KENYA: 17-day Classic Wildlife Safari
BIRDS & WILDLIFE
From: $8,900 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Nairobi, Kenya (NBO)
2019 – Trip is full
PRIVATE TOUR OPTION
This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.
Highlights of KENYA: 17-day Classic Wildlife Safari
Description of KENYA: 17-day Classic Wildlife Safari
Kenya is world-renowned as a wildlife destination par excellence with a breathtaking range of often easily approachable mammals and birds in landscapes of immense beauty. Our tour takes in two of Kenya’s finest game reserves, Samburu and the Maasai Mara, visits the alkaline and freshwater lakes of the Rift Valley and the central highlands. Everywhere pulsates with life, from the acacia-dotted savannahs of arid Samburu, arguably Kenya’s finest mammal reserve, to the endless undulating grasslands of the legendary Maasai Mara, perhaps the best place on earth to see large mammals in abundance.
Our trip is timed to witness the northbound Wildebeest migration. At Nakuru National Park the incredible sight of over a million noisy Lesser Flamingos ringing the soda lake is surely one of the great wildlife spectacles. A boat ride along the shore of Lake Baringo will take us close to African Spoonbills, Goliath Herons, Jacanas, diminutive Malachite Kingfishers and majestic Fish Eagles, common inhabitants of the lakeshore as are hippos and Nile Crocodiles. Throughout our tour we will encounter many of Africa’s colorful birds including gem-like sunbirds, beautiful bee-eaters and impossibly bright starlings. There are also a tremendous variety of raptors ranging from the tiny Pygmy Falcon, a bird no bigger than a starling, to the weird and wonderful Secretary Bird.
This is a wonderful trip for photography. The combination of unusual scenery, beautiful and often very approachable wildlife, and rural Kenyan ‘scenes’ means that there is plenty to shoot on this ultimate Wildlife Safari.
As with all safaris, the itinerary can be altered and customized to suit your needs and goals, whether it would be more birding or mammals or length of trip.
This trip can be combined with an extension to the Kenyan Coast, or, to see the Gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda.
Focus: Birds, Mammals, Photography, Reptiles, Butterflies, Scenery
Length of Tour
Day 1 : Arrive in Nairobi
Day 2 : Mt. Kenya foothills
Day 3, 4 & 5 : Samburu NR
Day 6 : Sweetwater
Day 7 & 8 : Lake Baringo
Day 9 & 10 : Lake Nakuru NP
Day 11 : Lake Naivasha
Day 12, 13, 14, 15 & 16: Maasai Mara
Day 17 : Return to Nairobi
Day 1 Arrive in Nairobi on an evening flight
Day 2 : Mt. Kenya foothills
This morning we depart for Mt. Kenya birding on the way to arrive in time for lunch at Serena Mountain Lodge. The rest of the afternoon and evening will be spent birding and game watching at the lodge. Set deep in the forest of Mt. Kenya, Mountain Lodge is a tree Lodge built near a waterhole where wild animals can be seen as they come to slake their thirst. The waterhole is floodlit at night and the lodge staffs are ready to signal and alert guests when unusual guest to the waterhole comes in. We normally walk around the fenced-off grounds of the lodge, where we look for Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Waller’s Starling, and Ruppell’s Robin Chat, White-starred Robin, Doherty’s Bush-shrike and Black-headed Apalis among other bird species. Among the wealth of mammals, Forest Elephant, Giant Forest Hog, Marsh Mongoose, Bushbucks, are regular visitors to the waterhole while Skye’s Monkeys and the Black-and-white Colobus are abundant in the forest.
