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Walking Safari on the Masai Plains

Walk with Giraffe, wildebeest and Masai warriors on this unique five day walking safari across the Loita Plains to Masai Mara staying in community run bush camps.

Private Trek Adventure 5 days

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

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Itinerary

Overview

The Loita Plains lie at the foot of the Loita Hills to the East of the world famous Masai Mara Game Reserve. A vast landscape of savanna grasslands and scattered Acacia trees, it sits slap bang in the middle of the Serengeti Masai migration corridor through which the annual wildebeest migration occurs. Alongside the game, the area is mainly inhabited by Nomadic Masai pastoralists and the plains are dotted with mud-house Masai villages. Whilst most travellers drive straight through on their way to the Masai Mara for game drives they miss a fascinating insight into Masai life and of course the opportunity to see the wildlife in its natural habitat on foot.

The landscape you'll be walking through is pure Africa, with the archetypal savannah grasslands rolling as far as the eye can see under huge African skies. You'll be guided by Masai Warriors, spear in hand, who are there to explain the stories and features of the land and of course keep any dangerous wildlife at bay! Overnights are spent in comfortable charming Masai community run bush camps and you'll have plenty of opportunity to get a sense of life in the Masai villages and enjoy stories around the camp fire at night. Whislt the wildlife won't be as dense as you can expect in the national parks and reserves, there is plenty around and there is nothing like seeing it on foot keeping a close eye on the game tracks in the dust. The route takes you to the entrance to the Masai Mara Game Reserve where you'll spend a day on a game drive in the reserve, with loads of opportunity to spot lion, crocodile, hippo, hyena and all the other wildlife you can expect to see in this world famous park.

Day-by-day

This walking itinerary is flexible and should be seen as a guide only. Local conditions, weather or fitness could lead to changes in our daily plans. We’ll walk through isolated paths during the mornings meeting our vehicles and luggage at a different campsite each afternoon. The support staff and equipments moved from one camp to the other by vehicle and any struggling patrons may ride along on the vehicle all or partway to the next camp. There will be reliable communication between support staff and the trek guides and swift vehicle evacuation from certain point will be possible if need arises. All times and distances are approximate. ‘B,L,D’ refers to meals included in the trip cost, i.e. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

DAY 1: NAIROBI – MAJI MOTO ECO-CAMP
We start our walking Safari after a 3-4 hours drive west from Nairobi stopping briefly for spectacular views over the Great Rift Valley before we traverse it from east to west. From here, we proceed on to the Loita Hills within the vast Maasailand arriving at Maji Moto Eco-Camp in time for lunch. Maji Moto Camp is a simple and environmentally-sensitive camp run by the local people themselves and where you get to experience the fascinating ways of the Maasai in an interactive way rather than being a spectator. After lunch is a hands-on session with Maasai Morans (warriors) who engage us in varies warrior training activities. Then, a chance to visit a incredible project a local school for orphan girls - before the late afternoon 2 hour walk up the scenic loita hill. On the hike we spot wild animals and birds, learn about healing herbs used by the locals and watch the sun go down over the distant Masai Mara. In the evening we visit a natural hot spring nearby for a bath (or just deep toes in) then dine under starlit African skies listening to Maasai stories told to us by our hosts and overnight in tents under euphorbia trees at the bush camp guarded by watchful Maasai warriors all night long. (B,L,D)

Day 2: WALK TO PEPESUA CAMP
Setting off early we commence a 4-5 hour walking safari through the savannah for wildlife viewing on the plains with the Maasai warriors as guides and interpreters of their lands. Often walking amongst giraffe, impala, zebra and wildebeest. Loita plains form a wildlife corridor between Maasai Mara and the Narok region and hosts a great deal of wildlife through out the year. The wilderness path today leads us to Pepesua Camp, another communally run bush camp offering great support to the local community. Our afternoon here will be spent experiencing more insights into the Maasai peoples intriguing way of life with chances of spending time in an authentic Maasai homestead (Boma) to witness the work and life of women and children. Learn how to make Maasai beadwork jewellery, participate in traditional hut construction/repair, assist with milking the cows, etc. In the evening we drive from the camp to the bush dinner site located at a perfect location to observe the sun go down over the skyline as we enjoy our meal. On the return journey back to camp we do a night drive in search of nocturnal wildlife we will never get to see during the day such as the Aardvark, bat eared fox, owl, nightjar and more. (B,L,D)

