18 Days Best Kenya Safari
In 18 Days Best Kenya Safari, we will give you a sample of the legendary Kenyan nightlife, wildlife, white sand beaches, and the cultural wonders of Kenya’s 43 diverse communities.
You will spot the big 5 in their natural habitat in Masai Mara National Reserve, get a chance to bottle feed baby elephants at David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, relax in the pristine white sand beaches of Diani Kenya, and more.
We have orchestrated this Kenya tour holiday to give you the chance of a lifetime to kiss a giraffe at the Giraffe Center; aka the sloppy kiss. How about adopting a baby elephant? Swimming with Dolphins? I will bet skydiving in Diani will excite you.
Personally, it is the hot air balloon safari over the Masai Mara that works the magic. Without further ado, here is our summarized, 18 days, 17 nights, best Kenya safari itinerary.
Highlights of this 18 Days Best Kenya Safari
- Day 0: Arrival in Nairobi
- Day 1: Giraffe Center and David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage Day
- Day 2: Hell’s Gate National Park in Naivasha
- Day 3: Naivasha to Ol Pejeta with a Stop at Thomson Falls
- Day 4: Ol Pejeta Conservancy
- Day 5: Lewa Downs
- Day 6: Samburu National Reserve
- Day 7 – 8: Lake Nakuru National Park
- Day 9 – 12: Nakuru to Maasai Mara
- National Reserve
- Day 13 – 14: Maasai Mara national park to Mombasa
- Day 15 – 17: Mombasa to Diani
- Day 18: Departure
Detailed 18 Days Best Kenya Safari
DAY 0: Arrival in Nairobi
Your guide/driver will be waiting for you at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to welcome you to Kenya with a big smile.
The driver will arrive at the airport at least 1 hour before your designated arrival time, just so you can be sure there is a friend waiting for you. We will then drive you to your hotel.
After formally welcoming you to Kenya, we will shop for anything you might need during your safari including activating your phones. We will then drive you back to the hotel to relax and rejuvenate for the real adventure which begins the following day.
- Golden tulip westlands
- Four-point by Sheraton Nairobi
- The Monarch hotel
- Ibis styles Nairobi
- Swiss Lenana mount hotel
- Villa Rosa Kempinski
DAY 1 of the 18 Days Best Kenya Safari: David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
We start the morning a bit late at 9 am, taking a short, 7km trip to David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. The trust takes in calves orphaned through poaching, nurtures them, and when the time is right, re-introduces them to the wildlife by releasing them into the Tsavo East National Park.
A visit here does not appeal to your eyes only. It appeals to your inner person, with the beautiful elephant-human relations touching the innermost cores of your heart.
From 11 Am- 12 PM, you get to watch these lovely creatures being bathed, exercised, and fed. We will participate in feeding the animals, and for only $50, you can adopt a chubby baby elephant.
In the afternoon, we will take a 9.2 km drive to the Giraffe Center (African Fund for Endangered Species). The Centre allows you a one on one interaction with the giraffes. You can feed them, pet them, kiss them and even take one or two pictures with them.
They particularly like it when you bite a pellet and let them pick it; aka sloppy kiss. Warthogs are also available in the park and so is a large population of avian species which you get to see at the Gogo River Bird Sanctuary.
The park has a 1.5km nature trail that goes down to the Gogo River and from atop a hill at the end of the trail, you can see the source of this river.
The Giraffe center is a non-profit organization. All its proceeds go towards taking care of the giraffes or promoting conservation education among Kenyan youths. So, this is a green trip.
Want to shop for a cause? Daisy Souvenir Shop donates part of those sales to the center and so your keepsakes are going to do our tall friends some good.
- Golden tulip westlands
- Four-point by Sheraton Nairobi
- The Monarch hotel
- Ibis styles Nairobi
- Swiss Lenana mount hotel
- Villa Rosa Kempinski
DAY 2 of the 18 Days Best Kenya Safari: A Day in Hell’s Gate National Park in Naivasha
We change pace for day 2 of this trip and take a 2-hour drive to Naivasha. We leave After Breakfast at 8 is for Enashipae Lodge – home for the night – to get to Naivasha by 10, refresh and head to the Hell’s Gate National Park.
