A Safari in true Swahili Style
Landing in Nairobi we’ll be whisked from city to safari in a heartbeat, heading straight to Nairobi National Park – a curious and magical place where giraffe are silhouetted against city skyline and the distant sounds of the CBD may be drowned out by a lion’s roar! Our luxury lodge, the Emakoko, is just forty minutes’ drive from the airport but feels a world away. We’ll spend two nights here resting after our flight and acclimatising to our surroundings, but also enjoying game drives and forays into the city for shopping and sightseeing if you wish.
We fly to the Lewa Conservancy, which has been in the same family for five generations and has made headlines for its inspiring conservation efforts. The conservancy spans a vast 62,000 acres and has a huge variety of landscapes ranging from ancient cedar forest and savannah grasslands to wetlands and steep valleys. It’s a refuge for black rhino as well as elephant, leopard, lion and buffalo – this is big five territory and we will have the very best guides available guiding us in 4WDs, on foot, or on horseback.
In complete contrast, our next destination is Sarara in the Mathews Range – the northern frontier of Kenya. Here, indigenous communities are the custodians of some of the largest remaining wilderness left in Africa, including many key endangered species. We will spend time with the Samburu people, in a relaxed and authentic way, learning the way their age-old traditions are as much a part of the fabric of this land as the wildlife with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit their ‘singing wells’.
Our next stop, the Maasai Mara, needs little introduction. Staying at the beautiful ‘House in the Wild’ we’ll enjoy elegant tented luxury while ‘The Lion King’ plays out around us! Expect heart-stopping wildlife encounters, thrilling 4WD game drives and cold gin and tonics as the sky changes colour and the sun sets over the plains.
After all the action on safari we’ll round out our journey with some well-deserved R&R on the remote island of Lamu. Situated in the Indian Ocean off the North Kenyan coast, Lamu brims with Swahili history and charm, and we’ll stay in a super stylish Arab style house which is now a very beautiful boutique hotel. We’ll spend our days strolling through small fishing villages, dining on delicious fresh-caught seafood, relaxing on the beach and supporting The Lamu Marine Conservation Trust which protects endangered sea turtles.
Kenya is a land of unparalleled beauty, diverse cultural heritage and breathtaking wildlife, and this itinerary showcases it all! if you are ‘Wild at Heart’ then this safari is for you.
You will love
- The hugely diverse itinerary
- Big Five game viewing
- Stunning safari lodges
- Pioneering conservation
- Visit the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary
- Witness the Samburu Singing Wells
- Exploring by 4WD on foot and on horseback
- The Maasai, Il N’gwesi and Samburu people
- Laidback coastal luxe in Lamu
- Small group of likeminded ladies
15 UNFORGETTABLE DAYS
DAY 1 | SAT 30 SEP | NAIROBI | 1 NIGHT
Arrive in the safari capital of the world today! Our late arrival will have us hitting the hay early in preparation for our game & culturally enriched fortnight ahead!
DAY 2 | SUN 01 OCT | NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK | 2 NIGHTS
Driving through Nairobi Nat’l Park this morning to reach The Emakoko we will have every chance of seeing wildlife en route – truly a unique arrival! Settle into the lodge & enjoy sundowners & our first game drive before a Welcome Dinner this evening.
DAY 3 | MON 02 OCT | NAIROBI & NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK
After breakast we drive out of the Nat’l Park to visit the Giraffe Sanctuary & Karen Blixen Museum. Return to the lodge for lunch & an afternoon game viewing in Nairobi Nat’l Park – famous for its very healthy black Rhino population & renowned for very close encounters with lions this is a phenomenal experience given its proximity to a thriving metropolis.
DAY 4 | TUE 03 OCT | LEWA CONSERVANCY | 2 NIGHTS
Farewell the Emakoko this morning and transfer Nairobi’s Domestic Airport – Wilson for our private charter flight to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
Met on arrival we will drive into camp, game viewing enroute.
Located at the very heart of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Lewa House is set on top of a hill with extensive views over gentle rolling hills with Mount Kenya to the south and the rugged Mathews Range and the sacred mountain of Ol Olokwe to the north.
Lewa House is owner-operated and hosted and with only ten rooms it offers a small and intimate experience.
