This one-week adventure celebrates the best of Kenya, from its rich culture to its dramatic landscapes and exotic wildlife. After a night in the dynamic capital of Nairobi, a private driver will take you to some of the country's star locales, including Lake Nakuru National Park, the Great Rift Valley, and the legendary Masai Mara Reserve. At each, you'll spot Big Five safari animals, flocks of flamingoes, wildebeests, and much more— plus soar over the African savanna in a hot-air balloon!


  • Spend time with rescued elephants and giraffes in Nairobi
  • Marvel at flocks of flamingoes at Lake Nakuru and hippos at Naivasha
  • Embark on thrilling game drives in safari hotspots like Masai Mara
  • Soar over the African savanna in a hot-air balloon

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Nairobi, Elephant Orphanage & Giraffe Centre Nairobi
Day 2 Transfer to Lake Nakuru National Park, Afternoon Game Drive Nakuru
Day 3 Transfer to Masai Mara, Afternoon Game Drive Masai Mara
Day 4 Masai Mara Safari Activities, Hot-Air Balloon Flight Masai Mara
Day 5 Transfer to Naivasha, Afternoon Water Safari Naivasha
Day 6 Day Trip to Hell's Gate National Park Naivasha
Day 7 Transfer to Nairobi, School Tour, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Nairobi, Elephant Orphanage & Giraffe Centre

Nairobi is a melting pot, filled with green spaces and safari parks

Welcome to the capital of Kenya! If you have a window seat on the flight, you'll likely see Nairobi National Park before touching down on the runway. This 73-square-mile (117 km) wildlife conservation area is one of the only safari destinations that borders a major city. At the airport, a driver will pick you up for the transfer to your hotel in the leafy Nairobi suburb of Karen. You'll check into the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden & Cottages, a tranquil boutique hotel nestled amid the historic farm once owned by the "Out of Africa" author. 

After checking into your hotel, you'll visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Here, you'll see rescued elephants who are cared for until they're ready to be released back into the wild. On top of viewing the elephants, there's the option to sponsor an orphan. If you do, you can return later in the day to help feed and tuck your newly adopted elephant into bed. 

Capping your first day in Africa is a trip to the Giraffe Centre. Operated by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), this sanctuary conserves Rothschild's giraffes by breeding and releasing them into the wild. When AFEW was founded in 1979, a mere 130 wild Rothschild's giraffes survived in Kenya, but today, thanks to this organization, that number is around 300. You can snap photos of the current residents from a raised viewing platform and even feed them. Also, there's a bird sanctuary and a self-guided nature trail.

Day 2: Transfer to Lake Nakuru National Park, Afternoon Game Drive

A flock of pink flamingos on Lake Nakuru
Lake Nakuru is a haven for great flocks of pink flamingoes

After breakfast in Nairobi, you'll meet your driver for the three-hour ride north to Lake Nakuru National Park. Along the way, you'll stop at a magnificent viewpoint overlooking the great expanse that is the Great Rift Valley—one of the world's truly awe-inspiring landscapes. The geographically vast area stretches along East Africa and is dotted with lakes, hot springs, geysers, and volcanoes, some of which are active.

Upon arrival at the park, you'll check into the comfortable Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge, which overlooks the lake. Drop off your things, then head right back out on an afternoon game drive. Lake Nakuru is famous for many things, not least of which is the abundance of wildlife. You'll get up close and personal with many of the park's residents during today's game drive, which begins right after you drop off your bags and then hop in an open-topped safari vehicle.

Regarding birdlife, there are over 450 species here. One of the great spectacles is passing the lake to see the surface of its waters tinged pink with large colonies of greater flamingoes. Also inhabiting the park are lions, leopards, and cheetahs, as well as buffalo, giraffes, zebras, waterbucks, and baboons. Perhaps most crucially, Nakuru is a sanctuary for both black and white rhinos, and its conservation efforts have led to the successful protection and breeding of these endangered species.

