Land of The Masai Trip Notes
Trip code: FFKC
Trip length: 8 days
- Elephant Orphanage & flamingos
- Family safari to Kenya
- Masai Mara Game Reserve
- Meet the Masai Warriors
Experience the ultimate African adventure of a safari in Kenya! In Sweetwaters Game Reserve your safari proper begins. Then you visit Lake Nakuru National Park, home of the famous flamingos and Lake Naivasha for water-based game viewing. You finish on a high in the Masai Mara, a continuation of Tanzania’s renowned Serengeti, with the same prolific fauna. During your stay you’ll hopefully see an array of wildlife: the big nine - lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, rhino, zebra, giraffe, hippo, plus wildebeest and many species of antelope – in addition to some of East Africa’s splendid bird life. There is also a meeting with local Masai people and a chance to learn something about their fascinating culture. We know you won’t want to go home so top this off with a relaxing extension to the dazzling beaches of the Indian Ocean!
Tour starts; elephant orphanage & giraffe centre
The tour starts at the Nairobi hotel. You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the Joining Instructions which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. The Kenyan capital stands at an altitude of 1670m above sea level on an elevated plain at the heart of the country, surrounded by fertile land that yields coffee and maize. You meet your Group Leader for a tour briefing in the morning, before you head off to visit Sheldricks Elephant Orphanage and the giraffe centre. These are conservation projects where you get to view the animals in close proximity and learn about them and their plight in the modern world. The David Sheldricks Wildlife Trust was set up in 1977 in Memory of David Sheldricks, who was a founding warden of the Tsavo East National Park. The Trust takes in and cares for orphaned elephants and rhinos, who are ultimately released back into the wild.
You can meet The Adventure Company's own sponsored elephant orphan, named Shukuru. Shukuru arrived at the Trust after being found by a herdsman trapped down a manhole when she was only a few days old! Having been rescued and taken to the nursery in Nairobi she has since settled in well and now enjoys playing games and taking mudbaths with all the other orphans. It is possible to sponsor your own elephant; you can then add an extra dimension to your visit by meeting your own orphan and following its progress – a charming addition to any family! Hotel (AAA) - 1 night (Swimming Pool)
Naro Moru, Mount Kenya Area
This morning you travel to Naro Moru (2 ½ hrs drive) on the watershed between the Tana and Ewaso Nyiro river basins. Your accommodation is located beside a trout stream in excellent bird watching country. The afternoon is free to relax in the lodge’s pretty gardens and of course its pool. You will see views of Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain (5200m). Some three and a half million years old, it was once a live volcano. Now the peaks are permanently covered with snow and glaciers.
River Lodge (AAA) - 2 nights (Swimming Pool) (BLD)
Naro Moru; game drive Sweetwaters Game Reserve
Kenya’s Central Highlands boast a number of game ranches that have been instrumental in saving the highly endangered black rhino. Today you visit the privately-owned Sweetwaters Rhino Sanctuary to learn about its breeding programme and witness its remarkable success with your own eyes. Between 1970 and 1990 Kenya’s rhino population was drastically reduced as a result of extensive poaching. The demand for rhino horn to use in traditional Chinese medicine or for making ornamental dagger handles in the Middle East still threatens the rhinos’ survival. Only now are the first tentative signs of recovery being seen as reared animals from high security sanctuaries such as this are used to restock national parks. You’ll see the tame (well, relatively tame…!) rhino that goes by the name of Max, and delve into the world of the primate when you visit a chimpanzee sanctuary. You will also take a game drive through the reserve. (BLD)
This morning you drive 250km (approx. 4-5 hours) on good roads to Lake Nakuru, arriving in time for lunch. The alkaline waters of this lake once supported an extremely large colony of flamingos - reckoned to be anything up to two million strong! Over the course of the year the lake changes size considerably, shrinking to its minimum in March at the end of the dry season. Changes in water level and chemical concentration caused the permanent population of flamingos to move elsewhere in the 1970s - they now reappear periodically, but never stay for long. In the afternoon, you will enjoy a game drive around the shore of the lake and look for the white rhinos that can usually be found around the shores.
