Mara And The Lakes

DAY 1: NAIROBI - HELL'S GATE NATIONAL PARK

We start our safari by driving to Hell's Gate National Park, Hell's Gate National Park lies to the south of Lake Naivasha in Kenya, North West of Nairobi. The park, which is mainly, comprised of savannah ecosystem harbors a wide variety of wildlife. There are over 100 species of birds in the park, including vultures, Verreaux's Eagles, augur buzzard, and swifts. African buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest, Thomson's gazelle, and baboons are also common. The park is also home to klipspringer antelope.

Dinner and overnight at campsite or lodge.

DAY 2: LAKE NAIVASHA

An early morning drive to Lake Naivasha, it is the highest and the most beautiful of the Rift Valley lakes. At 1910m (6200ft), the water is fresh and the lake is fringed with dense clumps of papyrus (ancient Egyptian once used this to make paper). Kingfishers use the papyrus as a perch, herons hide in it while searching for food. Naivasha is yet another area popular for bird watching (over 400species have been recorded). It is also a favorite weekend retreat for Nairobi residents, who come here to sail, water ski and fish. There are no crocodiles in the lake as the water is too cold for them, due to altitude but there are a number of hippos. Along the lake shore, vineyards produce grapes for the country's fledging wine industry.

Dinner and overnight at campsite or lodge.

DAY 3: LAKE ELEMENTAITA

Soon after breakfast, we drive to the smallest of the Rift Valley's lake, Lake Elementaita; shallow and alkaline, it has two small seasonal rivers flowing into it. The lake is surrounded by an almost lunar-like landscape of extinct volcanoes and lava flows; it is also very attractive, its water often edged with pink flamingos. Elementaita lies on Soysambu Estate, owned by Lord Delamare whose father was one of the early settlers in Kenya. On the western side of the lake are a number of secluded bays with small lava islands, which were for several years used by greater flamingos as a nesting site.

Although flamingos usually make their nests out of mud, at lake Elementaita they would lay their eggs on the lava, only adding a few pieces of grass. However for a number of years now these islands have been taken over by white pelicans, Kenya's only breeding colony. Because Elementaita has no fish, the pelicans have to communicate to nearby Lakes Nakuru and Naivasha to obtain food.

To the south of the lake is Eburru, an old volcano, which has at least 200 steam jets around its base. These jets are an important source of fresh water in the area, obtained by condensing the steam. Nearby is Kariandusi, a pre historic site first worked on by Dr. Louis Leaky in 1928. There is also a mine here, where diatomite (deposit of ancient microscopic aquatic organisms) is extracted. Diatomite is used for water filters in industry.

DAY 4: LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK

An early morning pick up then drive to Lake Nakuru National Park, across the equator, southwards of Bogoria, lies the rift valleys most famous lake Nakuru. Known all over the world for its flamingoes, it's alkaline and is recognized as being one of the natural wonders of the world. Lake Nakuru is now a rhino sanctuary, harboring a population of over 40 black and over 60 white rhinos, but the flamingoes, of course, have always been the main attraction. At times there may be almost 2million flamingoes in the residence, forming a stunningly beautiful deep pink band around the edge of the lake shore. Arrive in time for lunch then have an afternoon game drive.

Dinner and overnight at campsite or lodge.

DAY 5: LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK - MASAI MARA

An early morning drive to Masai Mara National Reserve, it holds on as one of the few places left on earth where wildlife still lives comparatively undisturbed, in the numbers that once roamed the plains and forests of Africa. As the northern tip of the vast Serengeti ecosystem, the Mara hosts the spectacular seasonal migration of many thousands of Wildebeest, Zebras and attendant predators. Arrive in time for lunch then have an afternoon game drive.

Dinner and overnight at campsite or lodge.

DAY 6: MASAI MARA

After breakfast we have a full day dame drive, with packed lunch provided. The reserve is well known for its black-manned lion, as well as its abundant resident wildlife and its one of the few places where it's possible to see the big five during a morning's game drive. Many of the cheetahs are so tame they seek shelter from the hot sun under one's vehicle and several even climb onto the roof to get better view of prospective prey. For the bird enthusiast, almost 500 species have been recorded: among these 16 species of eagle, plus many hawks and falcons, 6 species of vultures, 8 species of storks 4 of bustard (including the Kori bustard, the world's heaviest flying bird), and 9 species of sun birds.

Dinner and overnight at campsite or lodge.

DAY 7: MASAI MARA - NAIROBI

We wake up at 6am for a sun rise game drive. At 9am, we drive back to accommodation for brunch then depart for Nairobi. Lunch en-route and arrival in Nairobi at late afternoon.

This tour can depart any day of the year.