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Kenya has been a hugely popular destination for generations of travellers seeking a classic African safari. Our tried and tested itinerary encompasses the world-famous Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru National Park renowned for vast flocks of pink flamingos and the Aberdare Mountains. Combining the Mara's vast grasslands with wildlife as far as the eye can see, with the impressive backdrop of the Great Rift Valley and the rainforest of the Aberdare's, Kenya is the perfect choice for a safari holiday.
Explore Tour Leader
2 nights comfortable hotel
1 nights premium lodge
8 nights comfortable lodge
Trip maximum 12
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Kenya's fast growing capital city, Nairobi, gateway to the country's famous national parks.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and after there will be the opportunity to have dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Nairobi at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), which is 30 minutes from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information at their earliest opportunity.
Our hotel is located just five kilometres from the city centre and a short fifteen-minute drive from the airport. It is the perfect location to relax and unwind after your flight, featuring a large outdoor swimming pool set in landscaped gardens and a welcoming open plan reception area with bright murals covering the walls. The hotel has a coffee shop, a lively bar and a restaurant. Alternatively you can get a taxi to one of the city's malls for a wider choice of eating options.
Tamarind Tree Hotel (or similar)
Heading north out of Nairobi and climbing steadily out of the Great Rift Valley, we head into the Aberdare Mountain range. With an altitude of over 2,500 metres, the air is noticeably cooler compared to Nairobi and the rolling hills are covered in dense forests and open moorland. After around two and a half hours we reach the Aberdare Country Club where we break for lunch. Originally a colonial family home, the country club retains much of its former grandeur and has breathtaking views of the plains below, the Aberdare Mountains to the west and Mount Kenya to the east.
After lunch it's a short transfer to one of Kenya's more unusual safari properties, The Ark. Modelled after Noah's Ark, The Ark features four viewing decks with balconies and vast viewing windows to provide superb game watching, all from the comfort of the lodge. Keep an eye out for your first glimpse of elephant on your way in. After settling into our rooms there is ample time to head to one of the viewing areas or down to the bunker to quietly watch the floodlit waterhole which attracts a host of wildlife including elephant, buffalo, monkey, warthog, baboon and on occasions hyena. There is also a wonderful range of forest birds to be spotted including hornbill, wagtail and giant kingfisher. Before dinner at the lodge, there will be an informal talk on the local flora and fauna and the wildlife that inhabit the Aberdare National Park.
Going to bed early does not mean missing the action either. During the night the resident ranger stays on watch and will buzz your room if an interesting animal comes to the waterhole with one ring for elephant, two for rhino, three for leopard and four for other unusual sightings. You're free to turn the buzzer off if you would rather have a full night's sleep.
The Ark Lodge (or similar)
Today is a longer travelling day driving to Nakuru, a journey of around four hours. En route we stop at the striking Thompson Falls on the Ewaso Ng\ iro river. The waters originate on the western slopes of Mount Kenya and descend over a seventy-meter waterfall just outside the town of Nyahururu.
Continuing to Nakuru, we break for lunch at a local restaurant offering a Nyama Choma barbeque, a traditional meat dish from Kenya. Typically comprising of goat meat, beef or lamb, complemented with several vegetarian dishes, the origin of the dish traces back to the nomadic Maasai people. The meats are slow roasted over a moderate heat to allow the full flavours to develop.
After lunch, we head into Nakuru National Park to Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, our base for the next two nights.
Sarova Lion Hill Lodge (or similar)
We maximise our time today to ensure we make the most of game drive opportunities in Nakuru National Park. Rising early before breakfast, we head out in 4x4 Land Cruiser safari vehicles, accompanied by our safari guides, on the lookout for both white rhino and the endangered black rhino. Sightings, whilst never guaranteed, are very likely at Nakuru National Park. It is not unheard of to see a dozen rhino in a day.
Lions and leopards are often seen, although rarely on open ground. The park hosts herds of buffalo, zebra and giraffe, as well as flocks of striking pink flamingo on the lake, although the latter do move between lakes in the Great Rift Valley, so may not be seen at Nakuru and numbers have been in decline following flooding in 2012.
