Kenya Safari: The Big 5Itinerary
NOTE: Locations selected for this safari promise excellent viewing of wildlife, however, spotting specific wildlife cannot be guaranteed. Some activities are dependent on weather and seasonal conditions.
Day 1: En Route from U.S
Day 2: Arrive in Nairobi, Kenya
Welcome to Kenya! Upon arrival, meet your Orbridge representative who will assist with group transfers to the historic Fairmont The Norfolk hotel.
Overnight: Fairmont The Norfolk
Day 3: Nairobi
After breakfast and a safari briefing, visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, considered the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and one of the pioneering conservation organizations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa. Founded in 1977 by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, DBE, in honor of the memory of her late naturalist husband, David Leslie William Sheldrick, MBE, the facility prioritizes the conservation, preservation, and protection of wildlife.
To date, the center has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by effectively reintegrating orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo.
Then visit the home of the Rothschild Giraffe at the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Giraffe Centre. Founded in 1979, this non-profit organization's mission is to educate Kenyan school children and youth on their country’s wildlife and environment. The facility also offers visitors an opportunity to see giraffes in close proximity, including the Rothschild Giraffe—named after a British zoologist and considered one of the tallest in the species.
Afterward, take a short drive to the foot of the Ngong Hills to see Karen Blixen's farm house, which gained international fame after the release of the Oscar-winning movie, Out of Africa.
Overnight: Fairmont The Norfolk (B,L,D)
Day 4: Nairobi / Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Following breakfast, travel north out of Nairobi through lush tea and coffee estates to Sweetwaters Serena Camp, located in Ol Pejeta Conservancy. This 90,000-acre, non-profit, private wildlife facility is situated on the equator in Kenya’s Laikipia District between the foothills of the Aberdares and the magnificent snow-capped Mount Kenya. Besides endangered rhinos, other rare animals found in Ol Pejeta include the endangered African wild dog, oryx, Jackson’s hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, serval, cheetah, and bat-eared fox. The Big 5, as well as giraffes, baboons, hippos, impalas, and hyenas—plus more than 300 bird species—also call Ol Pejeta home.
Overnight: Sweetwaters Serena Camp (B,L,D)
Day 5: Ol Pejeta Conservancy
Today's highlights include a full day exploring Ol Pejeta Conservancy featuring morning and afternoon game drives.
Stop by the conservancy's rhino sanctuary to see some of the protected and critically endangered rhinos living here.
Continue on to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary—established with an agreement between the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the Kenya Wildlife Service, and the Jane Goodall Institute—with the mission to provide lifelong refuge to orphaned and abused chimpanzees from West and Central Africa. This facility is currently home to 36 chimpanzees and is the only place in Kenya where they can be seen.
Overnight: Sweetwaters Serena Camp (B,L,D)
Day 6: Ol Pejeta Conservancy / Lake Nakuru National Park
Depart for Lake Nakuru National Park, described by Roger Tory Peterson as the greatest ornithological spectacle in the world, arriving in time for lunch. Lake Nakuru is one of the Rift Valley soda lakes at an elevation of 5,755 feet above sea level. It's best known for its thousands—sometimes millions—of flamingos nesting along the shores. Other bird species also inhabit the lake and the surrounding area, including African fish eagle, Goliath heron, hamerkop, pied kingfisher, and Verreaux's eagle.
This afternoon, explore the park during a game drive with opportunities to observe black rhinos, Rothschild giraffes, and a multitude of birds.
Overnight: Lake Nakuru Sopa Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 7: Lake Nakuru National Park / Maasai Mara National Reserve
This morning, travel along the Rift Valley's western rim into the Maasai Mara National Reserve—a northern extension of the Serengeti ecosystem and one of the world’s most rewarding wildlife observation sites. The rich savanna is known for its concentration of plains animals. There have been approximately 95 species of mammals, amphibians, and reptiles and over 400 bird species recorded on the reserve.
Overnight: Mara Engai Lodge (B,L,D)
Days 8-9: Maasai Mara National Reserve
- Enjoy two full days of wildlife viewing throughout the Maasai Mara to spot for the Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, black rhino, and elephant).
Head out with picnic lunch boxes to spend most of the day in the park, returning to camp late in the afternoon. Or take a pre-breakfast game drive and another game drive in the late afternoon.
While in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, you can opt to take a once-in-a-lifetime hot air balloon safari. Enjoy a dawn ascent to experience incredible birds-eye views over the wildlife and vast landscape. (Note: This excursion must be purchased in advance to guarantee availability and is non-refundable inside 90 days to departure.)
Tonight, enjoy a special farewell meal celebrating this wonderful adventure in Africa.
Overnight: Mara Engai Lodge (B,L,D daily)
Day 10: Maasai Mara National Reserve / Flight to Nairobi / Depart for U.S.
After an early morning game drive and breakfast, return to Nairobi for lunch. Afterward, you'll have access to a day room at the hotel for comfortable downtime until your transfer to the airport for evening departures.
Guests continuing on to the post-tour will partake in a mid-morning game drive after breakfast, then take a flight from Maasai Mara to Amboseli.
Day Room: Crowne Plaza Nairobi Airport (B,L)
Day 11: Arrive in U.S.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
This safari program requires an ability to walk safely over uneven and slippery ground without assistance, transport luggage a short distance, get in and out of a 4x4 vehicle, and physically tolerate vehicle motion on sometimes bumpy roads. Highest elevation: 5,500 feet.