This 17-day safari has been specially designed to provide a maximum of wildlife viewing and cultural experiences while exploring a diverse array of East African habitats. It has been designed to provide participants with the opportunity of experiencing Africa and the wealth of beauty, culture and natural history that is so abundant here. Top quality guides and services plus exclusive accommodations make this an exceptional program at an excellent price.
DAY 1 – FRIDAY, AUGUST 17 - DEPART U. S.
Due to the ease with which air can be purchased over the internet and the restrictions most airlines now impose on group contracts, international air from the U.S. has not been included in the cost of this safari. This however, allows participants the flexibility of using frequent flyer miles, of booking air from their home towns and of spending time in Europe on the way to or from East Africa. Please contact World Discovery Safaris (205-972-8733) if you would like our help as you shop for international air.
DAY 2 – SATURDAY, AUGUST 18 - ARRIVE NAIROBI
Following our arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi we clear customs and are met by our Kenyan safari guides who transfer us to the Ole-Sereni Hotel for the remainder of the night.
DAY 3 - SUNDAY & MONDAY, AUGUST 19 & 20 – NAIROBI
In the morning we depart for the Karen suburb and visit the Daphne & David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage. This orphanage for elephant calves and rhinos was founded and is still managed by Daphne Sheldrick, the widow of David Sheldrick, one of Kenya's best known game wardens. Here orphaned elephant calves receive specialized treatment and personal care 24 hours a day from highly dedicated staff who become their surrogate mothers. After a tour of the facility Sandra Angelo will demonstrate the basic shading techniques that work well for sketching elephants.
Following lunch at the Blixen Cottages we visit the Blixen Museum, made famous by the book and film “Out of Africa”, and the colorful Maasi Market with its wooden sculptures, beaded necklaces, batik wall hangings, shoes, Kisii stone carvings, sisal bags, kikois, textiles and a wide range of other local crafts. In the afternoon we return to the Ole-Sereni Hotel for an in-depth introduction from a local wildlife photographer regarding the most effective ways to use our cameras to capture photos of the people and wildlife we expect to encounter during our safari. B/L/D
DAY 4 – TUESDAY, AUGUST 21 – NAIROBI
After breakfast we visit the Giraffe Centre, which was originally established as a breeding centre for the endangered Rothschild giraffe, but now operate conservation/education programs for Kenya’s school children and other visitors. After hand feeding the giraffes and learning about some of the conservation projects underway to protect these magnificent animals. Sandra will introduce us to the shading techniques that work well when drawing giraffes. We next visit the Utamaduni Craft Centre, which is a huge house containing about 15 local art and crafts shops, and Kazuri Beads, a women’s co-op, where you can watch the women make their unique, handmade, ceramic jewelry. In the afternoon we join a local wildlife artist for an in depth lecture / demonstration regarding the best techniques for sketching Africa’s wildlife. Our dinner and overnight accommodations are again at the Ole-Sereni Hotel. B/L/D
DAY 5 – WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22 – NAIROBI / MOUNT KENYA SAFARI LODGE
Following breakfast at our hotel, we depart the city and drive north through Kenya's famous "White Highlands." In addition to shambas of maize, pineapples, bananas and millet, we pass plantations of coffee, tea, sisal and pyrethrum and soon realize that much of Kenya's agricultural wealth is found here. Following a stop at the Nanyuki Spinners and Weavers workshop, a women’s self help project initiated in 1977 by the East Africa Presbyterian Church, we ascend the slopes of Mount Kenya.
Located on Africa's second highest mountain, the Mount Kenya Safari Club straddles the Equator in a glory of luxurious cottages and elegant buildings set amid manicured lawns and decorative ponds. Ever since the Club was founded in 1959 by the late film star William Holden, it has been a Mecca for the international jet set – the list of those who have stayed here reads like a Who's Who of royalty, aristocracy, and the rich and famous. After lunch in the historic dining room we are free to select from a wealth of activities and facilities available at the Mount Kenya Safari Club. These include a heated swimming pool, tennis courts, horse riding, putting green, a 9-hole golf course, bowls, croquet, trout fishing, art gallery, health and beauty centre, club shops and a game viewing platform.
