Jambo! Welcome to Kenya. You are required to be at the reception of the Kenya Comfort Hotel Suites by 7:30am for a brief pre-departure meeting. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information. Nairobi - which takes its name from a Maasai phrase Enkare Nyrobi meaning 'place of cool waters' - has a cosmopolitan atmosphere. There are plenty of good bars and restaurants, while markets and shops have most things you could want or need, as well as various arts and crafts from the region. Travel west, crossing the floor of the Great Rift Valley and traversing the escarpment before reaching the town of Narok in the land of the Masai. As we near this area we are likely to see many colourfully dressed Masai tribes people tending to their herds of cattle. After a stop for lunch in Narok, head to your lodge, which is located across the river from the Masai Mara Park (250 km, approx 8 hours). Take a guided 2 hour walk around the area visiting a Maasai homestead along the way. Wild animals are sometimes sighted on this walk. Our accommodation is at Mara Springs Tented Camp or similar, a simple tented camp located in a prime game viewing area just 15minutes away from the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Each tent has beds with linen, simple furnishings and en suite bathrooms. While brazen crime is thankfully fairly uncommon in Nairobi, petty theft unfortunately is not and recently arrived visitors to the capital can often make for tempting targets. Your trip leader will verse you in a few worthwhile precautions at the welcome meeting, but if you are arriving early please heed a few simple safeguards. As a general rule, the safest place for your valuables is on your person in a neck wallet or money belt, though your hotel room or reception may have safes in which it would be advisable to store things if you're wanting to head out. If you do decide to go exploring, make sure you get local advice on where it is and isn't safe to walk - particularly when it's getting on in the day. Thieves and pickpockets have also been known to operate in bars and restaurants, so don't let up keeping your wits about you once you're inside somewhere. Don't leave day packs or handbags unattended on chairs or the floor. There's no need to be paranoid, but appearing vigilant is a great deterrence to would-be thieves. Finally, make colour scans of any important travel documents before you leave and email them to yourself: in the event that you are the unlucky victim of a theft, this will save you hours of police, embassy and travel insurance hassles.
After an early breakfast, and armed with packed lunch, we drive to the Mara ( approx. 15mins ). A huge area of woodlands and open plains backed by the striking Esoit Oloololo Escarpment, the Masai Mara is home to all of the Big Five. Keep an eye out for prides of lions, herds of elephants and, if you are lucky, a stealthy cheetah or leopard. In the rainy season this area is flooded by over a million wildebeest on their annual migration. Explore this diverse environment and view a multitude of wildlife. Spend an entire day on a wildlife spotting quest in the reserve.
Leave the magnificent Mara area behind and drive back to Nairobi (250 km, approx 8 hours) where the safari ends on arrival - usually around 3pm. If you require post-trip accommodation in Nairobi, please enquire at the time of booking. If you're staying on, why not head out to explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa), or Bomas of Kenya where traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes are displayed in an outdoor village.