A solar eclipse is always a rare and unique event, but imagine seeing one from Northern Kenya. This trip offers travelers the chance to explore Kenya's remote Northern Frontier and take in a solar eclipse from Sibiloi National Park on November 3rd, 2013. This ultimate barefoot luxury adventure, also includes 3 nights at Alex Walker's Serian Ngare Camp in the Masai Mara and 2 nights in the Lewa Conservancy at Lewa House before heading by helicopter to Desert Rose Lodge in the north to take in eclipse, explore the area by camel and interact with local tribes including the Samburu, Turkana and El Molo. Join us for this one in a lifetime experience!
Day 1: Giraffe Manor, Nairobi (Oct. 26-Oct. 27)
Upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport an Extraordinary Journeys representative will meet you and transfer you to Giraffe Manor.
In Nairobi, you will find a city that is lively, cosmopolitan and full of contrasts. It's a place of smart office workers, mansions and expensive suburban shopping centers as well as slums crowded with people struggling on as best they can. Displaying enormous vitality and buzz, Nairobi is one of Africa's major cities and is East Africa's hub for commerce, aid and increasingly, technology. It hard to imagine that this city of almost 5 million people celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1999 and that where it now stands, only Maasai manyattas stood barely a century ago!
Built in 1932 by Sir David Duncan, Giraffe Manor is situated on 120 acres of land just a few miles from the center of Nairobi in the suburb of Karen. In 1974 Jock Leslie-Melville, grandson of a Scottish earl, and his wife Betty, bought the Manor. They also founded the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) and proceeded to move five highly endangered Rothschild giraffe babies to their property where they were successfully reared and have since produced their own offspring. Betty chronicled these events in her book, Raising Daisy Rothschild.
Exclusive, spacious and elegant, it is the only place in the world that you can feed giraffe from your second floor bedroom window, over the lunch table, or at the front door. This is meant to be more like a home than a hotel. You are encouraged to make yourself completely at home – settle down and read a book, admire the view, help yourself to a drink. Staying at Giraffe Manor also contributes towards saving endangered species and educating local school children about conservation, as a portion of your fee is donated to these causes.
Overnight at GIRAFFE MANOR.
Days 2 / 3 / 4: Ngare Serian Camp, Masai Mara (Oct. 27-Oct. 30)
This afternoon you will be transferred to Wilson Airport for your flight to the Masai Mara and Serian Ngare.
The Masai Mara is Kenya’s most famous nature reserve, and one of the settings for the film Out of Africa. It is classic savannah – grasslands, where animals are plentiful and the vistas spectacular. In this dreamlike land, animals live in freedom, and the Maasai tend their cattle. The area, also known as the “Jewel of Africa,” has one of the largest and the most spectacular animal migrations in the world. The reserve is known for its large wildlife, including lion, cheetah, elephant, leopard, black rhino and hippo.
Serian Ngare is the private camp of Alex Walker. A fourth generation Kenyan and child of a professional hunter, he spent his childhood in forest and bush learning from local trackers. A highly respected guide and maker of wildlife documentary films, Alex has made Serian his home, and you will feel that you are his private guests in a gracious, unusual and magical place. To reach the camp, you will cross a suspension bridge. On the other side you will find décor that is “comfy settler” -- with beautiful art work. Tents are huge and white and well decorated with outdoor bathing area under the same roof with flush toilets and hot water for shower or tub.
While here you can indulge in a hot air balloon ride. Suspended in a basket beneath the balloon, you float over the plains and above the forest alongside the Mara river, checking out hippos, crocodiles and elephants from high above, to end with a champagne breakfast in the open grassland within the reserve. Other exciting optional activities include nature walks in a private reserve that is accessible only on foot, honey gathering with the Maasai, fishing. Serian is base for a behavioral animal study “Living with Lions – Mara Predator Project” and if you like, you will be taught how to identify lions and asked to submit their photos to contribute to the project.
Overnights at Ngare Serian Mara Camp.
Days 5 / 6: Lewa House, Laikipia (Oct. 30- Nov. 1)
This morning you will leave the Masai Mara and fly to the Lewa Conservancy where you will spend two nights at Lewa House.
The Laikipia Plateau is a vast expanse of wild country covering over 3000 square miles between Mt Kenya and the Rift Valley. The Laikipia Wildlife Forum has brought together privately owned ranches and communal grazing areas, creating an immense wildlife area. The ranches are actively involved in eco-tourism and conservation projects alongside local communities. Wildlife moves freely throughout the area and with few other tourists and the freedom to leave your vehicle, Laikipia offers a unique experience.
