Kenya Wildlife Safari
Experience the Best of Kenya on this Safari Adventure
Visit a world of grassy steppes, tall mountains, and beautiful people. This adventure safari in East Africa is an amazing blend of natural wonders and local cultural experiences; you will be amazed at the abundance of both. Watch the sunset over the plains of Maasai Mara, view lion, elephant, giraffe, hyena, and many more from four-wheel drive vehicles. Enjoy great food and spirits as you stay in comfortable lodges. Visit a local school, sample traditional foods, make friends, and go hiking with Maasai warriors. Join Wilderness Inquiry guide Richard Muthoga Mwara in Kenya for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
For standard meeting places and times, see Dates & Fees tab.
DAY 1: Your guide will meet you in the evening at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. From the airport, you’ll ride to your Nairobi lodging for a night of rest (with an option for a late evening meal not included in the fee).
DAY 2: The group will leave Nairobi, passing through the coffee and tea farms of the central highlands and check into the Naromoru River Lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, the group will visit Kambi Primary School where Muthoga, one of your guides, attended school as a child. Here you will tour the school, have tea with the headmaster, and leave a donation of some much-needed school supplies. After enjoy an evening walk along the Naromoru River. Spend the night at the Naromoru River Lodge near the base of Mount Kenya.
DAY 3: After breakfast, you’ll visit Kenya's exotic Samburu National Reserve. The reserve lies on the Ewaso Nyiro River where lions and leopards are regularly seen (from a safe distance). Tonight you’ll stay at the Samburu Game Lodge.
DAY 4: Today you will get a chance to see African mammals at dawn and dusk. During the day, you will have the chance to relax by your hotel’s pool or take a stroll around town. Before your evening reserve adventure you'll visit a Samburu village where you can experience the dancing, fire making, beadwork, and company of these distant cousins to the Maasai.
DAY 5: After breakfast you’ll visit Sweetwater’s Sanctuary and some of Jane Goodall's chimpanzee refugees. You’ll observe rhino and warthogs. There may even be a chance to see some of the 'big five' (lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros). Overnight accommodations will be at the Pelican House.
DAY 6: Leave early for Lake Nakuru, stopping along the way to explore Thomson's Falls for lunch and take in this 243 ft scenic waterfall on the Ewaso Ng'iro River. Continue to Nakuru to visit a market and stay overnight at the Flamingo Hill Tented Camp.
DAY 7: After breakfast your group will go for a game drive near Lake Nakuru National Park, where you’ll see rhino, giraffe, baboon, and birds in their most active state. After lunch, you’ll enjoy a boat cruise on the Crater Lake among flamingos and colobus monkeys. Visit the Elsamere Conservation Centre, where the story of Joy Adamson's Born Free is told.
DAY 8: Start your day in the city of Narok to meet up with Hellen Nkuraya, your Maasai liaison. Tour Narok, pick up some gifts for your Maasai hosts and then continue on to Hellen's boma. As part of the Maji Moto Project, Hellen has created a girl's school, a widows’ village, and a tourist camp at the base of the Loita Hills just an hour from the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The camp introduces visitors to Maasai culture and life on the African savannah. The camp has simple but comfortable huts/cabins.
DAY 9: After hot tea and breakfast, your group will join our Maasai hosts for activities such as taking livestock out to graze, blessing ceremonies, or warrior training. Walk down to visit the local school before heading off to the Maasai Mara Reserve–this is the Africa that you've seen in pictures. Rolling plains stretch as far as you can see and provide sightings of all the "big five" African mammals.
DAY 10: In the morning, you’ll visit the Mara river, walk a few steps into Tanzania and trek along the riverbanks. Today, you may take a full-day game drive or choose shorter drives in the morning and afternoon.
DAY 11: Your group will head back to Nairobi stopping for scenic vistas of the fertile Great Rift Valley along the way. You will select a location for your lunch (not included in the fee), with assistance from your guide. For dinner, you’ll enjoy a feast at Carnivore Restaurant (rated in the top 100 in the world). You'll have a chance to taste local game and drink dawas...the perfect closure to an amazing African adventure.
DAY 12: On this last day, you’ll visit the a Wildlife Trust Giraffe Center and experience the Nairobi market. You will select a location for your lunch (not included in the fee), with assistance from your guide. For dinner, the group will dine at a traditional "nyama choma" restaurant before catching your evening flight.
Travel, Terrain, Etc...
