Day 1 Nairobi, Kenya
This plantation-style, five-star hotel situated in the leafy and historic suburb of Karen, close to Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi, offers exceptional service and every luxury necessary for those travelers embarking on safari who wish to explore what Nairobi has to offer. It’s the best location in terms of avoiding Nairobi traffic as it is accessible via a highway that by passes the city center. Everything you need is on property including a fantastic restaurant, gym and spa. It is also close to the local airport for your flight into the bush the following day.
ACTIVITIES in NAIROBI, KENYA
Nairobi is a charming, cosmopolitan city, blessed with the most wildlife in the world, making it a great safari destination. Known as the ‘Green City in the Sun’, Nairobi is the largest city as well as the capital of Kenya.
The city got its name from a Maasai phrase Enkare Nyorobi meaning ‘the place of cool waters. The province of Nairobi is located on the Nairobi River in the south of the country. Furthermore, it is the most populated city in East Africa and the fourth largest city in Africa.
Hemingways Nairobi is a premium 5-star hotel at the foot of the Ngong Hills in the historical suburb of Karen.
With many tourist attractions in close proximity – such as the Giraffe Sanctuary, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (which does incredible work with orphaned elephants), the Karen Blixen Museum, and the Nairobi National Park – the hotel is perfect as a base from which to explore this bustling capital city.
Imbued with an airy plantation architectural design, each of the 45 elegant suites have private balconies, endless views, and a personal butler to cater to your every need. Fine dining and a stylish bar offer international flavors for the most discerning of palates. And when you tire of sightseeing, relax on a lounger next to the pool or indulge in a pampering treatment at the spa.
Dining: Savor dishes for every appetite at Hemingways Nairobi – hearty breakfasts with pastries and bread, freshly baked in their bakery every day, traditional English afternoon teas with delicious scones and classic finger sandwiches, their special In-House made pasta, and their signature Josper oven – an indoor barbeque to produce the finest steaks. Offering light bites to be enjoyed in the bar, on the terrace, or at the pool and 24-hour in-room dining service offers guests the chance to relax in their suite in complete privacy.
Named after a legendary British aristocrat who travelled to Kenya over a century ago and promptly fell under the spell of Africa, Finch Hattons luxury tented camp is a happy mix of old-world glamour and modern-day comfort. Based in Tsavo West National Park, where the landscape spans rocky peaks, grassy plains, natural springs and the glorious Mount Kilimanjaro, this idyllic place combines eco-friendly accommodation with world-class luxury and a glimpse of wild Africa that will never be forgotten. I love this property as it has the very best views of Mount Kilimanjaro directly in front of you and is a great contrast to the other properties with its volcanic soils and differing vegetations.
ACTIVITIES in Tsavo West National Park, Kenya
Reminiscent of the early days of safari travel, Finch Hatton’s luxury tented camp is something special. Wildlife is abundant, from leopard and lion to buffalo and giraffe, as well as one of the largest populations of red elephants – named after their habit of taking regular dust baths in the ochre-colored soil of Tsavo – in East Africa.
Seventeen glamorous suites, each featuring an elevated deck overlooking the hippo pools, come equipped with every five-star comfort imaginable, yet ensure minimal environmental impact through the use of sustainable materials and practices.
Freestanding copper baths, indoor and outdoor showers, crisp white linen, and the haunting sounds of animals after dark are the stuff of indelible memories.
Echoing the high standards of Denys Finch Hatton’s era, an exceptional dining experience is accompanied by crystal glassware and classical music under the stars.
Various dining options, a cigar lounge, spa, wellness, and fitness center ensure optimum enjoyment. Spring-fed pools are the focal point of the camp, tempting guests to wallow in the cool water while taking in the resident wildlife.
Game Drives: Tsavo game drives are done any time and typically last two-three hours. The best advised times are either early in the morning or late afternoon, which is when the wildlife is most active. Game drives take place in open game viewing vehicles, allowing you to experience the quintessential African landscape and wide range of birds, flora & fauna, and wildlife that thrive in the surrounding area.
Guided Bush Walks: In the company of an experienced guide, learn about the flora and fauna of Tsavo National Park, and begin to understand how nature lives and thrives.
Dining: Denys Finch Hatton stopped at nothing to create dining experiences that were second to none, and it’s one of his many legacies the camp proudly carries on. Eating at Finch Hattons isn’t just about exceptional food that uses only the best fresh, locally sourced, and organically grown ingredients. It isn’t just about the smells and flavors that combine to create meals you will remember long after you have put your knife and fork together and leaned back with a contented sigh. It’s also about their out-of-this-world dining locations, the views and vistas, the landscapes and starscapes, and the unparalleled service that accompanies every bite.
Iltilal Cultural Visits: A cultural visit gives you an insight into the daily life of the Maasai. The warm and friendly inhabitants of the village will invite you to share a glimpse of their daily lifestyles and invite you to their ‘Manyatta’s’, their homes.
Spa, Wellness & Yoga: The camp has an impressive spa and wellness center, complete with an elevated yoga deck where one can unwind while enjoying splendid views of the majestic Chyulu Hills. The spa pool provides the opportunity to take cool refreshing dips under the Tsavo sun from where you can also occasionally spot leopards and other wild game.
