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The Eco-resorts Eco-tour of Kenya Safari

Masai making fire in Kenya.

Elephant Safari with Eco-resorts.Elephant Level

Number of days: 11days/10 nights

Regions: Amboseli, Laikipia, Masai Mara

Activities: Cultural Visits, Game Walks

Accommodation: Eselenkei, Il Ngwesi , Rekero, Lewa Downs

Departure date: Upon Request

Traveling "green" does not necessarily mean camping and eating granola for breakfast! An eco-safari can be luxurious too, allowing you to learn about East Africa's wildlife and culture while making little impact on the environment and a strong impact on the local communities, yet still being pampered to your heart's content!

To Eco-resorts, "eco" means Environmental and Community Orientated. The featured properties we use in Kenya's first real eco-safari are on the cutting edge of ecotourism. They are either directly owned by the community or have been established on community tribal lands in direct negotiations with the communities, generating an alternative income for the local villages. They also are involved in wildlife conservation, often bordering national parks or areas with high density of wildlife, allowing you the chance to see game up close and personal!

The properties consist of Il Ngwesi Group Ranch in northern Kenya, Eselenkei in Amboseli, southern Kenya and Rekero Camp in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Built with local materials by local craftsmen, each property is unique, offering a variety of atmospheres and styles. Freshly prepared meals energize you for your next game walk or game drive, while the friendly and informative staff teach you about the local customs, wildlife and peoples.

Why choose this eco-tour?

To help the local communities use wildlife as their natural, beneficial resource. In each of this safari's regions, wildlife is threatened from exploding human populations and economic growth, causing human/wildlife conflicts. In order to resolve some of these conflicts, ecotourism is a viable alternative to cattle ranching or farming. By providing a direct benefit to communities for tending to wildlife, the properties in our eco-safari help resolve and alleviate these conflicts.

Elephant Safari with Eco-resorts.

Day 1: You are met at the International Airport and transferred to your Nairobi Hotel for overnight before your safari commences the following day. Depending upon your flight schedule, you may spend the afternoon exploring the Giraffe Manor or National Museum.

Days 2 - 4: Your first safari stop is Eselenkei, Amboseli. This delightful, small camp is located just outside the Amboseli National Park. Used by the wildlife as a migration corridor, the area abounds with elephant, antelope, lion, hyena and other plains game. Kilimanjaro forms the backdrop to your exploration of this rich eco-system as you explore the area with your local guides, on foot and in 4x4 vehicle.

Amboseli, meaning "Salty Dust" in the Masai language is an important rangeland in the Masai culture. The area surrounding the park is made up of Masai ranch areas, which offer a wide variety of game viewing and walking safari options, not found within the park itself.

The 'salty dust' is volcanic ash from Mount Kilimanjaro eruptions a millennium ago. The dry, arid plains covered by this dust form heat wave mirages in the dry season. Endless herds of animals seem to waver in the distance, interrupted only by the real herds of zebra and wildebeest hovering in front.

This arid landscape belies the reality, as Amboseli has an endless water supply from the ice caps of Kilimanjaro. This water forms two clear water springs in the middle of the park that provide a permanent water supply, even in drought.

Amboseli is probably most famous for its photographs of elephant with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background. The mountain is situated on the boundary of the park and Amboseli is certainly one of the finest locations for mountain spotting with Mount Meru also being seen with ease.

The elephant themselves are of course a major attraction in Amboseli. The bull elephant here have some of the largest tusks in Kenya. Cynthia Moss and her assistants have followed and studied these elephant for over 20 years, providing some of the most detailed knowledge of these magnificent animals available. The elephant are generally found in larger herds than most other areas and are quite habituated to people, allowing excellent photography, even for us amateurs!

Days 5 - 7 Leaving Amboseli in the morning, you'll drive back to Nairobi and then fly to the Laikipia area of Kenya's Northern District and the Il Ngwesi Lodge. Community owned and operated, Il Ngwesi is stunningly beautiful and made out of natural materials found in the area. Old wood, stones and the rocky outcrops of the ground are incorporated into the lodge itself. You'll stay three nights in this wonderful lodge, exploring the area with the local Samburu and Masai warriors.

Northern Kenya is a huge expanse of scrub desert, bisected by a few life saving rivers. A true wilderness, this area of Kenya is very sparsely populated, and game patterns have been little affected by humans.

The Laikipia area is part of an ancient lava plain covered with red dirt, thorn scrub, broken volcanic rock, dried riverbeds, steep hills and rocky outcroppings. Unusual for this arid area of Northern Kenya, it has a permanent water supply, the Ewaso Ngiro or "Brown River". This permanent water flow provides an oasis for the many elephant, hippo, and crocodile that abound in this area.

The region is also home to the rare Grevvy zebra, Somali ostrich with its distinctive blue legs, the shy Beisa oryx and the largest African antelope, the Eland.

The Laikipia area is famous for its leopards. One of the most reliable areas in Kenya for spotting leopard, lion and cheetah, Laikipia proves very popular with the big cat researchers.

