KENYA - 2023
An elephant odyssey
Beginning in the Sarara Valley in Kenya's northern hinterland, we will trace ancient elephant migration routes south through savannah, forest and mountains, observing these majestic animals in the wild, meeting the communities with which they co-exist, and learning from those who are studying and working to save them. The trip will take in some of Kenya's most impressive, culturally diverse and wildlife-rich landscapes.
Lying between the snow-capped peak of Mt Kenya, and the Great Rift Valley, Laikipia is a flagship for conservation sustaining 80% of endangered Grevy’s zebra, half of Kenya’s critically endangered black rhinos and globally important populations of wild dogs
East Africa's largest city is a melting pot of cultures, and has vibrant nightlife and a rapidly growing arts scene. Its wealthier suburbs, which border the magnificent Nairobi National Park, are cloaked in history
The gateway to Kenya's vast Northern hinterland is a spectacular landscape of sprawling savannah and desert, interspersed with wildlife-rich forest-clad mountains. The area is dominated by community-owned conservancies, which incentivize sustainable land management and the preservation of wildlife.
We begin in Nairobi - Kenya's vibrant capital city - where a concierge will be waiting to transfer you from the airport to Hemmingways in Karen. This neighborhood to the West of the city borders Nairobi National Park at the foot of the Ngong Hills, and is steeped in colonial history.
We will visit Litworld, a school in Kibera - East Africa's largest slum - that provides learning opportunities for disadvantaged, orphaned children. In the afternoon, we will visit the famous Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage for a private experience with the elephant and rhino orphans. Daphne Sheldrick, who founded the orphanage, has had a huge impact on elephant conservation by pioneering rehabilitation of orphaned elephants.
End the day with high tea at the Karen Blixen coffee gardens, before heading back to the hotel.
After a heartwarming breakfast, we transfer North by plane, flying over Mt Kenya to reach the Sarara Valley in Northern Kenya. This sweeping wildlife rich valley, surrounded by the towering forest-clad Mathews mountains, is a model for community-based conservation. The local Samburu tribes and their livestock coexist with large mammals such as elephant, giraffes, lion, leopards and African wild dogs.
After settling into the camp, enjoy lunch and a dip in the pool before heading out on an afternoon game drive and sun-downers. We will also visit the area's famous "singing wells', where Samburu tribesmen take their animals to drink in wells also used by elephants and other wildlife.
Head out on an early morning walk into the forest with Samburu elders, in search of medicinal plants, exotic birds and butterflys. After breakfast admiring the sun rise, we take a short drive to Reteti Elephant Orphanage, where rescued orphaned elephants from across Northern Kenya are rehabilitated and released. Meet the orphans and speak to scientists from the Smithsonian and San Diego Zoo who are studying the orphans after their release back into the wild.
In the afternoon choose between going for a walk in the bush, a game drive or a mind-fullness session overlooking the Sarara valley.
Days 4 and 5
Save the Elephants
We leave Sarara Camp after breakfast for Save the Elephants research centre in Samburu National Park. Ian Douglas Hamilton - who pioneered elephant research in Africa - founded this long-term research station to study Samburu's wild elephants almost thirty years ago.
As well as meeting the wild elephant families who have been studied at this site for generations, we will spend time with Save the Elephants veterinarian - Dr Sharon Mulindi - and Smithsonian research fellow Sandy Odour, who is studying how the elephants in this region are being affected by climate change.
Enjoy an evening game drive along the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro river, before spending the night at Elephant Watch camp. The following morning we transfer south by road to Lewa Safari Camp - our destination for the next few days in the world famous Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
Days 6 and 7
For the next two days we will be based at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, which sits on expansive grassy plains at the base of snow-capped Mt Kenya. Best known for its large populations of white and black rhino, Lewa has been a catalyst for wildlife conservation in East Africa.
Enjoy the boutique luxury of Lewa Safari Camp, and get up close and personal with Lewa's wildlife through game drives, walking safaris, and horseback safaris. We will also visit the conservancy's new wildlife veterinary clinic, where Dr Mathew Mutinda will speak about his critical work saving endangered species.
We finish the trip back in Nairobi, staying in Giraffe Manor. One of the most instagrammed properties on earth, this stately1930s manor house, turned luxury boutique hotel, is home to a populations of endangered Rothschild giraffe that visit morning and evening, poking their long necks into the windows in the hope of a treat, before retreating to their forest sanctuary.