Combine your Mount Kenya climb with an incredible Masai Mara safari experience. This tour combines the classic five days Mount Kenya trek with the popular 6 day Masai Mara and Rift Valley Safari. Its without doubt the best way of seeing Kenya!
Tailor-made Adventure 11 days
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The obvious highlights of this trip are climbing Mount Kenya and safaris in Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru, but there is plenty in the detail too. You will get to camp out in the Maasai wilderness with a Maasai warrior standing guard against the wildlife outside. You’ll also visit Maasai villages and schools and hopefully get a small sense of the incredible changes that modernisation is bringing to these remote communities. When you are not camping, you’ll stay in charming local guesthouses, including a night in a Colonial tea plantation complete with an out of Africa veranda and lush gardens.
Day 1: Nairobi to Old Moses Hut
am. Drive Nairobi – Sirimon Gate (250km / 4 hours)
pm. Walk 10km / 2.5 hrs from Sirimon Gate (2,600m) – Old Moses Hut (3,340m)
You’ll be picked up from airport or Nairobi hotel in the morning and journey north past diverse agricultural lands and landscapes to the slopes of Mount Kenya. After meeting your crew you’ll have a full briefing and equipment check. Each person has a personal porter and there are extra porters for food and camping equipment. Today is a short walk to the first hut at 3,340m, a total ascent of 740m in just 2-3 hours. On this route, you will pass through zones of dense forest, bamboo, giant heather and out onto high open moorland. The trail follows a dirt road that has recently been put in by the Kenya Wildlife Service to reduce response times to emergencies on the mountain. The dense vegetation is home to buffalo, elephants and is teeming with birdlife. Whilst there will be evidence of large game everywhere, your chances of seeing them are small. (L,D)
Day 2: Old Moses Hut to Shiptons Camp
Walk 14km / 8 hours from Old Moses Hut (3340m) to Shipton’s Camp (4236m)
After an early cooked breakfast you’ll head out of the camp. The first hour is easy going over gentle open grassland. In the early morning sun, the views over the plane below are stunning. There is a chance of seeing Eland and Buffalo grazing in the distance. After an hour you begin to cross two valleys, the first is easy, but the second involves a quick descent followed by a punishingly quick 100m climb out of the valley. The reward is stunning views up the glacial valley with the twin peaks shining in the sun. The crew usually wait at this point to make sure you make it without any altitude affects. The next 2-3 hours are fairly easy going up the broad valley past a bizarre jurassic landscape of glacial features, giant lobellia and Senecio plants. There is a strong chance you will see beautiful sunbirds and the Hyrax, a close relative of the elephant, but more like a baby seal in size and shape. Finally there is a further short climb past Mackinders Caves before reaching Shiptons Camp where you’ll enjoy a much deserved cup of tea. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Shiptons Camp Acclimatisation Day
Walk 7km / 4-5 hours from Shipton’s Camp (4,200m) to Hausberg Col (4,600m) and return.
You’ll stay at Shipton’s for two nights, and have a rest day. This is invaluable for acclimatisation and will make the summit day more enjoyable. Highly recommended is a short walk on the summit circuit trail up to the Hausberg col (4,6OOm) OR go farther, passing between Oblong and Hausberg Tarns to Nanyuki and Two Tarns to enjoy panoramic views of peaks Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5188m). Having reached a high altitude of over 4600m the true acclimatisation benefit of this day becomes clear, Climbing high and sleeping low is excellent for acclimatisation (B,L,D)
Day 4: Summit Day
Climb 749m up and 3km in length to Point Lennana (4985m)
Descend 685m and 3.5km to Mackinder’s Camp (4,300m) or onto Met Station (4hrs) to reduce the walking distance on the last day.
