This active, 12-day adventure includes some of Kenya's best outdoor experiences. After sightseeing in Nairobi, spend several days hiking to the top of Mt. Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa. While parts of the mountain can only be summitted by technical mountaineers, the route you'll take is accessible to trekkers. This amazing and challenging experience is followed by several days of safari and wildlife-spotting activities, as well as cultural immersion in the Maasai Mara.

Highlights

  • Go on wildlife-spotting safaris in the Maasai Mara National Reserve
  • Climb the second-highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kenya
  • Enjoy a Maasai warrior experience in an authentic tribal community
  • Take a cruise on Lake Naivasha and see hippos

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Nairobi Nairobi
Day 2 Fly to Chigoria - Begin Mt. Kenya Trek Trek
Days 3-6 Mt. Kenya Trek Trek
Day 7 Lake Naivasha Naivasha
Day 8 Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp Maji Moto
Day 9 Maji Moto Maasai "Olpul" Bush Camping Maji Moto
Day 10 Drive to Maasai Mara Masai Mara
Day 11 Maasai Mara Safari Masai Mara
Day 12 Return to Nairobi  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Nairobi

Nairobi

Arrive at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
 
Touring options on this day will depend on the time of your arrival, but could include:  

  • David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, to see the elephants and for an additional $50 'adopt' an elephant, which you can return to see in the evening or the next day (one visitor per adopted elephant is allowed).
  • Giraffe Center, for a hands-on giraffe encounter and the chance to learn about giraffe conservation.
  • Mamba Village, to view and feed crocodiles, ostriches, and see (or ride) camels and horses.
  • Karen Blixen Museum, this colonial homestead was the home of Danish baroness Karen Blixen from 1918 to 1931. Blixen published an account of her time in Kenya, Out of Africa, in 1937 (under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen), which was adapted into an Oscar-winning movie in 1985, starring Meryl Streep. The house was restored and furnished in period style for the filming, and opened as a national museum in 1986. 
  • Bomas of Kenya was established by the Kenyan government in 1971. This cultural center in Langata comprises 11 life-size homesteads (bomas) representing different traditional construction styles from around the country. Daily performances include drumming and dancing.
  • Kazuri Bead Factory, a women’s cooperative bead and pottery making shop, which uses local Kenyan clay.
  • Utamaduni Craft Center is located in a converted Kikuyu house. The 18 shops are a treasure trove of African crafts, antiques, and art. Items can be packed and shipped, if required. The center also has a collection of items made by Nairobi street kids. The large, beautiful garden restaurant is a great place for lunch, and bird watchers will love the many exotic birds flitting about.

Day 2: Fly to Chigoria - Begin Mt. Kenya Trek

Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya

Mt. Kenya is a broad, largely symmetrical volcanic cone with a diameter of about 74 miles (120 km). It was formed between 2.6 and 3.1 million years ago.  It is possible that the original volcano was over 23,000 feet (7000 m.) high. Of the main peaks on the mountain, Batian is 17,057 feet (5199 m.) and Nelion is 17,021 feet (5188 m.), but these two are only accessible to technical mountaineers. Lenana, 16,354 feet (4985 m.), is accessible to trekkers.

Today, meet your guides at your hotel in Nairobi early in the morning and depart for Chigoria, which is a 4-5 hour drive away. Start the walk, entering the Mt. Kenya Forest at an altitude of 5249 feet (1600 m.). There's the option to continue up to 8530 feet (2600 m.) if required, and conditions permit. Most climbers will camp here, although some do continue on to the park gate at 9678 feet (2950 m.). Your evening meal will be served around a campfire. Today’s walk is approximately 8.5 miles (14 km.).

Days 3-6: Mt. Kenya Trek

Mount Kenya Summit
Mount Kenya Summit

Day 2 of trek: Today you are walking up to the secluded campsite at Lake Ellis, at an altitude of 11,154 feet (3400 m.). Walk through moorland and tussock grass. The heather and proteas are beautiful, particularly when other flowers are in bloom, such as gladiolus, kniphofra, and senecio. Today you will gain about 2624 feet (800 m.) over 8.5 miles (14 km.)

Day 3: The walk today is well off the beaten track. Walk around the lake, cross over the valley, and follow a ridge up the mountain for three hours, before eventually joining the tourist track on the normal Chogoria route at an altitude of 13,451 feet (4,100 m.). Breathtaking views abound over the Gorges Valley and back towards Itinguni and the Northern Moorlands. Lunch is served at a small stream crossing, before continuing for a further hour to Minto’s Hut, the night's camp, at 13,779 feet (4200 m.). 

Make the 10 minute walk to the “Temple” if you have the energy. This is a 500 foot (152 m.) vertical cliff that gets its name from the position visitors often adopt when peering over the edge—they look as if they are praying! An early night is recommended, as you are attempting the summit the next day. Today there's an altitude gain of 2624 feet (800 m.) over 5 miles (8 km.).

