Luxury Safari in Kenya

November 6 -14, 2021


On this 9-day safari, discover Kenya’s rich wildlife and diverse cultures with Rupi Mangat, a leading Kenyan travel writer who lives in this tropical paradise on the Equator, the denizen of big game – elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs and raptors.


Imagine waking up every day to a saffron sun rising over the savannah plains teeming with wildlife. Kenya’s tapestry of sweeping grasslands, arid plains and lush swamps with snow-topped mountains is home to spectacular life. Contemplate elephants under the gaze of the snow-capped Kilimanjaro and end the day with a game drive to catch the ‘golden light’.

  • 8 nights accommodation with luxury Safari in three diverse game parks
  • See Africa’s big game in the wild
  • Study wildlife with three important female biologist and conservationists
  • Stay in two unique tented camps, one which is frequented by elephants
  • Visit a unique African village started by women as a sanctuary for homeless women and abuse survivors
  • See the Samburu 5, rare endemic animals only found in this particular arid ecosystem
  • Stay in a historic Nairobi hotel where Teddy Roosevelt once slept
  • Meet and learn from the founder about Beads for Education, an educational organization for Maasai girls
  • Have a cocktail on a roof-deck with a panoramic view of marshlands and Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro
  • Visit with the local Maasai and Samburu tribes in their villages
  • Indulge in mouth-watering international as well as local cuisine



Day 1

Fly into Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. You’ll be met at the airport by a representative who will guide you through arrival and you will be driven to your hotel, the Norfolk.

You will have the day to explore fast-paced Nairobi. The hotel is only a few minutes’ walk to the city-center, where you can admire early colonial architecture and modern high-rise towers. Pop into the Nairobi National Museum, which boasts galleries dedicated to prehistory, ornithology, ethnography and the making of modern Kenya including a snake park on the grounds. A guided walking trip can be arranged if you want to see city life or the museum.

Otherwise, relax in the tropical garden at the Norfolk or spoil yourself at the hotel spa.

You will meet your travel mates for cocktails and dinner at the Lord Delamere Terrace Restaurant, one of the Norfolk’s fine restaurants which looks out at the University of Nairobi main campus and the Kenya National Theatre.

Day 2

Today the adventure begins. You will get an early start, have a hearty breakfast and fly to Amboseli National Park, 250 kms southeast of Nairobi, under the Snows of Kilimanjaro. It’s a 45-minute flight over Karen Blixen’s (Out of Africa) famed Ngong Hills and  Nairobi National Park, the only wildlife park in a capital city that today it is still home to black rhinos, the big cats and more.

You will be driven to Ol Tukai Lodge, at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Amboseli, with a game drive en route in a custom-made safari cruiser driven by expert driver/guides. The 392-square-kilometer Amboseli sits on the border with Tanzania where Kilimanjaro looms. The park is spectacular for its wildlife and tapestry of grassland, forest and swamps fed by the snows of Kilimanjaro, towering at 19,340 feet. Amboseli comes from the Maasai word ‘empusal’ meaning salty dust because of the dry lake bed from where plumes of dust rises.

By now, it’s lunch time. Enjoy your gourmet lunch buffet under the gaze of Kilimanjaro and in the company of elephants that linger in the wetland.

Amboseli is home to the longest studied elephant population in the wild, a research pioneered in 1972 by Dr. Cynthia Moss of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants. All the elephants in the park are known to the research team, with files on individuals dating back nearly 50 years.

This afternoon, you will leave for an afternoon game drive in search of big game, such as lions and elephants. You will also get to enjoy the rich birdlife with a short climb up the ancient hill to have a sweeping view the vast Amboseli lands before returning to camp at sunset.

At 7.30 p.m., you will meet for a cocktail at the bar and then dine on delicious foods with Kilimanjaro in a blanket of darkness. You will chat about the highlights of the day and later be entertained by the local Maasai performing traditional dances with their signature high leaps and throaty chants celebrating love, lion hunts, war and happiness. You may want to join in.

The Maasai have co-existed for many years with African wildlife, because both the wildlife and the large herds of cattle owned by the Maasai need wide spaces to survive.

Day 3

After an early cup of coffee or tea and biscuits, you will set out for an early morning game drive at 6.30 a.m. This is the best time to enjoy wildlife, as well as late afternoons before the sun goes down. It’s the time when the animals are most active, before the sun becomes too hot for them and lethargy sets in. The lionesses would rather hunt when it’s cooler but, being opportunistic, the hunt is on if the quarry is easy. Lions do not have sweat glands and you’ll hear them panting a lot.

By 9 a.m., you will be back at the lodge for breakfast. Take time to relax, swim, read a book and enjoy the grounds.

