Kenya & Maasai Mara Grand Safari KYS20
|Resort:||Kenya & Maasai Mara Grand Safari KYS20|
|Operator:||Great Rail Journeys|
|Price From:||Contact for latest offers|
Immerse yourself in the wildlife and culture of East Africa on this unforgettable safari adventure. Uncover captivating history, explore wild Kenyan landscapes, and spot the majestic ‘Big Five’ at some of the most celebrated game reserves in the continent.
Day 1 – To Nairobi
Our East African adventure begins as we board our flight from London to Nairobi, Kenya’s thriving capital city which offers a blend of modern African culture with a unique wildlife influence. Just outside the sprawling centre lies Nairobi National Park, an expanse of rolling plains where lions, giraffes, leopards, cheetahs and the endangered black rhinoceros roam the vast grasslands, set against a dramatic urban city backdrop. We arrive this evening and transfer to our hotel, the 4-Star Sarova Panafric.
Day 2 – Nairobi Railway Museum and Karen Blixen Museum
We uncover the culture and history of dynamic Nairobi, the beating heart of Kenya, with a morning of sightseeing. Our first visit of the day is to the Nairobi Railway Museum, the only Railway Museum in East and Central Africa. The museum was opened in 1971 by the now-defunct East African Railways who, as a result of the rapid changes in the railway industry, felt it was important to create lasting, tangible links to the past. Today, the museum houses many fascinating relics from years gone by, including a number of locomotives, and exemplifies the profound development of Kenyan engineering over the decades.
We continue to the Karen Blixen Museum, the former coffee plantation and home of the renowned Danish author, tucked away in the verdant foothills of the Ngong Hills. Blixen is most famous for penning the 1937 memoir ‘Out of Africa’, which chronicles the seventeen years of her life spent in colonial Kenya, then known as British East Africa, and presents a lively recollection of everyday life here. A film adaptation was released in 1985 and won an incredible seven Academy Awards, including the Oscar for Best Picture. Take a step back in time to early 20th century Kenya as we explore the peaceful house and grounds, furnished in much of its original decor and featuring props from the film.
This evening we are treated to a special dining experience at the Carnivore Restaurant. Taking inspiration from Brazillian Rodzio restaurants, the restaurant serves a variety of meats including crocodile and ostrich, skewered on Maasai swords and grilled on an enormous barbecue pit before being served table-side.
Days 3-4 – The Madaraka Express to Tsavo West National Park
After breakfast, we transfer to Nairobi Railway Station for our journey on The Madaraka Express, a modern train that is an incredible feat for Kenya Railways. Built in 2017 to replace the colonial era Uganda Railway, the line runs between Nairobi and Mombasa and provides the fastest rail travel the country has ever seen. We enjoy a comfortable journey to Mtito Andei, travelling in air conditioned First Class carriages with spacious, reclining seats. The views are unparalleled; dramatic mountain ranges, villages which grant a unique glimpse at rural Kenyan life, and grasslands in which we may spot distant elephants, giraffes and zebras.
We transfer to the 3-Star Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, which offers views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. The hotel is set within the magnificent Tsavo West National Park, a wildlife conservation area that is home to Africa’s ‘Big Five’ game animals; the lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo. We journey into the heart of the park this afternoon on our first game drive, hoping to catch a glimpse of these mighty creatures, along with the plethora of other fascinating animals and birds that make their homes here.
We head out early on Day 4 for another game drive, enjoying the exhilarating feeling of building excitement as we travel through the park in search of wildlife. We return to the lodge in time for breakfast, followed by time at leisure. After lunch, we are treated to a cultural talk on the local area during which we learn about the ‘maneaters of Tsavo’, a notorious pair of lions responsible for a number of deaths in the late 1800s. This afternoon brings with it another game drive, further increasing our chances of observing rare wildlife.
Days 5-6 – Lake Naivasha
This morning, we drive back to Nairobi, where we enjoy lunch at the Big Five Restaurant. Sitting on the edge of Nairobi National Park, the restaurant boasts a 300-foot veranda which offers magnificent views over the wild scenery, giving us the chance to spot animals as we dine. We continue to beautiful Lake Naivasha, a calm lake surrounded by volcanic rock, grassy banks and lush forests. We enjoy dinner at our hotel.
After breakfast on Day 6, we take to the waters for a boat ride across serene Lake Naivasha. The combination of freshwater and rich flora here attracts wildlife including hippopotamuses, hundreds of species of birds, including pelicans and kingfishers, along with animals such as zebra and buffalo who use the lake as a drinking hole. If we’re lucky, our cruise will provide us with an up-close view of bathing hippos and an array of exotic birds. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Days 7-8 – Maasai Mara Safari
We set out to the Great Rift Valley this morning, where our destination is the 4-Star Sarova Mara Game Camp in Maasai Mara. Perhaps the jewel in the crown of Kenya’s wildlife viewing areas, Maasai Mara is one of the most popular game reserves in Africa and is revered around the world for its exceptional wildlife, as well as its annual wildebeest migration. We are indulged with another chance to see the ‘Big Five’ as we head to the plains on safari. Animals here are free to roam beyond the unfenced confines of the reserve, resulting in a symbiotic relationship between the wildlife and local Maasai tribes whose villages dot the grasslands and creating a truly authentic wildlife viewing experience for visitors. Here, we may see lions striding proudly across the plains, herds of elephants bathing in the shallow waters and giraffes grazing at the lofty trees.
Day 8 is dedicated to wildlife viewing as we embark on both a morning and afternoon game drive. Look out for the resident big cats – lions, cheetahs and leopards, which were the stars of the long-running BBC nature documentary, ‘Big Cat Diary.’ After dinner at our hotel this evening, we delve into the fascinating culture of Maasai Mara with a cultural talk about the area.
Days 9-10 – To Nairobi and home
After breakfast, we leave Maasai Mara and transfer to Nairobi, where we visit the Giraffe Centre. Dedicated to the conservation of the endangered Rothschild Giraffe, the park has bred and released more than 40 calves into safe game parks across the country. Enjoy some free time here. You could visit the information centre and educate yourself further on wildlife in Kenya, stroll along the scenic nature trail, or even hand-feed a giraffe. We continue to a local restaurant for a delicious farewell dinner, before transferring to the airport for our flight to London. Our tour concludes on arrival on Day 10.