This safari is designed
by women, for women.
There is infinitely more to Africa than its wildlife, yet the fascinating cultures
of the many tribal peoples are all but ignored in most safari itineraries.
Even when the cultural aspect of the tribes is explored, it is generally the
male side that is explained, as the guides are invariably men. The women are far
too busy farming and raising families to spend time with tourists!
Yet the women of the continent are the glue that keeps families together; they
grow the food that prevents starvation. Without the backbreaking labor of African
women, and their endless efforts to ensure their children are healthy, safe and
educated, African culture would not exist. Yet women traditionally have little
or no rights, are unable to take part in village meetings and in many places are
even unable to leave their village without their father or husband's permission.
Female circumcision is still practiced by many tribes; even when the mother
and daughter object, the father has the final say. Monies earned by women are
given to the men of the household who then decide how to spend it. Even a bank
account in the wife's name is not sacrosanct; a husband may access his wife's
account without her permission.
Very slowly, this is starting to change as a few brave women speak out and
create new ways of living. This safari is designed to spotlight these women, their
ideas and provide an insight into the lives of East African women.
Combining traditional game viewing with visits to local villages and
women's community projects, you'll learn what it is like to be a woman in
Africa, both in a tribal and a colonial culture. Bead with Masai women,
grind maize with the KiMeru women, walk with rangers in a national park,
help the Samburu women build better businesses and lunch with colonial
A part of your safari charge
will be donated to each of the community projects that you visit,
helping to further advance these women's groups. Upon your return,
spread the word by working together and helping your peers learn about
each other's cultures. Together, we can change the world, one journey
at a time.
Day 1 Arrive into Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi, where your Eco-resorts
representative meets you. Take the 20-minute drive to the Serena Hotel. Centrally
located and with friendly staff, the Serena is famous for being the most eco-friendly
chain hotel in Africa. Overnight at the hotel. (Dinner not included)
Day 2 Drive into the Rift Valley, past the extinct volcano of Longonot
to the blue-green waters of Lake Naivasha. Surrounded by flower farms and intensive
vegetable farming, Lake Naivasha also hosts the delightful small park of Hell’s
Gate. It is possible to walk, game drive, camp, cycle and rock climb within this
park, famous for its natural hot geysers, eagle and vulture breeding grounds,
obsidian deposits and extinct volcanoes. Beautiful rock gorges and natural steam
vents add to the beauty of this 68 square km. park. Game to view includes hyrax,
buffalo, giraffe, eland, hartebeest, lion and leopard. As with all of the Rift
Valley parks, Hell's Gate is also an ornithologist's dream with the cliffs acting
as the breeding grounds for vultures, Verreaux eagles, Auger buzzards and thousands
Here you will meet Catherine Wakesa, one of the few Kenya Wildlife Services
(KWS) female park wardens, and learn about her struggles and celebrations as a
successful warden. Later, enjoy a walk with some of her rangers on their daily
patrols. Learn about the conservation issues in this densely populated area and
enjoy learning about the Kenya Wildlife Service itself.
Return to the Lake Naivasha Country Club for the afternoon and enjoy a boat
trip to the Crescent Island Sanctuary before dinner and overnight at the Club.
Day 3 Leave Naivasha today for a four-hour drive to Nyeri. We’ll
stop at the private home of Grace, one of the members of the Nyeri Upendo Women’s
Group. This group of mostly single or widowed mothers was formed to help fund
school fees for their school children. A variety of handicrafts are made on special
order; the profits are used for personal loans, school fees and medical expenses,
You’ll have the chance to see the handicrafts being made, as well as
giving it a try yourself! We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch with these wonderful
women, as well as the opportunity to sample some of the local dishes of githeri
and irio. Enjoy talking to these women about their culture, their difficulties
and their successes as you share experiences and learn just how similar we women
are, despite our various nationalities!
After your meetings, you will transfer to the Aberdare National Park to the
Ark Lodge for superb overnight game viewing. Enjoy dinner and overnight game viewing
at the Ark.
The Aberdare Mountain ranges soar to peaks of 13,000 feet and dip into deep,
V shaped valleys with streams and rivers cascading over spectacular waterfalls,
including Kenya's longest fall of approximately 1,000 feet! Located in the heart
of the Kikuyu tribe highlands area, in Central Kenya, traditional folklore states
that the Aberdare Mountains are one of the homes of Ngai, God.
