Group Size: 2 - 4 passengers
Departs: Scheduled departures during the year
An incredible and unique flying safari, capturing the sights of endangered wild African animals whose existence is not only threatened but in many cases endangered according to the venerable IUCN Red List of threatened species – www.iucnredlist.org - Lion and Cheetah in the world famous Masai Mara, African Elephant in Samburu, Wild Dog (also known as painted Dogs), Grevy’s Zebra, Crowned Cranes, the Black Rhino and the critically endangered Northern White Rhino in Laikipa. Experience the excitement and stunning scenery of magical Kenya from the air, aboard an executively configured luxury Cessna Caravan. Truly a trip of a lifetime!
Meet with the people on the ground, fighting the good fight for wildlife conservation!
Experience the rare sights of wild African animals whose existence is not only threatened but in many cases endangered, according to the venerable IUCN Red List of Threatened Species – encompassing such remarkable interactions as grevy’s zebra, African wild dog, lion, cheetah, African elephant, crowned cranes and black rhino. Hear first-hand from the leaders in the field of conservation on the ground about actions being taken to protect these species. This includes a visit to the world famous Elephant Watch Camp, in Samburu, which is personally hosted by the Douglas Hamilton family.
Day 1 - Masai Mara National Reserve
Morning departure from Nairobi Wilson Airport and a 45minute flight aboard our luxury Cessna Caravan to Keekorok airstrip in the Masai Mara National Reserve, where you will stay at the Spirit of the Masai Mara private lodge.
Flight time Nairobi Wilson to Keekorok – Approx 45 Mins
On arrival you will be greeted with refreshments and your private professional safari guide before being driven on a game drive in a bespoke safari cruiser to the lodge in time for lunch. In the afternoon, kids can participate in learning how to track animals and make bows and arrows, whilst adults enjoy an afternoon siesta. Late afternoon game drive within the conservancy followed by a sundowner overlooking the panoramic landscape. Sit by the bonfire, watch the Masai dancers and gaze at the stars before heading back to the lodge for dinner. (LD)
Spirit of the Masai Mara is a small, intimate family owned and managed lodge located within the stunning 35,000 acre Siana Conservancy. Guests have access to this private conservancy which protects the local wildlife and benefits the local community. This is the ideal location for both private game viewing within the conservancy and the opportunity to witness the great Wwldebeest and zebra migration season, normally July to end of October, within the Masai Mara National Reserve. With panoramic views of the surrounding Siana Conservancy landscape, the lodge consists of 10 solidly built, air-conditioned suites, uniquely blending a modern design with traditional building materials. Each suite comprises a large lounge with private bar, spacious bedroom and bathroom.
Day 2 - Masai Mara National Reserve
Early morning departure to the Masai Mara National Reserve, with your specialist wildlife guides in bespoke safari cruisers to track the most vulnerable of the big cats lion & cheetah. The lion (Panthera leo) population is inferred to have undergone a reduction of approximately 43% over the past 21 years (approximately three lion generations, (1993-2014). Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) The known cheetah population is roughly 6,700 adult and adolescent animals distributed across 29 subpopulations worldwide. Of these, 1,960 adults are found in Eastern Africa. The very existence of these two vulnerable big cats is becoming increasingly vulnerable worldwide.
Your specialist guides are on hand exclusively to educate and enthrall and are at the forefront of lion and cheetah conservation in this area. Tracking big cats takes time and often can travel long distances. Follow the signs and find the prides either hunting or sunbathing. Lunch will be a hearty picnic under an Acacia tree overlooking the sprawling Mara plains. In the afternoon, continue tracking and following the big cats and look out for the southern ground hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) now considered a vulnerable species. on the way back to the lodge, stop by a Masai village to meet ‘the locals’ who call this beautiful wonder of the world their home. This will be an introduction to Masai culture that you will never forget. Arrive back at the lodge in time for a swim in the infinity pool or relax and review your stunning photographs from the day. In the evening, a wildlife expert will give a talk on their specialist species and will host you to an informal dinner. (BLD)
Day 3 - Samburu National Reserve
Early morning 1 hour bushwalk with professional Masai Silver rated Kenya Professional Safari Guides who will show you the traditional uses for medicinal plants, flowers and herbs, a practice that is becoming more obsolete in our modern world today. Track small animals and learn how every living creature plays its part in our delicate ecosystem. Return to the lodge for breakfast and transfer by safari cruiser to the Siana Springs airstrip to board your luxury Cessna caravan to the magnificent Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya.