Hell’s Gate covers an area of 68.25 square km and is situated in the environs of Lake Naivasha about 90 km from Nairobi, Kenya. It offers a rare kind of beauty and splendor, the type that has an indescribable roughness to its edges.
A holiday to Hell’s Gate National Park is to die for. You get to marvel at the park’s awe-inspiring backdrops which include water-gouged ravines, lofty cliffs, and scrub-filled volcanoes.
Wildlife viewing is yet another thrilling activity to indulge in. The park teems with wild animals such as the African buffalo, Thomson’s gazelle, baboons, hartebeest, zebra, antelopes, reedbucks, and over 100 avian species.
It’s the only park in Kenya that lets you get off the tour van and walk or ride a bicycle amidst all the animals listed above.
The Hell’s Gate Gorge, Central Tower Gorge, Olkaria Geothermal Station, Mervyn Carnelley Raptor Hide, and Fischer’s Tower are all nutrients to the eye. Walks along its nature trails and climbs on the towering cliffs are equally uplifting.
So, we have several options depending on your preference. You can choose between a bike ride in the park, rock climbing for two hours, and hiking up the trail.
These activities will be between 12 pm and 2 pm, after which we slow things down in a natural spa. Later after a late lunch, and dinner at Enashipae Resort & SPA before calling it a day.
DAY 3: Naivasha to Ol Pejeta via Thomson Falls
We leave Naivasha early for Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki, a 7.5-hour drive.
On the way, we stop by the famous Thomson Falls in Nyahururu for a bit of sightseeing and photo session. We will stop for lunch in Nyeri at the scenic Giraffe Ark that has Mt Kenya as its backdrop.
We’ll then proceed to Sweetwaters Serena Camp for the night.
DAY 4 of the 18 Days Best Kenya Safari: Ol Pejeta Conservancy
We leave Nairobi early for Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki, a 3.5-hour drive. Named 2018’s Africa’s Leading Conservancy Company, Ol Pejeta has an amazing story to tell.
This 700-acre enclosure was home to the last remaining male northern white rhinos, Sudan. Sadly, Sudan passed away last year but you will get a chance to see the last two remaining, female Northern white rhinos.
The history and love in this place will give you an entirely new perspective on human-wild interaction. Communities within the enclosure, for playing their part in conserving it, have benefited immensely from projects funded by well-wishers and you could add your name to the list.
A game drive, a visit to the chimpanzee conservancy in this enclosure, and outdoor dinner as you watch the sunset is the highlight of the 4th day. The conservancy hosts 14% of rhinos in Kenya and all the big 5.
After a long day of Ol Pejeta exploration, we will leave you to spend the night at one of the best Kenya safari lodges within the conservancy.
- Sweetwaters serena camp
- Comfort gardens sweetwa
- Ol Pejeta house
- Misty mountain lodge
- Aberdare prestige and royal cottages
DAY 5: Lewa Downs
Situated in Central Kenya, Lewa is only 2 hours from Ol Pejeta. Here, conservation efforts continue with the focus being on the endangered black rhino species.
14% of Kenya’s rhino population lives here. The population includes over 80 of the endangered black rhinos who live here peacefully.
The community here has been the first line of defense against poaching. Their efforts have been awarded through education projects that benefited over 10,000 children.
Lewa Downs also manages an entrepreneurship training program that has changed the lives of over 1,800 women from the neighboring communities.
Part of your entrance fees goes towards these projects.
A game drive to watch elephants and buffalo, wild dogs (if we’re lucky), giraffes, lions, cheetahs, followed by dinner at the banks of Ewaso Nyiro River are all on the itinerary for day 5 before retreating to Borana Lodge for the night.