The Club's extensive grounds attract an enormous variety of birds; many of which are found only at this higher elevation. We have the option of searching for these on our own or of joining the resident ornithologist. Guided bird walks depart at 0800, 1000, 1400 and1600 hours. After lunch, Sandra will provide us with a one hour demo of her super simple sketching techniques for “drawings on the go”. Our dinner and overnight accommodations are at the elegant Mt. Kenya Safari Club. B/L/D
DAY 6 – THURSDAY, AUGUST 23 - MOUNT KENYA SAFARI CLUB
We have the entire day to enjoy the many activities available at the Mount Kenya Safari Club one of which is a visit to Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy and their Bongo Repatriation Project. (Sandra will provide us with a demo of how to draw the Bongo.) Due to hunting pressure and loss of habitat, the magnificent Bongo Antelope has become extremely rare in Kenya and the long range objective of this project is to reintroduce captive bred animals back into the suitable and protected habitat adjacent to the Safari Club.
Several U.S. conservation organizations, including the Audubon Nature Institute Center for Research of Endangered Species, have been instrumental in helping to establish this project. This included the return, in 2004, of 18 U.S. zoo bred bongos with Kenyan ancestry to the soil of their origin. Since then several bongo calves have been born at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy and they are being raised in their natural environment, with as little human contact as possible. Our meals and overnight accommodations are again at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club. In the afternoon Sandra will teach us how to design travel journals with words, memorabilia, sketches and other mementos capturing the essence of our East African wildlife and cultural journey. B/L/D
DAY 7 – FRIDAY, AUGUST 24 - MOUNT KENYA / SAMBURU GAME RESERVE
In the morning we drive down from the slopes of Mt. Kenya into the semi arid Northern Frontier District in search of animals, characteristic of the "Horn of Africa" and not found far south of the arid Samburu Game Reserve. We eat lunch today and spend the next three nights under the spreading acacia trees at Samburu Intrepids Lodge on the banks of the Uaso Nyiro River. In the afternoon we depart on a game drive in search of the unique wildlife which thrives here. B/L/D
DAYS 8 & 9 – SATURDAY & SUNDAY, AUGUST 25 & 26 - SAMBURU GAME RESERVE
Morning and afternoon game drives take us into the semi-desert thorn bush bordering the Uaso Nyiro River. One of our reasons for coming to this area is to find and photograph wildlife, which is characteristic of the “Horn of Africa” and not found far south of the semi-arid Samburu region. Grevy's Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Beisa Oryx, Gerenuk, Olive Baboon, Günter’s Dik-dik and Reticulated Giraffe thrive in this harsh but picturesque landscape. Fan-tailed Raven, Black-faced Sandgrouse, Blue-naped Mousebird and Vulturine Guinea fowl are just a few of the many unique birds found here. During one of our game drives we visit a Samburu village for an introduction to the lives and customs of these nomadic pastoralists. Our meals and overnight accommodations are at Samburu Intrepids Lodge. B/L/D
DAY 10 – MONDAY, AUGUST 27 - SAMBURU GAME RESERVE / LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
In the morning we say kwahari to the Samburu area and travel south, across the equator, into the Great Rift Valley to Lake Nakuru National Park. The famous ornithologist, Roger Tory Peterson, once described this park as the greatest ornithological spectacle in the world. Its thousands of pink flamingos and fishing fleets of white pelicans are certainly an awesome sight. After checking into our rooms at Lion Hill Lodge we depart on a game drive in this beautiful wildlife sanctuary. B/L/D
DAY 11- TUESDAY, AUGUST 28 - LAKE NAKURU
Over 400 species of birds have been recorded in Lake Nauru National Park and although birds are a major attraction, we also expect to see Rothschild's Giraffe (which is rare elsewhere), Grant's and Thomson's Gazelle, Impala, Common Zebra, African Buffalo, Eland, Waterbuck and several other species of plains game. This is a good place to find Leopard and small populations of Rhino, of both African species, have recently been moved into the park where they receive round-the-clock protection. Our meals and accommodations are at Lion Hill Lodge in Lake Nakuru National Park. B/L/D
