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Kenya Rift Valley and Great Migration Safari
This exciting new safari is simply a one of a kind. It has been designed from scratch to be able to offer you a truly authentic 'Out of Africa' experience as you venture far off the beaten track to a very special corner of Africa. No other safari itinerary can offer the unique mix and blend of experiences that this one does. In one sentence, this safari offers up soda lakes; forests; wetlands; great plains; birdlife; wild frontiers; mammals; predators; nocturnal wildlife; culture; research; education; photography across numerous genres; conservation; mountains; rivers; wildernesses; migration and possible river crossings; plains game; big 5; dramatic scenery - plus a spirit of adventure and freedom. If you want to avoid the tourist traps and you want to experience Africa like it once was, the 'real Africa', then keep reading for full itinerary details...
Please note that the below itinerary and the nature of the activities themselves might change, depending on the weather and the movements of the wildlife, the Maasai cattle and their villages.
Day 1 - Overnight edge of Nairobi National Park
After being met at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi you will enjoy your first safari drive as we do not head into or near town but we rather take a scenic drive to our out-of-town hotel though Nairobi National Park. This is the only national park in the world that borders a capital city and what better way to start a safari than by taking your first photographs before even getting to your hotel? Its a big five park so anything is possible! Our first night is spent at the delightful Emakoko (click here to see the hotel).
Day 2 - Arrive South Rift Valley
A short half an hour flight with an extra luggage seat booked, will see you landing on the floor of Africa's greatest geographical feature; the Great Rift Valley. Kenya's southern portion of the valley, known affectionately as the 'south rift', is where this leg of the safari plays out. It boasts spectacular scenery, with the western wall in this part being particularly high and clearly defined. Meandering its way along the dusty floor is the Ewaso Ngiro river which gives rise to the largest Sycamore Fig forests in East Africa. Our exclusive tented safari camp is situated on the banks of this river and in the shade of this sycamore forest. With only four tents, our camp is intimate and positioned perfectly for our list of very special and exciting activities. See the camp website here. Follow them on facebook here.
Once you are settled into your new home, under the fig trees on the banks of the river, you will then head out for an introductory exploration of the floor of one of Kenya's last true wildernesses. On this safari drive you will, possibly for the very first time in your life, see an abundance of wildlife existing in Africa as it always once did. In other words, this is not an official park or reserve but rather a community land where wild animals live alongside the Maasai tribesman. This is the 'real Africa', the way it once was and with no fences, restrictions or park rules. You will enjoy a sundowner on the grassy plains watching herds of plains game dwarfed by the spectacular 'Out of Africa' rift valley scenery. A scrumptious dinner and campfire will be followed by an introductory talk by Greg on the area, its people and its wildlife. Turning in for the night, you might here lions roar while sleeping in your tent and if you do, it will be the first time that you have heard 'Livingstone Lions' roar. This last sentence will make more sense once you have heard Greg's talk.
Day 3 - morning "Lake Natron, Western Shore Exploration"
Our day begins with an early 5am departure for Lake Natron. This is a soda lake in the truest sense of the word. Surrounded by extinct volcanoes, you might even glimpse Ol Doinyo Lengai to the south which is the last active volcano remaining in the eastern arm of the rift valley. Natron is like no place else and it has been heralded the most dynamic land-form on planet earth by NASA. It is a wild frontier, a harsh and inhospitable place that has a barren and rugged beauty that will leave a lasting impression on you. The vistas are large and this is true big sky country. The drive into and out of the Natron basin will offer you breathtaking rift valley scenery as we pass under the steep western escarpment of the rift valley. This is a frontier experience that will challenge even the widest of wide-angle lenses. We will take a packed breakfast and the morning will be spent busting out tripods and photographing, exploring and celebrating the wilderness of the south rift valley.
Day 3 - afternoon "Maasai Bomas"
After lunch and tea back in camp, we head out to meet a traditional Maasai boma (village). We will spend the afternoon and evening with the Maasai. You will be introduced to a real Maasai boma. In other words, this is not a village for tourists but a real working boma! The most exciting and important time of day for the Maasai is when the warriors return at sunset, bringing the cattle safely home. Once the cows are in, the Maasai woman begin the important task of milking. This will be an authentic cultural experience and the Maasai we visit will not put on a show or a 'sing and dance' for us. What they will do is allow us into their world, to experience their everyday life. Samantha du Toit from SORALO has been working with this community for the last nine years and she will be at hand to help interpret and explain the culture. It is through the trust that she has earned from the local Maasai, and her caring work, that we have been extended this special invite and are allowed to take our photographs. These bomas are some of the most traditional left in Kenya and in this part of Africa the Maasai are still semi-nomadic. You will not only glimpse this ancient and wonderful culture but you will gain in-depth knowledge, firsthand experience and incredible mood-filled cultural portraits. Yes, photography is allowed.
Day 3 - evening "Rebuilding the Pride"
Guy Western is currently busy with his PHD through Oxford University and he heads a fascinating and exciting project called 'Rebuilding the Pride'. This unique project is studying both the Maasai and the free-ranging lion population of the south rift valley. As mentioned, the south rift of Kenya is one of the only places in Africa where the lion population is on the increase. This is especially remarkable when considering that Kenya only has 2000 lion left and even inside its national parks, lions are decreasing in number. The 'Rebuilding the Pride' project is trying to identify all the factors that come in to play in the south rift, which are making it such a conservation success story. Once these factors have been identified, 'Rebuilding the Pride' want to design a model that can hopefully be replicated elsewhere to help conserve both wildlife and people. This exciting lecture will open your eyes to the incredible conservation ethics of the Maasai. It will enlighten you regarding lion behaviour and you will gain unique insight into the dynamics of one of Africa's most diverse, dynamic and unique ecosystems. This exciting talk will broaden your horizons and it will challenge your thoughts on the concepts of both wilderness and conservation. 'Rebuilding the Pride' is a one of a kind project that will give you unique and in-depth insight and on this evening, you will hear from the researchers themselves.
The conversation continues around the campfire after which the sounds of owls, lions and gurgling river will lull you to sleep.
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