Savanna and mountain forest 14 days Kenya safari
Savanna and mountain forest 14 days Kenya safari

Fantastic savanna and mountain forest
14 days Kenya safari

Savanna is the name of tropical and subtropical grassland in Africa. Trees stand not close to each other and don’t build a canopy. This in contrast to mountain and rain forests. This also means sunlight can penetrate to the ground and let grass and herbs shoot. Depending on the kind of soil in the savanna you will find different species of grass, herbs, bushes and trees. Most rain falls during the rainy seasons and fresh green shoots and many flowers blossom – a wonderful sight!

After rain savannas change from brown to green and are dotted with colourful flowers.

It is also in the savanna where animals are best visible and regions got famous for that. The richness of animal species and the animal density make your safari a highlight of your lifetime. Savannas are places where animals can be best observed.

The largest and tallest land mammals live in savanna. Elephants live mainly in savanna with trees. By occasionally uprooting trees they keep the savanna an open grassland. Giraffes are the landscape gardener by eating bushes and trees until they have very funny shapes. Zebras, antelopes, buffalos and rhinos feed on grass and herbs and shorten it so after rain young plants can shoot.

Not to forget is the immense biodiversity of small creature like termites in the savanna. They are often overlooked but very essential for a healthy ecosystem. Dung beetles dig dung underground and this is fertilizer for plants.

Experience with us the amazing amount of different wildlife in the savanna and thereafter see the difference in the mountain forest and the moorland at 3.200 m.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy spreads over 360 kmsavanna, forest and swamps. The former cattle ranch was transformed into a wildlife paradise. But still they breed the beautiful Boran cattle for meat. Look out for Elephants, giraffes, antelopes, lions, cheetahs and hopefully one of the elusive leopards. If you are lucky Mount Kenya will show as background. From Sweetwaters Camp you have a good view to Mount Kenya and the flat savanna at the equator.

The last 2 northern white rhinos live here and researchers try to fertilize their eggs with frozen sperm from the late northern white rhino bull Sudan. The fertilized eggs will be implanted into a younger cow. Let us hope they will succeed!

The subspecies of the southern white rhinos introduced from Southern Africa are breeding  successfully. Ol Pejeta is known for one of the highest number of black and white rhinos! In 2020 not a single rhino lost its life due to poaching in Kenya!

Orphaned chimpanzees from wildlife trade and game meat found a home at Ol Pejeta. Jane Goodall, the chimpanzee researcher initiated the construction of the sanctuary. There are no chimpanzees in the wild in Kenya. To see them in their natural habitat you need to travel to Uganda, Rwanda or Tanzania.

Meru National Park was founded in 1966 and covers an area of 870 km2. The altitude is around 600 m above sea level and therefore you can find the largest succulents – the Baobab trees. Meru is home to some great bull Elephants, white and black Rhinos, Reticulated Giraffes, Lesser and Greater Kudus, Gerenuk, Beisa Oryx, Grevy Zebra, Leopards, Lions, Striped Hyenas and many more. The grass can be tall in this vast and hilly savanna.

Rivers and swamps patch the vast savanna grassland. The largest of the rivers is Rojewero which flows into Tana River which closer to the coast changes the name to Sabaki River. It flows into the Indian Ocean North of Malindi. Adamson Falls are the border between Meru and Kora National Park where George Adamson introduced lions from captivity into the wild. The rivers are fringed with beautiful gallery forests consisting of tall River Acacias and other tree species. On clear days you can see Mount Kenya from a different angle.

Shaba means copper in Kiswahili and this is the name of one of the mountains in Shaba National Reserve. Perennial springs build swamps and also rivulets in Ewaso Nyiro river which is also the boundary over a long distance. In Shaba you can find Elephants, Reticulated Giraffes, Beisa Oryx, Grevy Zebra, Grant Gazelles, Gerenuk and others. Amazing sunsets can be seen from here. The setting sun is coloring the mountains and it looks like “Alpenglühen” in the Alps. Shaba is the largest of the 3 Reserves and a dry savanna and thorn-bush. Joy Adamson lived here and raised the female cheetah Pippa. Pippa’s grave is in Meru National Park.

Samburu National Reserve is a jewel for wildlife lovers! Flat dry savanna, hills and mountains of which the most conspicuous is Ololokwe. The boundary between Samburu and Buffalo Springs is the Ewaso Nyiro River.

With its beautiful gallery forest you can see the green band in the dry savanna from far. Some permanent springs from Buffalo Springs provide little water throughout the year. Ewaso Nyiro River can be a dry sandy river bed or a rapid flowing river.

