaneously vibrant and soothing, you are ensconced in luxury with a four-poster bed, and a lovely en-suite bathroom open to the environment outside.

Like Meru, Sasaab is home to the so-called ‘special five’ which include the Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Gerenuk antelope, and Somali ostrich. The habitats vary from a mixture of acacia, riverine forest, thorn trees, and grassland vegetation. The Ewaso Ng’iro flows from the Kenyan highlands and empties into the famous Lorian Swamp, rich with aquatic wildlife and popular with both elephants and rhinos.

Four of Kenya’s large carnivores – lion, leopard, cheetah, and spotted hyena – are frequently spotted on the twice-daily game drives.  Aside from the aforementioned herbivores, you will also see plentiful herds of zebra, wildebeest, impala, and waterbuck, to name a few.  Birdlife is also prolific, with over 450 species recorded in the area.

Aside from game-drives, other special activities take place in the conservancy that are not available within the national reserve.  You could burn off excess energy on an exciting walk or trail run.  Set off on ATVs to explore the landscape, or take flight in a helicopter to survey the varying terrain of the region.

Being a community-owned enterprise, you are encouraged to meet and interact with the local Samburu people who always welcome the opportunity to share their heritage and customs with interested visitors.  This may include a display of traditional dancing, a visit to the local school (that the lodge supports), or a visit to an authentic homestead, known as a manyatta.

For families visiting with children, there is also a special program – which could include a Samburu mini-Olympics where they can test their prowess in traditional events.

Sasaab Camp

Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp

Masai Mara National Park

You leave Lewa by air to round off the safari leg of your adventure spending three nights exploring the fabled plains of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.  On arrival at the airstrip, you immediately set off on a short game drive to the legendary Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp, which is situated on a private concession bordering the reserve.  From the moment you arrive, it will feel as if you have been swept back in time to the classical safari era at the turn of the last century.  

Set along a river at the foot of a towering escarpment, the camp offers an authentic safari experience, fuzing Kenyan hospitality, incredible wildlife, and impeccable facilities.  The central hub, or mess tent, is a large airy space under canvas and thatch, with breathtaking vistas of the adjacent plains of the Mara – dotted as they are with herds of wildlife and flat-topped acacias.  It is the gathering point for meals, socializing, and pre-activity briefings in the dining area, bar, and lounge.  

The camp features an interactive kitchen where you are welcome to discuss the day’s menu – while the kids can pitch in with pizza preparation.  Nearby you will find a gift shop, a massage sala, and a pool deck overlooking the river.  Weather permitting, lamplit evening meals are enjoyed under a canopy of stars, with the calls of the wild resonating around you.  Be sure to inquire about the bush banqueting options, available on request, for a truly unforgettable experience.

Your accommodation at the camp is a Superior Family Tent, comprising two interconnected tents, each with an en-suite bathroom.  The tent has a large outdoor veranda with amazing views.  Feel free to request a private family dinner on the deck.  Within, the decor is elegant and supremely comfortable, with minimalist African decor and neutral earth tones predominating.

While the Masai Mara Game Reserve promises excellent game viewing year-round, it is undoubtedly most sought out during the great wildebeest migration, during which some 1.5-million wildebeest, accompanied by 400,000 zebra, and hundreds of thousands of other antelope and gazelle descend on the lush grasslands between July and November.  This is truly an unforgettable experience as the herd attracts countless predators and necessitates perilous crossings of swiftly flowing rivers patrolled by gigantic crocodiles.

Outside of the migration, predators still abound, the area being home to numerous large prides of lions competing with even bigger clans of spotted hyenas – the so-called Eternal Enemies.  Cheetahs are also frequently spotted, their work cut out for them in keeping their prey from scavengers.  Leopards, supremely aloof, are often found in the dappled shade, their spotted coats blending into the background.

Before your game drives, your guide will put together a sightings wishlist – which might include giraffe, kudu, waterbuck, Thomson’s gazelle – and let’s not forget our beloved Pumbaa, the singing warthog.  Large herds of buffalo and elephants also traverse the plains, their heavy feet disturbing insects which are snapped up by a profusion of birdlife.  All this and so much more can be seen on the twice-daily game drives.  Since the camp is on a private concession, it is also possible to do night drives, where you will attempt to spot various nocturnal residents – bushbabies, porcupines, and civets among them – with a powerful spotlight.

Another bonus of being on private land is that you may accompany a Maasai guide on a fascinating interpretative walk during which they will share tales of the land and the fauna and flora it is home to.

Additional activities include taking to the air in a hot air balloon at sunrise and visiting the Maasai manyatta to get acquainted with the local way of life.  Kichwa Tembo also offers a fantastic program for children (with or without their parents) packed with interactive activities that will nurture their love for the environment.

Nairobi & Homeward Bound

Today, you will be returned to Kilimanjaro International Airport for your homeward flight.  At this point, we wish you a fond farewell with an open invitation to return.  Magical Africa Awaits!

Options & Extensions

A gorilla sitting in the woods, surrounded by tall trees and lush greenery. It looks calm and peaceful in its natural habitat.

Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

Without exception, those who have been privileged to spend time with gorillas report a near-mythical experience, as if glancing into our ancestral past.  Sharing upwards of 98% of DNA, the link between our species is undeniable.  While they are massively powerful creatures – with males weighing over 400 pounds – they are by nature shy and placid.  Primarily herbivores, they spend much of their day alternating between foraging and rest.

A picturesque beach setting under a vibrant blue sky dotted with fluffy clouds.

Zanzibar Beach Retreat

For those wishing to enjoy a little pure downtime, perhaps following an action-packed safari, our Zanzibar itinerary offers the perfect blend of luxury, simplicity and all the idyllic pleasures of beach life. We have chosen from among Zanzibar’s best beach lodges options which are suitable for either families or those seeking an intimate, sophisticated retreat surrounded by the warm, clear waters of the Indian Ocean

With table mountain in the background with blue skies, the vibrant Cape Town bay with different ships docked

In & Around Cape Town

With its spectacular landscape, diverse activities and well-developed infrastructure, Cape Town offers the modern traveler the ideal destination for leisure and adventure.  It is frequently voted among the best cities to visit on vacation by noteworthy publications – and much of the local economy thrives thanks to a robust tourist industry.  Visitors from across the spectrum are sure to find the range of accommodation, cuisine and places of cultural and historical interest highly appealing.

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Feel free to get in touch with us to begin planning your personalized dream safari today. Our team specializes in crafting bespoke safari experiences that cater to your specific preferences. Whether you’ve always dreamed of witnessing the Big Five in their natural habitat, marveling at the mesmerizing Great Migration, or simply savoring the enchanting African sunsets, we’re here to turn your safari dreams into reality.

Address

16531 Misty Hill Dr Chino Hills CA 91709

Phone

+1-855-8-AFRICA
+1-855-823-7422

Email

safaris@magicalafrica.com