Established as a cattle ranch in 1922 – Lewa has always been managed with wildlife as a top priority. In 1995 the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (a non-profit organisation) was formed and in 2013 the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today there is minimal livestock on Lewa and the main focus of the conservancy is wildlife conservation together with community outreach programmes and development. Host to over 14% of Kenya’s Black Rhino population and over 12% of the global population of Grevy’s zebra, Lewa is one of the best places in the country to see both of these iconic animals. Wildlife abounds, with all of the Big Five and herbivores associated with the north of Kenya.
After settling into camp we will enjoy lunch before our first game drive on the 62,000 acre Lewa Conservancy before watching our first African bush sunset, with breathtaking views of the Matthews Range as we listen to stories of old.
DAY 5 | WED 04 OCT | LEWA CONSERVANCY
A team of fully qualified guides are on hand to lead us on bushwalks, forays into the Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve where we can swim beneath waterfalls or walk amongst the tree canopies, 10 metres above the ground, surrounded by butterflies and birds, and, of course, on game drives across the conservancy.
Lewa’s specially adapted open vehicles allow for excellent viewing but it is the richness of the game that will take our breath away. All the main safari predators, the rare Grevy zebra and of course the threatened rhino can be viewed in abundance. A particular favourite and well recognised aspect of the area near the lodge are the good elephant numbers and at least weekly sightings of the elusive wild dogs. We will also have the opportunity to explore the conservancy by night, using spotlights, to track nocturnal species.
DAY 6 | THU 05 OCT | SARARA | 2 NIGHTS
Enjoy a final early morning game viewing activity on the Lewa Conservancy before departing for the airstrip to board our private charter flight to Kenya’s Northern Frontier District and Sarara Camp.
Sarara is located on the 850,000 acre Namunyak Conservancy which encompasses the entire Mathews Range. Established in 1995, Namunyak is one of the oldest community owned conservancies in East Africa and has become the successful role model that has catalysed community conservation initiatives across northern Kenya and beyond.
This remote and dramatic landscape is home to the Samburu people whose age-old traditions, including the famed ‘singing wells’ are as much a part of the fabric of this land as the wildlife. Sarara is named after the ‘Sarara’ singing wells where the community water their cattle during the dry season. Sarara means ‘meeting place’ in the Samburu language and it is here where the keystone of Samburu culture may be viewed authentically.
After settling into our stunning ensuite safari tents and enjoying lunch we will head out on a game drive to see the ‘Samburu Five’ – five species of herbivores that are only found north of the equator, along with elephant, reticulated giraffe, wild dog and kudu in ever increasing numbers. Our game drive today may also lead into a nocturnal search for the star of Saraara -the leopard!
DAY 7 | FRI 06 OCT | SARARA
An early start today as we travel to observe one of the Samburu tribe’s most significant traditions. With water a precious resource in this dry and desolate land, the warriors dedicate their day to digging deep wells for drinking water for their livestock. Stripping themselves of their striking red cloth, the traditional dress of the Samburu tribe, they sing as they dig – a deep and resonant, melody that creates a hypnotic rhythm that they work. Each warrior’s herd will recognise and respond to their master’s voice, using it to locate their particular well. This is an incredible sight, and sound, to behold.
And just when you thought our day couldn’t get any better we will we will drive to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary – another absolute highlight of our safari!
Reteti aims to rescue, reunite, rehabilitate and rewild orphaned and abandoned elephant calves whilst creating much-needed benefits for the local people that live alongside them.
Visiting the Sanctuary is one of the best ways to safeguard the wildlife in this area and we are also supporting the local community dedicated to protecting them. We will have the opportunity to witness feeding and playtime at the Sanctuary, as well as an in-depth look behind the scenes.
DAY 8 | SAT 07 OCT | MAASAI MARA | 3 NIGHTS
An early morning game drive to farewell the wildlife surrounding Sarara Camp before driving to the airstrip for our private charter flight into the world famous Masai Mara and our stay at House in the Wild.
House in the Wild is perched on the banks of the Mara River on Naretoi – a private estate within the Enonkishu Conservancy, on the Northern edge of the Maasai Mara ecosystem.
