Deeper Africa - vacations and travel

Discover Kenya

Kenya

from $5,149* per person 10 Days June-April
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Deeper Africa 8 people max
  • Nairobi, kenya
  • Culture & Nature trips
Discover the traditional safari lands of Kenya visiting the Aberdare National Park, Lake Nakuru, and the famous Maasai Mara.  From your camp in the foothills of the Aberdare Mountains explore Solio Rhino Sanctuary which has the largest population of black and white rhinos in the world.  Solio is home to 150 black and white rhino.  Many rhino from Solio have been translocated to other parks in Kenya and further afield to Malawi and Kampala.  The 17,500 acre sanctuary has a policy of non-intervention and allows limited numbers of visitors.  The wildlife is plentiful, unused to visitors, giving a real insight into wildlife behavior.  Seeing herds of white rhino trotting across the plains is an amazing sight. 

We focus your Mara wildlife viewing in the western and central corridors of the Mara.  These are areas of the Mara with predator territories that yield frequent sightings of lions, and if you are patient, leopard as well.  Of course, the Mara is home to a diversity of herd animals, elephants, and other wildlife.  You'll be able to visit the famous Mara River and if you schedule your safar in August, September, or October you can sit near the river imagining you are part of a National Geographic film crew filming the wildebeest crossing. 

Lastly, no Kenyan safari is complete without the flamingos of Nakuru! 

Locations visited/nearby

Kenya

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Itinerary

Day 1   
Travel Day   
International Flight

Day 2
Safari Park Hotel
Nairobi   
Pickup at Jomo Kenyattta International Airport by Deeper Africa guide after clearing customs.  He will have a sign with your name on it.  Your guide will transport you to the Safari Park Hotel for an evening dinner and overnight.

Dinner and overnight at Safari Park Hotel.

Day 3
Sangare Tented Camp
Aberdare National Park   
Breakfast at Safari Park Hotel.  Morning drive into the high altitude of the Aberdares, a cool alternative to the savannahs you will encounter later on your safari.  Aberdare National Park stretches along the length of the Aberdare range peaks.  The Aberdare range is less well known than Mount Kenya, but equally spectacular.  The eastern slopes are farmed with tea and coffee plantations.  The dense mountain forests offer shelter to leopard, bongo antelope, buffalo, and some six thousand elephants.  Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth, on the death of her father George VI, while she was staying in the Aberdares. 

After wildlife viewing in the park, arrive at the end of the day at Sangare Tented Camp, located on the Sangare Ranch.  Your camp overlooks a fresh water lake where birdlife is the main draw, with black-headed herons, migratory pelicans, and glimpses of crowned eagle.  Superb farmhouse meals are eaten in a small dining room.  Camp has only six tents so no more than twelve other guests at camp means you’ll be alone on the fresh, high plateau where the air is clear.           

Dinner and overnight at Sangare Tented Camp.

Day 4
Sangare Tented Camp
Aberdare National Park   
Breakfast at Sangare Tented Camp.  Spend the day viewing in the Solio Rhino Sanctuary, a private sanctuary which boasts the largest population of black and white rhinos in the world.  Solio’s 17,500 acres were dedicated in 1966 as a sanctuary for saving the highly endangered rhino population.  Solio more or less single-handedly saved the Kenyan rhino from extinction, by breeding them to be translocated into other parks.  The Solio sanctuary is considered the premiere rhino-viewing destination in the world.  Rhino from Solio have been translocated to other reserves in Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda.   There are plenty of other wildlife species in Solio, including giraffe, buffalo, impalas, waterbuck, warthogs, and zebras.   The Sanctuary has a policy of non-intervention, so limited visitors are allowed.  Superb wildlife viewing with no other tourists – imagine being alone in pristine wilderness!   

Dinner and overnight at Sangare Tented Camp.  Night game drive to watch the galaxies, identify stars, and spot nocturnal animals. 