Day 3, 4 & 5 : Samburu National Reserve
The morning of this day, we will have a pre-breakfast birding through the roof top and even take a short walk round the compound. After breakfast, we will drive to Samburu/Buffalo Springs Game Reserve, with an en route afternoon game drive. We will have two full days to explore the expanse of the reserves. Samburu itself is an excellent reserve for birding. The area is mainly dry acacia savannah, but has riverine forest along the river banks, along with doum palms. This area has several unusual species, more commonly encountered in the arid north. Spectacular species include Somali Ostrich, Secretary Bird, Vulturine Guineafowl and Kori and Buff-crested Bustards. Specialities of the area include Somali Courser, Somali Bee-eater, White-headed Mousebird, Violet Woodhoopoe, Bare-eyed Thrush, Straw-coloured Whydah, Golden Pipit, Golden-breasted Starling, Shining and Black-bellied Sunbirds and Donaldson-Smith’s Sparrow-Weaver. Raptors are commonly seen and include Egyptian, Hooded, African White-backed, Rüppell’s Griffon, Lappet-faced and Palm-nut Vultures, Bateleur, Harrier-Hawk, Pale Chanting and Gabar Goshawks, Brown Snake Eagle, Verreaux’s, Tawny and Martial Eagles, African Hawk Eagle and Pygmy Falcon. Common birds include Emerald Spotted Wood Dove, Mourning Dove, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Red-billed Hornbill, Northern Brownbul, Rufous Chatterer, Spotted Morning Thrush, Red-billed and White-headed Buffalo Weavers, Golden Palm and Black-headed Weavers, and Parrot-billed Sparrow. In terms of mammals, there are several unusual species present, which specialize in this dryer area. These include both Grevy’s and Grant’s Zebras, Gerenuk, Beisa Oryx, Reticulated Giraffe, African Elephant, Kirk’s Dikdik, Grant’s and Thomson’s Gazelles and Impala. Lion are reasonably common, and Cheetah are possible. The trees along the river offer good habitat for finding Leopard.
Day 6 : Sweetwater’s
After breakfast, we will depart Samburu and drive back to the slopes of Mt. Kenya via Imenti Forest to Sweetwater’s Private Game Sanctuary. We visit the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and take an afternoon game drive with a chance to see both Black and White Rhinoceros coming to the watering hole.
Day 7 & 8 : Lake Baringo
After an early breakfast this morning we depart for Lake Baringo arriving in time for afternoon birding which will include looking for owls before returning for dinner. We will have a full day at Lake Baringo area – morning bird walk on the cliffs and a a boat ride round the lake. After lunch depart for an excursion to Lake Bogoria Game Reserve. Lake Baringo is in a dry, rocky area with acacia bushes and is one of the Kenya’s top birding hotspot. The following are just a few of the species we hope to see; Northern Red Bishops, Jackson’s & Hemprich’s Hornbill, Jackson’s Golden-backed, Black-headed, Little, Lesser Masked, White-billed and Northern Masked Weavers. Other interesting species includes; Dark Chanting Goshawk, African Fish Eagle, Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Grey-Backed Fiscal, Bristle-crowned Starling, Beautiful Sunbird, Heuglin’s Courser and White-faced Scops & Verreaux’s Eagle-owl. Lake Bogoria is one of the many salt-water lakes of Rift Valley. Notable species at Bogoria includes huge flocks of Cape Teals, Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Black-necked Grebes and other wader birds not mentioning the Lesser and Greater Flamingoes. Bogoria is also the best place for a chance to see Greater Kudu.
Day 9 & 10 : Lake Nakuru NP
After our final morning at Baringo we depart for Lake Nakuru arriving in time for lunch. We will have an evening game drive as well as a full day in this exciting park. Lake Nakuru is the most famous of the Rift Valley’s lakes. With very attractive Yellow-barked Acacias (fever trees) and magnificent escarpments. Lake Nakuru is well known for holding spectacular concentrations of Lesser Flamingoes and small numbers of Greater Flamingoes. Bird life is abundant and we will hope to see White and Pink-backed Pelicans, African Spoonbill, Cape and Hottentot Teals, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Kittlitz’s Plovers, Grey-headed Gull, Gull-billed, Whiskered and White-winged Terns, In the lakeside trees and grassland are Temminck’s Courser, Coqui and Hildebrandt’s Francolins, Klaas’ and Black Cuckoos, Nyanza and Horus Swifts, Pied Kingfisher, White-fronted Bee-eater, Broad-billed Roller, Green Woodhoopoe, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Red-throated Wryneck, Red-capped Lark, Red-rumped and Mosque Swallows, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Arrow-marked Babbler, Schalow’s Wheatear, Cliff Chat, Black-crowned and Brown-crowned Tchagras, Rüppell’s Long-tailed Starling and Red-headed Weavers. Among the wealth of the African mammals, we will enjoy seeing the Black and White Rhinos, Bohor Reedbuck, Common & Defassa Waterbucks, Impalas, African Cape Buffalo, Rothschild’s Giraffes, Silver-backed Jackals, Spotted Hyena, and if lucky, the tree-climbing Lions of Lake Nakuru. Nakuru is also one of the best places in Kenya for Leopards!
