Maasai Footsteps: Hiking in Kenya

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This itinerary is perfect for an active traveler who is looking to get out into nature far off the beaten path combined with a great traditional safari experience. It also offers an intimate cultural experience with the Maasai, a pastoral tribe who live in both Kenya and Tanzania.

Days 1 / 2 / 3 ~ Maasai Trails ~ Jan’s Camp

A scheduled flight brings you to Siana airstrip in the Mara where you will be met by the Maasai Trails guides and from here it is a two hour game drive to Maasai Trails in the Loita Hills.

For the next three nights experience spectacular walking safari with the Maasai in the virtually unexplored Loita Hills. All the walks can be designed to suit your desires and capabilities. Your guides are experienced and passionate and eager to share in their culture and traditional knowledge of the world around them. These walks are a once in a lifetime trekking experience in a beautiful and genuine part of Africa, and allow one to fully immerse themselves in the wild African bush…

Loita and “the forest of the lost child” – Loita Naimena Enkiyio forest – is an Africa that most travelers never see, straddled as it is between two iconic destinations in East Africa. In the west the hills roll down to the game rich country of the Serengeti and Maasai Mara. In the east the high-forested hills drop dramatically in two giant steps down the Great Rift Valley to the salt lakes of Magadi and Tanzania’s Natron. The Loitas provide a microcosm of the diverse habitats that East Africa has to offer.

The forest lies on the western edge of the Great Rift Valley just north of the Tanzanian border. The hills have an average altitude of 2000m and the Rift Valley floor is more than a kilometer below. It is scattered with many glades, valleys, swamps and small rivers. There are numerous springs, which feed into lake Natron in Tanzania and into several rivers towards the west in the Mara-Serengeti eco-system. The Loita forest covers of 330 km2 of spectacular indigenous forest and is recognized by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as an important bird area for species including Hartlaubs Turaco and Ground Hornbill. It is also a refuge for the black and white colobus monkey, bushbuck, buffalo, elephant, dik-dik, zebra, hyena, leopard, and the occasional lion. Giant trees from the Podocarpus to the African olive and Warburgia reveal the forests ancient history.

Jan’s Camp is the base for this walking trip in the Loita area and you will spend your first night there before heading out for two nights of mobile camping. The camp is set on a ridge facing the east and looking over the rolling Loita hills. It has two different types of accommodation that each complement and enhance their surroundings. Since both the trail huts and the tents have their own kitchens and dining areas, there can also be offered a self-catering rate – as well as supplying a chef (if requested).

Overnight at Jan’s Camp or mobile camps. Includes: all Meals and Hikes

Days 4 / 5 / 6~ Maasai Mara ~ Serian Camp

Today you will go on a game drive from Loita to Serian Camp.

The Maasai Mara is Kenya’s most famous nature reserve, and one of the settings for the film Out of Africa. It is classic savannah – grasslands, where animals are plentiful and the vistas spectacular. In this dreamlike land, animals live in freedom, and the Maasai tend their cattle.  The area, also known as the “Jewel of Africa,” has one of the largest and the most spectacular animal migrations in the world. The reserve is known for its large wildlife, including lion, cheetah, elephant, leopard, black rhino and hippo.

There are also over 500 resident species of birds in the park including ostrich, lark and sunbird.  The reserve which covers an area of 700 square miles forms part of the Serengeti ecosystem and hosts the world famous spectacle of the annual migration of up to two million wildebeest, thousands of zebra and an escort of carnivores from the Serengeti plains, following the rains and succulent new grass. Whether you’re in the Maasai Mara during migration time, your wildlife viewing will be spectacular, as the resident population of zebra and wildebeest will be there, along with the predators.

Serian is the private camp of Alex Walker. A fourth generation Kenyan and child of a professional hunter, he spent his childhood in forest and bush learning from local trackers. A highly respected guide and maker of wildlife documentary films, Alex has made Serian his home, and you will feel that you are his private guests in a gracious, unusual and magical place. Tents are huge and white and well decorated with outdoor bathing area a short distance from the tent with flush toilets and hot water for shower or tub. Your tent is lit by softly glowing kerosene lanterns as there is no electricity in the tents.