Lodge (AAAA) – 1 night (Swimming Pool) (BLD)
Situated in the Great Rift Valley, in the South East Ecological niche of the park is Lake Nakuru Lodge, an oasis of comfort and excellent service, with commanding views of the lesser flamingo dotted with the Greater Flamingo for which Lake Nakuru is justly famous.
Lake Naivasha; optional boat cruise & hippos
This morning you take a game drive. There’s a lot of wildlife to see on the salty mudflats and wooded hills around Lake Nakuru, including giraffe, hippo, black and white rhino (both of which have been reintroduced), buffalo, warthog, zebra, various species of antelope and the ubiquitous waterbuck. Due to the relative absence of predators, and the consequent low risk, waterbuck and impala thrive here. Indeed one of the possible derivations of Nakuru’s name is “the place of the waterbuck”. However there is just a chance that you’ll see lion and the extremely elusive leopard. Later you drive to Lake Naivasha. Afternoon wind and storms can cause the lake to become suddenly rough and produce high waves. For this reason, the local Masai christened the lake Nai'posha meaning ''rough water'', which the British later misspelt as Naivasha. The waters of the lake draw a great range of game; giraffes wander among the acacia, buffalo wallow in the swamps and colobus monkeys call from the treetops while the lake’s large hippo population while away the day in the shallows.
Lodge (AAA) – 1 night (Swimming Pool) (BLD)
Masai Mara; game drives & meet Masai
Your destination today is the finest of Kenya’s reserves, the Masai Mara (150km, approx. 5 hours drive). The Mara is effectively a northern extension of the Serengeti, the most famous of neighbouring Tanzania's national parks, which lies just across the border. Animals, of course, recognise no border and immense herds of blue wildebeest migrate across the savannah driven by the innate urge to find new grazing land - to arrive here each July/August; then in October start to head south again! At these times the plains teem with animals on the move, and the photographic opportunities are unrivalled. You should arrive at your lodge in time for lunch, followed by an afternoon game drive. You’ll explore the extensive grassy plains where elephant, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, and various gazelles - with attendant predators of lion, cheetah, jackal and hyena can be seen.
The following day you take a game drive in the early morning, return to camp for a leisurely brunch, then have some free time to relax before setting off again in the afternoon. You will also get to meet the local Masai warriors and they will teach you about their life and culture, even showing you how to throw a spear – careful mum, stand well clear please! This is invariably one of the highlights of the trip as you spend the day walking with your Masai guides. The Masai are probably the best known of Kenya’s tribal peoples - largely due to their highly photogenic appearance. The young males in particular wear a striking costume of bright red cloth, with a cape slung from one shoulder, beads and jewellery, and carry a spear, sword and club. Originally nomadic herders, the Masai used to live on a diet of fresh and curdled milk. Live cattle represent wealth, so much energy was devoted to cattle raiding. They have a fearsome reputation as warriors and hunters, but in the face of immense pressure are gradually - if reluctantly - starting to accept a more settled lifestyle.
Tented Lodge (AAA) – 2 nights (Bx2,Lx2,Dx2)
Nairobi; tour ends
After one last early morning game drive, you set off late morning to re-cross the plains of the Mara and climb the Rift Valley’s eastern wall past Mount Suswa to make your way back to Nairobi (300km approx. 6 hours drive). En route there may be opportunities to stop and make some final purchases. (B)
Please note - It is necessary to leave the Masai Mara in the morning in order to get to Nairobi in daylight, as travelling after dark is not allowed.
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Trip gradesAfrican Safari
Grasslands / Savannah
Lodge based safaris
No particular physical difficulty, so anyone should be able to take part. Travelling in Kenya is sometimes rough due to the condition of the roads. Minimum age: 6 years
Transport - Minibus.
Accommodation - Hotel (1nt), lodges (4nts), tented camp (2nts).
Meals - 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches & 6 dinners.