Day 5
Mbweha Camp
Lake Nakuru National Park   
Breakfast at Sangare Tented Camp.  Morning drive south for wildlife viewing to Lake Nakuru National Park. Wildlife viewing is relatively easy in Nakuru National Park, and it is not uncommon to spot leopard in trees.  The springs in the northeastern corner of the lake provide pools for hippo. Numerous antelope roam on the shores, including the defassa waterbuck.  The shoreline is also a good place to observe the Bohor’s Reedbuck, which sleeps in the sedge grasses. 

The woodlands and forest are also home to many rhino. In 1987, only two black rhino remained in the park following devastation by poachers. By creating a rhino sanctuary within the park and reintroducing a breeding herd, KWS (“Kenya Wildlife Service”) has now successfully reestablished rhino in the park.  As well, in 1977, the Rothschild’s giraffe were introduced to the park from their threatened home area, Soy, in western Kenya.  They have also successfully bred in the area.  Although you will not see elephants in Nakuru, driving around the national park you are likely to see large herds of buffalo, impala, warthog, eland, troops of olive baboon, the occasional steinbok, Chandler’s reedbuck, dik-dik, and colobus monkeys – amongst many other species. Rock hyrax and klipspringer occupy the cliffs and escarpment. Sightings of leopard and lion are common as are jackals and hyena. Recently two wild dogs were sighted in the park.

Lake Nakuru is world famous for its stunning flocks of lesser flamingo, which literally turn its shores pink. Its birdlife is rich: a beacon for leading ornithologists, scientists, and wildlife filmmakers. Up to four million flamingoes roam the Rift Valley lakes in great flocks throughout the year, searching for the best feeding and bathing conditions.  Each day a substantial number of these flamingoes settle on Lake Nakuru producing an interesting cacophony of sights and sounds.  

Historically, Lake Nakuru was a remote wildlife park; but development and urban sprawl brought many people to this once remote area.   Human and wildlife conflicts were a constant problem.  As a solution, KWS built an electric fence around this small park.  The fence solved the conflict problems and it allows you to experience substantial wildlife populations in a small geographic area.  This means that every turn reveals new species and large quantities of wildlife per square mile or meter of land. 
 
Dinner and overnight at Mbweha Camp.

Day 6   
Tipilikwani Camp
Maasai Mara Reserve
Breakfast at Mbweha Camp.  Today is an early start as you head off towards the Maasai Mara and across the Rift Valley to the famous open plains of the Serengeti, teeming with vast numbers of wildlife.  You’ll stop for lunch en-route, arriving in the late afternoon.  The Maasai Mara is probably the most famous reserve in Kenya.  Its breathtaking views became familiar worldwide when the film Out of Africa was released, as much of it was filmed in the Mara.  It is the only region left in Africa where the super-abundance of animals that existed a century ago can be viewed.  

The Maasai Mara is the northern section of the Serengeti.  Serengeti means endless plain.  This vast savannah grass land extends southward into Tanzania for over 5,000 square miles of land, forming one of the world’s largest wildlife refuges.  This is land as it was in the beginning:  no fences, no settlements, just a perennial migration of wildlife.  In a journey that dates back through time, these herds of animals (currently estimated at 1.25 million) follow the seasonal rains, traveling north into the Mara from Tanzania and instinctually moving with the seasonal rainfalls.  They sometimes migrate as much as 300 miles a year.  Wildlife is allowed to roam freely across the Kenyan and Tanzanian borders, uniting the two parks into a single ecological unit which supports the largest concentration of large mammals on the planet.    

Wide arrays of habitats are represented in the Mara - each with a unique complement of flora and fauna.  Acacia woodlands attract giraffes, while hippos occupy the deeper river pools.  But it is the East Africa savannah grasslands and the herds and predators of the savannah that make the Mara famous.  Wildebeest are well suited to harvest the short grasses that cover the semiarid plains of the Serengeti.  The soils of this region have an underlying hardpan covered by a fertile layer of volcanic soil.  Grass growing in this soil is highly nutritious, taking up nutrients trapped by the hard pan.   The eastern and western Mara, as well as the Mara River areas, are all accessible to you by Land Cruiser.  The variety of ecosystems makes the Mara a superb place to hone your tracking and spotting skills allowing you continued opportunities to increase your wildlife knowledge.

Sundowners, dinner, and overnight at Tipilikwani Camp on the Talek River. 