Returning to our lodge for a late breakfast as the day starts to heat up, the hottest part of the day is spent at leisure at our camp, offering the chance of a siesta, a dip in the pool, relaxation time reading a book or birdwatching. Our afternoon activity departs after tea, usually around 4pm, to return in the early evening. Game drives will vary depending on sightings and animal activity. There is the option for sundowner drinks in the park this evening, see the budgeting section for more details.
Bidding Nakuru farewell, it's a five-hour drive to the world-famous Maasai Mara game reserve. Our journey takes us across the floor of the Rift Valley and then up and over the Mau Escarpment, travelling through open bushland interspersed with rural villages and farming communities. The major settlement on our journey is the bustling and colourful market town of Narok, a major trading post full of market stalls selling fresh vegetables and fruit as well as livestock.
We arrive in the Mara (as it is known by locals) early in the afternoon in time for a late lunch. Our lodge for the next three nights is located along the Talek River, at the confluence of the Maasai Mara's four wildlife viewing areas, on the northern boundary of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Afternoon game drives depart around 3.30pm and return at as the sun goes down, after which there is time to freshen up and meet for a drink at the bar before dinner. Dinner is usually a set menu with seasonal fresh produce sourced from around Kenya, served in the well-appointed restaurant. After dinner we can retire to sit around a roaring fire to relive highlights of the day and admire the amazing stars of the African night sky.
Mara Leisure Camp (or similar)
Covering an area of 1,500 square kilometres, the Maasai Mara hosts one of the largest concentrations of animals anywhere in the world. The wildlife is prolific any time of year, but during the months between August and October, huge herds of wildebeest and zebra migrate into the Mara from the adjacent Serengeti National Park, in search of fresh grasses that flourish after the rains, often pursued by predators such as hyena, lion and cheetah.
We will embark on two game drives today, one in the early morning and one mid-afternoon, with time in between at our comfortable lodge for taking a dip in the swimming pool or reading a book.
Remaining in the Maasai Mara for a third day, we drive further into the national reserve. Depending on sightings, our safari guides will generally spend the maximum time on game drives, trying to cover as large an area as possible. The result of this is that you'll get the best chances of seeing a variety of wildlife.
The Mara hosts an abundance of mammals including lion, elephant and wildebeest as well as numerous antelope species from eland, hartebeest, bushbuck, gazelle to impala and waterbuck to name but a few along. For keen birdwatchers there is an astonishing variety of birds to spot. Be sure to keep an eye on soaring vultures and eagles on the lookout for a recent kill.
After an early breakfast we drive back to Nairobi, a journey of around five hours. We will make a stop at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) to bid farewell to guests departing the tour at this point, before continuing to Tamarind Tree Hotel some thirty minutes from the airport. The rest of the day is free to relax by the pool or explore Nairobi.
An early start today as we head to Nairobi's new termini train station to board a train to Voi, the gateway to Tsavo National Park. Opened in 2017, the journey takes four hours. Travelling at speeds of up to 120 kph, the modern train is air conditioned, offers a buffet service and a lounge car exclusively for first class passengers on board and charging points for phones. There is also always the chance you'll spot wildlife from the comfort of your seat along the way.
On arrival in Voi, we will be met and transferred directly to the Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, our home for the next three nights. The Tsavo Conservation Area is split into an East and a West National Park, divided by the main road between Nairobi and Mombasa on the coast, and it stretches all the way to the Tanzanian border. In total the conservation area makes up nearly half of Kenya's protected land.
The comfortable Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge features stunning views of the Chyulu Hills, a volcanic range of rugged wilderness. The property is adjacent to a waterhole, which its main restaurant and bar overlooks, offering great views of wildlife heading down to the waterhole for a drink. Rooms are situated in the landscaped gardens. The lodge offers free wi-fi, a swimming pool and is a great base in which to head out into the park.
Kilanguni Serena Lodge (or similar)
Over the next two days we'll head out to explore the surrounding area of the Tsavo West National Park using purpose built safari vehicles, on daily morning and afternoon game drives, with plenty of time to relax back at the lodge in between.
