Laikipia Plateau, Arid Lands, and Great Rift Valley

Kenya Extension

February 21 - 28, 2020
Cost: $5,750
Leader: Grephus Andalo Ingati
Group Size: 8
Days: 8

Safari Overview

Discover the many arid-adapted species unique to Kenya: the highly endangered Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, Beisa oryx, and unique birds like Somali ostrich and golden-breasted starling. Wind your way to the Laikipia Plateau in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, seize your chance to encounter African wild dogs, and travel west to Kenya’s Rift Valley to find black and white rhinos and Rothchild’s giraffe at Lake Nakuru National Park.

This is a post-trip extension to our Tanzania safari from February 5 to February 22, 2020.


  • Stay in a tented camp overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro River while olive baboons and black-faced vervets mill about.
  • Marvel at the adaptations the animals of arid Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves have gained.
  • Watch graceful flamingos feeding in the alkali waters of Lake Nakuru.

Itinerary Updated: March 2019

Print Trip
Date Description Lodge Meals
Feb 21 After the Tanzania safari, you’ll spend the evening relaxing before departing for Kenya. Kia Lodge, Arusha
Feb 22 - 23 Fly from Arusha, Tanzania, to Nairobi, Kenya for our Kenya extension. Game drives in Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Sweetwaters Serena Camp, Ol Pejeta Conservancy B, L, D
Feb 24 - 25 Explore Samburu’s and Buffalo Springs’ arid environments. Larsens Camp, Samburu National Reserve B, L, D
Feb 26 Head south to the Rift Valley and Lake Nakuru National Park with white rhinos and flamingos. Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge, Nakuru National Park B, L, D
Feb 27 Morning game drive, lunch, and then return to Nairobi. Prepare for our Mountain Gorilla extension or depart for home. Ole-Sereni Hotel, Nairobi (dayroom) B, L
Feb 28 Fly to Kigali to continue on our Mountain Gorilla extension or arrive home.
* Meals included in the main safari.

Our Trip Leaders

Zach Waithaka

Zach has been a guide for Cheesemans’ Kenya safaris since the 1980s and received many accolades. An outstanding naturalist and excellent driver, he loves to locate hard-to-find predators, especially cats. He and his wife own a farm in the fertile Kenya Highlands.

Grephus Andalo Ingati

Grephus is an excellent naturalist who has great knowledge of the birds and mammals of Kenya. He is also a photographer and great at positioning the vehicle so everyone has a chance to take photos. Wonderful teachers filled his childhood in a very bird- and primate-rich area, the Kakamega Forest in western Kenya. He was one of nine students chosen from Kakamega to receive an in-depth course in forest ecology. He and his family also run an organic farm in the Kakamega area.

Detailed Itinerary

A glimpse into our journey

Overnight in Arusha

Feb 21

Relax overnight in Arusha, Tanzania, at the end of the Tanzania safari and prepare for this extension.

Travel from our Tanzania safari to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Feb 22 - 23

White Rhinos
© Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Fly from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) to Nairobi International Airport (NBO) where you’ll meet your guide. Enjoy the scenery as you weave through the farmlands in the Kenya Highlands nestled between Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Mountains arriving at Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

Ol Pejeta is the largest black rhino sanctuary in east Africa and home to the two last remaining northern white rhino in the world. It is also the only place in Kenya to see chimpanzees in a sanctuary established to rehabilitate animals rescued from the black market. It has some of the highest predator densities in Kenya and still manages a very successful livestock program.

Optional: While at Sweetwaters Serena Camp, you can take part in a night game drive (not included). More details will be available in your Trip Materials.

Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves

Feb 24 - 25

Grevy's zebra
© Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

As you depart from Ol Pejeta Conservancy to Samburu National Reserve, watch the rolling countryside of the Kikuyu transform into an arid frontier as you drive through Isiolo, where many tribes live side by side.

At Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves, you’ll explore the arid lands and the variety of adapted mammals and birds you’ll find nowhere else during your safari, including the rare Grevy’s zebra. Adaptations allow these animals get much of their water from leaves and other food sources, but the nearby Ewaso Nyiro River provides refreshment for animals that need to drink daily, such as elephants. You’ll scan for gerenuk, known as giraffe-necked gazelle, delicately balancing on their hind legs while browsing bushes at heights of four to six feet. Search for Beisa oryx with their 30-inch narrow horns held perfectly perpendicular to the ground while feeding. Compare the colors and patterns of the patches on the reticulated giraffe as they browse the trees alongside the red-brown waters of Ewaso Nyiro River. Stare intently at the electric blue colors on the vulturine guineafowl running alongside your vehicle. These protected lands provide refuge for many special animals amid the agricultural lands that surround them.

Optional: Choose to visit a Samburu manyatta (extended family home) to photograph Samburu people in traditional dress performing dances and songs (not included).

Lake Nakuru National Park in the Great Rift Valley

Feb 26

Leopard in Lake Nakuru National Park
© Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Travel southward to Lake Nakuru National Park through Isiolo and across the equator. Lake Nakuru is famous for the lesser and greater flamingos congregating to feed in the alkali waters, making for spectacular photography in the evening light. Observe white rhinos and learn about the anatomical difference between white and black rhinos. Search for Rothchild’s giraffe foraging in the acacia woodlands surrounding the lake and perhaps a leopard sleeping in an acacia tree.

Return to Nairobi for flights homeward

Feb 27

Flamingos on Lake Nakuru
© Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Spend your last morning at Lake Nakuru before departing on your drive back to Nairobi. If you are not continuing on our Mountain Gorilla Trek extension, use your dayroom at the lodge to refresh and prepare for your flight or stay overnight to prepare for our Mountain Gorilla extension in Rwanda.

Kenya Extension

Discover the many arid-adapted species unique to Kenya: zebras, giraffes, and unique birds.

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Cost & Payments

Costs (in US$)

Type Cost Per Person
Extension cost, double occupancy $5,750
Single supplement $1,300

Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare (except flight from Kilimanjaro International Airport to Nairobi International Airport on February 22), singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.

This cost will be added to your main safari balance. The payment schedule and cancellation policy are the same as for the main safari. See main safari itinerary for complete terms and conditions.


  • Flight from Kilimanjaro International Airport to Nairobi International Airport on February 22.
  • Transportation in custom, pop-top Land Cruisers.
  • Airport transfer in Nairobi on February 27.
  • Accommodations for the nights of February 21 through February 26 and a dayroom on February 27.
  • Meals from breakfast on February 22 (breakfast and lunch on February 21 are included in the main safari) through lunch on February 27.
  • Bottled beverages – each lodge provides bottles of drinking water in your room daily.
  • Grephus Ingati will lead; Zach Waithaka will assist if we have more than four participants.
  • Short Term AMREF Flying Doctor medical emergency evacuation insurance. This does not include hospital or treatment costs. For more information see
  • Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc. 

Not Included

  • All airfare (except flights listed as included), airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. 
  • Dinner on February 21.
  • Divergent airport transfers and extra hotel nights but can be arranged for an extra cost.
  • Bottled beverages cost extra during meals except at breakfast when water is often available to fill your water bottle.
  • Optional night drive at Sweetwaters Camp and visit to Samburu manyatta (extended family home).
  • Gratuities – Tipping is, of course, discretionary, however we suggest budgeting about $20 to $22 per participant per day for February 22 – 27 with our leaders (about $120 to $132 total per participant).
  • Trip cancellation insurance. For more information see


Fitness Level


Airfare, except flights listed as included, is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you.

Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) near Arusha, Tanzania, by February 6. Depart from Nairobi Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) no earlier than the evening of February 27. If you are continuing on the Rwanda extension, see the Flights section in its itinerary for departure information.

Flights we book for you: One-way flight from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) to Nairobi Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) on February 22. Cost is included in the extension cost.



We stay in top-notch lodges and tented camps with private baths in close proximity to the parks/reserves and wildlife.



We travel in pop-top Land Cruisers with shaded roof covers that provide 360° viewing and excellent photography opportunities. With only four participants in each seven-passenger vehicle, you’ll have more space for your gear and changing vantage points.