TERRAIN/ROUTE: Kenya varies in terrain from tall mountains to vast plains. You'll complete a circuit route that takes you North out of Nairobi to Mt. Kenya, then Southwest to Nakuru, on to Masai Mara, and back to Nairobi with many great stops along the way.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: East Africa is a welcoming escape for travelers of all levels of experience. Travel between destinations is provided in four-wheel drive vans where everyone has a window seat. For the safari sections, we'll open the roofs of these vehicles for excellent wildlife viewing and photography. No previous experience is necessary.
WEATHER: In the area where most safaris take place, it can get very hot during midday and cools dramatically at night (50º-95ºF). Mid-March through April is a period of short rains, and November and December see more persistent rains, though rain is possible year-round.
YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 5 to 14 participants, plus one Wilderness Inquiry staff and several local guides. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds and abilities, including people with disabilities.
SINGLE TRAVELERS: If you are traveling alone, you will feel at home with a welcoming group. If you would like to have your own room throughout the trip, you may purchase a single supplement for an additional fee. Please email or call us if you would like this option.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Throughout the trip, you will be staying in wonderful safari lodges and tented camps, small hotels, and guest houses. Most rooms are double occupancy with two beds. Participants will be paired by gender or requests to room together.
MEALS: Kick back and relax while all meals are made for you. You'll indulge in typical Kenyan and British cuisine, including beef, chicken, fish, and lots of fruit, and vegetarian options will be accommodated.
Bottled water is readily available. Count on hearty breakfasts, picnic trail lunches, and lively dinners. While we’ll enjoy happy hours together, however the purchase of alcoholic beverages is not included in the trip fees.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all group equipment. You will need to provide your personal gear as outlined in the packing list. If you are new to outdoor activities, you do not need to spend a lot of money. Wilderness Inquiry can usually arrange for you to borrow most items.
HEALTH: We encourage you to see a doctor or travel nurse at least 4 weeks prior to traveling. This will allow for adequate time to get any new immunizations needed, and ensure other immunizations are current. The CDC highly recommends Hepatitis A and Typhoid. For the most up-to-date recommendations and requirements, please visit the CDC website: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/kenya?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-single-001 Malaria prevention medication may also be recommended. Where we travel malaria is rare, however if you play to visit the coast on your own this medication is highly recommended
PASSPORT/VISA: U.S. citizens need a passport to enter Kenya, and it must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned departure. Two blank passport pages (excluding the Amendments pages) are typically required for entry stamp and visa. Prior to visiting Kenya, all travelers must fill out an online eVisa application via the eCitizen portal, https://www.ecitizen.go.ke/. Cost is about $53 USD. After receiving the eVisa, travelers must download and present a hard copy of the eVisa upon arrival in Kenya. Approval after application and payment takes an estimated seven to ten days. We encourage you to check the State Department website for the most up to date information: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/kenya.htmlA note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
Kenya lies on the equator, and borders the Indian Ocean, Tanzania, and Uganda, among other countries. It has a warm and humid climate along its coastline on the Indian Ocean that changes to wildlife-rich savanna grasslands as you move inland towards the capital of Nairobi. Nairobi has a cool climate that gets colder as you move towards Mount Kenya, which has three permanently snowcapped peaks. The warm and humid tropical climate reappears further inland towards Lake Victoria, before giving way to temperate forested and hilly areas in the western region.
Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, lies next to a national park. The country is famous for its safaris and diverse world-famous wildlife reserves such as Tsavo National Park, the Maasai Mara, Nakuru National Park, and Aberdares National Park that attract tourists from all over the world.
Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest freshwater lake (after Lake Superior in the U.S. and Canada) and the world’s largest tropical lake, lies in the southwest part of Kenya and is shared with Uganda and Tanzania.
Mount Kenya, an imposing extinct volcano, dominates the landscape of the Kenyan Highlands east of the Rift. Mount Kenya lies about 140 kilometers north-northeast of Nairobi with its northern flanks across the equator. The mountain has three main peaks - Batian (5200 meters), Nelion (5188 meters), and Point Lenana (4985 meters). The mountain slopes are cloaked in forest, bamboo, scrub, and moorland that give way to rock, ice, and snow as you ascend in altitude.
Designated as both a Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, Mount Kenya covers 715 square kilometers. This reserve includes the peaks consisting of all the ground above 3200 meters with two small salients extending down to 2450 meters along the Sirimon and Naro Moru tracks. Surrounding the park is Mount Kenya National Reserve with an area of approximately 2095 square kilometers (517,000 acres).
