Kenya: A bucket list safari trip

A safari trip in Kenya is never going to be cheap, but consider it a once-in-a-lifetime investment, and do it properly!

This itinerary includes three different camps, all very luxurious, with all meals and private game drives included – in one, there’s an infinity pool with national park views; in the next, you’ll be sleeping under the stars; and in the third, you’ll be falling asleep to the sound of hippos wallowing in the river below!

Suggested itinerary for a week:

Nairobi

I recommend staying in Nairobi on the first and last night of your trip. At the start, stay for one night before catching a small plane to Loisaba – the Fairview Hotel is decent. 
Here are some recs if you have time to kill in the city:

Loisaba Tented Camp, Loisaba Conservancy

  • No alarm clock needed – you’ll be woken with coffee in your tent before a sunrise game drive
  • We had breakfast in the bush one day; lunch is served back at camp, followed by a second game drive at dusk, and dinner on the deck when you return
  • During your free time, chill by the infinity pool and take in those insane views, or do a horseback safari from Loisaba Stables
  • Game drives in Loisaba are filled with elephants, elephants and more elephants (Loisaba lies within an important movement corridor for Kenya’s second-largest population of elephants!) – as well as big cats (we saw both leopards and lions), giraffes and the endangered Grevy’s zebra
  • Loisaba is very remote, and we didn’t see any other groups while on our game drives. This does mean it’s down to you and the guides to spot animals – so it feels much more natural, but you probably see less as a result 




Loisaba Star Beds, Loisaba Conservancy

  • A short drive from the Tented Camp, still within Loisaba Conservancy, the Star Beds was one of the most incredible places I’ve ever stayed.  Kind of like a treehouse, perched on a hill overlooking a watering hole – you’ll hear all sorts of animals at night, and maybe see them at dawn too!
  • Each bedroom is totally open on one side, and the beds are on wheels (and covered in mosquito nets), so you’ll sleep under the stars (and the staff will pull you under cover if it starts raining in the night!)
  • The bathrooms are also open to the elements – so we had a kind-of-cute-but-slightly-terrifying hyrax that lived above our shower?!
  • Meals are served on the deck with exceptional views

Serian Camp, Maasai Mara

  • There are a few Serian camps, but we stayed at “The Original” in the Maasai Mara – an hour’s flight from Loisaba, in a tiny private plane (from which you can see animals down below, and alongside the landing strip!)
  • Again, coffee is delivered to your tent at a very early hour, before you set out for sunrise game drives
  • Serian Camp is perched above a river that’s teeming with hippos – and hippos are actually incredibly dangerous!  They spend all day in the water, keeping cool, and at night they come out to graze – so you’re not allowed to leave your tent at night, in case they are any in the camp!  There are staff available to escort you if you need anything
  • Game drives in the Maasai Mara included leopards, cheetahs and lions, and lots of hippos, water buffalo and hyenas.  We also did a walking safari, and a night safari (with an infrared lamp), as well as driving down to watch the Great Migration of the wildebeest as they stampede in their thousands, and cross the Nile (remember that terrifying scene from The Lion King with Simba’s dad?!  Yep, that’s the Great Migration)
  • After sitting in the car for hours of game drives, and eating three huge meals a day, we felt the need to go for a run – which was amazing, but not for the faint-hearted!  The Maasai Mara is at an elevation of around 7000 feet, so the altitude makes running super difficult!  On a couple of occasions, we ran with the car behind us for protection.  One evening, we went out with a guide but no car, which resulted in us being hemmed in by hippos, hyenas and elephants as the sun set… Far from ideal and pretty terrifying!  They sent a car to rescue us that time…!!
  • The Maasai Mara is much busier than Loisaba (where we didn’t see any other groups!), but you are almost guaranteed to see more animals, as the guides radio each other if they see something exciting.


Top tips for safari in Kenya:

  • Pack warmly – game drives usually happen at dawn and dusk, and the weather was much colder than I’d expected.  A light down jacket and long trousers are recommended
  • We travelled as a family, in a group of 10, which meant we could charter small private planes just for us – a super convenient way to get from one place to another, flying direct
  • Top 3 things to pack: insect repellent, your best camera, safari hat – plus the aforementioned warm clothes!
  • We went in September, which seemed like a good time of year – not too hot, and only one game drive was thwarted by torrential rain

Our trip was planned and organised by Africa Exclusive.