Meru - Shaba - Masai Mara
Day 1-5: 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 5-8: Shaba
The Shaba Nature Reserve is the least developed reserve in the region. Joy’s Camp is the only safari lodge in Shaba, so guests have exclusive access to this pristine and untouched corner of the planet. The diverse Shaba ecosystem consists of forests, rolling hills, swamplands and vast African plains. Other highlights include the rocky gorges of the Ewaso Nyiro River, beautiful spring oases, volcanic peaks and the crystal clear Sharinki Waterfall.
A popular waterhole in front of the camp attracts species such as Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich, elephant, buffalo, lion and cheetah which can be seen from the tents, main areas and swimming pool. The Shaba area is also known for having some of the best leopard viewing in Kenya.
Day 8-11: 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.