overview

When you think of Kenya, images of vast rolling savannah, flat-topped acacia trees, rocky cliffs and pops of colour from the scarlet-clad Maasai come to mind. The most enduring images, of course, are of hundreds of thousands of migrating wildebeest and plentiful zebras, lions, giraffes, elephants as well as a plethora of birdlife.

Now add exclusive and luxurious accommodation every step of the way in the form of private safari houses where you and your family will literally have a ‘home from home’. With every convenience and attentive staff like private chefs, butlers and housekeepers, you will truly be able to unwind in your own bush villa. 

Kick off at the Karen Blixen Cottages in Karen outside Nairobi before wending your way to Ol Donyo Lodge, sandwiched between Tsavo West and Amboseli and tranquil offering views of Mount Kilimanjaro. Then bring your East African sojourn to a blissful end at Topi Mara Bush House, with days spent out on the Masai Mara and nights watching falling stars from the cool, wide verandah…

Itinerary Highlights

  • Private villa accommodation throughout
  • Personal vehicles & dedicated staff
  • Visit the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
  • Feed a giraffe at the Giraffe Centre 
  • Horse riding & mountain biking
  • Village & Masaai cultural visits
  • Opt to experience an open-air ‘star bed’

Day to Day Itinerary

Days 1-2

The adventure begins

Start your East African visit at the Karen Blixen Cottage, a quirky but inviting historic retreat. Built on the original farm belonging to Blixen, who authored Out of Africa, the premises are today covered in jacaranda, bottlebrush and candelabra trees, while over 200 different types of flowers attract plenty of birdlife.

Your accommodation has classic features like a high beamed ceiling, wooden floor and a fireplace but also modern conveniences such as Internet access, a mini-bar and satellite TV. Check into the Garden Spa for a massage or shake off the jet-lag by working out in the gym. For a memorable dinner, make a reservation at the Grogan House, a historic building lit by candlelight.

If your schedule allows, you can visit the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Nairobi National Park or the Karen Blixen Museum. Do not miss the Giraffe Centre, a sanctuary for endangered Rothschild’s giraffes, and take a meandering nature walk there.

Days 3-5

Off to the land of the giants

On the slopes of Chyulu Hills National Park – where Hemingway's autobiographical Green Hills of Africa is set – lies the community-owned Mbirikani Group Ranch, sandwiched between the Amboseli and Tsavo West national parks. At the heart of Mbirikani lies Ol Donyo Lodge. This is lion country and Mbirikani's neighbours are famed for their elephants; Amboseli is one of the best places in Africa to get close to these free-ranging giants.

You will also drink in the views from under the acacia trees, across the savannah to pink-peaked Mount Kilimanjaro. Try the open-air hide, known as the log-jam, when elephants and other big game drink at the waterhole. But do not sit for too long because there is much to do: horse riding, mountain biking, bush walking and game drives, as well as a Maasai cultural visit. You have exclusive use of a driver and vehicle, so set your itinerary and head off. 

At Ol Donyo Lodge you stay in a Pool Cottage, a very private space with a pair of suites, a lounge and deck, indoor and outdoor showers, and a bath tub. But really, you are in Kenya for the outdoors, and your cottage makes the most of this. Each has its own plunge pool with infinite views, and a stone staircase from the deck takes you to a rooftop terrace – complete with a 4-poster star bed for a night under the Milky Way.

Days 6-10

Big game viewing in the Mara

From the hills to the plains, your next stop is Topi Mara Bush House on the border between Olare Orok Conservancy and the Masai Mara National Park. The house is perfect for a group of friends or a family. It has three en suite bedrooms, linked by a large, deep verandah reminiscent of early pioneer days. The living area has an open-plan sitting and dining room, with a log fire. But if you prefer, there is also a campfire outside for lingering under the stars. Your staff includes a chef, a Maasai wildlife guide and a house manager. They will cater for sumptuous dinners, bush picnics or dining under the acacia trees.

With your own vehicle and personal guide, you can design your own days, including game drives in the Mara and the conservancy. Your guide will share generations of knowledge as you explore the plains and rivers. Topi Mara Bush House is positioned directly on the wildebeest migration route and it is not unknown for the animals to come right past the front door. The best time for the Great Migration is July to November but game viewing is plentiful year round, and the less-visited months offer their own rewards.

And then it is time to go: a final game drive to the airstrip before your plane whisks you home, filled with memories.

Inclusions

  • Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage visit
  • Giraffe Centre & Nature Walk excursion
  • 7 Nights accommodation on fully inclusive basis
  • Inter-camp transfers and selected taxes
  • Selected conservation fees
  • 2 Nights accommodation on bed and breakfast basis

Exclusions

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

Lauren Johansson

Africa Safari Expert

"A private safari that seamlessly blends wildlife, culture and luxury to form the ideal holiday. The experience which is so personalised leaves you feeling as if you tasted the real Africa and that is what makes this tour so unique"

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