Day 3 WALK TO MARA SPRINGS TENTED CAMP
Another early start for the final part of our walking safari. Today we go past a village market / shops and purchase some additional trip provisions from the local Duka (store). Then, slip back into the wild gaining access to Siana Wildlife conservancy. Siana conservation area is a wildlife preserve that’s owned and run by the local community. The conservation fees we pay to tour this area greatly assists the community with their conservation efforts. On today’s walk we will most likely encounter giraffe, gazelles, Eland, hartebeest, Topi, zebra, wildebeest, warthogs and with some luck the wild dog. Birdlife is also plentiful. After a 4-5 hour walk we arrive at Mara Springs camp in time for lunch. Today we have a relaxed afternoon before our evening game drive in the open plains of the conservancy. We also have the option of an exciting night game drive in the plains after dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 4 EXPLORE MASAI MARA
A sun rise game drive then proceed to Maasai Mara park after breakfast. Taking our packed lunches we us, we’ll explore the world famous Maasai Mara extensively the whole of this day. Perhaps this is the best game reserve in East Africa, It’s vast plains and bush land teem with endless herds of grazing Game together with the associated predators - our expert naturalist guides and sturdy vehicles ensure you have the best chance of seeing most of them and understand their habits. While inside the we’ll have the best chances to see all the Big 5 - lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino and a whole ark-full of other animals including hippo, crocodile at the Mara River. (B,L,D)

DAY 5 MORNING GAME DRIVE / JOURNEY BACK TO NAIROBI
An early morning game drive (6 am) in the Mara trying to spot any animals you may have missed the previous day, (for bird watchers this is best chance to see the numerous bird species of Maasai Mara). On return to camp we have breakfast then drive back to Nairobi. (B,L)

Details

Getting there

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 is often very bad.

This tour includes pick up and drop off in Nairobi.

Price includes

All transport to / from Nairobi
English speaking guides
All accommodation (as per itinerary)
All meals (as per itinerary)

International flights, incidental expenses and tips are not included

When is best?

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.

Is it for me?

This is a really wonderful trek that will leave you with memories for years, you'll meet some fascinating people and get an insight into the Masai landscape and culture that you would never get otherwise. The drawback though is obvious - walking in the hot sun with little shade on offer. If you are looking for a Masai Mara safari with a difference and come with a decent level of fitness and the right frame of mind, then you'll love it.

Safety

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 494 reviews

(4.96/5)

  • The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
    There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
    Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
    Just overall, so many moments that make you think wow or I can't believe I am here. Thank you for your help in getting everything set up. I don't believe I could have booked the trip without your help and guidance. It was an amazing way to start our marriage and truly the trip of a lifetime!

    MissingWilliam K reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 29 October 2018

  • Speke's camp was absolutely ideal - small and personal, with great hosts. We'd definitely recommend the "tented safari" experience to others. The kid's didn't miss having a pool (too interested in Safari). Speke's camp give you your own landrover and driver/guide, which gave us great flexibility (much better I suspect than what is offered by some of the larger camps). Our guide was brilliant. See below for the review we just posted on rip Advisor.

    I think the only negative of the trip was getting through Nairobi airport (multiple security checks, and they ask you to "board" two hours in advance, which in fact means going into crowded transit lounge with no facilities), but there's not anything anyone can do about that

    It's also worth saying that Peponi really is a unique experience. It's a proper East African institution, with all the locals dropping into the bar. It's the perfect antidote to anyone wanting to get away from the soulless all inclusive resorts which could be absolutely anywhere in the world (which seem to be a bit of a feature of Zanzibar). Lamu is still amazingly undeveloped.

    We stayed at Speke's camp for 4 nights in August 2018 - a family of two adults and two children. For us it was the perfect location to experience the Mara. The camp is only a short drive outside the main Mara reserve and is in an amazingly picturesque location, set by a small river in the shade of trees. Wildlife roams near (and sometimes through!) the camp. You get to feel very close to nature when you have a buffalo rooting up grass just outside your tent in the middle of the night!

