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Safari: The best of Kenya

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Many people think of a safari as a bucket list trip, well out of their financial reach … not anymore. Kenya is still one of the most affordable African countries to still have reasonable park fees, making this seven-day safari both affordable and luxurious Here’s a brief outline of what to expect.

At Vancouver airport, we check in for our KLM flight to Nairobi with a two-hour connection in Amsterdam.


Upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi we are greeted by our tour guide and driver with champagne and a safari kit for the week and transferred to our overnight stay. Go out and explore this vibrant city or get a good night’s sleep as in the morning it’s off on our safari adventure.

DAYS 2, 3

After a hearty breakfast it’s into our 4 x 4 Jeep Land Rovers, destination northern Kenya and Samburu game reserve. Passing Nanyuki and Mount Kenya we arrive at Ashnil Samburu camp, our home for the next two nights. After a great African buffet lunch we head out on our first game drive.

The great Ewaso Nyiro river dotted with doum palm trees meanders through the reserve giving it an oasis setting and drawing wildlife in great numbers to its banks. Samburu is home to a large number of elephant, generuk gazelle, oryx, giraffe and Somali ostrich, and is a bird watcher’s delight

After a three or four hour game drive, it’s back to the camp for a cold beer or glass of wine, or a nap before dinner – or both. The food in the lodges is top notch: soups made with arrowroot as the thickener, curried stews, chicken, pasta, salads and a house special, as much as you want, but save room for dessert – and, of course, Kenyan coffee.

Have a hard time sleeping at home? No worries here. In the quiet of the African skies, you’ll sleep like a baby. After breakfast it’s a full day of game viewing so we pack a picnic lunch and visit Samburu and Buffalo springs game reserve. Spotting the animals on safari is amazing, whether it’s another herd of elephant or zebra, you never tire of it. Perhaps today we spot the elusive leopard or a pride of lions with their cubs.


Off to Ol Pejeta Con-servancy and our home for the night, Sweetwater’s Serena camp. Here we have the opportunity to see the big five. Can you name them? You’ll be able to at the end of the tour. This game park is also home to the endangered rhino and chimpanzee sanctuaries. 


After an early morning game drive, we head south towards the great rift valley and a stop at the equator crossing point before arriving on the shores of Lake Naivasha and our lodge. This fresh water lake, set in the heart of the rift valley, gets its name from the local Maasai words nai posha, meaning rough water. Sudden storms can bring thunder, lightning and rain like you’ve never seen before. Spend the afternoon relaxing or walk among the gardens with zebra and giraffe, but not at night, as the hippo are out.

DAYS 6, 7

We save the best for last as we head into the Masai  Mara Game reserve, the jewel of Kenya. Our home for the next two nights is the beautiful Ashnil Mara tented camp overlooking the Mara River. Take the optional balloon ride at sunrise for that once in a lifetime experience, or enjoy the amazing game drives for the next two days. Massive herds of grazing zebra, wildebeest and Thompsons gazelle are some of the few you’ll see. Always have your camera ready. The beautiful savannah grasslands are home to the big five: elephant, lion, rhino, cape buffalo and leopard, plus cheetah, waterbuck, wart hog, topis and some of the most beautiful birds I’ve seen. Here you also have the opportunity to visit a local Maasai village and get a glimpse of their way of life. We normally have a bunch of school supplies for the kids, too. Our last night in camp is host to our farewell dinner, and I invite our drivers to join us and thank them for a fantastic week.


Now it’s back to Nairobi for another night, dinner at the famous Carnivore restaurant and in the morning a tour of the elephant/giraffe orphanage and a tour of the Karen Blixen museum.  A busy week but a great way to see Kenya.

As it’s a long way to go, I’ve been adding a week or so in Mombasa on the beach. Like deep sea fishing? Last year we caught a 90-pound black marlin. Or just relax with a book, snorkel in the Indian Ocean, check out Fort Jesus, and top it off with a cold Tusker lager.

It’s almost time to leave Kenya, so we arrive at Mombasa train station for a four-hour journey up to Nairobi on the Madaraka Express, repack our bags and then another farewell dinner at the owner of the tour company’s home – a very special finale to our Kenya adventure.

There is not a lot of walking with this tour, and the camps, food and transportation are very good. All your meals, park drives and entry fees are included in the seven-day safari; the beach extension is optional. You can also stop in Europe if you prefer as the stopover is included in the tour price. Give us a call for the details on this amazing trip, with a Nov. 3 departure. 

Those who went had this to say:   

“Incredible adventure,  wonderful animals, accommodation, above and beyond expectations. Would go again!” – Pauline Langler, Kingston, Ont.

“Giraffe manor was a dream; giraffe are good kissers too.” – Judee  Ens, Vancouver, B.C.

“Trip of a lifetime … thanks Elite Travel.” – Donald Sutherland, Vancouver, B.C.