The Big Five Safari is a short, value-for-money itinerary ideal for first timers or those with time constraints, as well as for combining with other experiences in Africa. You’ll visit spectacular Amboseli National Park and the unforgettable wilderness of Tsavo West, and then have the option to extend your time in Africa with further wildlife viewing – perhaps in Tanzania or Rwanda – or a relaxing beach escape.
- Amboseli: 2 nights • Tsavo West: 2 nights
Safari Itinerary – 6 nights
Day 1: Flight to Nairobi.
Day 2: Nairobi to Amboseli
On arrival in Nairobi, you will depart south-west straight for Amboseli National Park at the foot of snowcapped Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli’s accessibility from Nairobi is one of the primary reasons for its popularity. Located in the Rift Valley province of southern Kenya, close to the Tanzanian border, it enjoys some of the most dramatic views of Mount Kilimanjaro – more so even than in Tanzania. Sunrise and sunset are spectacular in many national parks, but here, over Mount Kilimanjaro, are some of the best. The park has a large concentration of wildlife, particularly in the dry season. There are over 1000 elephants here, including some of the largest in Africa. As well as the huge herds, catch sight of buffalo and lions in the open savannah, rolling hills and swamplands. Other wildlife inhabiting the grasslands includes cheetah, rhino, waterbuck, zebra and warthog amongst others. Though largely dry and dusty, Amboseli is also home to swamplands, fed by underwater springs from the meltwaters of Mount Kilimanjaro. These lush green swamplands attract wallowing elephants and hippo, as well as buffalo and birdlife. More than 400 species of bird can be found, including the rare Taita falcon and the southern banded harrier eagle. You’ll arrive at Ol Tukai Lodge in time for lunch. Ol Tukai has one of the best spots inside Amboseli, backed by Mount Kilimanjaro. Monkeys and baboons roam the grounds and the rooms are chalet-style with wonderful views of the wetlands or Kilimanjaro. After refuelling and refreshing, enjoy an afternoon game drive in Amboseli, spotting some of its 1000 elephants and perhaps catching sight of buffalo, lions and hippo in the open savannah and swamplands. Return to the lodge for a welcome dinner to get to know your guide and fellow guests. Stay: Ol Tukai Lodge.
Day 3: Amboseli
Today you’ll head out on early morning, mid-morning and afternoon game drives in Amboseli’s often arid plains. You will hopefully see buffalo and some of the big cats, with plenty of time to also enjoy the facilities at the lodge. Stay: Ol Tukai Lodge.
Day 4: Amboseli to Tsavo West
Have breakfast at the lodge, then set off for the drive south-east to Tsavo West National Park. The landscape of Tsavo West is spectacularly varied, with semi-arid plains, open grasslands, dense woodlands, rocky outcrops and lava flows. Tsavo’s soil is rich and red in colour and this creates the illusion of magnificent red elephants – which are actually covered in dust from the soil. The park is also home to wildlife including rhino, buffalo, leopard, lion, waterbuck, lesser kudu, giraffe and gerenuk. Pass through the impressive Shetani Lava Flow with a brief photo stop, then continue to the Kilaguni Serena Lodge for lunch. With sweeping views of the Chyulu Hills, Kilaguni was one of the first safari lodges to be built in a national park. Dating back to 1962, it features a waterhole that offers some of the best lodge-based game viewing in Kenya. Rooms here have volcanic stone walls and are decorated in traditional tones with a gold and green savannah colour palette. Each room also has a private terrace with far-reaching views, either over the waterhole or towards the Chyulu Hills. Take an afternoon game drive in this rugged wilderness and return for dinner. Stay: Kilaguni Serena Lodge.
Day 5: Tsavo West
Enjoy three game drives in historic Tsavo West spotting its red elephants! One of today’s drives will also include a visit to Mzima Springs – one of the most popular sights here, where a series of pools are fed by underground streams. Hippo and crocodile inhabit the pools, and an underground viewing chamber allows for up-close viewing of colourful fish – and maybe a hippo, if you’re extremely lucky. Stay: Kilaguni Serena Lodge
Day 6: Tsavo West to Nairobi
Depart Tsavo after breakfast and return to Nairobi, where you’ll have use of a day room until you transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK, arriving the following day. Alternatively, we highly recommend that you extend your time in Africa by flying to the exotic island of Zanzibar – the ideal relaxing beach stay to add on to your safari.
Zanzibar 3 nights
The ‘spice island’ of Zanzibar, with its pristine beaches and unspoilt resorts, is a deservedly popular destination to twin with an Africa safari. The historical part of Zanzibar’s capital (Zanzibar Town) is Stone Town – UNESCO World Heritage listed and the cultural heart of the island. This coastal city is a real mix of cultural influences and a delight to discover, with its labyrinthine alleyways, Sultan’s palaces, weathered historic buildings, intricate architectural details and vibrant markets. Stone Town is where you’ll find Zanzibar’s main cultural sightseeing, but it’s worth taking a tour of the traditional farms, which grow cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg, for an insight into the spices that have such an influence on the local cuisine. Stone Town makes for a wonderful day or two of exploration, but the ‘stay longer’ reason here is Zanzibar’s palm-fringed beaches, lapped by warm Indian Ocean waters. The perfect tonic following a safari, Zanzibar’s beaches offer something special and are regularly voted amongst the world’s best. Spend your days simply soaking up the sun, enjoying pampering spa treatments, indulging in wining and dining, trying your hand at watersports and snorkelling amongst the colourful corals.