Day 1 – 3: The Emakoko, Nairobi National Park
Day 3 – 7: Lengishu House, Borana
Day 7 – 11: Cottar’s Private Bush Villa, Maasai Mara
Welcome to Nairobi National Park, an island of incredible flora and fauna surrounded by a sea of humanity. Nowhere in the world is there a National Park of this magnitude, home to some of the most endangered species on the planet, next to a capital city. Where on earth can you land on an international flight and be amongst four of the big five in less than half an hour of clearing customs.
Nairobi is the gateway to the safari world, and what better place to arrive than in this incredible city and enjoy a wilderness that has been set aside.This is Kenya’s first national park, and one of the first protected areas set aside for wildlife in the world.
The park is teaming with game and incredible birds, having boasted one of the highest world bird counts of a capital city in one day. There are over 400 species of birds in the park along with 80 species of mammal, over 40 different reptiles and amphibians and well over 500 tree and plant species. It is an extraordinary space!
The park is not only famous for its age, but also, and most importantly the hugely successful Black Rhino population with well over 80 Black Rhino and more than 10 White Rhino. The park is just under 120 Square Kilometres which makes it one of the largest Black Rhino populations in the world per square kilometre. The park Rhinos have been relocated to different areas in the country and the Black Rhino program is one of the most successful in Africa.
From other members of the Big 5, the park has over 30 adult resident Lions that roam the plains, and 10 resident Leopard which are being seen more frequently. Recently a female Cheetah with her three cubs have moved into the park and are seen on regular occasions in The Emakoko area.
Any visitors to Kenya and in fact East Africa MUST visit Nairobi National Park to not only support the incredible conservation work in the park, but also to enjoy the amazing views!
The Emakoko allows people to start and finish their safari in the wildlife environment they have traveled so far to enjoy. Within 15 minutes of clearing customs you can be viewing game in Nairobi National Park. The only “transfer” delays likely to be encountered en route to or from The Emakoko are the natural pauses to watch a pride of lions or waiting for a rhino or journey of giraffe to cross the road. The Emakoko is a boutique lodge uniquely positioned on the edge of the Nairobi National Park. It is located a short 45 minute drive from either of Nairobi’s airports. The drive through the park itself, with its beautiful scenery and abundance of plains game is a superb way to start any East African safari. What better way to start a holiday by supporting the conservation of this unique area and in particular, by supporting the endangered black rhino which are prolific in this park.
With only ten rooms The Emakoko offers an exclusive and personal environment. Five rooms are situated at the main level and five have been built into the cliff face higher up. The climb to the upper rooms is worth it for the spectacular views, but if you do not fancy the climb you can always jump onto the funicular lift.
The room designs and interiors are designed for comfort, from huge, luxurious beds to the black-out curtains. Each room has its own private veranda and a soaking tub.
The Emakoko has recently opened a Private House. The house has two ensuite bedrooms with a shared living / dining area. It also has its own pool and is situated on the upper level with great views over Nairobi National Park.
The Nairobi National Park, despite its proximity to the capital city of Kenya, boasts a spectacular assortment of birds and wildlife, with over 400 species of bird recorded in one day. With an excellent possibility of spotting four of the Big Five, many Nairobi residents find the lodge a perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life. By staying at The Emakoko you are directly contributing to the protection and conservation of Nairobi National Park and its wildlife.
Take a private game drive into one of the most unique game parks in the world, Nairobi National Park or visit the communities that border it. Otherwise an excursion into Nairobi to visit the David Sheldrick wildlife trust, the giraffe centre, or the local shops is also possible.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Founded in 1977 by Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE, in memory of her late husband, famous naturalist and founding Warden of Tsavo East National Park, David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust claims a rich and deeply rooted family history in wildlife and conservation. The Nairobi Nursery is open between 11am-12pm to the public, to give people the opportunity to meet these amazing creatures. Entry fees are a donation to the Trust.
The Giraffe Centre is the creation of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (A.F.E.W. Kenya), a Kenyan non-profit organisation. The main purpose is to educate Kenyan school children and youth on their country’s wildlife and environment, as well as give local and international visitors an opportunity to come into close contact with the world’s tallest species, the giraffe. The centre is home to the endangered Rosthchilds Giraffe and visitors have the opportunity to get up close and personal with them!
Karen Blixen Museum
Karen Blixen Museum was once the centre piece of a farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills owned by Danish Author Karen and her Swedish Husband, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke. Located 10km from the city centre, the Museum belongs to a different time period in the history of Kenya. The farm house gained international fame with the release of the movie ‘Out of Africa’ an Oscar winning film based on Karen’s an autobiography by the same title.
There are a variety of different shopping areas all over Nairobi. The most popular area is in Karen where you can find Utumanduni, House of Treasures and Langata Link Shops.
Utumanduni is an emporium of handcrafted artefacts, fashion, accessories, homeware, beauty products, antiques and more, Utamaduni is a one-stop shop for exquisite products proudly made here in Kenya and across the African continent. Choosing to buy an item online or in-store, you are choosing to support small businesses, grassroots organisations and vulnerable communities.
Nairobi’s culinary scene has been on an upward trajectory in recent years, with new eateries, cafes, and bars popping up almost weekly. A metropolitan city with a diverse restaurant culture, Nairobi’s best dining experiences run from roadside food stalls to five-star dining establishments. Don’t miss local specialities such as nyama choma (grilled meat, usually goat) and ugali, not to mention African-inspired gourmet burgers! Nairobi’s beautiful year-round weather means this is a prime destination for al fresco dining on rooftops, balconies, and gardens.