Later, you will be joined by Debby Rooney, the founder of Beads for Education, an amazing and empowering project which has transformed the lives of Maasai girls using the powerful tool of education.

After an early lunch, Debby will lead you to the village, stopping for a game drive through the park. She works closely with Cynthia Moss and knows almost all the elephants in the park. You will meet local Maasai women and girls and learn about their culture and lives.

You will return to the lodge by 6.30 p.m. Take some time to refresh with a cold beer at the bar or a cool shower. At 7:30, you will meet for another gourmet feast, with entertainment by the local Maasai or with a talk on amazing Amboseli by the resident naturalist before retiring to bed. A nightcap by the fire pit is a perfect way to end the day.

Day 4

After breakfast, you will depart to the airstrip for a 90-minute flight to Samburu National Reserve, in the arid lands north of the equator, with a short stopover in Nairobi.

Have your camera ready. If it’s clear, you will see Mount Kenya, a volcanic snow-capped mountain at 17,057 feet (5,199 meters) – Kenya’s tallest.

Samburu is the land of the Samburu Special, wildlife only found north of the equator and adapted to life in the arid lands namely: the Reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Beisa oryx, gerenuk and Somali ostrich. These species have adapted to life without water, surviving only on morning dew. The life-lung of the land is the Ewaso Nyiro River that is to this region what the Nile is to Egypt.

On arrival at Samburu National Reserve, you will be transferred from the airstrip to the camp with a game drive en route before checking in and enjoying a leisurely lunch by the River.

At 3.30 p.m., you will embark on another exciting game drive through the arid bush and the lush oasis by the river. Look out for leopard, lions, elephants and raptors before returning to camp at sunset. You will get back just in time for cocktails by the campfire before a sumptuous dinner freshly prepared under the stars of the northern hemisphere. If you’re a star gazer, this is the perfect spot to see the constellations straddling the two hemispheres.

Enjoy some entertainment by local Samburu dancers with the songs and dances of their ancestors. The Samburu like the Maasai belong to the Nilotic ethnic group that came into present day Kenya from the north along the Nile some five centuries ago. Enjoy your evening and a good night’s sleep in your luxurious tent.

Day 5

Another glorious morning in Africa. Rise and shine for an early morning game drive at 6:15 a.m. The landscape is surreal with mountains and rocky insets. You will be back for breakfast at 9 a.m.

After breakfast, you will visit Umoja, a Samburu village started by women for women. It’s an amazing story of female resilience.

Return to camp by lunch. You will be joined by Sheila Funnell or Belinda Mackay of Grevy’s Zebra Trust, who pioneered research of the rare equid, the Grevy’s zebra. She will speak about the project and then join you for a game drive. Before the Grevy’s Zebra Trust, these rare zebra were poached for their skin and meat. Today, the zebra are seen as an asset for the Samburu women, warriors, elders and the children who are now all involved in zebra conservation. Samburu is also part of the lion project started by Ewaso Lions. The driver-guides will point some out on the game drives.

Return for a starlit dinner, followed by a night cap by the campfire and finally to a peaceful slumber in your tent.

Day 6

Hop on a 90-minute flight from Samburu via Nairobi and land in the Maasai Mara, after flying over the Great Rift Valley. This is the planet’s longest valley, stretching 6,000km from Lebanon to Mozambique, and best seen in Kenya. The flight then enters the savannah grassland in the mighty Mara that is home to the Big 5 – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard (and cheetah). This is lion country, famous for its black manned lions. It is possible to see all the three big cats – lion, leopard and cheetah – in a day.

You will be collected from the airstrip and driven to the glam canvas camp with a short game drive en route. After check-in, relax and enjoy an exquisite lunch before leaving for the afternoon game drive at 3.30 p.m and returning at sunset to the camp.

Take a few minutes to refresh before meeting with your travel mates for cocktails. You are in one of the seven natural wonders of the modern world.

Dinner will be under the stars with lots of lively exchanges and talks with the resident naturalist about the wonders of the Mara. Finally it’s lalasalama, ‘a peaceful sleep’ in Kiswahili.

Day 7

Leave for a morning game drive at 6:15 a.m. – this is the best time for a game drive, with more chances of seeing the big cats in the cool of the day.

You can choose to return for breakfast or treat yourself to a thrilling balloon safari at sunrise with a champagne breakfast on landing – a novel way of game watching, catching an eagle’s eye view of the land and life below.

The morning is at leisure with an invited guest – Dr. Elena Chelysheva of the Mara-Meru Cheetah project. She will give some fascinating insights into the spotted cat whose global population in the wild is less than 10,000 today, compared to 100,000 a century ago. Kenya is a stronghold for these cats. After lunch, Dr. Chelysheva will accompany  you on the afternoon game drive and introduce you to some of the cheetahs, which she identifies by their whisker and spot patterns. This is your introduction to becoming a citizen scientist.

