Iconic Kenya

Highlights

Kenya may be known for its sprawling plains and impressive wildlife, but its burgeoning arts scene and cultural aspects are not to be overlooked. Spend 10 nights exploring iconic Kenya, from the vibrant attractions in Nairobi to the rugged and culturally-rich Laikipia region, to the sprawling plains of the Masai Mara ecosystem, home to some of Kenya’s best wildlife-viewing.

Begin in Nairobi, the thriving capital city and emerging mecca for art collectors, for two nights at 148 Nairobi. This 8-room art filled hotel used to be the private the private home and studio of artist/designer Anna Trzeblinski. When not soaking in the ambience, you may wish to visit the Giraffe Sanctuary, which borders the property, or meet the elephants at the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Spend a full day on a guided visit to exciting galleries such as Banana Hill, One Off and Red Hill.

Next, journey north to the Laikipia Plateau. This huge wilderness area is made up of private ranches, game sanctuaries, and community lands. Rugged hills, lava plateaus and rocky escarpments dominate the landscape. While it’s not as game heavy as the Masai Mara, Laikipia has fewer visitors, gorgeous views across the high altitude grasslands into the foothills of Mt. Kenya, and an incredible array of activities. Spend three nights at Segera Retreat, designed with sustainability at the fore. You’ll have your pick of activities, from joining foot patrols through the bush, game drives in search of endangered animals like patas monkeys, Grevy’s zebra and wild dog, to planting trees in the Wangary Maathai Memorial Forest, and cultural visits with the local Samburu to learn about centuries-old traditions and daily life.

A real highlight of Segera, though, is the arts focus. As a satellite of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (ZMOCAA) in Cape Town, Segera displays a wide range of contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora. Its regular exhibitions of locally and internationally acclaimed artists highlight intercultural relationships in order to safeguard cultural heritage and diversity. The on-site sculpture garden lets you explore art-in-context with bronze, stone, and steel works, land and earth art, outdoor projections, site-specific installations, and more. Their artist-in-residence program, in cooperation with ZMOCAA, hosts leading contemporary artists that guests can meet personally, perhaps dining together, visiting their studio, or attending artist talks and other social activities. Guests can also enjoy Segera’s interactive C4C, which merges natural history, art, and a “dreamer’s exhibition” to explore the possibilities of holistic sustainability.

Switch things up with two nights at family-run Ol Malo, one of our favorite places to stay for its relaxed warmth and fully-engaging and passionate approach to safari. Appreciate not just the area’s wildlife, but its cultural heritage with one of the most authentic village visits we can recommend. Experience and evening of traditional song and dance between the warriors and women, all decked out in their fine jewelry and beads, showing off for each other like Samburu have for decades. Or go hiking through the striking wilderness with your Maasai guide, ride horse or camelback across the terrain in search of game, fly-camp riverside or overnight in a tree house under a blanket of stars. At Ol Malo, experience the luxury of meaningful connections, of delighting in unexpected adventure, and experiencing Kenya through the passion and love of the Francombe family.

Complete your journey in the world-renowned Masai Mara. Here, on the Olare Motorogi Conservancy, experience a different kind of art: the painstakingly crafted Mara Plains Camp designed and owned by the Jouberts—award-winning filmmakers, conservationists, and National Geographic Explorers-In-Residence. Their artistic sensibilities have informed even the smallest details of Mara Plains, and it shows. Large wooden doors from the coast reflect ancient Swahili heritage, deep red and purple accents speak to the region’s great Maasai chiefs and warriors, and the camp’s entire layout has been designed to maximize the beauty of surrounding acacia-dotted plains and seemingly endless horizon. If you want premiere luxury, you’re in the right place. Spend the next three days roaming thousands of acres of exclusive, low-vehicle density wilderness in search of big game such as lion, wildebeest, giraffe, leopard, and more.

Summary

  • 2 Nights – 148 Nairobi – Nairobi

  • 3 Nights – Segera Retreat – Laikipia

  • 2 Nights – Ol Malo Lodge – Laikipia

  • 3 Nights – Mara Plains Camp – Mara North Conservancy

Pricing

Price starts at $11,900 per person sharing.

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John Moody