Group Size: 2 - 7 passengers
Departs: Weekly on Tuesdays
The largest concentration of animals in Africa is found in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Samburu is home to lions, leopards, the rare and unusual reticulated giraffe. Lake Nakuru National Park is the paradise of birds and during certain times of the year experiences very large flocks of flamingos. For the perfect climax to the safari the Ol Pejeta Conservancy will astound you with its quantity and diversity of wildlife. Experience in a week the fascinating world of Africa’s animals on this scheduled small group departure with a maximum of seven passengers.
Upgraded vehicle options available - please enquire.
Day 1 - Nairobi
On arrival at Nairobi Airport you will be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel (approximately 17 KM / 0.5 – 1 hours).
A haven in the city, this Nairobi hotel is ideally located next to the Parliament building and walking distance to Kenyatta International Convention Centre and the government hub. The hotel is the ideal choice for discerning travellers boasting an award winning Indian restuartant – Bhandini, a dine by the pool restaurant, coffee shop and bars. Explore attractions close to the hotel whether it is handmade African artifacts at Maasai market or the beautiful Nairobi National Park.
Day 2 - Masai Mara Game Reserve
After breakfast leave Nairobi and drive past the extinct volcano of Mt Longonot and Suswa into the homelands of the Masai. The Masai Mara located on Kenya’s southern border with Tanzania, constitutes the northern stretch of the Serengeti and has the richest concentration of animals in Kenya. This afternoon after lunch, experience your first game drive in the unique world of the Masai Mara (approximately 270 KM / 5 hours). (BLD)
Masai Mara Sopa Lodge is set in the Oloolaimutia Valley, where the lodge totally blends in perfectly with its surrounding hillside landscape. The lodge has 86 rooms, 12 suites and 1 presidential suite, all of which have en-suite bathroom facilities with hairdryers. Every room and suite has a private, elevated veranda with views across the valley and on which guests can relax, sunbathe and watch resident birds and wildlife. Minibars are also available in each room. The lodge has direct-dial telephone facilities as well as satellite television and video options. The lodge has a freeform, freshwater pool which offers spectacular views over the valley.
Day 3 - Masai Mara Game Reserve
Spend the day on game drives through the tremendous fauna of the Masai Mara in search of the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, rhino elephant, buffalo). (BLD)
Day 4 - Lake Nakuru National Park
Your journey takes you to Lake Nakuru National Park, famous for its birdlife. The park also boasts a good number of rhinos as well as leopard and lion. After lunch at Lion Hill Lodge enjoy an afternoon game drive (approximately 350 KM / 7 hours). (BLD)
Located on a range of hills that form the western limits of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, the lodge offers spectacular views over the vastness of Africa. The lodge, which has 84 rooms in total also overlooks Lake Nakuru and its surrounding National Park, one that is a paradise for bird watchers and wildlife lovers alike. Lake Nakuru National Park is mainly a wooded and bushy grassland with a wide ecological diversity and characteristic habitats that range from the lake waters to the escarpment and ridges.
Day 5 - Samburu Game Reserve
Drive past Mount Kenya to Shaba Game Reserve, situated in the dry area of northern Kenya, where the nomadic tribes live. This Reserve is situated in the dry area of Northern Kenya, where the nomad tribes, the Samburus, the Rendilles and the Boran live. After lunch you will encounter the amazing landscape of the Shaba Game Reserve on your drive (approximately 380 KM / 7 hours). (BLD)
Located inside the Samburu Game Reserve in Northern Kenya, the lodge is built high on a hill allowing panoramic views of the vastness of Samburu shrub land and the hills beyond. Located away from the Ewaso Nyiro River, the Samburu Sopa Lodge has a prime location close to the airstrip. Samburu Sopa Lodge comprises of 30 en-suite rooms, all with balconies from which to view the hills, plains and river surrounding the lodge. The guest cottages follow the exterior design of centuries-old, traditional Samburu housing, but the similarity stops there. Instead, the structures have much higher ceilings, far larger windows and much more floor space.
