Small Group Safari

Laikipia & Masai Mara Conservation Safari

Experience wildlife conservation efforts first-hand as you visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, take part in the annual Lewa-Borana Game Count by locating and monitoring local wildlife, learn about the methods used by the Mara Elephant Project, and contribute to local conservation and community projects.

Duration 13 days
Price From $12,212
When Mar 2019
Destination Kenya

Safari Overview

Travel to the Laikipia Plateau to assist a team of rangers with important, on-the-ground conservation research in the heart of the Kenyan wilderness. This safari gives you the unique opportunity to have a real positive impact as you travel, tracking and counting wildlife species as part of the annual Lewa-Borana Game Count. Learn how to monitor rhino and lion populations using telemetry receivers, and how to identify individual animals using ear notch and whisker spot diagrams. You will also visit local communities to witness conservation education in action, and learn how the Mara Elephant Project are working to protect the area's endangered elephants from the threat of poaching. Along the way, you will be accompanied by local guide Kip Ole Polos, who was born and raised here in Laikipia. This is a truly unique opportunity to experience wildlife conservation efforts first-hand in the African wilderness.

What makes this trip extraordinary?

  • In Nairobi, visit the Rothschild's giraffes of Giraffe Centre and the orphaned elephants cared for at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
  • Track, locate and count game species as part of the annual Lewa-Borana Game Count
  • Learn about the wildlife conservation projects taking place in Lewa Conservancy, Borana Conservancy and the Masai Mara.
  • Observe iconic African wildlife including lion, rhino, elephant, zebra and buffalo.
  • Walk through the ancestral homeland of your Il NGwesi guide, Kip Ole Polos.

Contribute to the conservation of endangered African wildlife, working alongside park rangers and local communities to have a tangible positive impact.

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Day by day

Day 1

Mar 2: Arrive Nairobi

Today you will fly into Nairobi, where you will be met at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by our local representative and transferred to your lodge, The Emakoko, located in Nairobi National Park. Even from the first, you will have the chance of spotting some amazing game, including rhino! After arrival, the rest of the day is yours to relax and settle into your accommodation.

Day 2

Mar 3: Nairobi

Today you'll have your first taste of conservation matters in Kenya, with visits to two projects found in Nairobi. First off is Giraffe Centre, where you'll learn about the problems related to the decline of wild giraffes across Africa. The sanctuary also cares for a number of endangered Rothschild's giraffe, of which fewer than 2,000 remain. Lunch will be taken in the exclusive neighbourhood of Karen, where the famous Danish author Karen Blixen lived during colonial times. After this you'll pay a visit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, home to orphaned elephants who have lost their families due to poaching and human-wildlife conflict. At any one time, as many as 30 young orphaned elephants are cared for by the dedicated keepers here.

Days 3-5

Mar 4-6: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

In the morning of March 4th, you will be driven to Wilson Airport to catch a charter flight directly to Lewa Downs Airstrip. Here you will be met by a Lewa Wilderness vehicle which will take you to the lodge, and it is here that you will meet your guide who will accompany you for the rest of your safari, Kip Ole Polos. During your stay at Lewa Wilderness, you will have the chance to visit the Elephant Underpass, a corridor that runs underneath a busy highway that was built to allow previously isolated elephant populations to reunite. You will be able to meet the local village chief to discuss how the local population are coexisting with the wildlife of Lewa Conservancy, which is home to the highest concentration of rhinos in East Africa. Visits to the Operations Room at the conservancy's HQ and a meeting with the staff's tracking dogs will also be arranged, while on March 5th you will have exclusive access to the Lewa Game Count, when staff conduct their annual survey of the conservancy's wildlife population. By joining the ranger team and helping them to track, locate and count game species, you'll be contributing to a critically important process that helps to measure the success of the conservation projects that are taking place within the conservancy. Make sure to attend the evening lecture by David Kimiti, Lewa Conservancy's Head of Development, to learn more about the conservation methods at work here.

Overnight: Lewa Wilderness Lodge B, L, D

Day 6

Mar 7: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy – Il Ngwesi Conservancy

Alongside a team of armed rangers and your guide, Kip, this day will see you walk across Lewa towards the site of Kip’s ancestral home, the Il Ngwesi Conservancy. This walk is a wonderfully immersive experience and will allow you to fully experience the landscape that surrounds you. The walk will take approximately four hours and is a fantastic way to see the wildlife that calls Lewa home. At Il Ngwesi you will have the chance to meet the community from which the conservancy takes its name, and whom your guide, Kip, belongs to. Il Ngwesi means "people of wildlife" in Laikipiak Maasai. During your stay you can visit ongoing projects funded by the conservancy fees you have paid as part of this safari, as well as meet local pastoralists and visit a local school. An evening lecture will be conducted by Kip and an Il Ngwesi community elder.

Days 7-9

Mar 8-10: Borana Conservancy

After a morning and afternoon visiting the community and conservation projects in the Il Ngwesi Conservancy, you will be transferred by road to the 32,000-acre Borana Conservancy, your home for the next three nights. Here you will assist the rangers with the Borana Game Count, which involves monitoring and tracking rhino and lion populations using telemetry receivers, and using ear notch and whisker spot diagrams to identify individuals. You will also attend a conservation lecture from Michael Dyer, the CEO of the Borana Conservancy, and pay visits to local schools, the Borana Healthcare clinic, and your lodge's permaculture garden.

Days 10-12

Mar 11-13: Masai Mara

In the morning, you will be taken to Borana Airstrip where you will meet your charter plane. This plane will take you to directly to the Masai Mara, where you will be picked up and taken to Saruni Mara. The sprawling plains of the Masai Mara are one of Africa's great natural wonders, and provide some of the best game viewing on the continent. During your time here you will visit the Mara Elephant Project (MEP), a conservation project that is working to protect elephants using modern monitoring methods like drones, helicopters and satellite collaring. A tour of the MEP's HQ will allow for an in-depth understanding of the vital work the project does in the Masai Mara. At the current rate, elephants will have been eradicated from the area by as soon as 2020, which makes the MEP's anti-poaching patrols, rapid-response units and monitoring operations all the more important.

Overnight: Saruni Camp B, L, D

Day 13

Masai Mara – Depart Nairobi

In the morning, you will say your goodbyes to Kip and the Masai Mara as you fly back to Nairobi, where you can catch an international flight home or extend your safari with three nights at Manda Bay on Kenya's coastline.

Trip Details

Dates and Prices

2019 Departure

Date  Price 
 March 2 - 16  £9,280 per person sharing

A 3-night extension to Manda Bay is available for an extra £1,070. During your visit here, you will get the chance to learn more about the issues facing Kenya’s marine life, including overfishing and mangrove destruction. Your stay at Manda Bay will include a visit to Lamu Marine Conservation Trust (LAMCOT) to learn more about what local communities are doing to help solve these problems. Speak to one of our Destination Specialists for more details.

Please note that solo travellers will be required to pay a single supplement of £1,230.

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