The tourism sector has exhibited steady growth in most years since independence and by the late 1980s had become the country’s principal source of foreign exchange. Tourists, the largest number from Germany and the United Kingdom, are attracted mainly to the coastal beaches and the game reserves, notably, the expansive Tsavo National Park (20,808 square kilometers, or 5.14 million acres) in the southeast. Tourism has seen a substantial revival over the past several years and is the major contributor to the pick-up in the country's economic growth. Tourism now ranks as Kenya’s largest foreign exchange earning sector, followed by flowers, tea, and coffee.
Kenya’s human population remains quite diverse. About 41 million people live in Kenya, coming from 42 different peoples and cultures, including, Swahili on the coast, pastoralist communities in the north, and many different communities in the central and western regions. The Maasai culture is well known because of tourism, despite being a minor percentage of the Kenyan population. They are renowned for their elaborate upper body adornment and jewelry.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the visa requirements for Kenya?
A visa is simply a stamp in your passport that permits travel in a foreign country. You need to have a Single-entry tourist visa to get through customs in Kenya for this trip. There are two ways to obtain this visa: A. In advance, from the Kenyan Embassy in Washington, DC. This method is preferred by the Kenyan government because it reduces congestion in the airport and allows for efficient processing. To get your visa using this method you must use certified mail to send your actual passport and the following to: EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA 2249 R STREET, N.W. WASHINGTON, D.C. 20008 TEL: 2023876101 Enclose the following: 1. Form V 2. Valid Passport - to be submitted with the application 3. Completed (filled in) application form (in duplicate in case of multiple journey visas) 4. Copy of Round Trip Ticket or copy of Itinerary 5. Two passport size pictures (full face showing both ears) 6. Visa Fee of $50.00 for Single Entry (Tourist/Business), or $100.00 for Multiple Entry (Business) or $20.00 for Transit Visa payable in Cashiers Cheque or Money Order ONLY (Cash and Personal Cheques are not acceptable) 7. A self addressed stamped envelope for the return of your passport (s). The envelope should have enough postage for: Express Mail, Certified Mail or Priority Mail with delivery confirmation. B. The second option is to get the visa upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi. This usually involves waiting in line and dealing with grumpy customs agents but it does work. You still need to fill out Form V, pay $50 US cash, and show a copy of your return plane ticket. I don't think you need a photo but it wouldn't hurt to bring one. If choose to do this I recommend filling out Form V ahead of time because that will help you get to the front of the line faster. We hope this information is clear. Please contact us with any questions.
What are your thoughts on safety in Kenya?
Safety is our top priority on every trip, and Kenya is no exception; we would not offer a trip of any kind that places our groups in unsafe situations. Please rest assured that we take every precaution that we can and monitor conditions during our time there. We also register our entire group and route with the US Embassy. We are confident you will be impressed with the level of safety and security you will experience in Kenya. Tourism is Kenya's primary industry and it is in their worst interest for any crimes to happen to tourists. You will find the wonderful local people going to great lengths to ensure your safety and comfort. For more, information, go to http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_923.html
Do I need international travel insurance if my health insurance doesn’t cover me on an international trip?
If your health insurance doesn't cover you while abroad, it is a good idea to consider a basic travel-specific insurance. We refer our participants to Travel One for travel insurance needs. You can reach Travel One at 800-247-1311 or click here to visit their website.
How large are the groups that typically go on the Kenya and Mt Kenya trips? Do these groups include families with kids? Are they mostly couples?
Typically, the group size for this trip is 7-12 people. Most of our trips are geared for adults, both male and female who range in age from 18 and up. These trips may include a couple, but not necessarily. Nor would these trips include a family with children younger than age 18.
What is the main difference between the Kenya and Tanzania trips?
These trips are very similar. In Tanzania you'll get to experience more of a human anthropology aspect and visit one of the last remaining true nomadic tribes in the world, the Hadzabe Bushmen. You'll also visit the world-renowned Serengeti National Park and world heritage site, Ngorongoro Crater, home to the largest unbroken caldera in the world. The Tanzania trip also involves more walking. In Kenya, we visit many comparable places, including Samburu National Reserve and Masai Mara. Spectacular opportunities abound for wildlife viewing and we also spend time with three different local tribes: the Maasai, Samburu, and Kikuyu. We suggest reading about some of the following places and deciding based on what piques your interest: Kenya: Masai Mara, Samburu, Nakuru National Park, Lake Naivasha, Mt. Kenya Tanzania: Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Lake Eyasi, Oldupai Gorge
Why is there a difference in price between the Kenya and Tanzania trips?
