Spot the Big Five and spend a night with the Maasai

Immerse yourself in the animal kingdom on this eight-day Lonely Planet Experience. Veer off the beaten track to seek out elephants, hippos, leopards and lions against the impressive backdrop of the Great Rift Valley and Lake Naivasha. Then, staying in the world-famous Masai Mara, deepen your understanding of Kenyan culture by experiencing tribal life in Loita Hills as you’re welcomed into the homes of the Maasai warriors and their proud village community. Join Lonely Planet and Intrepid on this perspective-shifting journey of unforgettable moments and memorable wildlife encounters.


Start
Nairobi, Kenya
Finish
Nairobi, Kenya
Destination
Kenya
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience, Overland, Wildlife
Code
YGOK
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 22

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Spend the night in a Maasai village to learn about life from community elders, visit a widows’ community and maybe even learn to throw a spear.

  • Venture into the incredible Masai Mara National Reserve for a full-day game drive in an open-top 4WD, looking for lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes and more.

  • An early morning game drive through Lake Nakuru National Park might be your best chance of seeing black and white rhinoceroses in the flesh.

  • Take a cooking class in a small village and learn some Kenyan recipes, then share your creations at a camp dinner under the stars.

  • You'll be in excellent hands for the duration of your trip, travelling with a crew of three experienced locals – a leader, driver and cook.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is an overland trip. That means you’ll be travelling with a group in a purpose-built vehicle, visiting remote communities, setting up your own tent, occasionally roughing it in the bush with no facilities, and getting the best possible views of the Big Five. While the trucks don’t have air conditioning, they do have sliding windows which let in the breeze and make it even easier to take spectacular snaps of the local wildlife. The drive days can be long, but it’s as much about the journey as the destination, and half the fun is the camaraderie. For more info on this style of travel, see our Africa overland page: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/africa/overland

  • In Loita Hills you will stay in a bush camp with no shower facilities. The rewards of experiencing Maasai culture, however, should more than make up for the lack of creature comforts.

  • As the early bird catches the worm, the early camper sights the animals. There will be many early starts either to make use of the better safari time or beat the morning traffic on long travel days.

  • You may also want to check out The Masai Heartlands trip if you have more time to explore in East Africa.

Itinerary

Jambo! Welcome to Kenya, your Lonely Planet Experience begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive with time to spare before the meeting, consider getting to know the city on an Urban Adventure like the ‘Nairobi Experience’. This optional 4-hour tour is a great way to get a feel for Nairobi, and includes lunch at a local restaurant. After the welcome meeting, perhaps join your new travel companions for an optional group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Nairobi - City Experience Urban Adventure - USD55
  • Nairobi - Giraffes & Elephants Urban Adventure - USD70
  • Nairobi - From Farm to Feast In Focus Urban Adventure - USD86
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Unfortunately, petty crime has become common in Nairobi and recently arrived visitors to the capital can often make for tempting targets. Your trip leader will verse you in a few worthwhile precautions at the welcome meeting, but generally you should get local advice on where to walk and keep valuables in a neck wallet or money belt at all times. Stay aware even when inside, as thieves and pickpockets have been known to operate indoors. There's no need to be paranoid but appearing vigilant is a great deterrent to would-be thieves.

For more information on Urban Adventure options in Nairobi go to urbanadventures.com/destination/nairobi-tours or speak to an Intrepid booking agent.
Drive north-west past splendid views of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha and Elementaita to Lake Nakuru National Park (approximately 3–4 hours). Situated in the heart of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru National Park is a great location for spotting wildlife, which you will do in an early morning game drive tomorrow. For now, head to a nearby village with your leader. This is a fantastic opportunity to interact with the local folk and get a feel for everyday life here. Enjoy a cooking class and return later in the evening to share the results for dinner.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Nakuru - Village Walk & Cooking Class
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp, outside the park, is well-situated and has flush toilets and showers. Accommodation upgrades and wi-fi are not available.
Wake early for breakfast and head into the Lake Nakuru National Park for a game drive in the overland vehicle. Along with the other members of the Big Five, Lake Nakuru is home to rhinos, and there will be a good chance of spotting and photographing one of these magnificent beasts. Return to camp for lunch before driving to your camp near Lake Naivasha (approximately 3 hours). One of the few freshwater lakes in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha has floating islands of papyrus reeds and a border of flat-topped acacias. It's also home to a healthy population of hippos and a tremendous variety of birds.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Nakuru - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
There will be an opportunity to access an ATM and visit a market today to stock up on items for the remainder of the trip. Your campsite tonight is basic, with showers and flush toilets. Depending on availability, there may be optional room upgrades available. Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent before your journey or your leader during your tour for more information on room upgrades. Wi-fi is available at the bar.
Enjoy a free day to choose from a variety of optional activities available around Lake Naivasha. Perhaps venture to Hell's Gate National Park, which boasts beautiful cliffs, gorges, rock towers, volcanoes and a range of geothermal phenomena. Another great choice is to take a boat trip across Lake Naivasha – perhaps the best way to take in the atmosphere of this lush area. If you're looking for something active, why not hire a bike for the day and make some of your own discoveries, venturing beyond the cacti and olive trees.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Lake Naivasha - Bike hire - USD12
  • Lake Naivasha - Boat trip - KES4000
  • Lake Naivasha - Game Walk in Crater Lake Game Sanctuary (entrance fee) - USD20
  • Lake Naivasha - Hell's Gate NP (Game Drive) - USD40
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The Crater Lake game walk, Hell's Gate National Park and bike hire optional activities will also incur a USD 50 transport fee per vehicle.