The big day, after a very early 3am start and a quick cup of tea and biscuits it is time to don all the layers you can manage and head out into the pitch dark. The early start is designed to get you to the summit just in time for sunrise. It also increases your chances of summitting without cloud cover. The climb is a steady ascent up scree and rock, with a scramble up the last 30m. The views from Point Lenana are superb, showing off the tarns, glaciers and jagged peaks of Mount Kenya at their resplendent best. On a clear day you can see Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. Temperatures can be very cold on the summit (as cold as -20 degrees C plus wind chill) so after quick photos and a moment to take it all in, you’ll head back down again. After a 2 hour walk past the glacier down loose scree you will reach Mackinder’s Camp and a very welcome hearty breakfast. If you are feeling up to it after a couple of hours rest you can head on down the further 9km to Met Station for the overnight, if not you can rest and stay the night at Mackinder’s. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Descend and rest at Mountain Rock Lodge
Am. Walk 22km / 6 hours from Mackinder’s Camp (4,300m) to Naro Moru Gate (2,600m)
Pm. Drive from Naro Maoru park gate to Nairobi 210km / 4-5 hours
A long descent through attractive vegetation on the windward side of the mountain. The trail winds through the infamous vertical bog, dense bamboo and virgin rain forest to meet the vehicles at the park headquarters at Naromoru gate. You will be back in time for lunch at Mountain Rock Lodge. Afternoon free to shower, rest, enjoy the gardens and do as you please! Overnight at Mountain Rock Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 6: Mountain Rock Lodge to the Rift Valley
Am. Drive 200km / 3 hrs from Nairobi to Rift Valley
Pm. BBQ lunch, wildlife walk in tea plantation, evening game drive
After breakfast you’ll be driven from Mount Kenya to a tea and coffee plantation near to Lake Nakuru. The plantation is a lovely lush forested setting where you will enjoy a delicious farm lunch in the gardens followed by a guided bird walk on the estate and a chance to visit the tea and coffee processing operations. The estate has a evocative colonial guesthouse where you will be staying the night. You can take an optional night safari drive around the estate grounds with the chance of seeing hyena and if you are lucky, leopards. Overnight Sunbird Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 7: Lake Nakuru
Am. Long morning game drive
Lake Nakuru is Kenya’s second most popular wildlife park and for good reason. Although small in size it surrounds a beautiful lake that is teeming with pelicans and flamingos. The park plays host to a variety of terrain, shallows, mud flats along with classical African Acacia Woodlands and grasslands. Lake Nakuru is rich with big game and good sightings are virtually guaranteed. Lion, hyena, rhino, buffalo, giraffe and Zebra are all common. After a long morning game drive with a boxed lunch, spend a relaxing afternoon at Lake Nakuru Lodge. You’ll have time to enjoy the pool at the lodge in the afternoon. Overnight Sunbird Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 8: Hippos in Lake Naivasha and Wilderness Camp
Am. Lake Naivasha boat safari
Pm. Drive 300km / 5hrs from Naivasha to Loita Plains
After breakfast you’ll head out for a boat ride on the vast Lake Naivasha. Unlike the surrounding soda lakes, Naivasha is freshwater and has a large hippo colony and excellent birds with fish eagles, pelicans and love birds common. After returning to shore you’ll be driven to the Loita Plains just outside the Maasai Mara National Reserve, stopping for lunch along the way. You’ll be staying at the Olanganayo wilderness camp in a lush green spot by a small stream. Whilst the crew set up camp you’ll be free to take a short stroll and take in the vastness of the Maasai plains. This area forms the corridor by which Wildebeest migrate to and from the Maasai Mara National Reserve, so wildlife spottings are not uncommon. Our Maasai host will take us on an early evening walk to the nearbye Maasai village and stand sentinel through the night (lions are always a possibility). Spend the evening around the camp fire. Overnight Maji Moto (B,L,D)
Day 9: Loita Plains and Magi Moto Eco Camp
Am. Short bush walk & drive to Maasai Mara
Pm. Sunset walk or night game drive
After waking to the sounds of the bush and a full breakfast, you’ll enjoy a short 2-3 hour walk along a small river course and through the open savanna for wildlife viewing. The local Maasai will act as guides and you will often walk amongst giraffe, impala, zebra and wildebeest. You’ll then drive to Maji Moto a fascinating community run eco camp with a hot spring and a lovely spot for lunch. There is the opportunity to visit a widow’s village and school for girls rescued from female genital mutilation. Then onto the permanent tented camp in the Masai Mara. There will be time for a late afternoon game drive in the Siana Conservation area and in the evening you can enjoy a hike up the nearby Naumare Hills to glimpse a stunning sunset over the Mara. Overnight Ilkeliani Camp (B, L, D)
Day 10: Maasai Mara National Reserve.
The big draw. You’ll spend all today in the reserve on a game drive in rugged 4wd extended wheel base LandCruisers with pop tops. With an experienced naturist guide and driver you’ll have every chance of spotting elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, Cheetah, Rhino, hippo, crocodile and countless others. An undoubtable highlight is the Mara River, the scene of so many famous encounters between hungry crocodiles and migrating wildebeest. Overnight Ilkeliani Camp (B, L, D)
Day 11: Back to Nairobi
Early game drive in the Mara
250km / 4-5hr drive back to Nairobi
Another early morning game drive in the Mara at 6am to spot any animals you might have missed and an opportunity to spot the early morning birdlife. After this drive you’ll return to camp for a late breakfast then drive for approximately 4 hours back to Nairobi.
Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.
Getting to Kenya: Kenya has international airports in Nairobi (Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta NBO) and Mombassa (Mombasa Moi International MBA) which are around 8 hours flying time from the UK. Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Air Kenya fly regular direct services to Nairobi. Return tickets usually range from £450 to £750 depending on when you are travelling. If you are willing to put up with the inconvenience then cheaper tickets can usually be purchased with a stop from Qatar Airways, Ethiopian and Emirates.
Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta airport is a ½ hr 16km drive from Nairobi City Centre, but traffic can be bad.
This tour includes pick up and drop off in Nairobi by minibus or 4wd Landcruiser.
Price includes all accommodation, meals and transfers to/from Nairobi as set out in the itinerary. You will have the services of an English speaking naturalist guide. The price also includes all the Park fees and all group camping equipment.