Samburu can be a very good area for Leopards, Cheetahs and Lions. But also Reticulated Giraffes, Grevy Zebras, Gerenuks, Beisa Oryx, Greater Kudus, Somali Ostriches and others can be found.

The Aberdare Mountains with the highest peak at Lesatima (4.001 m) are a chain of extinct volcanoes along the rim of the Great Rift Valley. Accompanied by a ranger you can walk up to Lesatima (has to be prearranged). Starting from the mountain forest you drive up and reach the bamboo zone. Then follows the Rosewood and Podocarpus forest. At around 2.800 m the moorland opens with its gently rolling hills.

Some plants in the moorland are related to those in the Rocky Mountains and the Alps. Have an open eye for these really beautiful flowers and some attractive butterflies or even a Von Höhnel Chameleon.

In the Aberdare Mountains you will find different species than in the earlier visited savanna. Large herds of buffalos, Olive Baboons, Kikuyu Colobus monkeys, White-throated Guenons, Black-fronted Duikers, Bushbucks, Reedbucks and with lot of luck a Leopard or even a black Serval cat.

Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake in the Great Rift Valley. Here you find many hippos and a large number of bird species.

During this safari you will experience different kind of savanna. No savanna is exactly the same.

Itinerary Fantastic savanna and mountain forest

14 days Kenya safari

Day 1 – Arrive in Kenya
You will be greeted at Jomo Kenyatta international Airport and taken to a hotel.
Safaripark Hotel, Boulevard Hotel or low budget Theta Hotel

Day 2 – Nairobi – Ol Pejeta Conservancy
On the Thika Highway you are heading north while passing pineapple, coffee and other plantations. After around 3 hours drive you can spot Mount Kenya if not covered by clouds.
You will check at your accommodation for lunch and undertake a game drive in the afternoon to explore the savanna at the foot of Mount Kenya.
Serena Sweetwaters tented camp, Comfort Hotel or a nice guesthouse near Nanyuki

Day 3 – Ol Pejeta Conservancy
During your morning and afternoon game drive you will search for black and white Rhinos in the open savanna, watch Elephants, Lions, Cheetahs, Zebras, Antelopes and others. If you are very lucky you might spot one of the elusive Leopards.

A visit at the Chimpanzee orphanage to see how they live after being rescued is also planned.

Elephant bulls in Ol Pejeta

Serena Sweetwaters tented camp, Comfort Hotel or a nice guesthouse near Nanyuki

Day 4 – Ol Pejeta – Meru National Park
After passing the foot of Mount Kenya and the Nyambene Hills with the road descends to Meru National Park. Depending on the accommodation you choose you have a short game drive to the lodge (Elsa’s Kopje) or you have lunch at the camp near the gate (Ikweta Safari Camp).

Meru National Park also has a very nice public campsite or interesting private campsites.

The afternoon is spent on a game drive. Look out for Reticulated Giraffes, Elephants, Lions, Plain Zebras, Grevy Zebras, Grant Gazelles, Gerenuk and the lovely Lesser Kudus.

Ikweta Safari Camp or more luxurious Elsa’s Kopje

Day 5 + 6: Meru National Park
To reach Adamson Falls it is best to undertake a full day game drive with picnic lunch boxes. The drive is long and quite a stretch goes through Commiphora forest where not many animals can be seen.

The other day will be morning and afternoon game drive. You pass along Rojewero River where hippos grunt in the water, crocodile bask and the Fish Eagle calls. It is very scenic and there also some lovely Baobab trees. You also pass grassland and swamps where Buffalos enjoy the mud bath and Lions quench their thirst.

Ikweta Safari Camp or more luxurious Elsa’s Kopje

Day 7 – Meru – Shaba National Reserve
Again you cross over the Nyambene Hills where you can see many shambas = small plantations. Isiolo is an interesting town where different pastoralist tribes meet. From here it is less than an hour drive on a good tarmac road to the entrance of Shaba National Reserve. Enjoy lunch on a platform with view to the river.

In the afternoon your game drive will take you further into Shaba. The hills on all sides are really impressive. But you can also find Elephants, Grevy Zebras, Grant Gazelles, Gerenuks, Beisa Oryx and others. We hope that you can experience a wonderful sunset with the river, the hills and Doum Palms.

Sarova Shaba Lodge

Day 8 – Shaba – Samburu National Reserve
A game drive when the sun raises is always special! Return to Shaba Lodge for breakfast after having checked out your rooms.

About 40 minutes drive and you will have passed the village Archer’s Post and are at the entrance gate to Samburu National Reserve. On the way to any of the lodges you will encounter wildlife. Lunch at the lodge and game drive in the afternoon.