You will return to camp for sundown and dinner with entertainment by Maasai dancers on your last night in the African bush.

Day 8

This is your day to sleep in a bit and enjoy a leisurely breakfast at 8 a.m.

At 10 a.m., you will leave for the day for a game drive to the mighty Mara River. Its wide berth and flowing waters have been home to generations of the river horse aka the hippo. You will be at the western extreme of the reserve overlooking the Siria escarpment. You’ll be treated to a ‘bush’ lunch with a giraffe or a harem of antelopes ambling by, followed by a leisurely game drive back to camp with a stop at the Serengeti (Tanzania)and Mara (Kenya) border giving you an opportunity to have a photograph with a foot in two countries and two of the world’s most iconic wilderness parks.

Tonight, you will get to celebrate with Maasai dancers –  toasting to the lasting memories you’ve made, the mighty animals you’ve seen, the experts you’ve met and the friendships you’ve forged. Dinner in the African bush under the stars with candles flickering will be the special send-off meal.

Day 9

After a leisurely breakfast in the Mara, you will fly back to Nairobi to arrive by midday. If you wish, you can head to and stay at the Four Points at Sheraton at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your return flight the next day or that night.

There will be a lot of memories to take back home after your amazing African safari with your new friends. But as Karen Blixen said: “If there were one more thing I could do, it would be to go on safari once again.” You will be welcomed back.


Nairobi - The Norfolk - luxury landmark property

The Norfolk is Nairobi’s first ‘modern’ hotel which opened in 1904. (The opening party was interrupted by an elephant that had to be chased away). There’s a lot of history packed into the Norfolk for you to discover. Theodore Roosevelt stayed here before heading out on what was in those days called a shooting safari. The hotel boasts 3 restaurants and a gorgeous spa.

Amboseli National Park - Ol Tukai Lodge - 5* luxury lodge

Ol Tukai Lodge is located at the heart of Amboseli National Park in  the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. This is a world-renowned spot to observe African Elephants. Writers have described Ol Tukai and the surrounding Amboseli with its breathtaking scenery and unique wildlife as ‘A home for the gods’. Ol Tukai Lodge is a charming, contemporary retreat situated within the pristine Amboseli National Park. Imbued with a quintessential African atmosphere and set amidst beautifully manicured lawns, the lodge offers views of the tranquil wilderness of the park and the snow-capped mountain in the distance.

Samburu National Reserve - Elephant Bedroom Camp - elegant safari camp

Elephant Bedroom Camp offers luxury in a setting of breathtaking beauty. The surrounding Samburu National Reserve is an area of spectacular scenery. It is set along the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River and shaded by doum palms and other trees that make up this green belt of riverine forest in Samburu National Reserve.

The 14 tented rooms are styled with subtle African tones and have beautiful private decks, perfect for sitting and observing the goings-on along the riverbed. With the backdrop of majestic mountains, including the white-capped Mount Kenya, you will soon fall into the rhythm of the African wilderness.

Maasai Mara - Mara Ngenche Safari Camp - luxury tents

In a spectacular location in the  heart of the Masai Mara, lies this small, intimate, luxurious and elegant Camp. Historically, this was an important place where the local Maasai community would come to share the loot that they had raided from neighbouring tribes – hence the name Ngenche – meaning ‘to share’ in the Maasai language. The camp has been built to disturb as little of the surrounding bush as possible. Well hidden in the beautiful panaroma of riverine forest, Mara Ngenche Safari Camp offers superb views over the confluence of the Mara and Talek Rivers, overlooking a busy hippo pool.


Rupi Mangat

Rupi is a travel writer with a particular focus on wildlife conservation and sustainability. She is 3rd generation Kenyan who has been on safari countless times since she started writing professionally in 1998. She works with the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya as the editor of Komba, the magazine to promote wildlife conservation amongst schoolchildren. Thanks to her strong connections, we will have the opportunity of meeting the leaders of not-for-profit conservation organizations like Beads for Education, Grevy’s Zebra Trust and the Mara Meru Cheetah Project, who will give you an insider’s look into their amazing and often challenging world.



  • All indicated activities and meals including beer or wine with dinner
  • All guides, experts and entry fees
  • All transport including transfers to and from the airport.

Not Included:

  • Roundtrip airfare to Kenya
  • Dinner on Day 1
  • Last night accommodation at Nairobi Airport hotel
  • Any additional spa treatments
  • Any additional expenses
  • Alcoholic beverages beyond what is offered at meals
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended) and trip medical coverage (required for travelers over 50 years of age)
  • Gratuities

Luxury Add-Ons:

  • Balloon safari with champagne breakfast on Day 7 – $400.

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