Flight time Siana Springs to Samburu – Approx 1 Hour 25 Mins
Depart from Siana Springs en-route to the Samburu National Reserve, flying up through one of the wonders of the world – The Great Rift Valley. Your pilot guide will talk to you through your own personal headset, pointing out interesting landmarks, geographical and geological sights. On approach to the Samburu National Reserve, fly low level along the Ewaso Nyiro River and see how many elephant or hippo you can spot on the river banks. Landing at Samburu Simba Oryx airstrip, you will be greeted by your driver guide from Elephant Watch Camp and transferred with a short game drive and specially laid out seated bush lunch. After lunch depart for Elephant Watch Camp.
On arrival at Elephant Watch Camp, you will be greeted by your guide and host Saba Douglas Hamilton and her team of Elephant experts who will introduce you to their home and your home under canvas – a luxury safari tent. Relax in camp with a short afternoon siesta before departing on an afternoon game drive with your local Samburu professional elephant guide. Orientate yourself with the Samburu Reserve, the differences in flora and fauna all before a seemingly endless landscape of big skies and ancient hills. This afternoon, you will learn more about The African elephant (Loxodonta Africana) than you dreamed could be possible. Before the sun sets, enjoy a refreshing sundowner and return to camp to freshen up before dinner. (BLD)
Let the commotions of modern life dissolve as your soul is soothed by its reconnection with nature and immerse yourself in luxury that is highly sensitive to the environment’s fragility. Elephant Watch Camp is the ultimate in eco-luxury and an unrivalled wildlife experience. Here, your dreams of an African adventure without compromise come true. Spend magical days among the elephants of Samburu, with world experts, leading conservationists in the field and charming professional guides.
Day 4 - Samburu National Reserve
Wake to an early breakfast and a tour around the elephant tracking and research camp. Here you will meet the ‘behind the scenes staff’ who have dedicated their time towards tracking, monitoring and researching the African elephant as a species. Elephant watch guides have been trained to recognise each of the sixty-six families that are mostly resident in Samburu, many of whom have recorded histories that date back to ‘Save the Elephants’ foundation in 1997. These experts will show you just how special elephants are, through years of scientific research, observation and their conservation efforts, giving you an insight and understanding that few others have the unique opportunity to share.
Highly intelligent, sentient and emotional animals, who thrive in a close-knit family unit – just like humans. Saba and her research staff will talk you through the process of collaring elephants and how they are tracked, how the information gathered is processed and how it benefits the ultimate existence of these magnificent animals.
After the tour of the research camp, depart on a game drive with Saba as your guide to explore the Samburu National Reserve and the thrill of being introduced to elephants by name. Learn more about their life cycles, their migratory routes, observe their complex emotions and how self aware they really are and above all just how vulnerable their existence is to loss of habitat and ivory poaching.
Towards the end of such an exciting day, return towards camp, but before the sun sets, take a short walk up a small hill to enjoy the setting African sun with a sundowner. At the top you will be greeted by Samburu dancers who will introduce you to their flamboyant regalia and wonderful tribal dance.
Return to camp in time to freshen up before dinner, hosted by Saba and her amazing team.