The beauty of Lewa Wilderness isn’t just in the incredible scenery and wildlife explored daily with game drives – but in the wealth of activities and experiences to be had at every turn.
Situated on the edge of one of Kenya’s most private wildlife and environmental conservation projects, the wildlife-rich Lewa provides guests a home-away-from-home experience that’s hard to find these days.
When you arrive at the lodge, you’ll immediately feel like you’re with family. Just nine exclusive rooms dot the Lewa Wilderness landscape. Six cottages are tucked into the hillside overlooking the sprawling Eastern Marania Valley, plus a further three garden cottages that are cozy yet expansive are set amongst the beautiful lawn.
At Lewa Wilderness they go beyond the game drive, with exceptional wildlife and wilderness viewing opportunities. From the traditional game viewing vehicles (they’ve recently converted one of their Landcruisers to be 100% electric), to guided walks and breathtaking scenic flights in their retro yellow WACO bi-plane to unforgettable horse riding safaris for all ages and levels and even camel riding and fly camping.
ACTIVITIES in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (also known as Lewa Downs) is located in northern Kenya. It covers 62,000 acres (250 km sq.) and is a wildlife sanctuary, which incorporates the Ngare Ndare Forest.
The conservancy is home to a wide variety of wildlife including rare and endangered species as well as the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo). It holds over 12% of Kenya’s black rhino population and has the largest single population of Grevy’s zebra in the world (approximately 350 individuals).
Situated near the base of Mt. Kenya – Africa’s second tallest mountain – Lewa Wilderness is one of Kenya’s oldest and most private safari ventures. The Craig family has passed down from one generation to the next a distinct passion for wildlife, conservation, and tourism, and they proudly continue to run Lewa Wilderness Lodge.
This place is as much a home as it is a truly unique and personal safari experience. The lodge is just nine exclusive rooms, six cottages tucked into the hillside overlooking Lewa’s Eastern Marania Valley, plus three garden cottages set amidst the beautiful green lawns.
Game Drives: Lewa is one of the only reserves where you are almost guaranteed to see the endangered black and white rhinos. With the backdrop of snow-capped Mount Kenya and the diversity of scenery from open plains, rolling hills, valleys, escarpments, and rivers, Lewa is a magical place for the ultimate Kenyan safari experience.
Guided Walks: Guests are welcome to go for a walk with one of our trained Maasai guides to enjoy the environment from a different perspective. There is nothing more thrilling than watching a rhino or elephant grazing in the morning light whilst you are on foot or following the tracks of a leopard. Walks can be as easy or as hard as you like.
Camel Riding: Led by Maasai warriors deep into the African wilderness it is as if you have instantly gone back in time. Marvel at the landscape, simplicity, and surrounding wildlife on a scenic camel ride to the river where your lunch is waiting for you. A great activity for everyone and a complete ‘must do’ during your stay.
Cultural Visit: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy borders the Samburu communities of Tassia and Il Ngwesi in the arid lowlands of the north, and many of the Conservancy and Lodge staff are recruited from this area.
The lodge offers visits to neighboring local Samburu homesteads (manyattas). For an additional fee, the Samburu families will be delighted to show you around their traditional homes, built by the women from cattle dung and grass, and share their way of life with you. They also produce and sell traditional handicrafts.
Horseback Riding: With everything from ponies up, the lodge is able to cater to a wide range of experience levels and offer extensive exploration on horseback. This option is one of the most popular ways to explore the open lands to the east of the lodge.
Sundowners Panoramic Viewpoint: As the afternoon game drive comes to an end, you will be driven to an unforgettable panoramic viewpoint, where you will enjoy a refreshing drink or a signature cocktail and scrumptious snacks as you celebrate the end of the day against the unforgettable backdrop of the African sunset. Magical, memorable and romantic, the sundowner is an experience not to be missed.
Angama Mara is an exquisitely designed lodge suspended on the rim of the Great Rift Valley, often referred to as the place where heaven and earth collide. With unforgettable views across the endless plains of the Mara, and with two intimate camps of just 15 tented suites each, prepare for an unparalleled safari experience tailor made for you and the best views in Africa over the Mara River.
ACTIVITIES in Maasai Mara National Park, Kenya:
West of the Mara River, beneath the Oloololo escarpment and bordered by Tanzania to the south lies the jewel of this great reserve: the Mara Triangle.
Not only is this the most productive part of the entire Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in terms of grass nutrition, but it is also spectacularly scenic. The huge grassy plains are dotted with widely spaced Balanites trees that give the landscape an almost manicured look, which together with the steep-sided escarpment and broad Mara River, provides a breath-taking backdrop for wildlife photographers.
For much of the year, the Mara Triangle has the lowest density of visitors in the Greater Maasai Mara, with just two lodges within its perimeters and a few on the northern border. The Mara Triangle has a high concentration of game all year-round including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino) and diverse plains game such as cheetah, hyena, jackal, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, waterbuck, and many other species.
Suspended as it is on the rim of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment, it is said that Angama Mara is where heaven and earth collide.