Day 11 : Lake Naivasha
Transfer to Lake Naivasha for lunch at the Lake Naivasha Country Club. During the afternoon we will explore the beautiful grounds for an assortment of open acacia woodland birds including Klass’s Cuckoo and Fischer’s Lovebird. We finish the day with a relaxing boat ride round the lake hoping to African Fish Eagles and Hippopotamus up close!
Day 12, 13, 14, 15 & 16: Maasai Mara NR
Depart for Maasai Mara with lunch boxes to enable en route game drive and birding towards The Oloololo Escarpment where our camp is situated overlooking the endless plains of the Maasai Mara. We stay 2 nights at the Mara West Camp and spend the second day tracking the wildebeest migration in the Mara. For the last three days we shift our experience to the nearby Mara Serena Lodge enjoying more birding and mammal tracking in the Mara. The Mara is probably one of the best places in Africa to see the ‘Big and Small Cats’ with nearly all the members well represented here, sometimes in unusually big prides. Along the rivers schools of Hippopotamus can be found basking in the shallow pools and the river banks. Other mammals of interest include Silver-backed Jackal, the delightful Bat-eared Fox, Banded Mongoose and the Spotted Hyena. At this time of visit, the core of attraction will be the spectacular feature of the annual migration of a million or more wildebeests and attendant zebras, plains game and their respective predators following them. Bird-life is abundant, with many birds of prey, including all the vultures,Kori and White-bellied Bustards, the amazing Secretary Bird, Southern Ground Hornbill, Usambiro andSpot-flanked Barbets, Grey Kestrel, Nubian & Cardinal Woodpeckers, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Sooty Chats, African Wattled Plover, Hildebrandt’s Starling, among a great variety of other species.
Day 17 : Transfer to Nairobi
Depart for Nairobi with lunch boxes to allow enroute birding and as we near Nairobi pass by the Limuru ponds for a waders and waterfowl.
$8,900 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Nairobi, Kenya (Airport code NBO).
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code ).
Single Supplement and other Cost Additions
If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $1,410 will be assessed.
The Cost Includes
All ground transport, game drives and park entrance fees; professional driver guide; meals and accommodation; boat ride at Lake Baringo and Naivasha; Flying Doctors Temporary Medical Travel Insurance; mineral water on game drives.
Note: There may be an additional surcharge should Park and or Conservation fees increase, which often happens with very little notice.
Airfares to Kenya; Visa fees (currently $50); beverages.; any items of personal nature (laundry, telephone calls and so forth); any services not mentioned or indicated as optional; gratuities to drivers / guides / porters / waiters.
If fewer than the minimum number of participants are registered the trip can still run with a small-group supplement fee per person determined by the number of participants.
A $1,000 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.
How to Book
In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.
For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.
For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.
NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.
All the accommodations on this tour have clean comfortable rooms with en suite showers/baths and toilets and an the whole are very good, with excellent service. We will be in a tented camp at Sweetwaters and Mara West.
Lodges and camps are based on availabilty and convenience to our wildlife locations.
Activity Level Rating: 2 (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)
One or two hikes, though there will be little walking on this tour as we will be restricted to the vehicle when we are within the parks.
At Mt. Lodge (about 8000 feet elevation), Baringo, Naro Moru and Mara West birding will be mainly on foot.
You will need to get an eVisa to enter Kenya, which can be applied for online prior to our trip.
This trip is for non-smokers only. Smoking is not permitted at any time during our safari.
Trip Insurance is required for all safaris
This is a safari and as such we will concentrate on all the wildlife, as one would expect, the birds and mammals giving everyone time to view, experience and photograph them. Easy wildlife viewing from the confines of our open top safari vehicle in some outstanding parks; though we expect to see about 450 bird species we will spend considerable time with the incredible mammals that make this part of the world unique and hope to come across about 50 species including the “Big 5” – elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard.
One or two hikes, though there will be little walking on this tour in the parks; midday breaks, when in the parks; a mostly pleasant and dry climate, breathtaking scenery and many excellent photographic opportunities. At Mt. Lodge, Baringo, Naro Moru and Mara West birding will be mainly on foot.
We will be using the typical safari ‘combo’ vehicles such as a 4X4 Safari Mini Bus or Land Cruise. There is a pop-up roof that enables one to stand up to view and photograph wildlife. We will have a maximum of six participants per vehicle as this will guarantee everyone a window seat.
Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.
Detailed Trip Information
Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.
Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.
As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.
Passport & Visa
US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.
Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.
The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.