overview

This 9-day safari takes you to three of Kenya’s national parks and allows you to discover the history and legendary landscapes behind Born Free, a famous biography and film that tells the story of the first orphaned lion to be successfully reintroduced into wild.

You will begin at Elsa’s Kopje in Meru National Park, on the rocky outcrops of Mughwango Hill. This is the site where Joy and George Adamson reared Elsa the lion made famous by Born Free and here you will be introduced to the family’s touching journey. In addition to day and night drives, you can enjoy guided nature walks, and rafting on the Tana River.

The second leg of your safari takes you to the soda lakes of Kenya’s Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru. The journey includes a stopover at Elsamere Conservation Centre where you can gain insight into the Adamsons’ work and legacy, as well as a full-day safari to Lake Nakuru National Park where thousands of flamingos make for one of the greatest bird spectacles on earth.

The final chapter of your Kenyan safari takes you to the heart of the Mara North Conservancy, bordering the legendary Masai Mara reserve. Elephant Pepper Camp is an eco-traveller’s dream set in the shade of giant ebony trees. The camp boasts superb views over the vast Mara plains and is an excellent base for witnessing the Wildebeest Migration between July and October.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Authentic safari camps
  • Off-the-beaten track reserves
  • Original site of book & film Born Free
  • Game drives, walks & rafting
  • Optional cultural experiences
  • See the Wildebeest Migration (July to October)

Day to Day Itinerary

Days 1-3

Arrive in Africa

On arrival at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport you will be collected for a short transfer to Wilson Airport – a smaller hub that serves Kenya’s regional areas. At Wilson Airport a scheduled flight takes you to Meru National Park, where for three nights you are ensconced at Elsa’s Kopje. This stunning safari lodge is situated atop Mughwango Hill and comprises nine open-fronted cottages with private decks built directly into the rocky crags. The lodge’s award-winning eco-design means it blends almost seamlessly into the hill. Its open bar, lounge and dining room provide magnificent views of Mount Kenya and the Meru plains, which stretch below teeming with wildlife.

Savour your coffee on the private deck of your cottage, soaking up the tranquil view. Early mornings offer the best game viewing, so you head out with the crisp air of dawn air on a 4x4 game drive to explore the Meru’s diverse habitats. Your guide shares his deep knowledge and love for the wilderness with you, keeping a sharp eye out for lion, elephant and rare species like the lesser kudu. A generous and delectable lunch awaits your return to the lodge and a long, relaxing afternoon stretches ahead of you.

Elsa’s Kopje offers an unusually rich range of activities including rafting on the Tana River, indulgent treatments at the lodge spa, guided nature walks and night drives. A day trip to the palm-fringed springs and sandy beaches of the Tana River is highly recommended. Savour a picnic lunch in the shade of giant baobabs or sip a cold drink as you fish for catfish, tilapia or barbel. The lodge also offers cultural visits to the local Tharaka community, which is an authentic opportunity to meet local Kenyans and learn more about their rural lifestyle.

However you choose to spend your days at Elsa’s Kopje one thing is certain: this quiet, peaceful place and its wild beauty will touch your heart.

Days 4-5

Great soda lakes of the Rift Valley

After breakfast, you will take a scheduled flight back to Wilson Airport in Nairobi, where you will be met by a guide for an onward road transfer. The drive is approximately two hours, allowing you to take in beautiful views of the landscape. Soda lakes are very alkaline and are characterised by high concentrations of sodium carbonate.

A picnic lunch is enjoyed along the way and you will also stop on the southern shores of Lake Naivasha at Elsamere Conservation Centre – home of the Elsa Conservation Trust and education facility where you can tour the museum and learn more about the work and life of conservationists Joy and George Adamson. Look out for black-and-white colobus monkeys playing in the acacia trees, as well as hippos, eland and zebra grazing at the lake shore. The area is also a bird-lover’s paradise with over 260 bird species including African fish eagles and the rare Verreaux’s giant eagle owl.

Proceed on to Loldia House, which will be your base for the following two nights. This settler-style lodge allows you to experience a wholesome country life in complete comfort and luxury. Antelope graze freely on the 6 500-acre farm, and in the distance hippos can be seen munching quietly at the waterside.

