The warm, dry-grass smell of the heat-hazed savannah, a lion’s roar rumbling through the star-streaked night, mighty peaks piercing gigantic skies, near-endless bush teeming with life – Kenya is the Africa of your imagination. Planet earth on an epic scale. A place that fills your nostrils, kisses your skin, tingles your spine.And we’ll deliver you directly into this soul-stirring wilderness, not a minute wasted. Make your way to Meru National Park. Meru National Park offers a diversity of animals unrivalled by any other park in East Africa. Take off for Loisaba, where cutting-edge conservation helps preserve landscapes as dramatic as they are biodiverse. Fly right to the matchless Masai Mara for arguably the finest game-viewing in the world.
a city where giraffe and zebra roam right in the city limits. The hubbub can seem overwhelming, but we’ll ease your arrival, fast-tracking you from airport to Hemingways, an enclave of sophisticated calm. This five-star all-suite retreat sits at the foot of the Ngong Hills, in extensive bird-flittered gardens; it’s the perfect spot for sinking into holiday mode, enjoying a delicious dinner, toasting the start of your SkySafari with a cocktail or two.
Your butler will know how you like your tea and, after breakfast, we’ll drive you right onto the runway for your SkySafari flight, direct to Meru National Park. A vast wilderness, Meru National Park features jungle, coursing rivers, swampland, khaki grasslands and gaunt termite cathedrals, all intertwined under a seemingly endless African sky. Little visited and utterly unspoilt, few places are comparable. Meru was brought to fame in the 1960s through Joy Adamson’s best-selling book, Born Free, the true story of Elsa the lioness, and her release into the wild. The 1966 feature film of the same starred Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, and was the first of its kind to depict wild animals as endearing creatures, whose plight the audience could sympathise with. George Adamson continued to work with lions, living to the south of Meru National Park, until his death in 1989. Both Joy Adamson, and Elsa the lioness, are buried there.
Elsa’s Kopje is in the heart of the park, perched around the rocky Mughwango hill and offering 360 degree views that stretch from the 17,000 foot peak of Mt Kenya to the east, to virtually infinity to the west. Below the hill is the site of George Adamson’s camp, and the hill was the playground of Elsa the lion. There is a fertile spring to the east of the hill and guests can watch vast herds of elephant, buffalo and giraffe make their way across the plains below. Elsa’s Kopje is one of only two lodges in the National Park, and so guests will have this vast wilderness practically to themselves.View more details
But it’s worth the 5am wake-up to get out for that morning game drive when the plains are a-stir, the animals most active, the big cats returning from a night on the hunt.
Meru has enormous diversity of habitat and wildlife, from cool forests at 3400 ft to the west, dropping down to 1000 ft semi-desert plains with giant baobab and commiphora trees. It has thirteen clear spring fed rivers lined with palms and riverine forest, and home to basking hippo. This is lion and elephant country, but you’ll also discover rare species including caracal, the beautiful Lesser Kudu, aardwolf, and over 400 species of birds. The park also has an 84 sq km rhino sanctuary housing over 60 black and white rhino. There’s time to relax back at camp – with a swim, a massage, a good book in the sun – before a buffet lunch. Then prepare for your most intimate encounter with the bush: local guides, who know almost every blade grass, will lead you on a walking safari; you’ll follow animal tracks, taste bush herbs, revel in the tiny details, perhaps encounter something larger… It’s a fresh, thrilling perspective. As the day draws to a close, raise a classic African Sundowner. Nothing says safari like an ice-cool G&T, sipped as the sun disappears, before a private dinner under the stars.
Take it all in, before venturing out in the camp’s custom-designed 4WDs for one last game drive. Then we’ll whisk you to the airstrip for a seamless and spectacular flight to Loisaba Conservancy on the Laikipia Plateau. With the second-highest density of wildlife in the country and a groundbreaking attitude to conservation, this is one of the most exciting destinations in Kenya.