DAY 6 of the 18 Days Best Kenya Safari: Samburu National Reserve
The plan is to start the day at 6 am early. We drive for three hours to the Samburu National Reserve where we catch a bite at Saruni Samburu Lodge, and then head out for a game drive.
The Samburu National Reserve offers you endless opportunities to snap surreal photos of zebras, elephants, lions, and giraffes.
In this 165 Km² enclosure that borders the Ewaso Nyiro River, we chance to see the Beisa Oryx only found here, Grevey Zebra, elephants, Somali Ostrich, Gerenuk, and Reticulated Giraffe.
If we are very lucky, we will get to see Kamunyak, the Miracle Lioness that adopted a little baby Oryx. This reserve is home to over 450 species of birds too. We spend the night at Saruni Samburu Lodge.
DAY 7: Drive to Lake Nakuru National Park
The drive to Lake Nakuru National park is 8 hours, and so there is not much we can do with the rest of the day. After settling down, we have the option to tour Nakuru town, do a bit of shopping, and then check out the nightlife.
Your driver/guide will take you to one of the best nightclubs in Nakuru. Have fun, and for a moment, get to experience what it’s like to party in Kenya.
- Sarova game lodge
DAY 8 of the 18 Days Best Kenya Safari: Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru, one of Rift Valley soda lakes, is home to thousands of pink flamingos that litter the shores of the lake beautifully.
The lake and the surrounding Lake Nakuru National park host a rhino sanctuary and over 450 bird species. It is home to thousands to millions of flamingos depending on the season.
It is home to 4 of the big five, 56 species of mammals, pythons, and a lot more. The surrounding park is a rhino sanctuary that is home to a large population of Eastern black and Southern white endangered rhinos.
We will arrange morning and afternoon game drives and then a visit to the famous Makalia Falls.
Lake Nakuru has been identified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (2011), International Birding Area (2009), and as a RAMSAR Site (1990). We spend the night at Sarova Hill Game Lodge.
DAY 9: Nakuru to Maasai Mara National Reserve
The trip to Maasai Mara from Nakuru takes 8 hours. We leave in the morning to get there late in the afternoon, but we will stop in Narok town for lunch and a chance to meet the Masai community that lives near the reserve.
DAY 10 of the 18 Days Best Kenya Safari: Game drives and bush dinner in Maasai Mara
We start the day at the crack of dawn but carry a picnic bag since we won’t be back until after midday. This half-day game drive will let us see the Mara as it wakes up and animals – mostly elephants move from one part of the park to their ‘sleeping quarters” to the feeding area.
Masai Mara is an empress that refuses to be ordinary, taking advantage of her beauty and charm to seduce suitors from all over the world. This is perhaps, one of the many reasons why she is Africa’s most popular national park (World Travel Awards, 2020).
Game drives through her is a peek into paradise.
She gets to bedazzle you with her multitudinous wildlife that ranges from the:
- Big 5
- Bat-eared foxes
- Black-backed and side-striped jackals
- Thompson’s gazelles
- Grant’s gazelle
- Oribi to the reed-buck and zebras.
- And a population of over 400 bird species.
After heading back, we settle in for lunch and then a restful afternoon followed by a bush dinner and a bonfire later at the Sentinel Mara Camp.
DAY 11 of the 18 Days Best Kenya Safari: Hot Air Balloon Safari and Evening Game Drives in Maasai Mara
The cost of a hot-air balloon ride is not included in the itinerary – $500 per person – and so this part of the trip is optional.
The view from up is majestic and especially during the Wildebeest Migration, and it should be something you should look forward to doing at least once in a lifetime.
The ride starts at 5:45 am to 6:45 am when Mara is waking up. For those not participating in hot-air ballooning, a regular morning game drive followed by a guided nature walk is in the itinerary.
DAY 12: Witness the Great Migration and Visit a Maasai Village
The Masai community is known for bravery, upholding its culture, and some challenging jumps that they will gladly teach you. The women make legendary beadwork that they sell for sustenance and you may want to participate in that.
