Most couples dream of a beach honeymoon, maybe some fantasize about romancing in Europe and then there is a teeny tiny group which dares to be unconventional. And we belong to the third category, obviously. To go on a wildlife safari had always been a dream for us, and when the chance presented itself for a week long honeymoon, that was the first thing that came to our mind. Oh, how glad we are to have made that decision! A unique experience, so refreshing and soulful that it was the perfect way to connect with each other after a crazy wedding (as all Indian weddings are). To all of you who can’t imagine doing something like this, I hope I can change your mind by the end of our post series.
We want to give you and document for ourselves as much information and travel stories as possible, so we will be breaking it down into multiple posts that will be posted during the coming week. This post covers the part about how we planned the itinerary, travel partner, basic checklist and some gorgeous captures to kindle your interest. Subscribe to our mailing list to get updated on the upcoming posts with more details of our trip.
First of all, to do a jungle safari in the national parks of Kenya, you need a licensed driver-guide accompanying you at all times. So that means it is not possible to do it all by yourself and you need a travel company to partner with. Given the fact that we were on a honeymoon and also that we hate being in tour groups, we decided to splurge and get a private itinerary with a 4X4 safari van and guide all for ourselves 🙂 BEST DECISION EVER!!!
We chose Natural tours and Safaris based in Nairobi, primarily because one of our friends strongly recommended them after personal experience. We ended up having a splendid time with them and their service was top notch! If you are undecided about whom to choose, you can safely go with Natural tours and safaris. The best part is they always provide three different price ranges – Economy, Standard and Luxury, with differences in accommodation between them. Contrary to our usual trips, we went with the luxury option because hey, we get to have only one official honeymoon 😀 All accommodations we stayed at were beyond our expectations, the perfect luxury in a wild setting. We woke up to animals grazing just across the fence from the comfort of our well-made rooms.
Without further ado, let me give you a glimpse into our itinerary for 7 days/6 nights in the Kenyan national parks 🙂
We landed in Nairobi on Day 0 in the night and stayed in a modest hotel booked through Booking.com.
Day 1 : Nairobi to Samburu National Park
The earlier part of this six hour drive was spent battling the traffic in Nairobi but once we got out of the city it was a smooth ride. The moment we entered the National park, we started seeing zebras and Giraffes just hanging out in the wild. That was when we felt transported to a different world and our vacation officially started!!
Stay at Samburu Intrepids Camp
Day 2 : Samburu to Lake Nakuru
We started the day early and after a short game drive in Samburu we proceeded to Lake Nakuru national park. On the way, we stopped at Thompson falls and Equator. Entering Lake Nakuru national park and spotting the flock of pink flamingos was an incredible moment.
Stay at Sarova Lion Hill Lodge
Day 3 : Lake Nakuru to Masai Mara
An awesome game drive in Lake Nakuru, spotting the elusive Black Rhino put us in a very good mood for the day. This was the only day when we could get out of the safari van when inside the national park as there was a safe zone from predators 😀 We reached Masai Mara almost near closing time.
Stay at Sarova Mara game camp
Day 4 : Full day game drive at Masai Mara
This was the day when we took the maximum pictures in the whole trip. Masai Mara is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, even though we cant really call ourselves that , we were thrilled by the sheer amount of animals that we saw! Driving through the herd of wildebeest which seemed to stretch for as long as we could see, watching a mini version of the Great Migration and visiting the Masai Mara tribe in their village – glorious memories for life!
Stay at Sarova Mara game camp
Day 5 : Masai Mara to Lake Naivasha
Naivasha and Nakuru are both lakes but so much different from each other and you should include both in your itinerary if you can. Further, Naivasha was one of our best accommodations with huge deers coming up to our balcony in the early morning hours! The boat ride across the lake will make any one a bird lover.
Stay at Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge
Day 6 : Lake Naivasha to Amboseli
We started the day with exploring around the lake by foot and doing a photoshoot until our George, our guide got impatient 😀 The drive then took us through the scenic great rift valley that runs from Asia to Africa! We entered Amboseli and immediately felt like we entered the world of elephants.
Stay at Kilima Camp.
Day 7 : Amboseli and flight back
We spent the morning doing a game drive through Amboseli and enjoying the antics that baby elephants exhibit in the wild. We didn’t spot too many animals here other than elephants and Giraffe but didn’t complain as we got lucky everywhere else.
Boarded our flight back home from Nairobi that night with a memory card full of amateur wildlife pictures and stories to last a life time.
Things to note if you are planning a Kenyan holiday
- It is absolutely safe in a wildlife safari organized by experienced tour operators, as long as you follow the guidelines and don’t do anything stupid. All the accommodations are situated within the national parks but protected by fencing. Better to not wander around in the night. (You’ll be exhausted so this probably wont happen 😉 )
- For travel from India, yellow fever vaccination is a must for immigration. Find the nearest health centre that offers it and take it as early as possible before your trip. We had to travel to another city to do it, so keep in mind that it might not be available everywhere.
- The national parks close at night (usually around 6:30 pm) and you have to be inside your accommodation by then. So don’t push your tour operator to include more places in your itinerary. Our trip was already pushing it by covering five national parks in 7 days! In retrospect we would have skipped Amboseli and spent more time in Samburu.
That’s all for now. Hope it piqued your interest to go on a wildlife safari in Kenya. More detailed posts on the astonishing things we saw during these days with many more pictures of the wild coming up soon. Stay tuned.
-Smithy & Kannan.