The Lake Naivasha crater lake game sanctuary walk will also incur a guide fee of USD 25 per guide.

The bike hire will also require an additional USD 26 fee to enter the National Park plus an additional 250 Kenyan shillings to be permitted to ride the bike within the park.

The boat trip is for 1 hour and no additional fees are required.
Depart Lake Naivasha, making a short stop in Narok to do a spot of food shopping. Continue to Loita Hills (approximately 5–6 hours), home of the Maasai people, stopping for lunch en route. We’ll be camping at Tepesua Village, which is known for championing Maasai women’s health and education. Arrive and be welcomed by traditional Maasai warrior song and dance, then your host will explain the details of Maasai warrior training. Take a walk to the community village which was founded to alleviate the poverty of Maasai widows, who traditionally are not allowed to inherit property. The village offers support, safety and economic growth through the ‘Tepesua Widows Income Project’. Spend the evening around a campfire and learn more about their age-old culture and traditions as you share stories with Maasai warriors into the night.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Loita Hills - Cultural talk and village visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Hot bucket showers are available in the morning. Wi-fi is not available and only minimal upgrades are on offer at tonight’s bush camp.
Today you’ll travel from Loita Hills to Masai Mara (approximately 1–2 hours). The road is dusty when dry, and could be slippery and muddy when wet, so the going may be slow. The Masai Mara is the quintessential African experience, with sparse open plains, dramatic skies and some of the world's most tremendous animals. After setting up camp, sit down to some lunch. Then it's time to jump in 4WDs and go for a game drive through the wilderness of the Mara.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Masai Mara - 4x4 Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your campground tonight is located outside of the national reserve and has flush toilets and showers. There is an option to upgrade, depending on availability. Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent before your journey or your leader during your tour for more information on room upgrades. Wi-fi is not available.
Venture into the Masai Mara National Reserve for a full day's game drive in 4WDs. You'll explore this diverse environment and most likely see a multitude of wildlife. An optional balloon ride over the Mara at sunrise is available today. If you have pre-booked this activity you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site for a safety briefing from your pilot. Then you will glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, to get some amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you will ascend, getting an overview of the enormity of the plains and of the early morning movements of the teeming herds. After landing, you'll be treated to a bush breakfast, then be returned to your campsite.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Masai Mara - 4x4 Game Drive
Optional Activities
  • Masai Mara National Reserve - Balloon ride (from price) - USD500
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The balloon ride must be booked in advance to secure a place, which you can do through an Intrepid booking agent. If you would rather wait and try to get a better price by booking this locally on the ground you are welcome to, but keep in mind that this is a popular activity and places are limited. If you participate in this activity you will miss the morning half of the included game drive.
Say goodbye to the open expanses of the African bush and return to the bustling metropolis of Nairobi (approximately 5–6 hours). No accommodation is provided for tonight, but this can be arranged – please enquire at the time of booking this trip. You can be dropped at your hotel upon arrival in Nairobi.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
It's important not to book any outgoing international flights for earlier than 6 pm today.
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, 4x4 Safari Vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (5 nights), Hotel (1 night), Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)

Included activities

  • Lake Nakuru - Village Walk & Cooking Class
  • Lake Nakuru - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
  • Loita Hills - Cultural talk and village visit
  • Masai Mara - 4x4 Game Drive

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Kenya Wildlife Safari trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may go up, so secure your trip today!
Jump to a departure month

Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. This trip finishes on arrival at our Nairobi finish point hotel at approximately 2pm. Please do not book any flights departing before 6pm.
3. An optional sunrise balloon ride over the Masai Mara is possible on this itinerary. Please see Days 6-7 for full details of this activity. As the balloon only holds 16 people, places are limited and we recommend that you book in advance. Please inquire when booking your trip to book this optional activity.

Essential trip information

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