This 7-day road safari, which features both traditional safari lodges and a luxury tented camp experience, contrasts the Afro-Alpine scenery of the world-famous Aberdare National Park with the starkly arid beauty of the northern Samburu district. It also showcases the renowned Masai Mara National Reserve and the glory of Lake Nakuru National Park, home to over one million flamingoes.
Day 1, Friday: In the mountains of the Aberdares
After being collected from your Nairobi hotel (or the airport), you will be driven to the famous Aberdare National Park. Aptly dubbed ‘Scotland with Lions', this charismatic Afro-Alpine realm showcases the wild beauty of the Aberdare mountain range where elephants roam through lichen-hung forests and spectacular waterfalls plunge into churning pools. Arriving in time for lunch at The Aberdares Country Club you will later be transported into the exclusive sanctuary that surrounds The Ark. A secluded lodge designed to resemble Noah’s Ark, this timbered lodge is unique, not least because of the splendour of the game-watching experience around its private waterhole, which attracts large herds of elephants.
Day 2, Saturday: North to Samburu
After breakfast, drive north to ‘Born Free’ country where Joy and George Adamson raised Elsa the lion cub in the wild and beautiful Shaba National Reserve, which along with Buffalo Springs is part of the area known as ‘Samburu’. Arrive in time for lunch at the luxurious Sarova Shaba Lodge, which is built around natural springs and offers an oasis of green in the midst of this beautiful but harshly arid landscape. Spend the afternoon discovering the unique wildlife of the reserve, which is famous for its elephants and lions. Return to the lodge in time to relax before dinner in the restaurant, which is raised on timbered stilts overlooking the river.
Day 3, Sunday: On safari in Shaba
Spend all day on safari in the reserve (breakfast and lunch at the lodge). Irrigated by the Ewaso Nyiro River, which is home to numerous hippos and crocodiles, Shaba offers sanctuary to large herds of elephants, healthy numbers of lions, leopards, cheetahs, plentiful plains game, reticulated giraffes, rare Beisa oryx, kudus and gerenuks.
It is also one of the few reserves in which you can see the Grevy’s zebra (rather than the more common Burchell’s zebra found elsewhere) and the critically endangered wild dog. Offering 100 species of birds, the reserve is also home to the rare blue-shanked Somali ostrich. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Day 4, Monday: To Lake Nakuru
After breakfast drive south to Lake Nakuru, the most famous of the Great Rift Valley lakes and home to a shifting population of over one million flamingoes. Arrive in time for lunch at the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, which enjoys sweeping views across the lake. Spend the afternoon on safari in Kenya’s first and largest rhino sanctuary, where sightings of both black and white rhino are almost guaranteed; and where you have a higher than average chance of spotting a leopard. Other wildlife includes; lions, hippos, the rare Rothschild’s giraffe, colobus monkeys, numerous plains game and 450 species of birds. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Day 5, Tuesday: To the Masai Mara
After breakfast, drive to the world-famous Masai Mara National Reserve, backdrop to ‘the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth’, the annual migration of over one million wildebeest. Arrive in time for lunch at the Mara Sarova Game Camp, a luxury tented camp, before spending the afternoon on safari in Kenya’s most popular reserve. Arrive back in camp in time for a swim, a hot shower, campfire cocktails and dinner in the luxurious central restaurant.
Day 6, Wednesday: On safari in the Mara
Spend the whole day on safari in Africa’s richest wildlife-viewing arena. Historically teeming with wildlife, the Mara hosts Kenya’s largest lion prides and elephant herds. Other predators include leopards, cheetahs and spotted hyenas; while in the Mara River are fat pods of hippos and vast Nile crocodiles. Other highlights include giraffes, topi, gazelles, zebras, buffalos and over 550 species of birds. Spend the evening in camp where colourful Maasai dance and cultural performances are offered nightly.
Day 7, Thursday: Up the Rift Valley to Nairobi
After breakfast drive back down the Great Rift Valley to Nairobi, passing the dormant volcano, Mount Longonot, and lakes Elmenteita and Naivasha on the way. Alternatively fly back to Nairobi (at an additional cost).
* Please note children below 7 years are NOT allowed at the Ark.