To the east of the ranges are the fertile farming lands of the Kikuyu tribe,
which were settled by the colonists in the early decades of the twentieth century.
The area between the Aberdares and Mount Kenya are part of what became known as
the European highlands. To the west, the range falls steeply away into the Rift
Valley and offer superb views of Lake Naivasha and the distant Mau Escarpment.
There are three main ecosystems within the Aberdare Mountains: the rain forest,
which gives way to dense bamboo forests, which itself gives way to moorland as
the altitude rises.
The forest is home to a multitude of elephant, buffalo, giant forest hog and
the endangered black rhino. The Aberdares are also an excellent area for spotting
the elusive leopard and occasional sightings have been made of the golden cat.
Black and white colobus and sykes monkeys are easily seen, as are waterbuck, reedbuck,
duikers, serval cats and bushbuck. Melanistic cats appear to be quite common in
the high altitudes of the Aberdares and black serval cats are spotted fairly often.
The best viewing in the forest areas is in the Salient area of the park, where
both Treetops and The Ark lodges provide superb nighttime viewing in this area
of gentler slopes and slightly less dense forest.
Day 4 Leaving behind the mountains and fertile valleys of the Kikuyu
Highlands, today you drive around Mount Kenya to the arid, scrubby area of Meru.
Surprisingly rich in wildlife, the Meru area is where you will be introduced to
the conflict between animals and humans.
Here we will enjoy a delicious picnic lunch at the home of a highly successful
Meru woman, Florence Imathiu. Florence and her old school friend Grace started
the Kithoka Women’s Group in 1982.
In Meru, the elephant often raid the small, subsistence farms of this area,
and more importantly, rip up the precious water pipes that feed the farms. The
Kithioka Women’s Group raises money from monthly contributions and fundraisers,
using those funds to build reservoirs for water storage and to lay pipes to local
homes. They are currently raising money to build small dams off their main supply
pipe, allowing the elephants to drink water in the dams without destroying the
They have also funded a ‘posho’ (Kenya’s local grain) mill,
reducing travel expenses for local people and allowing a cheaper method of grinding.
After lunch you’ll get to visit the mill and see how the system works for
Later you'll head into the Meru National Park itself to spot the wildlife and
enjoy a comfortable night at the Leopard Rock Lodge in the Park. Dinner and overnight
at the lodge.
The Meru National Park first became famous as the home of Elsa, the lioness
of Born Free fame. Located to the northeast of Mount Kenya, Meru is an arid area
mostly covered with thorny bushes and wooded grasslands.
Rocky outcrops spring out of the ground, forming well used lookout points for
the abundant lions of the area. Along the riverbanks, dense riverine forest has
sprouted, as have the ubiquitous doum palms.
Heavily poached in the 1970s, Meru has made an amazing recovery in the last
few years. Kenya Wildlife Service has tightened security; consequently poaching
no longer occurs in the area. All the roads have been graded in the last year;
the game circuits are clearly signposted and the lodges have been refurbished.
Game has also returned in large numbers, with lion, leopard, cheetah, large
herds of elephant, giraffe, oryx, hartebeest and gazelle easily spotted. The Lesser
kudu, a rarity in Kenya, is also found in some numbers in this area.
Nearly fifty elephant and many black rhino have been transported and released
into the Park, where they are settling into their new homes away from the more
populated Laikipia area. This was a historic event as the largest successful elephant
translocation of its kind.
The bird life in Meru is also spectacular, with Somali ostrich, Ground hornbills,
Secretary birds, Bateleur eagles, oxpeckers, egrets, starlings, bee-eaters and
starlings in profusion.
The animals are unused to vehicles, as the area has not been used on the tourist
circuit for many years. This makes them somewhat shy, but half the fun of a safari
is in the searching! The benefit is that when you do find the animals, you are
not sharing your view with many other travelers.
Day 5 Today you’ll have the chance to game walk or game drive
as you please in the Meru National Park with your guides.
Lunch is at the Elsa’s Kopje Lodge and your afternoon is spent relaxing
at the lodge or taking another game viewing expedition. Dinner and overnight at
the lodge. (All meals included)
Day 6 Leaving Meru Park behind, we head back into Meru town where we
meet up with Winfred Kimathi and Gladys Kitonga who run the Gakurine Family Restoration
Self Help Group. This small group of volunteers raises money and donates time
to help families devastated by the AIDS virus. AIDS orphans have their school
fees met; families are helped with burial fees and medical expenses. You’ll
have the chance to learn about the effect of this disease on the Meru area and
meet some of the children who have lost their parents.