DAY 12 – WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29 - LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK / MASAI MARA GAME RESERVE
Following breakfast we drive south across the Great Rift Valley. After stopping for a picnic lunch we continue on to the famous Maasi Mara Game Reserve and check into the Mara Serena Lodge. Located in the center of the Maasi Mara National Reserve, the Mara Serena Safari Lodge is the ultimate safari destination. It stands centre-stage to one of Africa's most dramatic wildlife arenas and provides a ringside seat for the greatest wildlife show on earth, the legendary migration of the wildebeest and zebra that move in from the Serengeti during the dry season months of August, September and October. Styled to resemble a traditional Maasi village, the lodge blends international sophistication with raw African beauty, featuring twin rows of individual rooms, each with its own view of the Mara River. The central bar and dining areas also enjoy spectacular views, as does the rock-surrounded swimming pool. Each luxuriously-presented room is accommodated as its own stand-alone modular unit, with uninterrupted views, private balcony and spacious seating area. B/L/D
DAYS 13, 14 & 15 –THURSDAY, FRIDAY & SATURDAY, AUGUST 30, 31 & SEPTEMBER 1 - MASAI MARA GAME RESERVE
We awaken to the morning chorus of birds and are soon out doing just what we came for - to find, observe, learn about, photograph and sketch animals. This northern extension of the Serengeti ecosystem virtually throbs with life. "The Mara" savannas are famous for their concentration of grazing and browsing animals and their predators - Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and Hyena.
Morning and afternoon game drives take us to different areas, depending on where our safari guides feel we have the best chances of seeing exceptional wildlife. They may suggest we rise early and return for a late breakfast, or take lunch with us and spend the day on an extended game drive. The order of our days may differ, but one thing is guaranteed - we will see lots of mammals, birds, and other wildlife.
During one of our days here we visit a Maasi village for an in-depth introduction to the culture of these pastoral people whose traditional lifestyle has changed very little since the arrival of Europeans in East Africa more than 100 years ago. The life of the Maasi revolves around their herds of cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys. Their diet consists of milk, meat and blood. Hides provide clothing, containers and mattresses for their bedding and sandals for their feet. Cow dung is used to plaster the walls of their loaf shaped homes and cattle are used to pay fines, establish marriage bonds and as sacrifices to their god Enkai.
During our visit we will have the unique opportunity to sit down with the village women and let them teach us how they make the traditional necklaces, earrings, bracelets and other items with which they adorn themselves.
Early one morning we experience a hot air balloon ride. There are some things that just have to be done in our short lifetime and one of these is hot air ballooning over the migratory herds of wildebeest and zebra. Rising out of the morning mist in a lollipop colored balloon, into the first rays of the sun, floating over the tree tops that fringe the Mara River and then settling down for a champagne breakfast on the Mara savannas is surely the ultimate “once in a lifetime experience”. B/L/D
DAY 16 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 - MAASI MARA GAME RESERVE / NAIROBI / DEPART FOR THE U.S.
In the morning we transfer to a nearby airstrip and board the scheduled 45-minute flight back to Nairobi. After checking back into our dayrooms at the Ole-Sereni Hotel we may have time to do some shopping, swim, or rest in our rooms. In the evening we transfer to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and check in for our international flights back to the U.S. B/L/D
DAY 17 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 - ARRIVE U.S.
Following our arrival in the U.S. we return to our homes with many fond memories of our wildlife & culture safari in Kenya. B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner © World Discovery Safaris