Single room supplementA single supplement is available for this trip priced from 292.00 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.
Clothing and Footwear
Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. It is not an exhaustive packing list. If you need further advice, please call us or consult your nearest specialist outdoor clothing and equipment store.
- Lightweight cottons for safari
- Lightweight wind & waterproof jacket
- Warm mid-layer e.g. fleece for early game morning drives
- Comfortable walking trousers (not jeans)
- Lightweight trail boots or shoes for walking
- Trainers/sandals for relaxing
- Men will need a pair of long trousers as some hotels don't allow shorts in their restaurants at dinner.
- Personal First Aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Sunglasses, high factor sunscreen & lipsalve
- Dust can be a problem - take plastic bags for cameras
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
A small bean bag toy can double as a useful camera rest to help avoid camera shake when on safari.
Brightly-coloured clothing is not appropriate as it is easily seen by animals and attracts insects; wear muted tones in natural colours (beige, khaki, olive but not army-style camouflage clothing)
African Diary – Bill Bryson
I dreamed of Africa – Kuki Gallmann
Out of Africa – Karen Blixen
My Kenya Days – Wilfred Thesiger
A Small Town in Africa – Daisy Waugh
The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood – Elspeth Huxley
Child of Happy Valley – Juanita Carberry
Your Child’s Health Abroad - Matthew Ellis and Jane Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt publications).
Travel with Children – Maureen Wheeler (Lonely Planet)
FOR YOUNGER READERS:
How it was with Dooms: A True Story from Africa by Xan Hopcraft
Hyena and the Moon: Stories to Tell from Kenya by Heather McNeil Cromer
Local Costs - Kenya
Approximate costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment.
Coffee/tea KSH 110
Soft drink KSH 110
Medium beer KSH 220
Local snack lunch KSH 750
3-course dinner* KSH 1200
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant.
Approximate costs are given for guidance only and may depend on the number of participants. They are accurate as per time of writing.
Your Group Leader should be able to assist you in arranging them on the ground however, please note that some activities may not be available at time of travelling and are advisable to be pre-booked. (See Extensions & Extras section for pre-bookable activities. An admin fee may apply to these activities)
- Nairobi -Carnivore meat lunch or dinner US$60.00 (incl transport)
- Nairobi - tea farm visit inc. lunch US$70.00
- Nairobi city tour incl Karen Blixen House US$60
- Lake Naivasha – boat cruise £15.00/1 hour
- Masai Mara Balloon ride US$455
(Balloon ride must be booked in advance to avoid disappointment due to limited availability.) Please note - The minimum age for anyone wishing to go on a hot air balloon ride is 12 years.
Mombasa Extension Excursions:
Diving - Euros €44.00 (plus €15.00pp for Marine Park entrance)
Snorkelling - €20.00 (plus €15.00pp for Marine Park entrance)
Crocodile farm - €10.00
Butterfly farm - €5.00
Village visit - €12.00
All extension excursions need to be booked the day before you wish to go at the hotel. Diving and snorkelling can be booked on arrival at the hotel with the water sports department.
Visas & Permits - Kenya
Holders of UK & IRL passports do require a visa. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the end date of the trip. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Kenyan authorities state that you need sufficient space in your passport for your visa. If you arrive with a passport that is full you will be refused entry. We advise that you have two blank pages in your passport on arrival.
Note that since the 13th of July 2011, according to FCO advice, children will now also require a visa for Kenya.
Information can also be found at www.travcour.com.
This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - Kenya
The following are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
- Yellow Fever
NB: Yellow Fever certificate of vaccination is compulsory if travelling from/via an infected country.
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
Tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and - although it is always at your discretion - you will be expected to tip to reward service. You should budget on a personal contribution of £20-25 to cover tips for local guides and staff at the various camps. Anyone taking the Mombasa Beach extension should also budget modest amounts for tips to transfer representatives and local staff. If you wish to tip your safari driver/guide (in recognition of their contribution towards your overall enjoyment of the holiday) a suggested guideline would be approximately £1-2 per person, per day.The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.