After your meeting, it’s time to head towards Isiolo with a picnic lunch
as we go further north to the Samburu Serena Lodge for dinner and overnight in
the Samburu National Park.
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 Samburu 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, Samburu 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 their
distinctive blue legs, the shy Beisa Oryx and the largest African antelope, the
The Samburu area is famous for its leopards. One of the most reliable areas
in Kenya for spotting this beautiful but elusive cat, as well as lion and cheetah,
Samburu proves very popular with the big cat researchers.
The mix of wood and grassland with riverine forest and swamp is home to a wide
variety of bird life as well as mammals. Buffalo Springs records over 365 bird
Day 7 After breakfast, we’ll game drive enroute to the small village
of Archer’s Post and the Samburu village that is the home of the Meyangar
Women’s Group. Here the Chairwoman, Jane Lengima will introduce you to the
Samburu culture and the work that her group is doing.
This group helps single or widowed women develop a micro business of their
own, thus providing for their children and families. The businesses can be handicrafts,
farming, selling second hand clothing sales or just about anything that will help
eke out a living in this incredibly arid area.
The group has set up a curio shop and a nursery school within their village;
you’ll have the chance to explore the village and share your respective
cultures with these wonderful women.
Return to the lodge for lunch and then game drive or relax in the afternoon.
Overnight at the lodge. (All meals included)
Day 8 After a morning game drive, fly back to Nairobi and the Serena
Hotel. Check-in to the hotel and relax or shop before enjoying dinner at the Carnivore
Restaurant. Overnight at the hotel. (All meals included)
Day 9 After breakfast, drive into the outskirts of Nairobi and meet
your next guide, who is working with a group of Masai women who have set up a
beadwork co-operative to pay for their daughters' education.
You will take the one-hour drive to the Masai village to meet the women involved
with this project. Masai women are very seldom educated at all in a formal sense
and they have virtually no rights within the village. Daughters are used by their
fathers as bartering tools for cattle and goats; little consideration is given
to their own needs.
This small group of Masai mothers has started to change this tradition by creating
beautiful beadwork dog collars, baskets and jewelry to sell in the United States,
thus creating an education fund for their daughters. You will meet the children
at their schoolhouse, see the workshop and visit one of the traditional Masai
village homes of the women.
If you would like to buy some of the Dupoto Women's Group's fabulous beaded
products, but can't go to Africa just yet, then visit www.beadsforeducation.org
to learn more!
In the afternoon, drive back to Nairobi and check-into the Serena Hotel for
Day 10 After breakfast, transfer to the domestic airport for your flight
to the Masai Mara and the permanent tented camp of Base Camp. This lovely camp
is set just on the outskirts of this famous game park and is operated with the
assistance of the local Masai tribes people.
Base Camp offers good quality, comfortable accommodation with friendly staff
and wonderful wildlife viewing. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit
local villages and to learn more about the culture of this famous tribe.
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 kilometers
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
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
Enjoy a Masai Manyatta (village) visit after lunch and then game drive in the
evening before returning to dinner and overnight at the camp.
Day 11 Spend today exploring the Masai Mara on foot and by vehicle.
Keep an eye out for the big game as your guides point out local medicinal plants
and trees as well as the birds and animals that you pass.
Being the nomadic wanderers, in charge of the cattle and goats, it is the men
who will act as your guides here as they have the experience of wandering through
the bush. Contrast their information and points of view with that of the women
that you've met; it will make an interesting experience! Dinner and overnight
at the camp.
Day 12 After breakfast, game drive en route to the airstrip for your
flight to Nairobi. Upon arrival you'll be met and taken to the Serena for a dayroom;
the driver/guides and vehicles will be at your disposal for shopping in the afternoon.
Enjoy an early dinner and then transfer to the international airport for your
Includes: All transfers, all accommodation, all meals as described in
the itinerary, all meals on safari, water in vehicles, driver/guide, activities
as listed above, park entrance fees and local taxes.
Excludes: Drinks, meals not listed in the itinerary, laundry, telephone
calls, personal purchases, tips, visas and international flights.
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
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.
Help us make a difference!