You are welcome to dip in and out of the scheduled drives as you wish. Early morning game drives generally leave the lodge around 6.30am, taking advantage of the cooler temperatures to maximize game viewing, and return approximately three hours later when you will have breakfast.
Afternoon game drives depart around 3.30pm and return at sunset, after which you can freshen up and gather for pre-dinner drinks. All meals are included at the lodge.
A further full day in Tsavo West National Park in search of game. The park hosts over 500 species of birdlife and a rich eco system with areas of savanna grassland, semi arid acacia woodland and the highlands of the Chyulu Hills. All the 'Big 5' can be found within the park and around 40% of Kenya's elephant population live within the wider Tsavo Conservation Area.
After an early breakfast we drive to Voi station and board the 0955 train back to Nairobi, arriving just after 2pm. The earliest recommended flight departure time is 6pm. For those with flights departing after 8pm we will head to the Tamarind Tree Hotel to freshen up and rest before heading to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) where the trip ends.
Although Kenya lies astride the equator, annual rainfall over most of the country is surprisingly low and varies from year to year. Temperatures over much of Kenya are subtropical or temperate, similar to those in California or southern France in summer. Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable. Additional information and climate charts can be accessed at http://www.explore.co.uk/weather. Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable. Up-to-date information on the weather worldwide can be found by following the BBC weather link on this page.
3 Pin Flat
Christian, Protestant, Roman Catholic
Day 4: Lake Nakuru Sundowner drinks and canapes around the fire at the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge $65.00 USD per person
Clothing should be lightweight. However, a warm sweater or fleece and a wind/water-proof jacket are advisable for early morning game drives. It can get very cold night at altitude at places like the Aberdare Mountains. A scarf is recommended as protection against dust and dirt on game drives. Brightly coloured and white clothing is not suitable for game viewing. You may like to bring a swimming costume for the hotels with pools. A waterproof is advisable.
Comfortable shoes, trainers or sandals.
A flexible holdall or bag without a hard outer shell (rigid suitcases are not suitable for vehicle luggage racks) and a daysack.
Charging points: The tour vehicle and camps have charging points for cameras and phones. Bring a small torch, sunglasses, sunhat and sunblock . We also recommend you bring binoculars and a water bottle for day to day use. Plastic Bag Ban: Kenya along with 40 other countries has banned plastic bags. With effect from 05 June 2020, it is illegal to bring any single use plastic bags into Kenya's wildlife parks. Travellers coming into Kenya with duty-free plastic shop bags will be required to leave them at the airport.
A Tour Leader is an integral part of any Explore tour and your tour will be led by one of our experienced Tour Leaders who have been handpicked and expertly trained. Most departures will operate with two 6 seater land cruisers, one of the drivers of the two vehicles will also act as the tour leader on this trip. We believe that our Tour Leaders are the key to the success of our tours; they are passionate travellers who are bursting with first-hand local knowledge which they love to share. Your Tour Leader will also take care of all the planning and organisation throughout your journey. Their passionate approach will make this tour fun and inspiring, bringing the destination to life whether you're travelling alone or with others.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Kenya: A single entry visa is required by UK, New Zealand, Australian, US & Canadian citizens. Kenyan entry visas are exclusively issued electronically, with passengers required to obtain their e-visas before departure, most applications are processed within 48 hours. Single entry visas are valid for travel within 3 months from the date of issue. The current cost of a single entry visa is $51 (August 2023) this is subject to change. You can apply for a single entry tourist visa on the Kenya e-visa website. https://evisa.go.ke/ For full instructions on how to apply visit https://evisa.go.keervicesingleEntryVisa As part of the application process you will need to create an account on the e-visa platform. Passports must have a minimum validity of 6 months and at least 2 blank/unused pages at time of travel.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Following the advice given by the Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we strongly recommend the wearing of long sleeved shirts and the liberal application of insect repellent as a precautionary measure to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. These precautions should be taken at all times as the mosquitoes are also active during daylight hours. Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against yellow fever, malaria, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. . Please note you are required to produce a valid yellow fever certificate on arrival in Kenya if you have spent 10 hours or more transiting through an endemic country. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.