Explore nature and wildlife in Kenya with safaris and visits to Maasai villages in several national parks, starting with the famous pink flamingos at Lake Bogoria and Lake Nakuru. Watch Maasai Mara's Great Migration from land and air in an optional hot air balloon ride, then visit the giraffes of Crescent Island on Lake Naivasha. Search for the Big Five and enjoy scenes of elephants grazing below Mt. Kilimanjaro in Amboseli National Park before returning to Nairobi to visit the Giraffe Center and Kazuri bead workshop.

Highlights

  • View the famous flamingo population at Lake Bogoria and Lake Nakuru
  • Watch The Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra cross the Mara River
  • Visit the Giraffe Center and learn about Kazuri bead making in Nairobi
  • Search for the Big Five on safari in Amboseli National Park
  • Discover the elephant herds that graze below Mt. Kilimanjaro

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Nairobi - Explore the city Nairobi
Day 2 Spot flamingoes on a game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park Nakuru
Day 3 Enjoy a day trip to Lake Bogoria National Park and visit hot springs Nakuru
Day 4 Drive to Loita Hills and hike with local Maasai warriors Maji Moto
Day 5 Hike and bike Loita Hills and visit a Maji Moto village Maji Moto
Day 6 Transfer to Maasai Mara National Reserve and enjoy a safari Masai Mara
Day 7 Observe the zebra and wildebeest in Masai Mara Masai Mara
Day 8 Enjoy an optional hot-air balloon ride above the Mara Plains Masai Mara
Day 9 Transfer to Naivasha and explore Crescent Island at sunset Naivasha
Day 10 Hike, bike, or rock climb in Hell's Gate National Park Naivasha
Day 11 View elephant herds and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Amboseli National Park Amboseli Park
Day 12 Search for the Big Five on safari in Amboseli National Park Amboseli Park
Day 13 Return to Nairobi - Visit the Giraffe Center and Kazuri Nairobi
Day 14 Depart Nairobi  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Nairobi - Explore the city

City of Nairobi
City of Nairobi

Welcome to Kenya! Upon arriving at the international airport in Nairobi, your driver and guide will transfer you to your hotel in the city. Your guide will discuss the details of the trip and what to expect in the upcoming days. After settling into your accommodation, your driver is happy to bring you into the city for a little exploration.

Nairobi is known for its markets, restaurants, and cafes that feature local and regional cuisine. You can also visit some of the religious sites in the city, including The Holy Family Minor Basilica and the Jamia Mosque. Enjoy a stroll through Uhuru Park before returning to your hotel.

Day 2: Spot flamingoes on a game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park

Flamingos in Lake Nakuru National Park
Flamingos in Lake Nakuru National Park

Enjoy an early breakfast at your hotel before meeting your driver to start today's journey to Lake Nakuru National Park, a soda lake known for its large population of flamingoes and rhinos. Along the way, you'll stop at a popular viewpoint overlooking the Great Rift Valley

By early afternoon, you'll arrive at your accommodation at Lake Nakuru Lodge set within the park. After settling into your room, you'll enjoy your first game drive of the trip. Located in the Great Rift Valley and surrounded by yellow acacia woodlands and bushy shrub-lands, Lake Nakuru National Park was created to protect its large flocks of Lesser Flamingo, which feed on the algae that flourish in the lake's saline waters.

As you drive through this protected area, your guides will help you search for over 50 mammal species, including hippo, black and white rhino, Rothschild giraffe, buffalo, and eland, as well as numerous bird species, as the park is home to over 450 different varieties. Along the route, you'll stop to enjoy short hikes, a picnic next to the lake, and to explore Makalia Waterfall.

In the evening, you'll return to the lodge in time for a sunset dinner.

Day 3: Enjoy a day trip to Lake Bogoria National Park and visit hot springs

Lake Bogoria Hot Springs
Lake Bogoria Hot Springs

After a leisurely breakfast at the lodge, you'll make your way north to another flamingo favorite, Lake Bogoria National Park. Today's highlight includes a picnic lunch and the chance to view some wildlife.

Situated in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, Lake Bogoria National Park consists of Lake Bogoria and its beautiful surroundings. The landscape features vast grasslands, acacia-ficus woodlands, and papyrus swamps. Similar to Lake Nakuru, the rich blue-green algae which grow in the waters of Lake Bogoria attract thousands of Lesser Flamingos. Enjoy your lunch while watching the flamingoes reflect against the water and keep your eye out for other critters. In the afternoon, you can visit one of the numerous hot springs along the lake's western shore.

In the late afternoon, you'll return to your lodge near Lake Nakuru. Enjoy relaxing in the lounge or the pool before dinner.