Day 4: Today you will cover a distance of approximately 12.5 miles (20 km.) and will walk for about 14-16 hours. This is an extremely long, hard day, but there are great rewards from the mountain summit. Rise at 2.30 am with a hot drink and a light snack before starting to walk. The majority of the walk to the summit is in the dark, so that you are well on the way to Pt. Lenana, via Simba Col, for sunrise. You'll hopefully be on the summit for first light, to admire the views.

Descend the peak via a different route, down the Sirimon Track to Shipton's Camp. Have a second breakfast before heading off the mountain to Judmier Camp, about 6-7 hours' walk away.

Day 5: After a later start and a good breakfast, leave camp and walk the final six miles (10 km) down a dirt track to the park gate. Here, you are met by your transport, and will say goodbye to your porters and guide (if they have done a good job, please tip them!). Head back to Nairobi, stopping at our riverside camp for lunch on the way, and onward to Lake Naivasha for the night.

Day 7: Lake Naivasha

Hippos

After an early breakfast, depart for Lake Naivasha to enjoy a morning boat tour with close-up views of hippos, waterbucks, and countless birds. Take a walking safari on Crescent Island, strolling among the giraffes, zebras, and other peaceful animals, in the absence of predators.  

Optional activities you can enjoy at an extra cost include:

  • Horse riding among the zebras, giraffes, and other animals on conservancy land along the lake.
  • Visit a local farmer’s home to learn about subsistence farming in Kenya, and stay for tea with his family.
  • Hell's Gate National Park, to explore canyons and wildlife.  

Day 8: Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp

Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp

After breakfast, drive approximately 3.5 hours to Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp. This is not a commercial “staged” camp experience, but rather an authentic Maasai community, where real people are still living the Maasai traditions. 

Activities include walks in the hills with Maasai warriors to learn about traditional life, warrior training, widow village visit for a look at local traditional life, bead making, campfire with the Maasai warriors, hot spring visit. Visit community projects such as our school, conservation projects for beekeeping, and a tree nursery. We also offer spiritual blessings, called Emayan.  

The lodging at the camp is in cottages with shared flush toilets and hot mineral water showers.

Day 9: Maji Moto Maasai "Olpul" Bush Camping

Maasai women

Today, trek across the plains to a forest bush campsite, where we'll construct a traditional Maasai temporary camp and sleep out under the stars. Slaughter a goat in traditional "Olpul" style, with warriors and elders, enjoying songs, stories and blessings around the campfire. Share the ceremonial local brew, made for special occasions from aloe root, honey, and herbs.

Spend the night at the bush camp, on traditional leafy beds under the stars in sleeping bags (provided), with the protection of warriors throughout the night.

Day 10: Drive to Maasai Mara

Wildebeest at the Maasai Mara

After breakfast, drive to the world-renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve, which needs little in the way of introduction. Its tawny, wildlife-stuffed savannahs are familiar to anyone who has watched nature documentaries. Reliable rains and plentiful vegetation underpin this extraordinary ecosystem and the millions of herbivores it supports. Wildebeest, zebras, impalas, elephants, Masai giraffes and several species of gazelle all call the Mara home. This vast concentration of game accounts for high predator numbers, including cheetahs, leopards, and the highest lion densities in the world.

The Masai Mara (or the Mara, as the locals affectionately refer to it) is the northern extension of Tanzania’s equally famous Serengeti Plains. The whole ecosystem is greatly extended by the numerous private and community-owned conservancies and group ranches that surround the reserve.

You’ll stay at the Naboisho Conservancy, which has a lion population matching that of the Ngorongoro Crater. With more than 70 identified lions, the odds of spotting a lion are very high. Enjoy night game drives, a walking safari, and bush dinners that are not available inside the park.

Day 11: Maasai Mara Safari

Cheetah

Go on morning and afternoon game drives and bush walks, with a night game drive, too. 

If you wish, you can go for an optional hot air balloon safari. The crew will pick you up very early in the morning and drive you to the launch site within the Maasai Mara Reserve. Enjoy a one-hour ride in the air above the amazing savanna, for a bird's-eye view of wildlife and landscapes. A sumptuous champagne breakfast on the plains awaits you upon landing. Return to the camp by late morning, and after lunch embark on an afternoon of safari wildlife drives. 

Day 12: Return to Nairobi

Maasai Mara

After one last, early-morning game drive, fly back to Nairobi to connect with your flight home.  

If your outbound flights are in the late evening, you can add a late checkout from Maasai Mara to enjoy additional game driving. Or, add a day room for an additional cost at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the airport grounds, to rest and refresh before night flights onward.