Day 7
Tipilikwani Camp
Maasai Mara Reserve
Breakfast at Tipilikwani Camp.  Full day of wildlife viewing in the Mara, as you schedule with your Deeper Africa guide.   Picnic lunch available.  

The annual migration is what makes the Mara famous.  The herds gather in the hundreds of thousands on the plains of the Mara during July, August, September, October, and into November.  The herds are drawn into the northern Serengeti region by areas of greater rainfall where the grasses grow taller and stay greener longer.  The migration includes vast herds of wildebeest, but also zebra and Thomson’s gazelle.  Those herds remain in the Mara for up to four months chomping, trampling the grass, grunting, and stampeding across the Mara River in search of fresh grass for grazing.  It is the superabundance of prey that accounts for the Mara’s big predator populations.  The onset of the “short rains” sometime in November or early December sends them south into the Serengeti for fresh grass.

The Mara savannahs with their open country and grasslands support a healthy cheetah population.  Cheetahs face increasing pressure from humans and land encroachment - with between 9,000 to 12,000 left in the world.  You’ll be scouting for cheetah in one of the two remaining cheetah strongholds in the world - the Mara/Serengeti ecosystem.  (The other significant cheetah population is in Namibia and Botswana.)  

The Mara cheetah population is threatened by a lack of genetic variation, making them susceptible to disease and decreasing reproduction.  Still, there have been a number of cub births in the Mara cheetah population over the past five years.  Cheetahs live in small groups or singly, not in prides.  The famous BBC documentary Big Cat Diary has filmed quite a number of Mara cheetah mothers with their cubs in the past few seasons.       

Sundowners, dinner, and overnight at Tipilikwani Camp.

Day 8   
Tipilikwani Camp
Maasai Mara Reserve   
Breakfast at Tipilikwani Camp.  Full day for wildlife viewing.  While in the Serengeti, you can also study some of the great challenges facing the stability of the Serengeti migratory herds.  In most other areas of Africa, major wildebeest herds have died out because of ever-expanding human populations which demand land for agriculture, domestic livestock, and water resources.  Humans’ need for land and water resources at the edges of the Mara threaten to reduce the migration range and access to water resources.  It is land available for grazing and access to water that determine the size of the Serengeti wildebeest population.  The herd’s population varies yearly depending on rainfall and how much grassland is available.  When there is not enough food or water, the weakest members of the population starve.  In the absence of severe drought, most of the culling will occur late in the dry season, just before the “short rains” begin. 

It is the superabundance of prey that accounts for the Mara’s big predator populations.  At last count there were 22 lion prides in the Mara.  Females within a lion pride are related to each other.  Daughters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and nieces live together for up to 15 years - the typical lifespan of a lioness.   Males are forced to leave the pride at between two to three years of age.  When not attached to a pride, lions are nomadic, occasionally banding together with other male cousins or brothers.  The majority of prides in the Mara have two or three adult males, but the males-in-power can form larger alliances.   Nomadic males are a constant territorial threat to the pride males. 

Ask your guide about the better pride viewing opportunities for your safari season.  He will definitely be taking you near Musiara Marsh, which is prime territory for the Marsh lion pride.  Other pride territories are near Rhino Ridge, near Paradise Plain, and near Kichwa Tembo.  Each of these pride territories vary in size.  The controlling factors tend to be habitat and the availability of food.  Some Mara prides can do quite well with small amounts of territory, while other prides require substantially larger amounts of ground.  While pride members defend their territories they can never keep an exclusive lock on all of their territory.   Overlaps at the edges of the territories find young nomadic males creating confrontations whenever possible.  During migration season, the lions prosper with sufficient food to feed all of the pride members.  But once the herds migrate south into Tanzania, the resident wildlife becomes the prime target; and territory and hunting skills become the means of survival.   

Sundowners, dinner, and overnight at Tipilikwani Camp.  

Day 9       
Breakfast at Tipilikwani Camp.  Depart after breakfast for the return drive to Nairobi.  Dinner at Talisman Restaurant.  Evening transport to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your late evening International Flight.

Day 10   
Travel day   
International Travel

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