Day 5 - Laikipia
Early morning game drive with a picnic your professional Samburu guides to see where the elephant have moved to overnight. Spend valuable time with the herds that you now know by name and reconnect where you left yesterday. Find a spot by the river to enjoy a picnic breakfast before slowly meandering to the Airstrip to board your luxury caravan to Sosian and ultimately either the Sosian Conservancy or the neighboring Ol Donyo Lemboro Conservancy in the Laikipia region of northern Kenya.
Dependent upon time of year and approximate location of African wild Ddg, will determine whether the itinerary will take you to stay at Sosian Lodge or Laikipia Wilderness Lodge.
Flight time Simba Oryx to Sosian – Approx 40 Mins
Depart from Simba Oryx airstrip, Samburu, enjoy a scenic flight over the Ewaso Nyiro River west and onto Sosian airstrip.
Dependent upon the season and the proximity of African wild dog, we have offered two alternative safari lodges from which to base your wild dog safari.
On arrival at your lodge, you will be met by a specialist guide who will and transfer you to either Sosian Lodge or Laikipia Wilderness Camp, without a doubt the two very places from which to explore this magical landscape that the African wild dog call their home.
Sosian lies in the Laikipia region of northern Kenya, at the foothills of Mt. Kenya. The private ranch is 24,000 acres with access to a total of 75,000 acres of wonderful game viewing. The area is completely unfenced and wildlife roams freely across open plains and riverine forests. Sosian Lodge is a beautifully restored African ranch house that was built in the 1940’s by Italian artisans, and accommodates up to fourteen people in the atmosphere of a private home. Four cottages lie in the tropical garden overlooking Mt. Kenya and miles of unspoiled Africa, each with its own private veranda and en-suite bathroom. This is an ideal base from which to explore this magical area and its hidden gems – African wild dog.
Laikipia Wilderness is a very small and personal bush camp with just 5 tents catering for 10 guests. Located within the 20,000 acre Ol Donyo Lemboro Conservancy this is Kenya’s best location to see the endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus). The camp has an informative library, viewing deck and offers stunning star gazing at night. To the east, views of Mt Kenya and to the north, south and west, panoramic views of the rugged wilderness that is northern Kenya. The camp blends sympathetically into this stunning area of natural beauty, where each day is an real adventure, just as it is for the wild dog. African wild dogs have disappeared from much of their former ranges in Africa. Their population is currently estimated at approximately 6,600 adults in 39 subpopulations, of which only 1,400 are mature individuals. Population size is continuing to decline as a result of ongoing habitat fragmentation, conflict with human activities, and infectious disease. Given uncertainty surrounding population estimates, and the species’ tendency to population fluctuations, the largest subpopulation is anticipated to be <250 mature individuals
Day 6 - Laikipia
You have to wake extra early to catch the African wild dog hunting packs. Ol Donyo Lemboro Conservancy is home to two resident African wild dog packs. Your driver and guide will take you on an adventure to track possibly the rarest of Africa’s mammals. Stay sharp and you might see a pack out tracking its breakfast. Together with an expert from the Laikipia Predator Project and help of telemetry, watch how data is collected from sightings of wild dogs and lions, some of whom are fitted with radio collars for this research. This area of Kenya has the fastest growing population of wild dogs in Africa, though sadly their numbers remain in decline. Tracking them by vehicle and occasionally on foot is a truly unique experience and if you are lucky you may end up with one of the best wild dog sightings in the world. As the dogs’ territories are huge, they do roam vast distances. For this reason, sightings can be difficult.
Through the excitement of tracking these magnificent beasts, we will provide for a picnic breakfast and a bush lunch, dependent upon where the wild dog are. Toast the day’s end with sundowners overlooking this magnificent landscape. Return to the camp for dinner.
For those keen to get out once again, the Ol Donyo Lemboro Conservancy is fantastic for night game drives, where you can extend the opportunity to see wild dog hunting at night or the multitude of smaller nocturnal mammals that use the cover of night as their playground.
