Off the beaten track Kenya Safari 8 Days/ 7 Nights
Day 1: Early morning you’ll be picked from Jomo Kenyatta International Aiport by the Dawn 2 Dusk Safaris team. Today we’ll drive to the Mount Kenya region. Our destination is Castle Forest Lodge, a historical retreat and is tucked away in the typical rain and bamboo forests on the slopes of Mt. Kenya. The main house of Castle Forest lodge was built in 1910 with river stones and wood from the surrounding forest and rivers. The house is surrounded by a large ground and forest. Today you have a choice of activities. You can relax and enjoy the views from the veranda of the Main House, have a swim weather permitting, or go for a horse ride or guided short walk to the forest and waterfall.
Day 2: After breakfast we’ll drive to Aberdares National Park. The drive is not very long leaving most of the day to explore Aberdare National Park. We’ll have lunch in Nyeri before entering Aberdares National Park and driving to Treetops where we’ll spend the night.
In the afternoon we’ll go for game drive in Aberdare National Park. The Aberdare National Park, with an area of 767 Km2 covers the higher areas of the Aberdare Mountain Ranges of Central Kenya, from altitude of 1829M to 4001M above sea level. Today we’ll explore the forest, and moorlands. Also we’ll visit some of the beautiful waterfalls. While on gamedrive you might spot: the Black Rhino, leopard, baboon, black and white Colobus monkey and sykes monkey. Rarer sightings include those of lions, the golden cat and the bongo- an elusive forest antelope that lives in the bamboo forest. Animals like the eland and spotted and melanistic serval cats can be found higher up in the moorlands. Bird viewing is rewarding, with over 250 species of birds in the park, including the Jackson’s Francolin, goshawks, eagles, sunbirds and plovers.
We’ll return to the lodge for dinner. As the lodge has a view on a waterhole which is lit at night, you might spot some more animals from the comfort of your room.
Day 3: After an early breakfast we’ll do a final gamedrive while we’re driving towards the park’s exit. Today we’re heading further North to Samburu Game Reserve. The drive to Samburu will be approximately 4 hours. If the skies are clear you can see the highest mountain in Kenya, Mount Kenya towering above the plains. You’ll feel the climate change from cool and fresh in Aberdares to hot and dry in Samburu.
Samburu is truly wilderness, and less visited than other parks in Kenya. In Samburu GR you have a chance to spot Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Elephant, Zebra, Buffalo etc. as well as seeing animals that are specific to the Northern Frontier like the endangered Grevy Zebra, Gerenuk, Reticulated Giraffe, Oryx and Kudu. Also there are over 350 species of birds in and around Samburu GR.
After you enter the gate of the Game Reserve we’ll be on gamedrive all the way to Samburu Game Lodge. After lunch you have some time to relax at the poolside. As Samburu can get quite hot, we’ll go for gamedrive later in the afternoon.
Day 4: Again we’ll have an early breakfast. We want to head out while the air is still cool and crisp for gamedrive. This is the best time for predators to hunt and if we’re lucky we might see a hunt. Today we’ll explore the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro river, doum palm and the riverine forest which Samburu GR is famous for.
Around lunchtime we’ll head back to the lodge for lunch. After lunch enjoy the view of the river, and relax while we wait for the temperature to lose some of its heat. Then we’ll head out for another afternoon gamedrive and try to spot some animals that we haven’t spotted yet.
Day 5: If you want, we can still go for an early gamedrive before breakfast. After breakfast we’ll leave Samburu GR behind and travel to Meru National Park. On our way out of the GR we’ll visit a traditional Samburu Village where you can learn about the Samburu way of life and the rich culture of the Samburu people.
Today the drive is not very long, only 3 hours. The road is tarmac all through making it a comfortable drive. Before lunch you’ll be arriving at Ikweta Safari Camp. After enjoying a scrumptious lunch you’ll have some time to relax before going for an afternoon gamedrive. You’ll explore Meru NP where George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa, the lioness cub. During the gamedrive you might spot elephants, lions, reticulated giraffes, black rhinos, kudus, cheetahs, leopard among many other animals. Or you might spot a few of the 430 recorded bird species.
Day 6: After breakfast you’ll go for a full day gamedrive. Hopefully today you’ll be able to see some animals you didn’t spot yesterday as well as other geographical features and more habitats in the Meru park. Also you’ll visit the river where you might see hippos. Depending on what time you will be at the river you can have your lunch while enjoying the nice breeze. After lunch you will continue the gamedrive until around 6pm and come back to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Today we’re heading back south to Maanzoni, an estate just outside Nairobi. The drive is about 5 hours and passes through beautiful sceneries; farmlands, rice plantations and pineapple plantations. We’ll arrive for lunch at Amazing Kenya Retreat, which lies in the heart of Maanzoni which is teeming with wildlife. In the afternoon you can go for a relaxing walk in Maanzoni and see Giraffes, Wildebeest, Eland and other animals.
