Looking for departures after Nov. 10, 2012?
Check out our new Kenya Safari Express tour.
|Itinerary at a Glance
Kenya Safari Express
|4||Nairobi & Lake Naivasha|
|5||Masai Mara Game Reserve|
|6||Masai Mara Game Reserve|
|7||Masai Mara & Nairobi|
|Istanbul Optional Extension|
|Style||Fully Escorted & Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Highlights||Nairobi, Lake Naivasha, Masai Mara Game Reserve. Optional Balloon Safari Adventure and optional 3 night extension to Istanbul.|
|Included in the Price||
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness. This tour also includes long scenic drives between destinations, sometimes on bumpy unpaved roads and may have limited rest stops.|
Who wouldn't include Kenya on their "bucket list" of places to see? As far as Kenya wildlife safaris go, this is one you won't want to miss. The legendary game reserves are filled with magnificent wildlife and offer sweeping vistas that seem to go on forever. Everywhere you go, from the teeming cities to the plains of the Masai Mara, the people are friendly and welcoming. Enjoy your own "Out of Africa" experience and visit Karen Blixen's home.
And as always, in true Friendly Planet style, we've managed to package a dream vacation at a price that is unbelievable, even to us. Your 8-day visit to Kenya includes airfare, great hotel and lodge accommodations, daily buffet breakfast, lunches and dinners on safari, transfers, game drives and more.
Afterwards, take advantage of your already-included international airfare for an optional extension to exciting Istanbul. Straddling Europe and Asia, it's a mix of modern and ancient cultures.
This was our second trip with Friendly Planet, and it was absolutely wonderful. The safari vehicle was clean and comfy, and our guide Newton was a fountain of knowledge. The accommodations are great and we saw more animals than anyone could wish for. We hit the middle of migration and saw wildebeest as far as the eye could see. We saw all of the Africa Big Five and have memories that will last us a lifetime. Thank you Friendly Planet for another great trip!
Barbara Winbush, Harbor City, CA
Sorry, there are no currently available tour dates.
Day 2: En route/Nairobi. Upon arrival, our representatives will assist you with passport and customs formalities and escort you to your hotel. Note: Arrival into Nairobi is approximately 1:30am on day 3. Hotel accomodations are provided for this evening. Accommodations: Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi.
Day 3: Nairobi. After a good rest and a leisurely breakfast, begin your tour of Nairobi this afternoon with a visit to The Langata Giraffe Center, established to protect the endangered Rothschild Giraffe. There are also several warthogs which roam freely with the giraffes. Guests are permitted to feed the giraffes from a raised feeding platform.
End the day at the Kazuri Bead factory. Kazuri, which means "small and beautiful" in Swahili, began in 1975 as a tiny workshop experimenting in making handmade beads. The factory is located in what used to be part of the Karen Blixen Estate. Its founder, Lady Susan Wood, started with two Kenyan women and soon discovered that there were many other women in the villages around Nairobi, most of whom were single mothers, who were in great need of regular employment. Breakfast provided.
Day 4: Nairobi & Lake Naivasha. After breakfast and check-out, visit the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphans' Nursery, where young orphaned elephant babies are hand-raised until they are released back to the natural habitat in the Tsavo National Park. Here they are able to mingle freely with the wild community.
Depart Nairobi, travelling west through Kenya's fertile farmlands and into the Great Rift Valley. Arrive at your lodge, set amidst Acacia trees, overlooking Lake Naivasha.
After lunch, your safari begins with an afternoon boat ride on Lake Naivasha to view the multitude of birds and wildlife. You may see the majestic fish eagle, kingfishers, egrets and other African species of birds, as well as hippo, giraffe, buffalo, zebra and waterbuck wandering along the shores of the lake. You may also see some playful black and white colobus monkeys in the tall yellow acacia trees. Accommodations: Naivasha Country Club. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 5: Masai Mara Game Reserve. After breakfast, depart for the Masai Mara. This park offers wonderful scenery and plenty of game viewing. It is perhaps the only region remaining in Kenya where the visitor can see animals in the same abundance and variety as existed a century ago. Here among the grassy plains and lush landscape, you'll find lions, cheetahs, buffalo and abundant bird life such as ostriches, cranes and storks.