    The camp itself is small and has a very personal feel to it. There are only eight or so guest tents, so you get to meet everyone passing through. One of the great pleasures was getting to chat to other guests over the evening meal or round the camp fire, swapping stories of the day's sightings. If you do want a little more privacy, then it's absolutely fine to eat in your own group.

    Whilst you do sleep and eat under canvas, it is an extremely civilised experience: the beds are comfy (with hot water bottles provided to ward off the chill of the evenings); there are bucket showers which sound much more primitive than they really are; the communal area is very elegantly laid out; tea is brought to the tent before setting out on early morning game drives, and the food was fantastic.

    What really makes the experience however are the wonderful hosts. Both Adrian and Veronique made a real effort to get to know us and ensure we were well looked after; and it's certainly worth picking Adrian's brains on the history of the region (it's not called Speke's camp for nothing)

    The final word must go to our wonderful guide/driver Ambrose and our Masai spotter Marco. It was a real privilege to have our own land-rover and to be shown the reserve by such knowledgeable and charming individuals. Ambrose is a proper naturalist, can identify a lilac breasted roller at 200 yards, and knows where to see the best wildlife without simply following other trucks. On our final afternoon, with 30 minutes before we had to leave the Mara Triangle, we had seen every animal and bird that was on our wish list (including a live Cheetah kill), but had not seen a rhino. Marco saw a speck on the horizon, Ambrose drove like the clappers and as a parting gift we were able to see this most elusive animal up close. Notwithstanding all the awe-inspiring nature, I think my wife's personal highlight was driving the land rover back to amp along the dirt track through herds of zebra and ambling giraffe. A truly amazing experience all round.

    MissingJonathan I reviewing Laikipia & Masai Mara Safari on 24 August 2018

  • Everything was exceptionally well arranged and the whole trip, from checking in on line and printing out the outward journey boarding cards from home, until return to Heathrow, was completely seamless.

    Although arriving slightly earlier than scheduled, we didn't have to wait before being collected at Nairobi by Elijah, our guide and Samuel the driver. On being told that we had hardly slept at all on the outward journey, they took us to a small B&B place they use (sorry, I've forgotten the name of the place) and we were able to rest/sleep for some 3 hours before setting off on our adventure. This was very much appreciated by us as that first day was full on after that.

    They looked after us really well and both were very knowledgeable and good company and were flexible to our needs, with nothing being too much trouble for them.

    The accommodation you picked for us was spot on. We were particularly taken with Sunbird Lodge (I could have spent the whole week there if it were not for being on the move due to the nature of the trip), which was quite informal and extremely friendly. We then moved on to the Maji Moto Eco Camp, where again everything was fine. Having stayed in similar places before, at my age now, the one night suited well and I was surprised when Dan was so taken with the place that he would have liked to stay another night! I think the camp fire might have had something to do with it. The visit to the school was also well worth it from Dan's perspective.

    On then to Ilkeliani and I concur with what you say about it being so well priced for what it offers, that it is a good recommendation. This was slightly more formal at mealtimes than Sunbird Lodge but nevertheless, the staff were equally friendly. As adults, both my husband and myself enjoyed the food although the feedback I provided on their customer satisfaction questionnaire was that perhaps the evening meals could possibly have slight variations for children. We didn't see any signs of the suspended footbridge and as we didn't ask about it, I don't know whether it's still there or not.

    I have to say that the beds in both Sunbird and Ilkeliani were very, very, comfortable.

    The Mayfair Southern Sun was again a good choice although I think the room we had was perhaps a standard twin room. There were two what I call "three quarters" sized beds, i.e. larger than a single but not quite a double bed size, which meant it was a bit of a squeeze for 2 persons in one bed.

    Both the Giraffe Centre and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Sanctuary were ideal additions to the itinerary. We had a 10 year old who was reluctant to leave Kenya!

    MissingMartha Ann Eileen C reviewing Maasai Family Adventure on 14 May 2018

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Alternative Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Combine climbing Mount Kenya with a 6 day safari to Masai Mara including Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha and Masai Mara parks.

Tailor-made Adventure 11 days

Adults from $3,921 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

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