Samburu Lodge, Intrepids or more luxurious Larsens Camp or Elephant Bedroom Camp. All are situated directly at the bank of the Ewaso Nyiro River. Sopa Samburu Lodge is away from the river, but very nice.

Day 9 + 10 – Samburu National Reserve
Morning and afternoon game drives. Lunch and heat rest in the lodge.

The typical animals of this region you will look for are Reticulated Giraffes, Beisa Oryx, Gerenunk, Grevy Zebra and Somali Ostrich. But Samburu is also a good place to find Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs. Birds of prey like Martial Eagle, Falcons, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Tawny Eagle and others might be encountered.

Look at termite mounds, you might see a White-throated Rock Monitor Lizard or a snake or the cute Dwarf Mongoose. Samburu is also the land of Dik Diks and you will see many pairs in their small territories.

Baby elephants playing

Beisa Oryx going to drink

Samburu Lodge, Intrepids or more luxurious Larsens Camp or Elephant Bedroom Camp. All are situated directly at the bank of the Ewaso Nyiro River. Sopa Samburu Lodge is away from the river. 

Samburu has one of the most interesting campsites! But it is only suitable for those who can handle small and large wildlife at close range! There is also a permanent camp – Samburu River Camp

Day 11 – Samburu – Aberdare Berge
The road takes you again through Isiolo town and up to the foot of Mount Kenya. Soon the Aberdare Range will be visible. Lunch is at Aberdare Country Club on the terrace of the old colonial house within a beautiful compound with old trees. You can take a stroll to look for Bushbucks, Impalas, Baboons and birds.

In the afternoon your driver/guide will take you inside the Aberdare National Park. Giant Forest Hogs can be spotted grazing on clearings. The Ark is a night observation lodge and from various platforms you can observe Elephants, Buffalos, Spotted Hyenas, Bushbucks and Giant Forest Hogs in the spot light.

The Ark Lodge

Day 12 – Aberdare National Park – Lake Naivasha
If you are someone who likes waking up very early go to the wooden platform outside and watch the sun coming up. The game drive starts through the mountain forest where you might once more encounter Giant Forest Hogs. Also Elephants, Bushbucks, Waterbucks, Olive Baboons and others can be spotted.

After crossing a small bridge over a clear little river the road starts ascending. The tree species are changing the higher you get. Then
the bamboo zone follows and thereafter Rosewood and Podocarpus trees dominate.

At around 2.800 m the open moorland is ahead of you. Colourful flowers grow just beside the road – the red Gladiola, Alpine Poker, St. Worth’s and Erica bushes. Many plants are related to those in the Rocky
Mountains and the Alps. If you like you can walk down a path to see the Chania Fall hitting the ground. The road to the larger Karuru Falls is not always passable.

Picnic lunch will be enjoyed at a nice place. In the afternoon you descend into the Great Rift Valley and proceed to Lake Naivasha.

Crater Lake Lodge – idyllic at the crater lake inside a volcano
or Elsamere or Sopa Naivasha Resort

Day 13 – Lake Naivasha – Hell’s Gate National Park
Early morning after breakfast you drive to Elsamere at Lake Naivasha for a 1 hour boat ride. Many hippos and a large variety of water birds await you. A short distance drive and you enter Hell’s Gate National Park. Interesting basalt lava walls, remnants of volcano chimneys and quite some wildlife are the highlights.

Lunch will be at Elsamere. This is the former home of George and Joy Adamson with the lioness Elsa. The movie “Born free” narrates their story. In the small museum you find items they used and some of the beautiful paintings from Joy Adamson hang on the walls. Money from the fund has helped to establish Hell’s Gate and Meru National Park. A special lunch buffet awaits you and you can enjoy the wonderful garden with the lovely visit of Kikuyu Colobus and Warthogs.

In the afternoon you return to Crater Lake. Those who wish can walk up to the crater rim and enjoy a hopefully lovely sun set while having a drink. After dinner you go for a night game drive and see who is around by that time….

Crater Lake Lodge, Sopa Naivasha Resort, Elsamere

Day 14 – Naivasha – departure
A local guide will take you for a bush walk. You pass most likely along the lake and climb up to the crater rim on the opposite side of the lodge. You can encounter Kikuyu Colobus, Maasai Giraffes, Dikdik, Warthogs and others. You guide will also show you smaller creatures and the symbiosis between Acacia trees and ants.

For lunch you return to the lodge. Thereafter you start heading to Jomo Kenyatta international airport. Those who wish can have a day room at Four Points by Sheraton.

As in all our safari proposals we don’t indicate a price for

Fantastic savanna and mountain forest 14 days Kenya safari

Accommodation, season and number of participants determine the price. Please write to us for your personal itinerary.