You’ll be met like a VIP and plunged right into the action: the transfer from airstrip to Loisaba Tented Camp doubles as a game drive. Laikipia is one of only a few places in Africa where wildlife numbers are on the increase, and a huge array of animals – from the Big Five to endangered Grevy’s zebra – might be spotted.
Gold Eco-rated Loisaba Tented Camp sits perched on the edge of an escarpment, with unhindered views over rolling river valleys, rich forests and open plains to Mt Kenya. Intimate and elegant in design, the camp is also a hub for cutting-edge conservation. Find out more over drinks and dinner, before retiring to your tent, where floor-to-ceiling windows invite the outside in and the night sky views are unmatched.
The cool, the colours, the frisson of being at one with the wilderness… A Samburu guide will lead you on an early walk, so you can watch, smell, feel the bush wake up. Take breakfast back at camp, then enjoy some down time, relaxing on the decking or dipping in one of Africa’s most astonishing infinity pools.
After lunch, the choice is yours. Head out on a game drive for more marvellous wildlife-spotting – rarities like patas monkey, reticulated giraffe or wild dog might be seen. Try casting a line in Loisaba’s great rivers. Or pay a visit to the conservancy headquarters to meet the sniffer dogs and the anti-poaching team to find out how they safeguard the wilderness.
End the day the only way: with Sundowners as the sun sinks and dinner under the stars.
If you can bear to leave your bed in the bush, tuck into breakfast and scour this astonishing wilderness one last time on your game-drive ride to Loisaba’s airstrip. Then hop aboard your SkySafari flight and prepare to touch down in an African icon: the matchless Masai Mara.
Your ride from the airstrip to Sand River Masai Mara Camp, a secluded spot in the southern area of reserve, is your first game drive: don’t be surprised if you meet most of the Big Five before lunch. Even if you don’t, your afternoon game drive might oblige: these acacia-dotted plains are dense with game. Keep your eyes peeled for lion, leopard and cheetah, hyena, giraffe and elephant, and 500-plus species of bird.
Raising a classic Sundowner in this classic tranche of wilderness is the perfect way to toast the day. Returning to Sand River Masai Mara is the icing on the cake – there are few more elegant places to stay than this camp, which oozes 1920s glamour. The Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards 2020 named it one of the 50 Best Resorts in the World and seventh best in Africa.
You’ll know by now the benefits of an early start: after a dawn breakfast, set off with a packed picnic hamper for a full day’s game drive, so you can delve deeper into the reserve. Nowhere in Africa is wildlife more abundant. And while the seasonal migration of two million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle crossing from the Serengeti is one of Mother Nature’s greatest spectacles, the profusion of wildlife in the Mara – from 450 species of bird to the Big Five – makes it one of the best safari spots year round.
The area is culturally fascinating too. Much of the Greater Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem falls under the ownership of Masai communities, and a village visit – to see traditional Maasai homes and rituals, or even (for the kids) to try warrior training – makes for an eye-opening afternoon. There’s also the chance to visit a local school supported by Land & Life Foundation so you can see its work in action.
Of course, you might enjoy your best sightings without going anywhere at all. The Sand River Masai Mara, overlooking its namesake river, sits right on the annual migration route, so the drama may play out just beyond your verandah.
Enjoy your last few hours, gazing out from camp across the watercourse and riverine forest, looking out for breakfasting beasts and birds, before driving back to the airstrip for your final SkySafari flight to Nairobi. Rather than hang around the airport, we’ll deliver you to the tranquility of Hemingways, where you can freshen up in a day room and enjoy that last ice-cold Tusker before flying home.
Options & Enhancements
* Drinks include: mineral water, soft drinks, juices, tea/coffee, beer, house wines, selected spirits
Single room supplement will not be charged for the first single room per booking
SkySafari are delighted to offer you customised extensions to any of the Elewana Collection properties. Kindly contact us for pricing solutions. Please note that no further circuit discounts will apply and that SkySafari Seasonality may differ slightly from Elewana Collection seasonality.