Laikipia - Masai Mara - Kenyan Coast
Day 1-5: Laikipia
The Laikipia region is one of the few places in East Africa where wildlife numbers are increasing, and is also one of the best places in the world to view endangered wild dog and rhino. Because Laikipia is made up of private conservancies, guests are guaranteed to enjoy the wonders of the African bush in peace and tranquillity. Laikipia is home to the Big 5 – elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo – as well as a myriad of other wildlife and birdlife.
Open Africa safari lodges in the Laikipia region include Loisaba Lodge, Lewa Safari Camp and Old Pejeta Bush Camp.
Loisaba Lodge is located in the heart of the Laikipia region, and is bordered in the north by the grassy plains of the Laikipia Plateau, and in the south by the Ewaso Nviro River. This area is known for great big cat sightings. At Lewa Safari Camp guests will have the privilege of big game viewing against backdrops of the magnificent Mount Kenya. The area is densely populated with wildlife and is home to roughly 10% of Kenya’s black rhino population and 15% of the white rhino population. Ol Pejeta Bush Camp has the highest animal-to-area ratio of any park or reserve in Kenya. Set on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, it is a traditional tented safari, for those seeking a closer connection with the African bush.
Day 5-8: Masai Mara
As the final destination of the great migration, the Masai Mara is probably the best known safari site in Kenya offering guests prime viewing of millions of zebra, wildebeest and gazelle which travel annually from July – October from the Serengeti to the plains of the Masai Mara. The large number of grazing herbivores results in large predator populations making for exhilarating game viewing. Highlights include lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and jackal. The Masai Mara is also home to herds of elephant, buffalo, giraffe.
The untouched nature of the Mara as well as low vehicle density offers guests the most exclusive African safari experiences with a minimal impact on the environment. Open African safari lodges situated in the Greater Masai Mara include Saruni Mara Safari Camp, Elephant Pepper Camp and Cottar’s 1920s Camp.
Saruni Mara Safari Camp and Elephant Pepper Camp are both situated in the mountainous northern edge of the Masai Mara (Mara North Conservancy). The area comprises lush mountains, valleys and rolling African plains. In the centre of the Conservancy is Leopard Gorge, the famous setting for numerous National Geographic documentaries and BBC’s Big Cat Diaries.
Cottar’s 1920s Camp is located in the Olderikesi Conservancy in the south eastern Masai Mara, and is known for offering a far more secluded safari experience. A very low density of vehicles allows guests the privilege of off road driving in open safari vehicles.
Day 8-12: Kenyan Coast
Kenya is one of Africa’s best known safari destinations, and as a result its beautiful tropical coast is often overlooked. A paradise of white coral sand and crystal blue water, the east African coast is an undiscovered jewel. The warm Indian Ocean offers travellers all kinds of water activities including scuba diving, snorkelling, sailing, canoeing, kite surfing, deep-sea fishing, wind surfing, water skiing and island trips.
The Open Africa lodge in the area is Kinondo Kwetu, a beach resort situated on private and remote stretches of coast, offering guests the most exclusive of beach retreats. Kinondo Kwetu is located on a private beach south of Diani, protected from the outside by forests, rocky cliffs and endless beaches. Kinondo offers an impressive range of water activities, and even land activities such as game drives, horse riding and yoga.
Image 7 courtesy of Joao Maximo.