Meru – Samburu – Masai Mara - Kenyan Coast
Day 1-4: Meru
The Meru National Park is well known for an incredible diversity in vegetation, landscape and wildlife species. The park also incorporates a large rhino sanctuary, making for some of the best rhino viewing in Kenya. The Meru region is semi-arid, but numerous springs and rivers have transformed parts of the area into dense thicket and wooded grasslands, standing in contrast to vast open plains.
Meru is home to the famous Big 5 – lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard – as well as rare species found only in northern Kenya such as Grevy’s zebra, gerenuk, Somali ostrich, and reticulated giraffe. Other big game highlights include cheetah, wild dog, hippo, waterbuck, eland and bush pig.
The only fully operational safari lodge destination in Meru is Elsa’s Kopje, so guests have exclusive access to the park. Perched on Mughwango Hill, the lodge offers unrivalled views of the surrounding volcanic plains.
Day 4-7: Samburu
The Samburu region is known for its large population of elephants as well as northern species not found in other areas of Kenya such as the long necked gerenuk, Grevy's zebra, reticulated giraffe and Beisa onyx. Other exciting big game species include leopard, lion, kudu, hyena, cheetah and endangered wild dog. The landscape is dominated by acacia trees and breathtaking African grassland stretching as far as the eye can see. An absence of fences allows game to roam freely throughout the vast northern area of Kenya.
The pristine landscape and untouched local culture makes this northern region one of the last true wilderness areas in the world. The Samburu National Park is made up a number of private reserves and conservancies, and among them is the Kalama Community Wildlife Conservancy. Open Africa guests will have the pleasure of exclusive access to Kalama during their stay at Saruni Samburu Safari Lodge. Saruni also offers guests a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the Samburu culture with the ‘Warrior for a Week’ programme.
Day 7-10: 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 10-13: 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 8 courtesy of Joao Maximo.