Day 6 - Samburu Game Reserve
Enjoy a full day of game viewing in this beautiful area known for its Grevy’s zebra and the gerenuk gazelle, with a drive along the Ewaso Nyiro River. (BLD)
Day 7 - Sweetwaters Game Reserve
This morning drive to the private Ol Peteja Conservancy, a pristine environment with the ‘Big Five’, and the one and only chimpanzee sanctuary in Kenya (approximately 185 KM / 3 hours). (BLD)
Sweetwater’s Tented Camp lies in the heart of the 90,000-acre privately owned Sweetwater’s Game Reserve, and offers magnificent views of game across the open plains to the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kenya. From the camp you can view and photograph wildlife in their natural habitat while you sip on a few drinks in the comfort of Sweetwaters. Once an original farmhouse, Sweetwaters Tented Camp offers a dining room, bar and reception area. Guests may also dine in the convenience of an outdoor setting. The camp features 56 luxury tents, each with its own private veranda overlooking the water hole. Day and night game drives are conducted by four-wheel drive vehicles, walking safaris escorted by a knowledgeable ranger, bird walks, and even camel safaris.
Day 8 - End of Kenya Highlights Tour
This morning after breakfast return to Nairobi by road and end of your safari (approximately 220 KM / 4 hours). (B)
Dates and Pricing
- 09 Sep 17 - 30 Oct 17 $2,828 $3,200
- 31 Oct 17 - 11 Dec 17 $2,607 $3,014
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. *In 2017 Bench Africa passengers will receive a free vehicle upgrade – from a safari minibus to a 4X4 safari vehicle. On day of departure we recommend booking flights around 16h00 from Nairobi.
We thoroughly enjoyed our experience …
We thoroughly enjoyed our experience with the Bench Tour we took in Kenya, but do have some comments about its organization. Our Tour Operator at Escape Travel came to our rescue when our Emirates flight to Dubai was cancelled at Sydney Airport. After reorganising a trip to Dubai, then Nairobi via Singapore, she contacted Bench Tours who, knowing we had been delayed and would not arrive at Nairobi in time to meet the safari departure time, rearranged our accommodation at the Intercontinental Nairobi and arranged a flight out next morning to meet the Safari driver in the Masai Mara. Our driver, Kevin, was terrific. We saw many animals each day and Kevin did all he could to make sure we enjoyed the experience.
We stayed at three Sopa Lodges and the final night at Sweetwaters Tented Camp. Every meal at each Lodge was well presented with great variety. The staff at all Lodges was friendly and went out of their way to be helpful. We could not fault the service or accommodation.
The only problem we had with the tour was the final day. After breakfast, we returned to Nairobi, a four hour drive, but our flight did not leave until 22:45 (10:45p.m.) and we had nowhere to go! Kevin, our driver, contacted Bench Tours and they gave him permission to take us to an hotel for lunch, but we still arrived at the International Airport about 15:30 (3:30p.m.). The International Airport would not let us enter for some time and, when we were finally allowed in, we sat for many hours waiting to be 'processed'.
Perhaps Bench could include an extra tour on the last day - or even include lunch at the last Lodge.
Beyond all expectations!
We are independent travellers who wanted to do our own thing. The expert and helpful advice of Hiliary Redhead at Bench International helped us put together a fantastic itinerary. It hit all the things on the wish list we gave her and then some. All the places we stayed were exceptional, you could have been forgiven thinking they were 5 star without the price tag. Nothing was ever too much trouble, often anticipating our needs no matter how big or small including satisfying fussy eaters! The organisation was very professional and all the transfers were seamless and stress free.
We saw the 'Big 5' many times over, and many other animals and birds often up close and personal. The scenery was spectacular. But the real highlight was the people we met along the way.
If we get the opportunity to go to Africa again, Bench International will be the first phone call. And that's what we tell anyone thinking of visiting this amazing continent.Fiona Smart