The most popular restaurants include The Talisman, Embark, Tamarind Nairobi, The Haandi (also with a London branch) and for the meat eaters out there – the world famous Carnivore is a must dine!
Borana Conservancy sits at the foot of Mount Kenya just north of the equator on the Laikipia plateau, nestled between an arid landscape to the north and ancient indigenous forests to the south. This 32,000 acre conservation area is home to both black and white rhino and, along with Lewa Conservancy, create the largest contiguous rhino habitat in East Africa, with over 200 rhinos. It is possible to see all the Big Five as well as a wide variety of endangered species, including African hunting dogs.
Because it is a conservancy, it is possible to get out on horseback, experience walking safaris, mountain biking and a whole host of other activities including night drives, sustainable farm visits, local village visits and scenic flights. Borana is also famous for being home to the “original” Pride Rock from The Lion King, and the producers took much inspiration for the Disney classic from their time at the conservancy.
Lengishu is an exclusive-use family home offering unparalleled luxury accommodation in Laikipia at the heart of Kenya’s 32,000 acre Borana Conservancy, the country’s most successful rhino sanctuary. Nestled into a ridge with stunning views across the Laikipia plains and deep into the Northern Frontier, Lengishu is a luxury home for up to 12 guests, offering sustainable tourism and safari adventures in one of Kenya’s leading wildlife destinations.
Both Lengishu and Borana Conservancy have sustainability at front of mind – Lengishu is built with locally sourced materials, expertly crafted by local artisans. All the conservation fees paid by Lengishu’s guests are invested into the sustainable conservation of land and wildlife notably the endangered black rhino and its habitat. This is something every guest of Lengishu can learn about – how Borana Conservancy supports the conservation of wildlife, empowers the local community and how every stay makes a difference.
Lengishu features six beautifully appointed bedrooms within four cottages, which are situated apart from the main house. All rooms face east over the valley below, offering spectacular sunrise views. There is also a beautiful infinity pool.
Borana Conservancy is home to the Big Five, along with an abundance of other species of African wildlife. Guests have the freedom to choose their own itinerary and are not bound by the constraints of other safari lodges. Activities are in abundance and are fully flexible, including private game drives, mountain biking and horse riding through the conservancy, as well as the rare opportunity to help with the conservation efforts by helping to track rhino on foot and accompanying rangers on their evening deployments.
Whilst guests are encouraged to explore the many great safari adventures in the conservancy, Lengishu has a wide range of facilities to enjoy when you simply wish to relax and unwind at home. With a gym, billiards table, infinity pool, studio and pétanque pitch, and our wonderful in-house masseuse, Lengishu is a peaceful refuge from everyday life.
The Mara conservancies are Maasai owned group ranches that have combined to conserve a total area nearly the size of the Maasai Mara National Reserve itself, covering 1450 km2 (560 mi2) across fifteen conservancies. The wildlife in the conservancies can be comparable to the main Maasai Mara game reserve, and in fact some areas have higher densities of predators than in the central reserve. Because there are fewer camps, the conservancies can offer a more exclusive experience than in the central reserve, with generally fewer game viewing vehicles around sightings.
There are opportunities in some conservancies to do night drives, walking safaris, as well as visits to some of the villages of the local Maasai who own the land.
The conservancy approach is widely seen as the way forward for wildlife conservation and eco-tourism in Kenya, because it not only secures vital space for wildlife but includes the local population as custodians of their national heritage. This has been vital not only for conservation of the whole greater Mara but also wildlife corridors and the prosperity of many hundreds of Maasai families. Nearly forty tourist camps contribute to employment amongst the communities and provide a presence, alongside Maasai anti poaching units, for the protection of the wildlife.
A contemporary, elegant private villa; the only luxury private villa in the Masai Mara, Kenya. Cottar’s Bush Villa won the World Travel Award for Africa’s Leading Luxury Private Villa 2016 and is one of only eleven Global Ecosphere Retreats in the world. Cottar’s Bush Villa is available only on an exclusive basis, and comes with a dedicated staff of 8. The villa is over 10,000 square feet in size, and features a large living room, dining room, a magnificent viewing deck, and 5 en-suite bedrooms (4 doubles and 1 twin), all with stunning views. The villa has internet access throughout, satellite TV and DVD, and is powered with electric and solar energy. A dedicated game drive vehicle(s) and guide(s) are provided throughout your stay.
The Cottar family provide genuinely stunning wildlife and wilderness experiences, engaging in the original spirit and essence of ‘safari’: an abundance of wildlife, a guarantee of privacy, and the highest standards of professional guiding, in a luxurious and authentic safari environment. The Cottars’ have developed unique, purpose-driven experiences that contribute to sustainability. They have spent the last year developing safari experiences that have a positive impact to the client, to the complex and unique biodiversity that surrounds them and to the local Maasai community as they move forward into the next 100 years of providing safari and conservation services.
Some of those experiences include engaging and learning about vulture rehabilitation, spending time with the only all-female conservation ranger unit in the Maasai Mara, learning about the unique medicinal plants of the area, foraging and tasting local wild food, touring the community-owned private conservancy and participating in a reforestation seed disbursal bushwalk experience.
The Cottar family have been providing safaris for more than 100 years and focus on providing an authentic and individualized safari experience and supporting an ongoing legacy of wilderness, wildlife, comfort and security and honouring a balance between conservation, prosperous commerce, community and culture.
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