On the morning after your arrival a full-day safari takes you into the heart of Lake Nakuru National Park, a landscape most famous for having the greatest bird spectacle on earth: a congregation of up to two million greater and lesser flamingos that turn the surface of Lake Nakuru bright pink in colour.

There are an additional 400 other resident bird species at the lake including fish-eating species like pelicans and cormorants. The park is one of Kenya’s most beautiful with endless water surrounded by grassy plains, woodlands and the mountains of the Kenya’s Rift Valley. It is also well-known for its population of black and white rhino that are rarely found elsewhere in East Africa. 

Days 6-8

Extraordinary Masai Mara

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the nearby airstrip for a scenic flight to the Mara North Conservancy, bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve. Your home for the next three nights is Elephant Pepper Camp, an intimate tented camp set in the shade of giant old ebony and elephant pepper trees. Authentic and remote, this camp balances comfort, eco-sensitive design and elegant simplicity. Service is superb and the guides are among the best in the Mara area.

The camp’s tread-lightly philosophy extends through its semi-permanent canvas structure and high-tech solar-powered lighting to a long and successful partnership with the local Maasai community. With only eight en suite tents, the atmosphere is intimate and guests come together over sundowners before dinner. Each spacious tent offers plenty of comfort for rest and relaxation, especially the hammock on the private veranda, which has endless views over the vast Mara plains. Timeless campaign furniture, teak dressers, polished antiques and delicate lanterns complete the opulent furnishings.

If you visit between July and October, you may witness the Wildebeest Migration, which is one of Africa’s bucket-list natural spectacles. Early morning game drives make the most of the abundant wildlife attractions. In Migration season, thousands of wildebeest and zebra move north in the Mara from the arid Serengeti plains, searching for fresh grazing. Wherever you find big, healthy herds of plains game, predators are sure to be close by. The Migration is a time of high drama, and nothing quite as dramatic as the life-and-death struggles of the Mara River crossings when as the herds brave crocodile-infested rivers to reach the abundant savannah plains. Make the most of this incredible game-viewing experience with a picnic lunch. 

In addition to day and night drives, you can explore the conservancy on guided nature walks and take a cultural tour to the home of one of your Maasai guides which is traditionally a semi-permanent manyatta made from cattle dung, mud and grasses.

Return to the lodge in the evening to classic Italian cooking inspired by the owner’s authentic family recipes, passed down from his mother, including traditional pastas, osso bucco and organic salads. The cuisine, ambience and superb game viewing make this camp the perfect climax for your Kenya safari.  

Day 9

Farewell to Kenya

After a generous breakfast, you head back to Nairobi to being your journey home. As your flight passes over the spectacular landscape of the Great Rift Valley, you recall the sights and sounds of your African adventure: fishing for talipa on the palm-fringed banks of the Tana River, the expanse of the Rift Valley’s great soda lakes, and the great plains of the Mara brimming life. As your plane departs Nairobi, you leave little of your soul in this wild and beautiful place.

Inclusions

  • 3 Nights at Elsa's Kopje on fully inclusive basis
  • AMREF Flying Doctors Membership
  • Park and conservancy fees
  • Activities as per the itinerary
  • Shared light aircraft flights as per the itinerary
  • Laundry
  • All statutory taxes
  • 2 Nights at Loldia House on fully inclusive basis
  • 3 Nights at Elephant Pepper Camp on fully inclusive basis

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes
  • All meals and drinks not specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

Tour Rates

  • dates rates from
  • 01 Jan 2017 - 31 Mar 2017 $5760
  • 16 Jun 2017 - 30 Jun 2017 $5760
  • 01 Jul 2017 - 31 Oct 2017 $6645
  • 01 Nov 2017 - 19 Dec 2017 $5760
  • 20 Dec 2017 - 31 Dec 2017 $6645

Our rates are per person sharing unless we note differently.

Please treat all pricing as a guide only:

  • All rates are subject to availability and may change without notice
  • Single supplements may apply

Request a quote or speak to one of our African Safari Experts for the best, most current rates available.

Liesel van Zyl

Liesel van Zyl

Product Manager

"This is an experience for the romantic at heart and adventurous in spirit! It provides fantastic wildlife sightings, contrasting landscapes and a range of activities."

From

$5760

Per person sharing

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