Day 4: Drive to Loita Hills and hike with local Maasai warriors

Elephants Grazing on the Savannah
Elephants Grazing on the Savannah

Today's journey takes you to Loita Hills, an area in Kenya’s Southern Rift Valley known as one of the nation’s last frontiers of pristine wilderness. The hills rise to over 6,500 feet (2,000 m), covering an area of about 50,000 acres (20,000 hectares) and forming an important part of the Maasai Mara Ecosystem. The area consists of remote forest and wide plains surrounded by picturesque hillsides home to abundant wildlife.

After settling into your accommodation at Maji Moto Eco Camp and enjoying lunch, you'll hike the surrounding hills with local Maasai warriors, passing through forests filled with cedar, podo, strangler figs, and waterfalls. The local Maasai will help you identify an impressive variety of bird species, as well as other wildlife including buffalo, elephant, baboon, bushbuck, hyena, leopard, and over 2000 colobus monkeys.

Along the way, you'll learn about traditional life, warrior training, bead making, and manyatta homes. At a local village, you'll visit community projects such as a Maasai school and a conservation center for beekeeping and tree nursery. In the afternoon, you can either settle around a campfire with the Maasai warriors or visit a local hot spring. 

In the evening, you'll return to your camp for dinner.

Day 5: Hike and bike Loita Hills and visit a Maji Moto village

Members of the Maasai Tribe
Members of the Maasai Tribe

Start your morning with a relaxed breakfast at camp. Afterward, you'll join your guide for a trek through Loita Hills. Enjoy vistas across the open plains and hopeful glimpses of wild animals, such as birds, monkeys, and elephants. 

In the afternoon, you'll arrive back at your camp in time to enjoy lunch and relax in your room or at the pool. Later, you'll visit a traditional Maji Moto village, either on foot or mountain bike. With the help of a guide and the village's local community, you'll learn how life operates in these small, remote African villages.

Dinner will be served back at the camp while you enjoy views of the hills.

Day 6: Transfer to Maasai Mara National Reserve and enjoy a safari

Wildebeest Migrating through the Mara Plains
Wildebeest Migrating through the Mara Plains

Today's destination is the Masai Mara National Reserve, which, along with Tanzania’s Serengeti, forms Africa’s most famous wildlife park. Filled with acacia trees dotting endless grass plains, the undeniable highlight of the reserve is the annual wildebeest migration that traverses its vast plains. It's known as the largest mass movement of land mammals on the planet with more than a million animals following the rains across the Mara River.

Aside from the wildebeest and zebra—along with their famous crocodile predator lurking below the river—large groups of lions, elephants, giraffes, gazelles, and eland can also be seen. You'll enjoy traditional safaris, as well as horse riding and hot-air ballooning over the Mara plains.

Your first stop is lunch at your accommodation, Mara Sopa Lodge. After settling into your room, join your guide for a safari. In the evening, you'll return to the lodge for dinner.

Day 7: Observe the zebra and wildebeest in Masai Mara

Wildebeest near the Mara River
Wildebeest near the Mara River

In the morning, you'll join your guide for a viewing of The Great Migration across the Mara River, which includes the one type of wildebeest in Maasai Mara and Serengeti Park, the blue wildebeest. They're considered "blue" because, in the sunshine, their glossy coats glisten a shade of blue. You may also hear the species referred to as "gnu” by the local tribes and residents. This is an interchangeable name and onomatopoeic derision of the sound the animals make.

A symbiotic relationship exists between zebra and wildebeest of the Masai Mara and Serengeti because, without zebra, the wildebeest wouldn’t be able to survive. Wildebeest are fussy eaters, as they are selective grazers and only feed upon the shorter parts of the grass. Luckily, zebra are bulk grazers and essentially act as a lawnmower, cropping the grass and making it palatable for the wildebeest to consume.

You'll spend most of your day in Maasai Mara to observe these two species in particular. You can watch the movements and interactions, as well as the attempt to cross the Mara River. In the late afternoon, you'll return to camp to relax and enjoy dinner.

Day 8: Enjoy an optional hot-air balloon ride above the Mara Plains

Wildebeest Attempting to Cross the Mara River
Wildebeest Attempting to Cross the Mara River

Enjoy breakfast before embarking on another viewing of the wildebeest and zebra on the Mara River. If you'd like to view the action from the sky, you can opt for a sunrise hot-air balloon ride. If not, you'll transfer to the park in a 4x4 safari vehicle, which helps to ensure excellent viewing of the animals. Your guide will explain more about the migration, as well as the two different species.

While the migration may seem like a chaotic frenzy of movement, research has shown that a herd of wildebeest possesses what is known as "swarm intelligence", where the wildebeest systematically explore and overcome an obstacle as one. And although the wildebeest may seem extremely vulnerable, they are an intelligent species and adapt their behavior for survival. For example, once a wildebeest is born, it must be able to walk within 4-5minutes or the mother will leave the young to predators.

The biggest threat to the animals crossing the Mara River is the crocodiles awaiting the herds. They slink silently under the water, waiting to drown their prey by clutching them in their strong jaws and pulling them below the surface. A crocodile can lunge more than half of its body length out of the water to grab a potential victim and can also use its tail as a secondary weapon.