The price does not include international flights to Kenya, visas, personal insurance, Alcoholic and soft drinks and tips.
Kenya is subject to 2 rainy seasons, and a busy peak tourist season, but in reality is a year round destination. Most people visit during the summer months of July and August, when the weather is dry and the Maasai Mara is teeming with the Wildebeest migration.
July and August are peak season with Europeans and Americans making the most of their summer holidays, so expect crowds. However they also fall right after the long rains, so expect lots of lush green.
September and October play host to the short rains. Rain tends to fall for only a couple of hours in the afternoon or morning, so you shouldn’t let it stop you.
November, December, January, February and the first half of March are the dry season. Expect hot weather and quiet parks.
Second half of March, April, May and June plays host to the long rains. During this period it tends to rain through the night and into the morning. It is usually possible to get a dry spell between 10am and 2pm for getting out on safari. Many of the roads in the Maasai Mara Reserve are rough grass tracks that can become virtually impassable at the height of the rainy season (April – May). It is still possible to visit the Maasai Mara during this period you just won’t be able to explore as much.
This is the perfect safari combination for anyone who plans to climb Mount Kenya and has enough time in Kenya to enjoy the best of the country. If you are short on time, we can recommend the alternative combination of Mount Kenya with a 3 day Samburu safari extension.
You should have a decent level of trekking fitness, but as long as you lead a reasonably active lifestyle and are comfortable walking for 6-8 hours a day then a gruelling pre trek fitness regime is not really necessary. Age is not really a limiting factor, children as young as 10 and adults as old as 80 have climbed Mount Kenya.
As with most treks, the huts and facilities are basic. In all likelihood you won’t be showering for 4 or 5 days and you’ll be sleeping on a well worn mattress. If you come prepared with the right kit and right attitude this shouldn’t be a problem. Bringing your own 4 season sleeping bag is a a very good idea as are baby wipes for washing with.
The safari element is designed for anyone with a general interest in wildlife and culture. If you are serious birder or wildlife enthusiast we would recommend a more extensive safari program, please contact us for details.
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware
We had a great time! We really appreciated that the trip was booked with a local tour operator, which we learned was one of the biggest and best in Kenya. Patrick was exceptionally helpful, and came to meet us 3 times to check in and make sure things were going well.
There was an unfortunate change to our flight to Lamu which happened 2 weeks before leaving, but were only told the morning of, and it meant waking early, somewhat unnecessarily, except that our flight was changed to the intl. airport instead, and it also meant stopping in another city on the way, which added time to our flight, and detracted from our time in Lamu.
Nevertheless, we had an amazing time, and are very pleased with the trip!
I would rate both customer service and our experience a 5. I would definitely recommend you to others, and am looking forward to saving up again so I can book my next trip.
Jaclyn Rubin reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 17 August 2011
The holiday was amazing! Everything we wanted it to be! The safari was so we'll organized and our guide was very good. All the accommodation was superb. At the Masaai village we stayed in a mud hut which was different to the tent described in the itinerary, but so much better.
Pinewoods resort was lovely especially the staff who couldn't have looked after us any better. The food was exceptional.
pauline hasted reviewing Maasai Family Adventure on 21 October 2015
Accommodation and food at Karen Rock House were good. It was very quiet there as we were the only guests. Our transport, guide (Elijah) and driver (Oliver) were excellent. Elijah was very informative and patiently answered our questions about everything we saw. Our first day was very full, a long drive to Hell’s Gate, bike ride and gorge walk. Elijah suggested that we postpone the boat trip on Lake Navaisha to the morning we left Nakuru rather doing it on the way and this worked well. On the bike ride, our youngest struggled with an adult sized bike with bald tyres. Fine for us and our eldest though. The gorge walk was great as was the boat trip on Lake Navaisha.
Lake Nakuru Lodge accommodation, food and setting was excellent - as were the game drives with Oliver and Elijah. We saw a lot more here and close up than we did in Ol Kinyei and the Masai Mara.
Maji Moto Camp was an interesting experience. Again, we were the only visitors and the facilities & food were good. We visited the school before travelling to the Mara Adventure Camp but could have spent longer as there was a lot to see and our children enjoyed playing football etc with the school children.
The Adventure Camp was brilliant. We had a packed schedule of game drives (up at 5.30 every morning) and George and Wilson (guide and driver) were a lot of fun. They played football with us and were very entertaining on bush walks and game drives. We felt all the staff at the Adventure Camp worked really hard to make the experience an enjoyable one - from preparing the food, supplying endless hot water and tea and making sure we got to see what we wanted. The Ol Kinyei conservancy is beautiful (although we saw more at Lake Nakuru).
Our itinerary was good - it was busy and varied which suited us very well. We felt a bit rushed on Day 1 - in hindsight, it really was too much for one day. The day we travelled to the Masai Adventure Camp was also time pressured and we had a to cut short our visit to the school.
Overall, 5/5 - an unforgettable experience.
Tim Sheppard reviewing Maasai Family Adventure on 11 November 2014
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