Day 7 - Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Wake early for a game drive to track wild dog with your expert guide. The Ol Donyo Lemboro Conservancy is also home to large numbers of elephants in smaller herds than in Samburu and other parts of the country, a sign of being unstressed. Reticulated giraffe, the endangered Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi) hippos, buffalo, warthog, lions, hyenas, bat-eared foxes and lots of antelope species are all commonly seen. Of the more exciting and interesting species there as good leopard sightings, the near threatened striped hyena, aardwolf, aardvark and not least, some of the best wild dog sightings in Africa.
Return to Camp for lunch, after noon transfer to the Sosian airstrip for your flight to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and either Sirikoi Camp or Lewa Safari Camp, dependent upon the season and the proximity of both black and white rhino.
Flight time Sosian to Lewa Downs – Approx 35 Mins
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is home to the largest concentration of Grevy’s zebra in the world, and its range of habitats attracts diverse birdlife and hosts over 130 black and white rhino.
On arrival at the Lewa Conservancy, you will be met by your driver guide who will take you to the Lewa Marshlands. Within these marshlands are the roosts of the Endangered grey crowned crane (the national bird of Uganda). With an estimated population of less than fifty thousand birds left in the world, twenty thousand of which can be found in Kenya. These are a magnificent sight to see. Also resident on Lewa is the black rhino (Diceros bicornis) Listed as critically endangered as the population of black rhino has declined by an estimated 97.6% since 1960 with numbers bottoming out at 2,410 in 1995, mainly as a result of poaching. Since then, numbers have been steadily increasing at a continental level with numbers doubling to 4,880 by the end of 2010. Current numbers are however still 90% lower than three generations ago.
The endangered Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi ) also make Lewa their home. The Grevy’s zebra population is estimated to have declined by more than 50% over the past 18 years based on direct observation and potential/actual levels of exploitation. In addition, the current total population is estimated at 750 mature individuals, with the largest subpopulation estimated at 255 mature individuals.
Featuring 11 en-suite safari tents, Lewa Safari Camp offers authentic comfort for its visitors; thatch-covered tents all en-suite and a spacious veranda. Cozy log fires in the sitting room are perfect for relaxing after a day game viewing within this wonderful conservancy. This unique and exclusive retreat offers privileged access to 65,000 acres of private protected wilderness. Lewa Safari Camp has been awarded “Gold Level” by Ecotourism Kenya, a great accolade towards an environmentally responsible camp as befits the Lewa Conservancy ethos.
Day 8 - Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Wake the sounds of calling yellow bill hornbills and they chatter in the trees, tea or coffee served on the deck of your tent and then an early breakfast and depart on a game drive into the Lewa Conservancy. If early enough, you may catch a Leopard tracking back to its lair, leaving only its footprints in the morning dew. Black rhino (Diceros bicornis) will be grazing, watched by Grevy’s zebra acting as sentinels and always nearby.
Listed as Critically Endangered as the population of black rhino has declined by an estimated 97.6% since 1960 with numbers bottoming out at 2,410 in 1995, mainly as a result of poaching. Since then, numbers have been steadily increasing at a continental level with numbers doubling to 4,880 by the end of 2010. Current numbers are however still 90% lower than three generations ago.
You have the option of a full day game drive within the conservancy or return to the lodge/camp for a leisurely lunch. After lunch you have the option to relax by the pool or for the more adventurous, a guided game walk.
Day 9 - End of Endangered Species Flying Safari Tour
Early morning game drive or late morning game drive dependent on your International flight departure time.
Short transfer to the Lewa airstrip. Scenic Air Safaris luxury Cessna Caravan will be waiting to fly you to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or Wilson Airport.
Dates and Pricing
Prices shown are per person based on twin share. Seasonal supplements and minimum night requirement may apply. Solo traveller and extra night prices available on request. Luggage restrictions may apply. International flights not included. Changes to the itinerary may be required at certain times of the year. On the day of departure we recommend booking flights around 16h00 from Nairobi. Supplement applies if staying at Sirikoi Camp.