Once again, you'll return to camp in time for dinner and to enjoy a relaxing evening.

Day 9: Transfer to Naivasha and explore Crescent Island at sunset

Zebras on Crescent Island
Zebras on Crescent Island

After breakfast, you'll depart your accommodation and drive to Lake Naivasha. After settling into your room at Sawela Lodge, you'll make your way to the scenic Crescent Island Game Sanctuary, one of the most beautiful parks in Kenya.

The best way to experience Crescent Island is with the help of a guide, which is free on a first-come, first-served basis. Surrounded by water, the island is accessible by boat or two different bridges connecting it to the mainland. From the top of its main hill, there's a panoramic view across the lake to many of its popular sights, including Hell’s Gate, the Mau Escarpment, Eburu, and the Aberdares

It's best to enjoy the views along the island's ridge during sunset's golden hour. You'll be able to watch wildlife grazing while the water shimmers in the background. In the evening, return to your lodge in time for dinner.

Day 10: Hike, bike, or rock climb in Hell's Gate National Park

Baboons in Kenya
Baboons in Kenya

Hell's Gate National Park is located northwest of Nairobi and south of Lake Naivasha. It gets its name from the pair of massive red-tinged cliffs which frame its natural hot geysers. The spectacular scenery, complete with rock towers, volcanoes, and geysers with plumes of geothermal steam, is dominated by these ominous sheer cliffs.

After breakfast, you'll visit the park and enjoy a wide variety of activities, such as biking, exploring the Njorowa Gorges, discovering the extinct volcanoes of Olkaira and Hobley, and camping under the sparkling Kenyan night sky. You'll also have the option to join a walking safari or an excursion in mountain biking, hiking, or rock climbing. Common wildlife in Hell's Gate includes giraffe, zebra, eland, gazelle, buffalo, zebra, hartebeest, baboon, and over 100 bird species.

In the evening, you'll return to your accommodation in Naivasha for dinner.

Day 11: View elephant herds and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Amboseli National Park

Elephants in Amboseli National Park
Elephants in Amboseli National Park

In the morning, you'll make your way to Amboseli National Park, famously known for big herds of elephants and a great view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. You'll arrive at your accommodation in Kibo Safari Camp in time for lunch. Afterward, meet your guide for an afternoon safari through the park. 

Located in the southern reaches of Kenya, Amboseli National Park is one of the country's most popular parks, renowned for its excellent variety of wildlife, including Masaai giraffe, elephant, lion, and cheetah. The landscape is dominated by the majestic snowcap of Mount Kilimanjaro, as well as open plains, acacia woodland, swamps, and the massif of Ol Doinyo Orok.

Amboseli is known as the best place in Africa to view large herds of elephants, birds, and other wildlife species up close. Other attractions of the park include opportunities to meet the Maasai people and soak up spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

In the evening, enjoy dinner at your camp.

Day 12: Search for the Big Five on safari in Amboseli National Park

Giraffe in Amboseli National Park
Giraffe in Amboseli National Park

Enjoy another day exploring Amboseli National Park with a picnic lunch and a safari. View elephants and other members of the Big Five at the foot of Africa's tallest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro.

In the late afternoon, you can opt for a visit to one of the local Masai villages before returning to camp for dinner.

Day 13: Return to Nairobi - Visit the Giraffe Center and Kazuri

Feeding Giraffes at the Giraffe Center
Feeding Giraffes at the Giraffe Center

For your final day in Kenya, you'll make your way back to Nairobi and settle into your accommodation at Tamarind Tree. Afterward, you'll enjoy lunch at the popular Carnivore Restaurant where you can try a variety of traditional and exotic meats. Your meal is roasted over charcoal and carved at your table, consisting of an array of side dishes, sauces, and desserts, as well as famous Kenyan coffee.

In the afternoon, you'll visit the Giraffe Center, also known as the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya. This non-profit NGO was founded by Betty and Jock Leslie-Melville in 1979 in the hope to save the endangered Rothschild giraffe, which, with just 130 left in the wild, had lost its natural habitat in Western Kenya to agriculture. Funds were raised and four herds of the Rothschild giraffes were moved to four parks: Lake Nakuru National Park, Mwea Game Reserve, Ruma National Park, and Nasalot Game Reserve.

Afterward, you'll make your final stop at Kazuri, which means ‘small and beautiful’ in Swahili. This tiny bead workshop began in 1975 experimenting with making handmade beads. The factory is located in what used to be part of the Karen Blixen Estate (of the Academy Award-winning film Out of Africa).

Day 14: Depart Nairobi

Goodbye, Kenya!
Goodbye, Kenya!

It's time to say goodbye to Kenya. Enjoy your final breakfast before transferring to the airport in time to catch your flight.