On what was once an intensive farm, Naretoi is the first project of its kind where the land use on the edge of the Mara has reverted from intensive commercial farming back to nature. This “rewilding” project has seen the rangelands around the House in the Wild return to their natural state, with wildlife returning to the area after over a decade of farming.
From House in the Wild we will have direct access to some of the world’s best wildlife viewing!
We will settle in before undertaking our first game drive in the Enonkishu Conservancy [Maa for place of healthy cattle] which is home to a plethora of plains game from Thomson and Grant’s gazelle to eland, impala and zebra; along with hippo, hyena, giraffe and all the big cats – lion, leopard and cheetah.
DAY 9 | SUN 08 OCT | MAASAI MARA
This morning we visit the Enonkishu community to spend time with the elders, the mammas and the youth visiting a local manyatta and learning about their fascinating pastoralist way of life.
In the afternoon we will traverse the Enonkishu, Lemek and Ol Chorro Oiruwa conservancies, viewing spectacular landscapes and encountering incredible wildlife sightings before returning to the lodge for fireside drinks and dinner beneath the stars.
DAY 10 | MON 09 OCT | MAASAI MARA
A guided walk this morning reveals what we may have missed when sitting in a vehicle. This is the most authentic version of safari – leaving the road behind and taking a path less travelled. As we listen to the melodic chirps of birds we will learn how to identify animals by their footprints and spoor, we’ll learn the medicinal use of local flora and may discover the ‘Little Five’!
After lunch we set out to track the resident pride of lion, leopards, elephants and lots of plains game. We’ll enjoy sundowners and as the sun sets we’ll game drive in search of nocturnal species such as porcupine, honeybadgers and servals.
There are a number of optional activities also available at House in The wild and over our three-day stay you may wish to experience the Mara from a different perspective, taking to the skies in a hot air balloon, or try your hand at catching Catfish or Babel in the Mara River. On Mondays (today) we can experience the excitement and chaos of a local cattle market if you wish, and come home with a cow to donate to the Enonkishu Conservancy Committee herd!
DAY 11 | TUE 10 OCT | LAMU | 3 NIGHTS
We head out on a final morning game viewing activity this morning befoe bidding farewell to the House in the Wild team as we travel to the airstrip for our private charter flight to Nairobi.
On arrival we connect with the scheduled flight to Lamu where we will check in to Peponi Hotel. Run by the Korschen family who happened upon the old building by chance in the 1960’s, Peponi Hotel is a small boutique hotel that sits at the beginning of the 14km stretch that is Shella beach. Peponi first opened its doors in 1967 and a stay here is like a step back in time, with laid-back days spent enjoying lazy lunches, good books, sunsets, watersports, retail therapy and is the ultimate way to end a safari through Kenya.
After settling in we will gather for a sundowner and hosted dinner on this evening.
DAY 12 & 13 | WED 11 & THU 12 OCT | LAMU
Move over Zanzibar Stone Town, Lamu Old Town is the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in all of East Africa, having been a key settlement for trade since the 14th century. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001, this town of coral stone and timber, with its vast network of narrow alleyways, evokes the important Swahili trade settlement of centuries past. We will not only explore its evocative historic sites we’ll also visit Shela Village – a chic enclave with a unique artsy vibe. We’ll chat with quirky and insightful local residents, admire the many striking mosques and visit the donkey sanctuary – established to care for the health and wellbeing of Lamu’s beloved workhorses. We can snorkel, kitesurf, swim and indulge in spa treatments. We will dine on fresh seafood, sip gin and tonics and sail on a traditional dhow at sunset. And we will wash off our safari & city dust and relive our memories of being in the wild!
DAY 14 | FRI 13 OCT | NAIROBI | 1 NIGHT
We fly back to Nairobi today on the scheduled flight from Lamu.
On arrival we will be met and transferred to the Trademark Hotel rising above one of Nairobi’s hottest centres for exceptional African leather, jewellery, homewares, arts and crafts.
The afternoon is yours at leisure for some last-minute shopping – for friends, for your kids, the cat sitter (?) or simply for yourself!
For those who simply want to relax the rooftop pool lounge has impressive views of the city.
We will rendezvous for our last hurrah – a fabulous dinner in a local restaurant.
