For a sensational start to your East African adventure, slip smoothly into the safari life with two nights at Kenya’s most trailblazing conservation: Ol Pejeta. An IUCN Green List sanctuary for rhinos and chimpanzees, with authentic wilderness big game experiences, the site offers some of the highest predator densities in Kenya.
We’ll stay at Sweetwaters Serena Tented Camp, with rooms overlooking the main waterhole where we can watch elephants, rhino, antelopes, zebras, and big cats come to drink day and night. To be sure we start our safari with a profusion of animals, we’ll embark on 3 game drives and visit the nearby chimp sanctuary to see how these rescued primates are rehabilitated. Don’t miss this remarkable extension!
Your East African safari extension begins as you board your overnight flight to Nairobi, Kenya.
Arrive in Nairobi, Kenya
Arrive in Nairobi to a warm welcome from our Vantage representative, who will transfer you to your deluxe hotel just a few minutes’ drive from the city center.
Take the rest of the day to relax and unwind; the hotel has air-conditioned rooms, tropical gardens, a heated swimming pool, patisserie, gelateria, coffee shop, and restaurants, as well as a spa and health club. This combination of comforts should serve to refresh you before we set off on our grand safari tomorrow.
Cross the equator and head out on a game drive through Ol Pejeta
After breakfast at our Nairobi hotel, we drive through rural countryside to Nanyuki, in the foothills of Mount Kenya. We’ll stop and mark our crossing of the equator with a photo and watch the locals demonstrate the Coriolis effect — that is, the way water swirls differently down a plug depending which side of the equator you stand. Can you believe what you see with your own eyes, or is it a trick?
From the equator, it’s just a short drive until we arrive at Sweetwaters Serena Tented Camp, inside Ol Pejeta Conservancy. But the last 10 minutes often take a bit longer, because we can’t help stopping to look at animals en route to camp. This conservancy is an exemplary role model for conservation, a haven for black rhinos, and a sanctuary for chimpanzees rescued from the black market, besides the highest wildlife and predator density in any Kenyan reserve.
You will see a lot of wildlife, even from your private veranda, which looks toward the large waterhole right in front of the camp. We’ll have lunch in the Rhino Room, with excellent waterhole views.
This afternoon, we’ll head into the reserve on a guided game drive and stop at the Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Each chimp has a traumatic past, but now lives as part of the troupe in a 300-acre area. We get exclusive access to behind the scenes and learn more about these adorable primates, which aren’t indigenous to Kenya — this is the only place in the country where you can see them.
Morning and afternoon game drives and water hole watching
The beauty of Sweetwaters is that your private veranda looks right over one of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s central water holes, so you’re practically guaranteed sightings at almost any time of the day or night.
Today, we’ll go on morning and afternoon game drives to seek out animals farther afield. Ol Pejeta is a large private reserve, one of just four in Kenya. During our game drives, we’re likely to see some of the Big Five, including the endangered black rhino (the conservancy is the largest sanctuary for black rhinos, but there are white rhinos here too, and your guide will explain how to tell the difference).
Transfer to Nairobi to join the base program
After breakfast, we’ll drive to Nairobi, where you’ll join your group for the base program. The afternoon and evening are at leisure.