While here you may wish to indulge in a hot air balloon ride (available at additional cost). Suspended in a basket beneath the balloon, you float over the plains and above the forest alongside the Mara river, checking out hippos, crocodiles and elephants from high above, to end with a champagne breakfast in the open grassland within the reserve. Other exciting optional activities include nature walks in a private reserve, honey gathering with the Maasai, or fishing.  Serian is base for a behavioral animal study “living with Lions – Mara Predator Project” and if you like, you will be taught how to identify lions and asked to submit their photos to contribute to the project.

Overnights at Serian Mara Camp. Includes:  All meals, house wines, soft drinks and beer, laundry, game drives in open 4X4 vehicles and Laundry.

Days 7 /8 /9 ~ Serengeti National Park ~ Serian Serengeti North Camp

 Depart the Maasai Mara for the airfield. From here you will fly to the Northern Serengeti (Kogatende airfield) on a scheduled flight. Upon arrival your guide will collect you and drive you to Serengeti North Camp, where you will spend three nights.

Serengeti National Park (3,646,500 acres) is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania’s protected areas with over three million large mammals roaming its plains. It lies between Ngorongoro and Lake Victoria and adjoins Kenya’s Maasai Mara. To the Maasai, it is Siringitu – “the place where the stretches on forever.” Today the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the Maasai Mara Reserve across the border in Kenya, protect the greatest and most varied collection of terrestrial wildlife on earth, and one of the last great migratory systems still intact. Serian North Camp is a mobile tented camp right in the middle of prime wildlife areas in the Serengeti.

Decorated in classic Safari style with large beds and opulent rugs, the 6 lavish Meru style tents are deeply romantic. Swathes of cotton soften the luxuriant bedroom furniture; whilst plush velvet curtains lead to bathrooms (with running water) and wild flower filled vases conjure up idyllic Africa.

If the birds have not already awakened you with their noisy chorus, tent staff will gently rouse you with early morning tea or coffee brought to your bed. Safari guides organize picnic breakfasts, lunches, sundowners, and starlit dinners. Your tent staff organizes laundry, cleans your shoes, and reviews your dining preferences.

Note – this camp doesn’t have running water as it is a mobile camp, designed to give you access to a remote area that has some of the best game viewing in the world. Showers are supplied by bucket shower.

Overnight at Serian Serengeti North Camp. Includes: all meals, house wines, soft drinks and beer with meals and on drives, exclusive use of vehicle on game drives.

Day 10~ Departure

You will be driven to the airstrip to start your journey back home.

Maasai Footsteps: This 9-night “Maasai Adventure” is $6,800 per person, based on double occupancy between January 10 and June 30, 2013 and November 2013

Warrior Awakening: There is also a 6-night version of this trip (only in Kenya and using Serian Nkorombo instead of Serian Mara) which is $2,950 per person, based on double occupancy between January 10 and June 30, 2013 and November 2013. Find the full itinerary here.

Includes:

  • Flights as described in the itinerary.
  • Superior accommodations throughout as indicated or similar.
  • All meals, drinks and laundry while on safari and as indicated.
  • All wildlife viewing by 4 X 4 open roof vehicle shared with other guests, driven by a highly qualified naturalist guide.
  • Complimentary soft drinks and water in vehicles.
  • All applicable hotel and lodge taxes.
  • All game park entry fees.

Does not include:

  • International Flights including flights between Rwanda and Kenya or Tanzania. .
  • Passport and visa fees and service charges for obtaining visas.
  • Excess baggage charges levied by airlines.
  • Meals and beverages, other than specified.
  • Gratuities to driver/guides and other conveyance attendants.
  • Laundry and other items of a personal nature.
  • Personal and baggage insurance.
  • Cost for anything not specifically mentioned in the listing above.
  • Gratuities.

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