This exquisitely designed and luxuriously furnished lodge commands endless vistas across the Mara where you can watch buffalo grazing and elephant from the (exceptional) comfort of your deck.
Angama Mara is made up of two intimate camps, with 15 tented suites that are independently serviced, each with a pair of binoculars, and with facilities that include a remarkably designed communal area with a swimming pool, fitness gym, and library.
Here safari excursions are tailored to each guest, taking into consideration previous game experiences, personal passions, and time preferences. So, whether you choose to drift across the Mara in a hot air balloon, take a walking safari with the local Maasai, or enjoy a picnic in the exact location where scenes from the iconic movie ‘Out of Africa’ were filmed – you’ll discover that Angama Mara is on another level, literally and figuratively.
After settling in, enjoy lunch while savoring the splendid views. Using Kenya’s finest produce the chefs will prepare mezze platters, open sandwiches, crisp salads, and a hamburger, for you to enjoy.
In the afternoon your experienced guide will you introduce to the beauty of this reserve and the many creatures that call it home. A short drive takes you to the Mara River where hippos and crocs provide great photographic opportunities.
On return to the lodge after your game drive, watch the Mara change color as the sun dips away, wind down the day at the barazza fire pit sharing stories about your African adventures.
Gather for pre-dinner drinks and canapés before a quiet dinner on the deck, inside, or in the Library. Your choice. The food and ambiance are both of simple elegance and the wine will surely delight you.
Game Drive: The typical day at Angama is crafted around you, the guest. You are asked where you have been; what you have seen; what your great passions are; what you would like to do and when you would like to do it; – and game drives are structured accordingly.
You could leave the lodge at dawn, or decide to go on a game drive after breakfast, descend down Angama Mara’s private road and 25-minutes later find yourselves in the heart of the action – surrounded by more animals than they could imagine: the vast grasslands dotted with acacias are home to abundant herds, as well as Africa’s Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo.
East Africa Migration: Nowhere in the world is there a movement of animals as immense as the wildebeest migration. As one of the world’s most spectacular natural events, over two million animals form part of this procession. Vast numbers of the Serengeti’s wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, and smaller numbers of Grant’s gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle, eland, and impala join the search to seek fresh grazing and water.
The Great Migration is a clockwise, round-trip journey of around 1800 miles during which an estimated 250,000 wildebeest perish each year. Just witnessing hundreds of animals on the plains is a sight in itself. Particularly because they attract many of Africa’s impressive predators.
Lions, leopards, hyenas, and wild dogs follow the herds and give safari-goers excellent chances of seeing a kill in action. The precise timing of the migration is entirely dependent upon the rainfall patterns each year, and the location of the animals on the migration route varies from year to year.
Safari Shop and Craft Studio: Angama Mara’s Safari Shop offers you the opportunity to browse through a curated selection of Kenyan and African jewelry, fashion, artifacts, and literature. Leading off from the shop is a Maasai craft studio, where you can try your hand at beading or even perhaps have the Maasai ladies bead a bespoke item onto your clothing.
Hot Air Balloon Safari: The soft, early morning breeze takes the balloon southwards towards the Tanzanian border, with the typical flight path along the Mara River and its adjoining forest, and over the open plains beyond.
This is an unmatched safari – even the lions look up in surprise as one sails by – and all the animals of the Mara are visible from the air. A flight normally lasts around one hour and ends with a sometimes-bumpy landing amidst the termite mounds, all part of the adventure.
Once you’ve settled back to earth, toast the morning’s activities with celebratory champagne breakfast – specially prepared under a tree in the middle of nowhere. The perfect start to any day in the Mara, and for many, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Walking at Angama: Agama offers a host of different walking safari options. You could also choose to discover the Great Rift Valley on foot. Leaving Angama Mara and heading South along the edge of the Oloololo Escarpment, Maasai Naturalists offer guided walks through lovely forests and open areas in-between.
The birding high above the Maasai Mara is especially rewarding. Walking safaris at Angama Mara are tailor-made for every guest, and every fitness level is taken into consideration.
Depending on the time of day, and the length of the walk, they can include picnic baskets, blankets, or even a lift back to the lodge. From a gentle 2-hour stroll to a full day’s walk, you can choose exactly how you would like to discover Africa on foot.
The Shamba Garden: Angama’s Shamba, Kiswahili for a vegetable garden, has become a much-loved experience for everyone.
The Shamba keepers welcome you at the passionfruit bower which forms the entrance to the garden and guides you via meandering paths, through the 1-acre shamba, explaining all the produce and encouraging you to pick and taste along the way.
The design is magical and the shamba keepers eagerly share the story behind its unique layout. This is not just an ordinary vegetable patch!
Private shamba-to-table lunches in the garden under lovely towering shady trees are offered. You may pick your own ingredients which are then washed and readied for the freshest salads imaginable.
The butlers prepare a wicker basket filled with loaves of bread, local Kenyan cheeses, and chilled rosé wine to accompany the salad. Enjoy your lunch taking in sweeping views of the Mara below whilst watching the butterflies and birds dance around the garden.