DAY 15 | SAT 14 OCT | DEPARTURE DAY
A relaxed morning as we pack and prepare for departure at 11:30am bound for the airport. Most outbound flights fly overnight, delivering you to Australia tomorrow evening. There are a number of choices so please get in contact to discuss the best option for you.
You may, of course, not want to leave and we have plenty of suggestions for extending your time in Africa!
A handpicked selection
The Emakoko Hotel – Nairobi National Park
Set on 15 acres of land bordering the Nairobi National Park and on the Emakoko River, is the Emakoko safari lodge. As a family-owned and run property offering unexpected and unique game viewing in Nairobi it is a great alternative to a city stay. Read More
Lewa House – Kenya
Lewa House is situated in a private conservancy within sight of snow‐capped Mt Kenya. Thanks to pioneering conservation work elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino (both black and white) all thrive here, along with rare species such as Beissa oryx and Grevy’s zebra. The many different eco-systems result in a diverse and wildly entertaining safari experience. Read More
Sarara – Matthews Mountain Range
Sarara is situated in the remote Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya where the savannah plains and lush mountain slopes are home to rare wildlife and the proud Samburu people. It offers a wild safari in this lesser known and dramatically beautiful ‘northern frontier’ of Kenya. Read More
House in the Wild – Maasai Mara
House in the Wild is a private home tucked away on a 1000‐acre private estate on the edge of the Maasai Mara. Built originally as a family getaway and still overseen by the owners, the lodge exudes a sense of easy relaxation and homeliness. Read More
Peponi Hotel – Lamu
Peponi Hotel is a small boutique hotel on the remote island of Lamu, situated in the Indian Ocean off the North Kenyan coast. Small and personal, with bags of Swahili style, it is the perfect rest after a safari or a hide away holiday from modern life. Read More
Trademark Hotel – Nairobi
Located in Gigiri, Nairobi’s Embassy district, the Trademark is a bold, contemporary hotel on the doorstep of the thriving Village Market - home to upscale restaurants, cafes, bars and some of the best shopping in Nairobi. Read More
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
14 nights in the wild! 30 September - 15 October 2023
14 nights in the wild! 30 September - 15 October 2023
USD $12,970 per person twin share | USD $3,200single supplement
USD $12,970 per person twin share
USD $3,200single supplement
START: Nairobi, Kenya | Finish: Nairobi, Kenya
- Hosted by Sarah Hoyland
- 14 nights in exceptional accommodation
- Arrival and departure group transfers
- Breakfast daily, 12 dinners & 9 lunches
- All drinks (local brand) whilst in camps & lodges
- Services of professional safari guides whilst in all camps & lodges
- 4WD game viewing – day & night
- Guided walking safaris
- Village & Singing Well visits
- Walking tour of Lamu
- All charter flights throughout the itinerary as specified
- All park entry fees, concession & community fees
- Laundry in camp
- Kenyan Flying Doctors membership (mandatory)
- Gratuities for camp staff
- All applicable taxes
- International flights
- Accommodation upgrades
- Any optional activities including a balloon safari and horseriding
- Discretionary tips for guides, trackers & camp staff
- Additional meals and all drinks in Nairobi and Lamu
- Kenya Tourist Visa (US$50), travel insurance, laundry & all items of a personal nature
- Any item not specified
Minimum – 8 (to confirm the departure)
Maximum – 11
Flights & Insurance – on request
Recommended Routings to Nairobi : Emirates or Qantas codeshare via Dubai | Qantas via Johannesburg
Sarah was full of fun, life ideas, knowledge and of course madly making it all happen seamlessly for us!! So so appreciate everything you did for us, our survey was just full points on every score because everything to do with the trip was full points on every score!Jacquie R
OMG – what an unbelievably, amazing experience we all had. All accommodation and staff were fabulous. So blessed and so lucky – still smiling as I think about my adventure!! Thank you Sarah for such an amazing trip. I can’t begin to tell you how fabulous it was and how much of a spectacular time I had.Dianne B
Firstly thank you for introducing me to these wonderful tours.. The trip was superbly organised, the hotels brilliant and activities, informative and spectacular. This definitely won't be the last trip that I take.Kris I