Lewa House is managed by Sophia (Craig) Macfarlane and her husband Callum. They live there year round with their two children and as soon as you arrive will feel you are a part of the multi-generational Craig family that founded the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Lewa House itself is set on top of a hill with an engaging panoramic view of the rolling landscape of the Conservancy, and overlooks the luggas (valleys) and hills, with the horizon rising to the eye-catching views of the Mathews range and the sacred mountain of the Samburu, Ol Lolokwe.
The property has a main building with a lounge and dining area, opening up to the charmingly furnished stretch veranda with its own special vista across the plains of Northern Kenya. A short walk away there are three large cottages each with a double and a twin room, making the property suitable for up to twelve people. All the cottages have ensuite bathrooms, apart from the family cottage, which has a shared bathroom. Each of the cottages has a private veranda where guests can sit in the cool of the evening to enjoy the starlit African skies. A large swimming pool overlooking the waterhole is also yours to enjoy at Lewa House.
There is so much to do here! In addition to game drives, you can take advantage of opportunities to view wildlife on bush walks with Maasai guides, visit the cultural Boma, the furniture workshop or one of several community projects put in place by the conservancy. While at Lewa House you will enjoy a bi-plane flight over the reserve with one of the Lewa’s founders and a few hours seeing the reserve on horseback.
Overnights at LEWA HOUSE.
Days 7 / 8 / 9 / 10: Desert Rose Lodge, Kenya (Nov. 1-Nov. 5)
Today your solar eclipse adventure begins! You will leave Lewa and drive an hour to the Nanyuki Airport for your charter helicopter flight over the stunning landscape of Northern Kenya to Desert Rose Lodge. You will spend 4 nights at Desert Rose including one night in a mobile camp in Sibiloi National Park to get the best possible views of the eclipse.
Desert Rose is situated in Kenya’s remote and largely untraveled Northern Frontier, 80kms South of Lake Turkana, 5,500ft up on the side of the sacred Mt. Nyiro. Desert Rose Lodge is truly a rose in the middle of the desert. A small & exclusive family hosted lodge nestled into the side of Mount Nyiru, offering views over the Northern Frontier and its breathtaking mix of color and stunning landscape. The handmade equipment, stone-carved baths, wooden washbasins, open bathrooms are just a few elements that make this property truly special. The swimming pool, dining room, lounge and relaxing-decks all have views over the valley plains below.
While at Desert Rose you will enjoy a camel back safaris and the chance to visit and interact with local tribes including the Samburu, El Molo and Turkana. On the third day you will drive to Sibiloi National Park for the best possible views of the eclipse. The park was established to protect unique archaeological sites which are linked to the origins of humans. Fossil finds in the area include crocodiles, giant tortoises, elephants and a petrified forest.
The eclipse will begin in the afternoon. The diamond ring flares, the Sun vanishes behind the lunar disk, and we experience the darkness. Through binoculars, you can see the black disk of the Moon encircled by aruby-red ring of light and prominences extending into the pearly white solar corona. You will spend the night in a mobile camp before returning for one more night at Desert Rose.
Overnights at Desert Rose.
Day 11: Depart Nairobi (Nov. 5)
Today you will leave Northern Kenya on a private charter flight back to Nairobi. Enjoy a 1 hour massage and a shower at the Ole Sereni before being dropped off at the airport in time for your international flight home.
Price: The price, per person sharing, for this adventure is: $15,600 per person sharing (this price excludes international airfare).
- Flights within Kenya, as indicated
- Superior accommodations throughout as indicated or similar.
- All meals, drinks and laundry while on safari as indicated.
- All wildlife viewing by 4 X 4 open roof vehicle shared with other guests, driven by a highly qualified naturalist guide.
- Complimentary water in vehicles.
- All applicable hotel and lodge taxes.
- All game park entry fees.
- Transfers as specified in the itinerary.
- Sightseeing and excursions only as specified in the itinerary.
- Game viewing activities as specified in the itinerary.
- Hot air balloon ride while at Serian Ngare
- Bi-plane flight while at Lewa House
- Horseback excursion at Lewa House
- International flights.
- US and foreign airport taxes.
- Passport and visa fees and service charges for obtaining visas.
- Excess baggage charges levied by airlines.
- Gratuities to driver/guides and other conveyance attendants.
- Items of a personal nature, unless otherwise noted
- Personal and baggage insurance
- Meals, drinks and laundry not specified in the itinerary.
- Premium brand drinks, champagne, cognacs, cellar wines, cigars and cigarettes.
- Sightseeing and excursions not specified in the itinerary
- Flights and transfers not specified in the itinerary.
- National parks and concession fees not specified in the itinerary.