Explore Kenya's wildlife, landscapes, and native culture on this diverse 10-day itinerary. After taking in sweeping views of the Great Rift Valley, you'll go on safari tours in Lake Nakuru National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve. Then you'll have the chance to tour a Maasai village, visit a pair of national parks, hike to the summit of Mt. Longonot, and see elephants in the wild at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Highlights

  • Spot the "Big Five" on safari, including lions, leopards, and rhinos
  • Enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Great Rift Valley
  • Meet the local Maasai people and experience their way of life
  • See elephants in the wild at the bottom of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Nairobi  Nairobi
Day 2 Explore Lake Nakuru National Park Nakuru
Day 3 Meet Locals in a Maasai Village Maasai Mara
Day 4 Explore Maasai Mara National Reserve Maasai Mara
Day 5 Travel from the National Reserve to Naivasha Naivasha
Day 6 Day Trip to Hell’s Gate National Park  Naivasha
Day 7 Hike to the Top of Mt. Longonot  Naivasha
Day 8 Spot Elephants Near Mt. Kilimanjaro Amboseli Park
Day 9 Tour Amboseli National Park Amboseli Park
Day 10 Transfer to Nairobi & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Nairobi 

Nairobi city
High-rise buildings in Nairobi

Welcome to Kenya! You'll arrive in Nairobi, the capital city, and spend the afternoon getting oriented. The country is home to dozens of wildlife parks and reserves, hundreds of miles of white sand beaches, millions of awe-inspiring animals, fascinating prehistoric sites, and a range of local tribes, each with their own language and culture. A word you'll likely already know is "safari." It's Swahili for "journey," originally from the Arabic safar. While the word used to refer to pioneers hunting wild animals for prizes, the hunting safari has since been banned, visitors' guns replaced by cameras. Today, the safari is a trip to observe and photograph wildlife in their natural habitat. The experience also provides the chance to hike and sightsee in national reserves. Make sure your hiking boots and camera are ready, then get some rest before the adventure begins.

Day 2: Explore Lake Nakuru National Park

Rhinos in Lake Nakuru
Rhinos in Lake Nakuru

The adventure starts when you leave Nairobi after an early breakfast. You'll drive to a viewpoint over the Great Rift Valley for excellent views over a series of contiguous geographic trenches. The valley, dotted with lakes and mountains, measures thousands of miles in length, running from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon to Mozambique in southeastern Africa. 

You will arrive at a hotel in Nakuru in time for lunch. Enjoy your first safari experience in the afternoon as you drive inside Lake Nakuru National Park, playing a game of peek-a-boo with local wildlife. Nothing is guaranteed, but be prepared for wildlife sightings! 

Day 3: Meet Locals in a Maasai Village

Visiting a Massai village in Kenya

Buckle up: today’s roads will be rough and bumpy with dust, and the drive will take five to six hours! The trip is worth it to Maasai Mara National Reserve, one of Kenya's top attractions. The name derives from the landscape — the word mara means "'spotted with shrubs" in the local language. The Mara River and Talek River carve into a landscape with a vast population of wildlife and birds. 

Spend part of the afternoon in a Maasai village. You'll see a performance of a traditional welcome dance, then your guide will take you around, showing you how the Maasai live and explaining some of their beliefs and traditions. You'll see demonstrations of how they build fires using sticks and animal dung. You'll also have the chance to meet some morans, the young Maasai men trained as soldiers to protect the Maasai communities. Though they no longer practice this rite of passage, they used to have to kill a lion to graduate from boys to men.

Finally, you will be invited into a local home to see how a family lives, then spend some time in the marketplace to buy handcrafted products made in the village. 

Day 4: Explore Maasai Mara National Reserve

Lions in the grasslands of the Maasai Mara 

Your safari continues before sunrise. Wildlife is most active in the early and late hours of the day. Lucky travelers might even witness animals hunting during these hours — a lion hunting and killing a wildebeest, or a cheetah chasing and knocking down a gazelle, for example. You'll have a picnic lunch and plenty of drinking water available so you can properly enjoy a full day of adventure.

Day 5: Travel from the National Reserve to Naivasha

Masai Giraffe at crater lake conserverncy.
A giraffe at Crater Lake Camp Conservancy

You'll depart after breakfast to drive the five to six hours to your next destination, making two or three stops along the way for sightseeing and possible animal spotting. Arrive in Naivasha in time for lunch. After hours of traveling on dusty roads, enjoy a free afternoon to relax.

Day 6: Day Trip to Hell’s Gate National Park 

Zebras in Hell's Gate Park
Zebras in Hell's Gate National Park

After breakfast, a short drive will bring you to Hell’s Gate National Park. Don't let the name fool you: it's a peaceful park that's home to a range of wildlife, including giraffes, zebras, warthogs, gazelles, and many more. You'll have the option to hike, cycle, or drive several miles to the gorge, scanning the scenery for creatures along the way. Later, you'll stop for a dip in a naturally heated swimming pool.

Day 7: Hike to the Top of Mt. Longonot 

Aerial photo of Mt. Longonot
The massive crater at Mt. Longonot

Get an early start to beat the heat today. You'll be hiking to the top of Mt. Longonot, a stratovolcano located at the bottom of the Great Rift Valley. Its name is derived from the Maasai word Oloonong'ot, meaning "steep ridges," and while it's not that high, it offers a great view. It last erupted in the 1860s. Return to your camp in the late afternoon and enjoy a relaxing evening. 

Day 8: Spot Elephants Near Mt. Kilimanjaro

Elephants in Amboseli at the bottom of Mt. Kilimanjaro
 Amboseli National Park at the bottom of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Today you'll enter Amboseli National Park and see Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain on the continent. It's nicknamed "the rooftop of Africa.” On a clear day, you'll enjoy wonderful views and gorgeous photo ops of elephants at the foot of the mountain.

Day 9: Tour Amboseli National Park

Flocks of flamingos in Amboseli park.
On safari in Amboseli National Park

Discover the highlights of Amboseli National Park today. Animals tend to congregate in the park's swamps, one of the destinations on your wildlife photography expedition. Keep an eye out for elephant herds and flocks of flamingoes. You'll enjoy a scenic picnic lunch in the park before heading back to camp, where you'll have unforgettable views of a star-filled sky on your last night in Kenya.

Day 10: Transfer to Nairobi & Depart

great view of part of the adventure.
Antelope in Amboseli National Park

Circle back to Nairobi, where the trip comes to an end. Safe travels!

More Great Kenya Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Kenya? Check out this Wildlife and Beaches Tour or incorporate Uganda into your itinerary on this Safari and Gorilla Trek in Kenya and Uganda

Or, describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.

Map

Map of "Big Five" Safari Experience - 10 Days
Map of "Big Five" Safari Experience - 10 Days