Looking for departures after October 2012?
Check out our new Kenya Wildlife Safari tour.
|Itinerary at a Glance
Kenya Wildlife Safari
|4||Samburu Game Reserve & Buffalo Springs|
|5||Samburu Game Reserve & Buffalo Springs|
|6||OL Pejeta Conservancy|
|7||Lake Nakuru/Lake Naivasha|
|8||Masai Mara National Reserve|
|9||Masai Mara National Reserve|
|10||Masai Mara, Nairobi, Depart Kenya|
|Istanbul Optional Extension|
|Highlights||Nairobi, Samburu Game Reserve, OL Pejeta Convervancy, Lake Nakuru National Park & Masai Mara National Reserve. Optional 3 night extension to Istanbul|
|Included in the Price||
|Travel Style||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.|
Savvy travelers and novices alike include Kenya on their list of dream destinations, and for very good reason. Kenya is blessed with an abundance of spectacular wildlife and lavishly gorgeous, incredibly photogenic landscapes. Everywhere you go, from the teeming cities to the plains of the Masai Mara, the people are friendly and welcoming. Tourist infrastructure is amazing, often offering white glove service where the basics of running water and electricity appear impossible to find. Game reserves are magnificent, filled with all manner of wildlife, beautiful lakes and beaches, and sweeping vistas that seem to go on forever.
With more than 50 parks to choose from in Kenya alone, it's hard to decide where to go. But everyone agrees that the Masai Mara and Samburu parks are must-visit sites. Our Kenya Wildlife Safari includes them both plus a lot more! And like all Friendly Planet tours, you'll enjoy the best of Kenya at prices that are as amazing as the country itself.
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
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Day 2: Nairobi, Kenya. 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 accommodations are provided for this evening. Accommodations: Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi.
Day 3: Nairobi. After a good rest and a leisurely breakfast, depart for the Karen Blixen Museum. Prior to opening as a Museum in 1991, the house and surrounding 4500 acre farm were owned by "Out of Africa" author Karen Blixen from 1917 till 1931. Continue to 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. Later, visit 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. Tonight, enjoy dinner at the lively Temambo Restaurant. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 4: Samburu Game Reserve & Buffalo Springs. After breakfast, travel north to the remote Samburu Reserve. This is the homeland of the nomadic Samburu people, whose culture attaches great value to tending their livestock of cattle, sheep, goats and camels as their main economic activity. The Samburu people dress is dramatic with bright reds, braided hair and skin daubed in red ochre. Samburu is rich in species not seen in southern Kenya's more famous parks, such as Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe, kudu and gerenuk. You'll also have a good chance at spotting lions, cheetahs and the elusive leopard. The semiarid landscape is dramatic, with the rugged outcrop known as Mt. Ololokwe a prominent feature. After lunch en route, continue to your lodge and enjoy a game drive en route. Accommodations: Samburu Intrepids Camp or Samburu Sopa Lodge. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 5: Samburu Game Reserve/Buffalo Springs. Enjoy another day of game viewing drives in the Samburu Game Reserve during two safari drives, one in the morning and another in the early evening, in a safari vehicle with roof hatch access for perfect game viewing and photography. Guided by your expert driver, enjoy searching for animals native to this fascinating and beautiful area. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 6: OL Pejeta Conservancy. After a morning game drive and breakfast, depart for the 90,000 acre Ol Prejeta Conservancy. The conservancy is situated on the equator, in Kenya’s Laikipia District, between the foothills of the Aberdares and the snow-capped Mount Kenya. The conservancy hosts a large variety of animals, including the “Big Five”, Grey’s zebra, Jackson’s hartebeest, cheetah and chimpanzee. Enjoy lunch at your camp. In the afternoon, viist the Jane Goodall Chimpanzee sanctuary followed by a game drive. In the evening sit by the lit waterhole to view the animals. Accommodations: Sweetwaters Tented Camp. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 7: Lake Nakuru/Lake Naivasha. Early this morning, travel to Lake Nakuru National Park. Travel south through the town of Nanyuki and then head west via Nyahururu (still known to many as Thompsons Falls). Visit Lake Nakuru which is often colored flamingo pink from the numerous birds lining its shores. This park is a rhino sanctuary, offering the rare opportunity to see these endangered animals. It's also home to rare Rothschild's giraffes, buffalo, leopards and lions. Enjoy lunch at one of the lodges, followed by a game drive. Later drive to Lake Naivasha for overnight. Accommodations: Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 8: Masai Mara National Reserve. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. After breakfast, head out for the Masai Mara National Reserve, which borders Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. 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 grassy plains and lush landscape offer a huge variety of game including lions, cheetahs, buffalo and abundant bird life such as ostriches, cranes and storks. Enjoy lunch at your lodge then relax until later this afternoon when you'll take your first game drive through this haven of wildlife.
This afternoon you'll have an optional opportunity to visit to a Masai Village for an in-depth look at this colorful and pastoral people in their natural setting ($25). Accommodations: Keekorok Lodge or similar. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 9: Masai Mara National Reserve. Today you will take two safari drives, one in the morning and another in the early evening, in a safari vehicle with roof hatch access for perfect game viewing and photography. You will have the option of replacing one safari drive with an optional balloon safari ($459) which provides a thrilling opportunity to soar high over the plain for animal viewing from above.
Whether you go by air or land, you will enjoy searching for animals native to this fascinating and beautiful area guided by your expert driver, who will amaze you with his ability to spot game hidden in the bush. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 10: Masai Mara, Nairobi, Depart Kenya. After a leisurely breakfast, drive to Nairobi. Check-in at the Intercontinental Hotel. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure, or maybe some last minute shopping. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at the famous Carnivore Restaurant. After dinner, return to your hotel to freshen-up. At approximately midnight, transfer to the airport to check in for your return flight to the USA. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 11: Arrive USA. Your Kenya Safari ends today as you arrive in New York.
To enhance your visit to Kenya and make it more complete, here are some optional excursions that will be available to you through your guide or tour manager. These excursions cannot be booked prior to travel. More information, including updates on pricing and availability, will be included with your travel documents.
Masai Mara: Masai Village Tour
This is an opportunity to experience what the Masai tribal life is like as you walk through a traditional village compound. You'll be greeted by the village chief and be escorted around the village by a local host who will explain the history, culture and practices of the Masai. Before departing the village, enjoy a cultural performance by the young men of the tribe, the famed warrior "morans". $25 per person, credit card not accepted for this tour.
Masai Mara: Hot Air Balloon Safari & Champagne Breakfast
Take to the sky over herds of wildlife in the Masai Mara game reserve, flying in a hot air balloon. The balloon can soar over the most inaccessible and undisturbed parts of the reserve and offers a bird's eye view of the plains below. At the conclusion of your incredible flight, you'll be treated to a champagne breakfast in the bush. Before returning to your lodge, your balloon pilot will present you with a Balloon Flight Certificate. This is certain to become a once in a lifetime experience you will remember long after returning from Kenya! (Please be advised that flight may not operate if weather conditions are not suitable for balloon flying). $459 per person.
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 11: 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: Kent Hotel Istanbul or similar.
Day 12: Istanbul. Today, enjoy a full day of leisure to explore this remarkable city on your own. Or, 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 13: 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 14: 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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