The Masai Heartlands
From 12/06/2021 to 31/12/2022
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.
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.
Explore the Serengeti National Park in depth – with two early-morning and two late-afternoon game drives through this spectacular wildlife arena, you’ll have the best chance to spot the Big Five.
Swap the safari vehicle for two wheels on a guided biking adventure near Lake Victoria, stopping to shop for local wares and meet townsfolk at the Mwigobero Market.
Breakfasts Included: 14.
Lunches Included: 14.
Dinners Included: 12.
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights),Camping (with facilities) (8 nights),Hotel (2 nights),Basic Hotel (1 night).
Overland vehicle,4x4 Safari Vehicle.
Age: min 15.
Group Size: 1 - 22.
Lake Nakuru - Village Walk & Cooking Class.
Lake Nakuru - Overland Vehicle Game Drive.
Loita Hills - Cultural talk and village visit.
Masai Mara - 4x4 Game Drive.
Kisii - Soapstone carving cooperative.
Serengeti National Park - Overland Vehicle Game Drive.
Ngorongoro Crater - 4x4 Game Drive.
Mto Wa Mbu - Village walk & local dinner.
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Nairobi 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.
Day 2 - Lake Nakuru National Park 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.
Day 3 - Lake Naivasha 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.
Day 4 - Lake Naivasha 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.
Day 5 - Loita Hills Maasai Village 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.
Day 6 - Masai Mara National Reserve 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.
Day 7 - Masai Mara National Reserve 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.
Day 8 - Nairobi Today, head back to Nairobi, and take a break from pitching tents and instead, relax at a hotel. Take a refreshing dip in the pool and enjoy a cool drink or go for a walk around the town and meet some local people. If you’re feeling energetic, perhaps head out and explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum or the highly recommended Bomas of Kenya, where traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes are displayed in an outdoor village. Keep in mind that, this evening, there will be another briefing to welcome new travellers joining you for the next stage of your adventure.
Day 9 - Kisii Board your safari vehicle and travel west (approximately 8–9 hours). Today’s destination is near the hilltop town of Kisii, which will be the last chance to stock up on supplies before heading into Tanzania. Crossing the incredibly scenic Great Rift Valley on your way to the tea-growing highlands is a fantastic introduction to the landscapes of Kenya. You will pass through the ancient homeland of the Maasai. Keep a look out for these tall tribesmen dressed in distinctive scarlet robes as they tend to their prized herds of cattle. The roads on the way are pretty rough, but there will be chances to stop and stretch your legs, including a local homestead lunch in the town of Kaprong. The food for the lunch is grown and sourced locally, plus the lunch is a great way to learn from and interact with the women from the local village.
Day 10 - Lake Victoria Travel towards the Kenya–Tanzania border and to the shores of Lake Victoria (approximately 7–8 hours). This is not only Africa's largest lake – it's the largest tropical lake in the world. Its shores are shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The guided bike excursion is a great activity to stretch the legs, learn about the town, visit an African marketplace and meet some locals. Or you can simply chill out on the lakeside sand with a cold drink. Make the most of the ATM and local market to stock up for your next three days of adventuring in the wilderness. You will camp on the shores of the lake tonight, at one of its least visited campgrounds, on the outskirts of a small town called Musoma.
Day 11 - Serengeti National Park Travel from Lake Victoria to the gate of Serengeti National Park on a smooth road (approximately 3 hours). Enter the Serengeti and enjoy a game drive and picnic lunch en route to your campsite. The wide-open plains of the Serengeti see myriad colours during the year – green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season – but one thing is a constant: this never-ending landscape is home to thousands upon thousands of animals travelling as herds across the plains. This region gets its name from the local Maasai word ‘siringet’, meaning the place where the land moves on forever, and you’ll begin to understand why on your game drive today. Enjoy a picnic lunch, then head to your campsite which is right in the action – located within the park itself! At night, listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep.
Day 12 - Serengeti National Park Start the day nice and early with a game drive at dawn. You will head out while the animals are at their most active, then head back to camp for brunch at around 11 am. This morning, there’s also the option of a balloon ride over the park today. If you have pre-booked this activity, you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site. After a safety briefing, glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, where you’ll get some amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you will ascend, getting an overview of the vastness of the plains and the early morning movements of the herds. After landing, dig into a delicious bush breakfast, then return to your camp. After spending the warmer part of the day relaxing with your herd – just as the animals do – depart again at dusk for another adventure through the wild, returning in time for dinner.
Day 13 - Ngorongoro Crater Enjoy a leisurely game drive and picnic lunch on your way out of the park today. Soak up final views of the animals and landscapes that make the national park such an incredible spot, before entering the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Your destination today is the rim of the crater about 3 hours away. Your campsite overlooks jagged volcanic peaks and rolling grasslands thousands of feet below – you can be sure that there are few campsites in the world with a better view than this!
Day 14 - Ngorongoro Crater – Mto wa Mbu A gigantic, perfectly intact volcanic crater, Ngorongoro is home to some 30,000 animals. Among these are endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. The crater floor offers excellent wildlife viewing all year round, and the photo opportunities here are unrivalled. Later, join the local community for a guided afternoon stroll around the farming areas, milling machine and local homes before enjoying a traditional meal. Your campsite this evening is located in Mto wa Mbu.
Day 15 - Arusha / Nairobi Set off early this morning, around 7.30 am, heading for the border with Kenya after passing through Arusha to say goodbye to some travellers. You also have the option to travel back to Nairobi if it is more convenient for you (approximately 7–8 hours). On arrival, you'll be dropped at a centrally located hotel, and with no accommodation provided for tonight, you are free to leave at any time. If you would like to extend your stay in Nairobi, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
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