Day 8: This is the final day of the safari. The morning you can use to relax and have breakfast at your leisure. You can go for a nature walk, horseback riding or just relax and enjoy the view from the Lodge. Before driving to the airport we’ll have dinner at Carnivore restaurant where you can taste Crocodile and Ostrich meat as well as more common meats. After dinner you’ll be dropped at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your flight home.
Day 1: Nairobi – Castle Forest
Day 2: Castle Forest – Aberdares NP
Day 3: Aberdares NP- Samburu GR
Day 4: Samburu GR
Day 5: Samburu GR- Meru NP
Day 6: Meru NP
Day 7: Meru NP- Maanzoni
Day 8: Maanzoni – Nairobi
Castle Forest Lodge is an eco-tourism facility on the slopes of Mount Kenya. The main house was built in 1910 with river stones and wood from the surrounding forest and rivers. It is said that both Queen Elizabeth and President Jomo Kenyatta visited Castle Forest Lodge when they were students. In 2000, Castle Forest Lodge was renovated to accommodate slightly over thirty guests. The bungalows have en-suite toilet and bathroom as well as a cosy sitting room with fireplace.
Treetops overlooks a water hole and salt lick, gifting visitors with the unhindered and closest possible views of wild game. While in Treetops Kenya, the young Princess Elizabeth became queen when her father, King George VI died on the night of 5th Feb 1952.
All rooms have en-suite toilet and bathroom. The rooms are furnished with comfortable twin sized beds that can be converted to double beds and a luggage rack for the safari suitcase. Large windows allow game viewing from the comfort of the room
Samburu Game Lodge is located on the on the Ewaso Nyiro river in Samburu NR. The rooms at Samburu Game Lodge are a place to unwind after a long day on a safari. Your journey will still continue from the surroundings of your room, as you can watch the crocodiles in the river and the elephants on the opposite bank from your window. All rooms are comfortably decorated and have en-suite toilet and bathroom. There is a swimmingpool so that you can have a refreshing dip after a hot and dusty gamedrive.
Ikweta Safari camp offers luxury tented accommodation in the bush. The canvas tents are thatched with doum palm leaves to keep the midday heat out of your tent. All tents have en-suite toilet and bathroom and are facing East and have private verandahs, so that you’ll be able to enjoy the spectacular sunrises from the comfort of the verandah or your bed.
Amazing Kenya Retreat is located in the heart of Maanzoni, which is a beautiful savannah Grassland estate in the Lukenya. Sitting on your verandah you can enjoy the spectacular view. And when the sky is clear you can see Mount Kenya, 150 km to the North. Here you can come up close to to animals while walking in Maanzoni.
Practical Information (back page 4)
Comfort and Intensity of the safari; Comfort Intensity
This safari is suitable for healthy persons with an interest in nature and wildlife. Mostly we search for wildlife during gamedrives from the comfort of the vehicle. When you or the guide spots an animal we stop the vehicle so that we can view the animals at a close range. Sometimes the best way to spot animals is to stand up in the vehicle. There are also some walks planned during the safari. The paths might be sandy, muddy and narrow, uphill or downhill. Sometimes the walks might be harder than you initially think because of the altitude and climate. In case you experience difficulties, discuss this with your guide and the pace will be adjusted to your speed or alternative walks might be proposed
The roads that we’ll drive on during this safari are mostly tarmacked, but there might be potholes in the road. We’ll also use some rough roads, especially interior roads and roads in the parks. Sometimes the drives can be slow because of the roads. Also there are some days that large distance needs to be covered, meaning a long drive. Use this time to relax and enjoy the sceneries and birds.
The accommodation chosen for this safari are comfortable-luxury. The accommodation can be in cottages, furnished tents or double rooms. All cottages/tents/ rooms have double or twin beds, mosquito nets, and en-suite toilet and bathrooms.
Best time for this safari
Kenya boasts one of the best climates on the continent. It is comfortable and pleasant during the day, with variations in temperature due to altitude and terrain.
We offer safaris year round, and travellers who make their safari during the rains of November, April or May will almost certainly be treated to unexpected and exciting wildlife experiences, un-crowded game reserves and probably a good deal of sunshine. It can rain during any month. In recent times, changing weather patterns make transitions between rainy and dry seasons come and go unpredictably. The following are the typical seasonal highlights:
January – February
This is the hot dry season. Excellent for birds and animal viewing, although long grass may make some smaller species hard to see in some wildlife destinations. January & Feb is the calving season for wildebeest, zebra, and some hoofed species.