The package price includes the cost of entering the Masai village. For a moment, you will get to experience what it’s like to be a Masai.
If you book this trip for Mid-July to Mid-August – we will start the day with a morning drive to the Mara River to witness the great migration.
DAY 13 of the 18 Days Best Kenya Safari: Masai Mara to Mombasa
Now for a total transition from the jungle to the sandy coastal beaches. Diani is our next destination and to get there, we’ll take a 45-minute flight from Nairobi.
We stop at the North part of Mombasa to tour Fort Jesus for about two hours.
We also take a short trip through the island just to soak in the history of the old city before retreating to Nyali International Hotel for the night. We sample the nightlife in Mombasa.
Remember, you have 4 bottles of Tusker in this itinerary.
DAY 14: Mombasa Marine National Park
The Mombasa Marine National Park has an abundance of marine life and spectacular coral reef that make it popular with scuba divers and snorkelers.
Conservancy efforts are rife here to protect the coral reef that allows sea urchin, sea cucumber, crab, jellyfish, starfish, and octopus to thrive in numbers. The activity will occupy the better part of the morning.
In the afternoon, we explore the neighboring parts of the park for local foods and cultural orientation. Dinner is at the hotel.
DAY 15 of the 18 Days Best Kenya Safari: Mombasa to Diani
We cross the Indian Ocean on a ferry that will take us to the south in Diani. The Diani Skydiving Club is popular among visitors of Diani as it offers a thrilling way to view the city and the ocean.
The cost – $350 – is not part of this itinerary, and so this is an optional activity.
Just a tip of what happens from 12,000 feet – you will be dropping at approximately 200km/h, and so those 55 seconds could be the most adrenaline-charged for this entire trip.
The parachute is deployed at 5000 feet, allowing you a breather and 5 whole minutes to enjoy a spectacular view before coming down to earth – quite literally. Our home for this leg of the tour is Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa.
DAY 16: Kisite Mpunguti National Park
This park covers 39 km² and is surrounded by four small islands.
There is a host of activities here including swimming with dolphins, bottlenose, and humpback, watching sea turtles, as well as scuba diving and snorkeling. Our home for this leg of the tour is Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa.
DAY 17 of the 18 Days Best Kenya Safari: Lounging and Pampering
It has been over two weeks of travel and activity, and we’re sure you wouldn’t mind bumming on the beach and being pampered in the hotel’s spa cost excluded.
On day 17, we rest, take beach walks, and enjoy our surroundings and get ready for the trip back to Nairobi.
DAY 18: Back to Nairobi, JKIA
The trip ends here. It’s been a blast and as we drive you to the airport, we hope to see you again soon for more excursions! Kwaheri!
Ends of the 18 Days Best Kenya Safari
The Price of the 18 Days Best Kenya Safari Holiday Includes:
- Airport pickup and drop at the end of your Kenya safari holiday.
- A private tour guide/driver. driver with vast knowledge of Kenya and its culture.
- Round trip transport from Nairobi to all the parks in our luxurious safari vehicles, customized for optimal game viewing and photo-taking.
- Flight to and from Mombasa.
- Finest accommodations in all the Kenya safari lodges and hotels in the itinerary.
- All sightseeing activities, park entrance fees, except the optional hot air balloon safari and sky-diving in Diani.
- Refreshments while out for safari adventure.
- All meals throughout the safari holiday.
- All applicable game park and reserve entrance fees.
- 1 liter of mineral water per person per day.
- Four bottles of Tusker, Kenya’s flagship beer, during nightlife.
The Price Does Not Included:
Traveling insurance, expenses such as excess baggage fee, laundry charges, airtime, and luxury drinks such as champagne, or other meals not indicated in our itinerary.
- The optional hot air balloon safari ($400 USD per person).
- Optional tips for porters and game guides.
- All other alcoholic drinks except Tusker, Kenya’s flagship beer.
- Pre-travel expenses – Passports and visas.