Day 3: Transfer to Masai Mara, Afternoon Game Drive

1.8 million Wildebeest crossing Mara River in Masai Mara
A herd of wildebeest crossing the Mara River during the Great Migration
Plan your trip to Kenya
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

The wild ride continues as you leave Lake Nakuru early this morning and continue toward the border with Tanzania. The Masai Mara National Reserve comprises a large part of this region. This 580-square-mile (1,510 sq km) game reserve is one of Africa's most famous safari destinations, and it borders the equally renowned Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Together, these two contiguous protected areas host the Great Migration, an annual occurrence that spans July to November and sees millions of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles migrate across the grassy plains. 

The reserve on the Kenyan side was named in honor of the regional Maasai people, and its unspoiled savanna, woodlands, and natural springs make it a haven for massive and diverse populations of animals. Your destination within the reserve is the Ashnil Mara Camp, a tented camp nestled between the Mara and Olkeju Rivers. Relax with a drink on the terraces, then get ready for an afternoon game drive in a 4WD around the reserve. Be sure to keep your camera at the ready—alongside grazing herds, you're likely to spot lions, leopards, cheetahs, and African bush elephants. 

Day 4: Masai Mara Safari Activities, Hot-Air Balloon Flight

Get a bird's-eye view of the Masai Mara from the basket of a hot-air balloon 

Today is filled with safari adventures. Start with an early breakfast followed by various activity options. You can choose separate morning and afternoon game drives or spend the entire day in a 4WD searching for the reserve's lions, cheetahs, hippos, leopards, and countless other creatures. Should you opt for the full-day safari, lunch will be served picnic-style under the shade of an iconic African acacia tree.

If you like, there's also the option for a morning hot-air balloon ride over the park. There's nothing like enjoying a bird's-eye view of the great Masai Mara plains as you watch herds of gazelles and wildebeests migrating below. This is a dawn tour, so expect to see the first rays of light kissing the savanna as the wildlife awakes and travels to water sources for their morning drink. After about an hour, the balloon will touch back down on earth, and you'll toast the experience with a champagne breakfast.

Day 5: Transfer to Lake Naivasha, Afternoon Water Safari

Spot hippos (and their cormorant friends) on a boat tour on Lake Naivasha

Say goodbye to the Masai Mara as you leave the reserve for the ride back toward Nairobi. About two hours north of the capital, you'll stop over at Lake Naivasha. This is another star freshwater lake of the Great Rift Valley, and like Nakuru, it's a wildlife haven. Upon arrival, you'll check into the Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort, where charming cottages surround a refreshing pool, and resident giraffes and monkeys frequent the surrounding acacia forest. Cool off with a dip in the pool and put your feet up for a bit, then it's time to head out for an afternoon activity.

There are many fun adventures to choose from, including water safaris by boat. These tours are an excellent opportunity to see the lake's endemic birdlife, plus aquatic animals like hippos, up close. It's quite the experience, zipping across the shimmering waters as cormorants and pelicans skirt the surface while zebras and antelopes graze along the shore. You can also enjoy a walking safari at Crescent Island, a private game sanctuary on the lake where giraffes, wildebeests, zebras, and other wildlife roam free.

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

Explore even more otherworldly landscapes in Kenya, like Hell's Gate

Wake up early for a day trip to nearby Hell's Gate National Park. Hardly the inferno its name suggests, this 26-square-mile (68 sq km) park is known for its dramatic landscapes, geothermal features, and otherworldly rock formations. Upon arrival, take the rest of the morning to explore this semi-arid environment with its sheer cliffs, open plains, and deep gorges. There are no large predators here, so it's a great locale to enjoy a bike ride or nature hike. At the end of the afternoon, you'll return to your accommodation at Lake Naivasha.

Day 7: Transfer to Nairobi, School Tour, Depart

Stop on your way out of town to meet the future of Kenya

Meet your driver this morning for the two-hour drive back to Nairobi. And though you've got a flight today, there's still time for one last cultural experience. If you like, travel to an elementary school on the outskirts of the city for a tour. It's an educational experience (for both you and the local kids) that also allows you to give back to the community. From the school, your driver will transfer you to the airport in time to catch your flight home. Safe travels!

More Great Kenya Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Kenya? Check out these other Kenya itineraries, explore different ways to spend a week in Kenya on safari, or discover the best time to visit Kenya


Map of Kenya National Parks & Wildlife Safari - 7 Days
Map of Kenya National Parks & Wildlife Safari - 7 Days