Sometime in March intermittent rains start. Game viewing is excellent over short new grass of the plains. Spring-like conditions are moderated by cool nights. In the months of April and May the rainy season is heavier, and road conditions can become difficult. There’s great biological activity in the national parks and reserves, beautiful green landscapes and panoramas.
June – October
This is the cooler dry season with some occasional showers. Peak tourist season is July-October. During this period there are excellent viewing conditions, though many roads are dusty.
November – December
Here begin the short rains. There’s nice greening of plants, and birds begin arriving from Europe and Asia. Expect intermittent showers during these months. Wildebeest are migrating south out of the Maasai Mara at this time, but there are still plenty of animals to be spotted since not all wildebeests migrate back.
You’ll be accompanied by an English speaking driver-guide. Your driver-guide has many years of experience in the spotting of wildlife and is able to give you more information on what you see around you. In some areas we’ll use a local community guide to show us the best areas for birding and sightseeing.
We’ll use a safari van during this safari. The vehicle has a pop-up roof that makes it easy to wildlife from the comfort of the car. The roof will be opened only while on gamedrive in the parks, and not while driving on the main roads. As mentioned, sometimes the roads are bad and therefore sometimes the vehicle that we use can have a breakdown. If this happens we’ll try to repair the vehicle on site or at the nearest service station. In case the vehicle is not able to be prepared we’ll arrange alternative transport.
We would like to advise you to carry your baggage in a soft-shell suitcase because of luggage space in the vehicle that is used. If you have a hard-shell suitcase, please contact us and we’ll see how we can carry your suitcase in the vehicle.
As we’ll be doing lots of walking during this safari it would be good if you carry a backpack that can carry your binoculars, bird book, camera, drinking water and a snack.
This safari starts and ends at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. International flights are not included in the price of the safari. When booking your flights it is recommended for your incoming flight to arrive in the morning of day 1 and the outgoing flight to depart in the evening. In case your flight arrives at a different time, please let us know. In that case we can assist you with booking of accommodation in Nairobi.
Passport and Visa requirements
Visitors are required to carry a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the intended length of stay. Visas are required, depending on the passport you carry. Please check the web site for the Embassy of Kenya in your home country.
Vaccinations and Malaria Prophylaxis
As the advice on vaccinations and Malaria Prophylaxis changes regularly we recommend that you contact your health provider in your home country.
All meals are included in this safari, unless indicated otherwise. The accommodation and restaurants chosen for this safari provide you with an assortment of choices and usually comprises of Kenyan and Western food. The meals are served buffet-style or a la-carte. In case you have any dietary restrictions, please let us know so that it can be accommodated.
Dawn 2 Dusk safaris recommends bottled or filtered water only. All the lodges provide you with water in your room (bottled or in a flask). During the drives we also provide you with drinking water. We recommend that you drink at least 2 litres a day
A safari is a very casual experience. Neutral colours are most suitable when near wildlife. We recommend a mix of short- and long sleeved shirts, shorts and long trousers, casual skirts for women, and comfortable walking shoes. Prepare to dress in layers, adding or removing outer garments as the weather changes throughout the day.
In Kenya the currency used is the Kenyan Shilling. Your local bank can give you the current exchange rates. It’s good to have a small amount of Kenyan Shillings upon arrival that you can use to buy a drink, snack or for tipping the hotel staff. You can either carry some Kenyan Shillings from your home country or you can exchange euros or US dollars upon arrival.
You’ll also have the possibility to use the ATMs to get Kenyan Shillings. The most accepted credit cards are Mastercard and Visa. Some ATMs also accept debit cards with Maestro.
Traveller cheques are not widely accepted by banks and we do not recommend you travel with them.
Africa, and particularly Kenya is a photographer’s dream! A camera will record all those unbelievable and spectacular sights you’ll want to share with your friends. Although you can use any type of camera we would like to recommend that the camera has a good zoom so that you can bring the birds and animals close and have that perfect picture.
NOTE: Taking photographs at airports, policemen in uniforms, state houses, embassies, shopping malls, harbours and military installations are STRICTLY prohibited. If you would like to photograph people, please ask and be willing to pay them if they ask you to do so.
A deposit of 50% is required at the time of booking and the balance is due 1 month before the start of the safari
You can cancel your trip in writing (by email) and any cancellation or no-show is subject to cancellation charges as per following schedule:
|For bookings cancelled between 75 and 35 days before date of arrival, 25% of the applicable rate will be charged|
|For bookings cancelled between 34 days and 22 days before the date of arrival, 50% of the applicable rate will be charged|
|For bookings cancelled within 21 days before arrival or No Show, 100% of the applicable rate will be charged|