Tanzania, generally, is much more expensive then Kenya. The places are harder to get to but at the same time more popular. The park fees (daily entrance) in Tanzanian parks are often double those in Kenya. Due to the economy, geography and a few other factors, lodges, food, vehicles, and petrol also cost in Tanzania and are the main reasons for the difference in price.
When is the best time to visit Kenya?
We generally offer Kenya trips in May-June, September-October, or January-February to optimize peak wildlife presence, dry seasons, low tourist seasons, and affordable airfare.
What shots do you recommend if one goes to Africa?
We recommend that you check with your doctor as early as possible prior to leaving to ensure you are up to date on your standard immunizations. Your doctor may also recommend immunizations against things like typhoid and yellow fever but we leave that up to you to decide. During the safaris there is the possibility of exposure to malaria carrying mosquitoes and thus you will also need to bring an anti-malarial medication.
What is the policy for tipping in Kenya?
You will not need to tip your drivers and safari guides unless they go out of their way for you personally and you really want to show them you appreciate it. If you do Mt. Kenya you will be expected to tip your guide and porter (anything from $5 to $40 is appropriate). You will need to tip a very small amount if you order alcoholic beverages at hotels as these are not included in the trip fee.
Do you meet people at Jomo Kenyatta Airport for the Kenya trips? What is the airport like?
We do meet you right outside customs at Jomo Kenyatta airport. Many times, we work with our travel agency to try to get people on the same flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi, but regardless we'll meet you there. Jomo Kenyatta Airport is not quite as modern or as large as typical major US city airports, but it has almost all the same amenities and good security. The airport is actually near Nairobi National Park and it is not uncommon to see giraffe or zebra from your plane as you are circling in to land.
Is bottled water available on trips to Kenya and Tanzania?
Bottled water is recommended on our trips to Kenya and Tanzania, and is available everywhere we stay throughout the trip.
What is the nearest meeting place for the Kenya Safari and Mt Kenya trips?
The group usually meets in Nairobi, but if for some reason someone was already in Kenya, s/he could meet us in a town called Naro Moru, though Nairobi should be much more convenient for them. We will do pickups at Jomo Kenyatta Airport and 1 or 2 Nairobi city hotels.
Are your safari trips accessible for a person who uses a manual wheelchair?
Yes, and we have had participants who use manual wheelchairs join us on safari in Kenya and Tanzania. For some parts of the trip, including hiking in Tanzania, you may want to use a wheelchair with the assistance of another person using our Rickshaw device.
The State Department says the terrorist threat is high in Kenya. Can you offer any information about that?
The State Department has a travel warning issued for Kenya. It was issued in June 2014 and has not changed. The areas that are the focus of the warning remain border counties (with Somolia and Ethiopia), the Eastleigh neighborhood of Nairobi, and Mombasa on the Indian Ocean Coast. You can read the full report here: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/kenya-travel-warning.html. Canada provides a similar report that I feel better highlights the highly regional nature of these warnings: http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/kenya. We monitor these travel advisories, as well as current events in Kenya, very closely, and our local guide keeps us posted on what he’s hearing in-country and what he’s seeing on the ground. Since Wilderness Inquiry started guiding trips in Kenya in 2005, we have run all scheduled trips with itineraries that kept our groups far away from areas where problems have occurred. Similarly, your trip itinerary will take you only to areas that have been consistently safe for travel.
Which immunizations do you recommend when traveling to an international destination?
Prior to departure, we recommend that you check with your doctor as early as possible to ensure you are up to date on your standard immunizations. Your doctor is in the best position to recommend specific vaccinations to specific destinations.
Can I pay more to have my own room on a lodge-based trip?
Yes, most times a single supplement is available on a lodge-based trip. Exact cost and availability depends on the trip.
How safe are international trips with Wilderness Inquiry?
Safety is our top priority on all Wilderness Inquiry trips. We maintain awareness of all State Department travel advisories and ensure our itineraries follow appropriate routes. We have an excellent record of safety on all international trips and only run trips when we feel comfortable and confident in participants having an excellent experience.
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Standard Meetings Places and Times
Start: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 9:00 PM (local time)
End: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 8:00 PM (local time)
This trip begins at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, on the first evening of the trip. You will ride in a WI van/jeep throughout the trip and be returned to the Jomo Kenyatta Airport in the early evening on the last day of the trip. If you need assistance making your travel arrangements for this trip we recommend that you consult with a travel agency, Travel One, at (800) 247-1311. They can help you make the best flight connections at the best prices. Detailed meeting place instructions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip. Please note that all flights should be scheduled to arrive/depart after 8 AM and before 12 midnight.