Taste of Kenya offers a wonderful introduction to this wild country. Travel to the Eastern Rift Valley’s scenic lakes, best known for their birdlife and large rhino herds. Then head deep into the world’s most famous wildlife reserve, the Maasai Mara, where there’s the opportunity to take to the skies on an optional hot-air balloon ride. This shorter safari is a cost-effective way to fulfil a bucket-list dream.
• Nairobi: 1 night
• Lake Naivasha: 2 nights
• Maasai Mara: 2 nights
Day 1: UK to NairobiDepart the UK on your flight to Nairobi. On arrival, transfer to your hotel to relax ahead of your safari. Stay: Southern Sun Mayfair (or similar).
Day 2: Nairobi to Lake NaivashaAfter breakfast, drive to Lake Naivasha, arriving in time for lunch. This afternoon, there’s the option to take a boat ride or relax at your lodge, the Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge. Set in 150 acres of grasslands, this sprawling Sopa lodge sits on the shores of Lake Naivasha. Extensive facilities – including two swimming pools, tennis courts, a spa and main restaurant – are dotted throughout the grounds, sensitively designed to have minimum impact on the natural environment. 84 rooms are housed in 21 characterful cottages built of local stone and set close to charming rock gardens and colourful plants with birds and playful monkeys flitting through the shade of the acacia trees above. You might even be lucky enough to see a giraffe wandering through the gardens. Approx. journey time: 2 hours. Stay: Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 3: Lake NaivashaToday you’ll head out on a day trip to Lake Nakuru National Park. The park is a haven for bird lovers, with over 400 species of bird – although be aware that the number of birds here fluctuates dependent on water level, so it’s best to check with the park if this is your primary reason for visiting. Lake Nakuru National Park also provides habitat for lion, leopard, buffalo and Rothschild giraffe, as well as white rhino and the endangered black rhino. After enjoying game drives and a picnic lunch, you’ll return to the Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge for dinner and overnight. Stay: Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 4: Lake Naivasha to Maasai MaraAfter an early breakfast, drive to the Maasai Mara National Reserve with lunch en route at the Sarova Mara Game Camp. The most famous reserve in the world, the Maasai Mara is what safari dreams are made of – rolling grasslands and wide open savannah, rich in African wildlife. Here is the place to witness the incredible annual wildebeest migration between July and October as over a million animals thunder across the plains in search of water and grazing – but the Mara has mass appeal all year round. Spot lions basking in the shade or seek out an elusive solo leopard. Your accommodation here is the Mara Serena Safari Lodge, spectacularly located high on a hill with amazing views over the Mara River in one of the best locations for game viewing. Created to echo the feel of a traditional Maasai manyatta – a cluster of domed huts encircled by a boma of brushwood – this is a unique lodge, with twin rows of individual rooms and a rock-surround swimming pool. Soak up the views by day, and in the evening take a seat around the campfire for post-dinner drinks. The lodge’s ‘modular’ style rooms blend seamlessly into the landscape and offer uninterrupted views across the Mara from their private terraces. Inside, you’ll find earthy tones and swirling patterns, to echo the colours and shapes of the bush. Outside your room you might spot mongoose, warthogs and baboons, with bigger wildlife in the distance. Approx. journey time: 7 hours. Stay: Mara Serena Safari Lodge (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 5: Maasai MaraA full day in the Mara awaits, with the option of a hot-air balloon ride this morning. Take flight and drift upwards as the sun rises for an entirely different perspective of the Mara, when the bright pink-orange haze is visible for miles across the vast savannah and wildlife becomes distinguishable from their silhouette forms below. Afterwards, you’ll head out on morning and afternoon game drives. The reserve offers fantastic chances of seeing the Big Five – and even better opportunities for viewing big cats. Other wildlife to spot includes elephant, giraffe, hyena, impala, wildebeest and buffalo. Stay: Mara Serena Safari Lodge (or similar). B, L, D.
Day 6: Maasai Mara to NairobiAfter an early breakfast, you’ll begin the long drive back to Nairobi. Approx. journey time: 7 hours. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK, arriving the following day. B.