The mix of wood and grassland with riverine forest and swamp creates a home for a wide variety of bird life as well as mammals, with over 365 bird species recorded in the area.

The perfect place for an introduction to the harsh, yet stunningly beautiful landscapes of northern Kenya, Laikipia is not to be missed!

Days 8 - 10 Last but certainly not least, you visit the Masai Mara and the cottages of Rekero. Leaving Laikipia with a flight across the Great Rift Valley and over to the Mara, you will be met and collected by your hosts, the Beaton family.

At Rekero you are introduced to the cultural side of the Masai Mara as well as the abundant wildlife. Visits to the Masai manyattas (homes) are interspersed with game drives and walks with a local Ndorobo tribe medicine man, who introduces you to traditional medical plants and shrubs.

Located to the south of Nairobi, and bordering Tanzania, the Masai Mara forms part of the huge Serengeti eco-system. The Mara spreads over 1510 square km of rolling plains, sudden rocky outcrops, and green winding rivers.

Not only is the Mara blessed with this stunning landscape, but also its animal diversity is one of the greatest in Africa. Surrounded by the grazing lands of the Masai people, the Mara is a sanctuary for all of the Big Five animals: lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard. The sweet grasses and abundant water ensure a full compliment of plains game such as the impala and Thompsons gazelle. The deep river pools provide homes for hippo and crocodiles.

Each year, generally in August/September, the Mara is host to the spectacular Wildebeest Migration, one of the natural wonders of the world! Literally millions of these awkwardly shaped ungulates move across the open plains in an endless stream stretching from horizon to horizon. The movement of this vast herd is fascinating in itself, but seldom a day goes by without the added bonus of watching the predators that follow the herd. Lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dogs rely on the herd for food. Spotting one of these magnificent predators is more or less guaranteed at this time.

The breath-taking beauty of the Masai Mara and its astonishing diversity of wildlife combine to ensure that the Mara is one of the most popular stops on a Kenyan safari.

Day 11 After breakfast, head back to the airstrip and your flight to Nairobi where you are met and have a vehicle at disposal for shopping or sight seeing as you choose. An early dinner at a restaurant of your choice can be arranged before we transfer you to the International Airport for your flight home.

This safari offers a superb opportunity to explore three of Kenya's richest eco-systems with the most knowledgeable guides from the local communities. Book this tour and enjoy comfortable accommodation, excellent food and service and an unmatched wilderness experience, while secure in the knowledge that your holiday is supporting the local community and environment. A true eco-safari is a win-win for everyone!

Elephant Safari with Eco-resorts.

Includes: All transfers, all accommodation, breakfast in Nairobi hotel, all meals on safari, water in vehicles, driver/guide, activities as listed above, park entrance fees and local taxes.

Excludes: Drinks, lunch and dinner at Nairobi Hotel, laundry, telephone calls, personal purchases, tips, visas and international flights.

Contact Melinda Rees for more information on this safari.

Elephant Safari with Eco-resorts.

Why travel with us? Because Eco-resorts is changing the world-one journey at a time.

Animals and people both need land. Ecotourism provides an alternative income for the people, leaving space for the migratory animals. Eco-resorts actively supports the villages and projects that are protecting East Africa's environment and culture.

We develop self-help eco-projects, which promote wildlife conservation. We also educate both our consumers and our partner camps with two free ezines. We use renewable energy products, reduce paper and plastic consumption in our office and have left the natural vegetation unscathed, resulting in duiker and monitor lizards visiting the office!

We donate 10% of all post-tax profits to fund community and/or conservation projects. Community projects are operated with the local villagers as the operators and managers; Eco-resorts provides advice and guidance when requested, but abides by local beliefs and traditions.

Our current projects include:

- The Children of the Rising Sun Orphanage, which provides accommodation, meals, medicine and schooling for 28 street-children. Our goal is to have a vocational job-training center operational at the home, for the kids and local villagers.

- The Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve, the last remaining tract of coastal lowland forest in Kenya, which provides the only refuge for several endemic birds and mammals, such as the golden-rumped elephant shrew and the Sokoke Pippet. Designated as one of Conservation International's 26 global bio-diversity hotspots (www.conservation.org) and surrounded on all sides by an ever increasing human population, the Forest is in danger of disappearing as trees are cut for carvings, land cleared for subsistence farming and animals trapped for food.

Eco-resorts hopes to ensure that the local villagers become the greatest supporters of the Forest. One of the many projects in the Forest trains the local villagers to breed forest butterfly species for export to the live butterfly market.

With two local butterfly farms already in operation, over 400 people in the area bordering the Forest now have an income that relies upon the continued health of the Forest. Our goal is to employ another 100 people.

Please contact melinda@eco-resorts.com for more detailed information on our ezines and the Eco-resorts community and wildlife conservation projects that your eco-adventure safari will support. Help us make a difference!

Click here to enquire about a safari holiday to Kenya.

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