Land Expeditions

Kenya: Up Close with Elephants, Rhinos and Big Cats

  • Duration 10 Days | Round-trip Nairobi
  • Group Size Max 25
  • From $14,726 AUD
Call 1800 954 479

Trip Overview

 

In the rolling grasslands of southern Kenya, experience a fascinating and fragile ecosystem through the eyes of people dedicated to saving it. Embark on game drives in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, and track rare species like African wild dogs and white and black rhinos through the thriving Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. In the legendary Masai Mara, observe herds of zebras and wildebeests—and the fierce predators that hunt them. Along the way, meet researchers, wildlife biologists, and conservationists who are confronting poaching and habitat loss in East Africa head-on.

 

Trip Highlights

  • On a trip inspired by National Geographic-sponsored efforts to save Kenya's iconic wildlife, meet grantees working throughout the country to protect elephants, rhinos, and big cats.
  • Set out on safari in three wildlife conservancies known for their high concentrations of African megafauna: Amboseli National Park, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, and Masai Mara National Reserve.
  • In Nairobi, interact with orphaned elephants at the renowned David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, featured in the September 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine.
  • Delve into Samburu culture during a village visit, and learn about wildlife conservation efforts carried out in partnership with local Maasai communities.

Itinerary - 10 Days

Day 1 Nairobi, Kenya

Arrive at the airport in Nairobi, where our staff will be on hand to facilitate your transfer to the hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Tamarind Tree Hotel

Day 2 Amboseli National Park

Fly to Amboseli National Park, a conservancy of far-reaching grass and marshlands irrigated by underground runoff streams from Mount Kilimanjaro. These landscapes provide a habitat for hundreds of elephants, making the park one of the best places in Africa to spot these majestic pachyderms. Enjoy a safari en route to our sustainable safari lodge, set within view of Mount Kilimanjaro—the world’s highest freestanding peak. After lunch and time to settle into your tent, set out on an afternoon safari, on the lookout for cheetahs, lions, zebras, and other creatures scattered across the endless savanna.
Tortilis Camp (B,L,D)

Day 3 Amboseli National Park

Go on safari in Amboseli and learn about elephant behaviour while seeking out resident herds. As we travel across the grasslands, keep an eye out for the savanna’s smaller creatures, including some of the more than 400 bird species that have been identified here—from superb starlings to grey crowned cranes. Spend an afternoon at the Amboseli Elephant Research Project, home to the longest running study of wild elephants in the world. Its director, Cynthia Moss, has received support from the National Geographic Society for her work. Meet with project researchers to hear about their time in the field observing herd dynamics and collecting biological samples.
Tortilis Camp (B,L,D)

Day 4 Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Fly to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, 62,000 acres of golden savanna dotted with iconic umbrella thorn trees on the northern flanks of Mount Kenya. Considered a model in the conservation field, this healthy wildlife habitat is home to a number of rare species, including the reticulated giraffe, the dazzling Grevy’s zebra, and African wild dogs. Lewa and the neighbouring Borana Conservancy also harbour roughly 15 percent of Kenya’s entire rhino population. Settle into your tented camp; then set out on safari to track these and countless other creatures, and cap off your day sipping sundowners on the savanna.
Lewa Safari Camp (B,L,D)

Day 5 Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

If you wish, rise at daybreak for a birding walk, spotting avian species flitting and fluttering amid the grasses. Lewa is home to more than 350 bird species, including beauties like the lilac-breasted roller, Hartlaub’s turaco, and the variable sunbird. Or see Lewa from a different perspective on a thrilling bushwalk. Tread in the tracks of lions, rhinos, and leopards; spot tiny members of the ecosystem; and learn to identify local flora. Later, meet with members of Lewa’s award-winning security team, whose effective patrolling of the reserve has ensured that not a single rhino has been poached in the past three years (to date). If you wish, join the team and their highly effective tracking dogs on a simulated patrol of the conservancy.
Lewa Safari Camp (B,L,D)

Day 6 Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

After breakfast, choose an excursion: Venture into the Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve and traverse hanging bridges strung through the canopy for a chance to spot black-and-white colobus monkeys swinging among the trees; then take a refreshing swim beneath a waterfall. Or delve into Samburu culture during a village visit, and see how traditional dwellings are constructed. This evening, enjoy another safari, followed by a festive dinner in the bush.
Lewa Safari Camp (B,L,D)

Day 7 Lewa Wildlife Conservancy/Masai Mara

Take a final safari in Lewa en route to the airstrip, then fly to the legendary Masai Mara National Reserve. Settle into our stunning safari camp, located on the edge of the Soit Ololol (or Oloololo) Escarpment in a private concession that shares an unfenced border with Masai Mara—but is free of the reserve’s crowds. After lunch, get an intimate look at the area’s legendary landscapes on an open-vehicle wildlife drive.
andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp (B,L,D)

Day 8 Masai Mara

At first light, head out on safari to track the animals that traversed the area during the night. View plains game such as Thomson's and Grant's gazelles, topi and eland antelopes—as well as their stealthy predators—at one of their most active times of the day. This area is reputed to have one of the highest concentrations of predators in all of Africa. Glimpse large pods of hippos submerged up to their nostrils in the Mara River and crocodiles sunbathing on the shore. Then set out on an evening safari along the shores of the Mara River.
andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp (B,L,D)

Day 9 Masai Mara

This morning we meet with researchers from the Anne K. Taylor Fund, an organisation that works with local Maasai communities to conserve area wildlife by reducing human-animal conflict with support from National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative. Learn about ongoing projects, like the effort to fortify bomas to prevent predators from attacking livestock, resulting in revenge poaching. Later, set off on one last safari, then toast our adventure during a farewell dinner under a starlit sky.
andBeyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp (B,L,D)

Day 10 Nairobi

Return to Nairobi to meet National Geographic grantee Washington Wachira and learn about how he trains emerging conservationists through his Youth Conservation Awareness Programme. Visit the Giraffe Centre, where the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe is bred in captivity before being released into the wild. Continue to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, featured in the September 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine. The organisation is the world’s most successful rescue and rehabilitation program for orphaned elephants. Enjoy the opportunity to shadow the centre's caretakers and get up close to the elephants during their afternoon feeding. Later, transfer to the airport for your flight home.
(B,L)

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Kenya: Up Close with Elephants, Rhinos and Big Cats

From AUD $14,726 Call 1800 954 479

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