With less than a week in Kenya, you can make the most of your time by visiting the vast landscapes within a three-hour radius of Nairobi. While it may be tempting to cover more ground, sticking to this geographical area gets you out of the car frequently for a plethora of activities and wildlife. Below, we've listed several expertly crafted itineraries loaded with iconic Kenyan experiences.

Itinerary #1: Classic Wildlife & Culture Tour

This classic introduction to Kenya combines a national park boasting non-predatory wildlife, a cultural camp, and two days of game drives with possible sightings of the "Big Five". 

Visit a Masai village and learn about their daily rituals
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Nairobi - Transfer to Naivasha - Boat Tour & Safari Walk Naivasha
Day 2 Transfer to Maji Moto Cultural Camp - Optional Activities Maji Moto
Day 3 Transfer to Masai Mara - Afternoon Game Drive Masai Mara
Day 4 Morning & Afternoon Game Drives Masai Mara
Day 5 Sunrise Game Drive - Return to Nairobi - Depart Kenya  

This is an excellent option for first-timers to Kenya—and even Africa—with a number of wildlife adventures and the chance to meet and learn from members of an ethnic tribe. It begins with a busy arrival day! You'll be picked up from the airport by a private transfer in Nairobi, and quickly whisked away from the city towards Lake Naivasha for an hour-long boat ride where you can check out some hippos and waterbucks. Within the lake is a small piece of land, called Crescent Island, which is home to non-predatory wildlife, so jump ashore and take a walking safari with possible giraffe and zebra sightings.

Next is lunch at a local restaurant and a visit to two local artisans who make handmade ceramic pieces and handwoven fabrics. If there's energy left, your driver will take you to Hell's Gate National Park for an easy or bike ride through more trails and possible non-predatory wildlife. You'll have a few options on where to stay this first night including an upscale lodge that is a regular stop for hippos who come from the lake and snack on the grass each night—viewable from the safety of your private room terrace. Get a good night's sleep for another adventure-filled day ahead!

In the morning, a private safari vehicle will pick you and transfer you to Maji Moto Masai Cultural Camp where you'll get insight into the daily lives of the Masai people. Learn to understand their cultures, challenges, and methods of adapting to outside influences, with a range of optional activities during your visit. At night you'll stay at the camp's cottage with flush toilets and hot mineral showers. The next morning you'll take a private transfer to Masai Mara National Reserve in time for an afternoon game drive. Accommodation options here include a camp with 40 luxury tents within the game reserve along the Mara River.

The rest of your time is spent at Masai Mara where you'll have the opportunity to take a few different game drives looking for wildlife such as elephant, zebra, lion, cheetah, leopard, giraffe, buffalo, rhino, and even the Great Migration if you're here at the right time before you're transferred back to the airport to catch your departure flight. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Birdwatching Safari

With over 1000 species of birds in Kenya, this 5-day adventure visits four different lakes where you can pick between an exciting range of guided bird and wildlife tours.

A great white pelican on Lake Naivasha
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Nairobi - Transfer to Lake Nakuru, via Lake Naivasha Nakuru
Day 2 Morning Safari - Transfer to Lake Baringo & Lake Bogoria - Sunset Tour Baringo
Days 3-4 Explore Lake Bogoria & Lake Baringo Baringo
Day 5 Transfer to Nairobi - Museum Tour - Depart Kenya  

Even though avians are the priority on this trip, you'll see land-dwelling animals, too, with visits to four different Kenyan lakes known for both birds and wildlife. Like the first trip, you'll be picked up from the airport in Nairobi and transferred to Lake Naivasha for a boat tour—this time in search of saddle-billed storks, great white pelicans, goliath herons, giant kingfishers, and African fish eagles. Then, continue the drive to Lake Nakuru National Park, for a game drive where you might see black and white rhinos, leopards, hippos, and endangered Rothschild's giraffes. Notable birds here include greater blue-eared starlings, flamingos, and Hottentot teals. You'll retire for the evening at Sarova Lion Hill Camp and wake up for an early morning game drive. 

Next is a drive to the area that encompasses Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria, where you'll take a sunset boat ride and enjoy the evening views. The area is a birdwatchers' paradise, with more than 460 species, including owls, nightjars, Goliath herons, and rare Hemprich's hornbills. You'll spend the next two days exploring these two lakes with a range of guided bird and wildlife tours using various means of transportation including vehicle, boat, bicycle, as well as on foot. One option for lodging in the area is Lake Bogoria Spa Resort, the only resort in Kenya with a naturally heated pool.