Every year, between June and September, millions of wildebeests and zebras migrate into the Mara in search of water. The timing of this phenomenon varies, depending on the rains, but they usually start heading back to the Serengeti in October. Whether you see the migration or not, the Mara almost guarantees you'll enjoy a magnificent time in Kenya. Enjoy lunch at your lodge then relax until later this afternoon when you'll take your first game drive through this haven of wildlife, lasting until sunset. Accommodations: Keekorok Lodge. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 6: Masai Mara Game Reserve. Continue your discovery of the many species of game in the park today on two drives, one this morning and another later in the afternoon. During your game drives, you may see a variety of antelope, including wildebeest, Thomsons, and Grant gazelles. The "Big Five" are found in the Masai Mara as well as cheetahs and bat-eared foxes and many other varieties of wildlife.
Optional Excursion: You'll have an opportunity to take an optional balloon ride across the Masai Mara instead of the morning game drive. Weather conditions permitting, your Balloon Safari begins in the pre-dawn hours, a time when the magnificent view over the park is most thrilling. Toward the end of your flight, you'll rise to a height of 1500 feet for a panoramic view of the twisting Mara River and the savannah below. After an hour or so in the air, your safari finishes with a champagne breakfast in the bush, cooked on the balloon's burners. ($425)
After lunch, enjoy some leisure time at the lodge, including a refreshing swim in the pool.
Optional Excursion: This afternoon you'll have an optional opportunity to visit a Masai Village for an in-depth look at this colorful and pastoral people in their natural setting ($25). Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 7: Masai Mara & Nairobi. Enjoy the last morning of your Africa adventure. After a leisurely breakfast, depart for Nairobi in the mid-morning, arriving in the mid-afternoon. Check-in at your hotel to relax and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at the famous Carnivore Restaurant. Accommodations: Intercontinental Hotel. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 8: USA. Early this morning (shortly after midnight), bid farewell to Kenya as you transfer to the airport for your return flight via Istanbul, arriving at JFK International Airport later this afternoon. Or take advantage of your included international airfare, and choose a 3 night extension in Istanbul.
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare and extend your stay in exciting Istanbul. You will return to the USA 3 days after the return dates shown above
Day 8: Istanbul. Arrive this morning in Istanbul, a city at the meeting point of two continents—Europe and Asia. You'll be met by our representative and escorted to your centrally located hotel. This afternoon enjoy an orientation tour to get you acquainted with Istanbul including a visit to the Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar. Also known as Ayasofya, Hagia Sophia was built by the emperor Justinian I between 532 and 537 AD. The Hagia Sophia is famous for its massive dome and Byzantine architecture, was built as an Othordox basilica, it later became a mosque and finally a museum in 1936. Next you will visit the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. The Bazaar was opened in 1461, and today there are over 3000 stores, many of which are grouped by the type of goods, with special areas for leather coats, gold jewelry and other wares. Spend remainder of the evening at leisure. Accommodations: Eresin Taxim Premier on Nov. & Dec. 2011 departures, Kent Hotel Istanbul or similar on all others.
Day 9: Istanbul. Today, enjoy a full day of leisure to explore this remarkable city on your own.
Optional Excursion: Take advantage of an optional full day city tour including Istanbul's Golden Horn, Dolmabahce Palace, the Bosphorus, and lunch at a local restaurant.
This evening enjoy and optional dinner with local entertainment. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Istanbul. This morning, visit some of the unique and iconic sites in the city. Start your tour at the Sultanahmet Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque for the tiles and paint adorning its interior. Built between 1609 and 1616 on the site of several previous palaces, is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period, and even today it is a truly epic sight. More than 200 stained glass windows admit natural light, the floors are covered with thick carpets, and the walls are decorated with incredibly intricate tile work and verses from the Qur'an, many by Seyyid Kasim Gubari, the greatest calligrapher of his time. Continue to the Hippodrome originally built by the Byzantine Emperor Septimius Severus, it was later renovated by Constantine and in its heyday was able to accommodate 100,000 spectators. You will also visit a local shopping mall, known for its handicrafts, before returning to the hotel for the balance of the day at leisure. This evening enjoy and optional dinner with local entertainment. Breakfast provided.
Day 11: Istanbul/USA. Today you'll be escorted to the airport as you bid farewell to Istanbul and Turkey, and board your return flight to the USA. Breakfast provided.
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