On your last day, you'll transfer back to the capital with a visit to Nairobi National Museum, known for its excellent bird exhibit, with 900+ stuffed specimens—a chance to catch a glimpse of anything you may have missed earlier in the trip. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Coffee, Culture & Wildlife in Kenya

This unique trip includes a tour of a coffee plantation and visits to three famous conservancies with a bit more time in the nation's capital than other options on this list.  

Join a coffee plantation tour and tasting in central Kenya
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Nairobi - Free Time Nairobi
Day 2 Nairobi National Park - Elephant Orphanage - Giraffe Center Nairobi
Day 3 Coffee Plantation Tour - Transfer to Lake Naivasha Naivasha
Day 4 Elsamere Conservation Center - Hell's Gate National Park Naivasha
Day 5 Boat Tour - Transfer to Nairobi - Depart Kenya  

Travelers who want to evenly split their time between Kenya's buzzing capital and important conservation centers will gravitate towards this itinerary. The trip starts in Nairobi where you'll have some free time to check out great traditional markets, like Maasai Market, located in the city center. 

Get a good night's sleep because early in the morning, you'll head to Nairobi National Park before rush hour begins for a game drive. The 73-square-mile (117 km) park is not a zoo, rather a vast protected space where animals roam happily and free (staying inside the vehicle is necessary). From here, you'll visit two centers dedicated to caring for baby orphaned elephants and giraffes. The latter one, in particular, protects the highly endangered Rothschild's giraffe. Watch and feed these charming animals while learning more about the center's conservation efforts.

Then, it's time to hit the open road with a private transfer to one of the finest coffee growing areas in the world where you'll take a two-hour tour of an estate located across approximately 100 acres. Learn how Kenyan coffee is grown and processed, enjoy some tastings, and purchase your own fresh coffee to take home (if you so choose). From here, you'll head to Lake Naivasha where there will be free time in the afternoon. 

The next morning is a special visit to Elsamere, a center that honors the life of George and Joy Adamson and their lifelong commitment to the wildlife of Kenya. Gain insight into the Adamsons and their work in relocating animals back to the wild during this visit. After a buffet lunch (or high tea) at Elsamere, you'll drive to Hell's Gate National Park, known for its scenery and variety of wildlife. Within the park is the Maasai Cultural Center, where you can learn about the Kenyan Maasai tribe's culture and traditions.

Finish the trip with a one-hour boat tour in Lake Naivasha and then head for the Nairobi National Museum, which offers a great wealth of African history (time permitting). Learn more

Itinerary #4: Mount Kenya Hike & Safari

This active trip covers a lot of ground—literally—with an overnight trek before delving into two days of safari excursions. 

Stay in a wildlife conservancy following your hike
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Nairobi - Free Time Nairobi
Day 2 Transfer to Mount Kenya - Hike to Old Moses Mount Kenya National Park
Day 3 Descend Mount Kenya - Transfer to Nanyuki Nanyuki
Day 4 Transfer to Ol Pejeta Conservancy - Wildlife Safari Laikipia
Day 5 Morning Game Drive - Transfer to Nairobi - Depart Kenya  

You'll want to get a good night's rest in Nairobi after arriving as you'll be picked up in the morning for a three-hour drive to Mount Kenya National Park. Visitors come here for a range of outdoor pursuits like hiking, rock climbing, and spelunking, but you'll take a 5.6-mile (9 km) hike to Old Moses Mountain Camp for your overnight. This is a well-run mountain lodge at 10,837 feet (3300 m) and a common first stop along the popular Sirimon trekking route to the summit of Mount Kenya, Africa's 2nd highest peak. Old Moses offers clean bathrooms, dormitory bunks with a kitchen and dining area, and spacious grounds for setting up tents. 

The next morning, you'll have time to enjoy the views over breakfast before descending through four of the park's vegetation belts: tropical rain forest, bamboo jungle, rosewood, and heather zones. A driver will be waiting to transfer you to a hotel in Nanyuki, the gateway to one of Africa's most important wildlife conservation areas, with international restaurants, cafes, and shops. 

Your adventure isn't complete without getting up close to some rare wildlife. For your last night, pack up and make the short drive to Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a not-for-profit conservation area protecting lions, elephants, buffalos, zebras, gazelles, warthogs, and Kenya's only chimpanzees. You'll have a chance at spotting the only two northern white rhinoceros remaining in the world. Choose between a range of excursions before staying overnight in one of the tented camps, lodges, and homestays for an unforgettable experience. Learn more

More Great 5-Day Kenya Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your Kenya trip? Check out these 5-day itineraries, or describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.