Walking with giants in Tsavo

KENYA

Sharing the elephants’ home on equal footing surely supersedes any previous game-viewing experience you may have had. Of course, we’ll also encounter other wildlife, such as the famous maneless lions of Tsavo, hirola (the world's rarest antelope), fringe-eared oryx, the weird-looking long-necked gerenuk and many of the over 500 bird species.

Lead by Kenya’s top walking guides and an expert camp team that will work tirelessly to set up three beautiful colonial camps along the way, plus the support of specially-designed 4×4 vehicles to explore our surroundings in the afternoons, this walking expedition ensures the perfect balance between comfort and adventure.

This is a true safari from a bygone era!

A bygone era walking safari that tracks the wise old elephant herds as they follow the winding Galana River through the vast & ancient Tsavo landscape

Overview

Length: 13 days
Group Size: 8
Location: Tsavo East National Park, Kenya
Departure Dates: Set departure dates - see dates below

from US$ 12,600 per person sharing

READ the detailed day-by-day itinerary at the bottom of this screen to understand how unique this safari is!

Difficulty: This is a walking safari, and you will hike on average seven to ten miles (11 – 16 kilometres) each day across flat bushveld. An average to good level of fitness is required.

Accommodation: The colonial-era canvas tents are well-ventilated, bug-proof, two-person tents that are tall enough to walk in and out of. Foam mattresses and comfortable bedding are provided. The food served at the safari camps is abundant, fresh, and delicious. The staff will bring you hot water basins for daily washing. Toilet (safari long-drop with seat) and shower tents are set up close to your sleeping tent. The water for the showers is heated.


READ a personal account of this epic safari here

READ more about Tsavo National Park here

Prices and dates

2024 Rates

Per person sharing

US$ 12,600

Per solo traveller

US$ 13,725

2024 Departure Dates

Arrive Nairobi

Depart Nairobi

Availability

28 Jan

10 Feb

Open for bookings

25 Feb

09 Mar

Open for bookings

26 May

08 Jun

Open for bookings

09 Jun

22 Jun

Open for bookings

23 Jun

06 Jul

Open for bookings

07 Jul

20 Jul

Open for bookings

21 Jul

03 Aug

Open for bookings

04 Aug

17 Aug

Open for bookings

18 Aug

31 Aug

Open for bookings

01 Sep

14 Sep

Open for bookings

15 Sep

28 Sep

Open for bookings

29 Sep

12 Oct

Open for bookings

Please enquire about GROUP SAFARIS

Minimum group size 5, maximum group size 9 (all participants have to be over 18).

Price Includes:
Internal flights, airport transfers as per itinerary, hotel accommodations, transport in 4×4 safari vehicles, expert guide, fully equipped safari camps with staff and drivers, all park, camp and walking fees, all food in camps, a complimentary camp bar containing mineral water, sodas, beers, and evening wines.

Price Excludes:
International flights, visas, excess baggage charges, telephone calls, laundry, items of personal nature, travel and medical insurance, tips (± 250 USD for camp staff) and any activities not specified in the itinerary. Medical evacuation in the event of a medical emergency (Please contact us if your existing Travel or Medical Insurance Policy does not cover it already)

Itinerary

Upon your arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, you will be met by our local representatives and transferred to the beautiful Hemingways Hotel in the suburb of Karen (yip you guessed right….on Karen Blixen’s original farm).

No walking today.

Catching the first flight out, you will be collected and transferred to Wilson Airport for your charter flight into Tsavo (1hr).

Upon arrival you will have brunch at Kilaguni Lodge, followed by a two-hour game drive as we transfer you to Mzima Camp.

Lunch awaits as you arrive and you have the entire afternoon in camp at your leisure, acclimatising and taking in the raw beauty of Tsavo.

You rise with first light, and after breakfast, start your foot safari across the vast 20 000 km² Tsavo ecosystem. The route you will follow closely traces the Tsavo River, flanked by lush riverine vegetation as you walk along hippo trails winding their way through thickets of fig and tamarind trees, doum and raffia palms.

They say that to experience the wonders of the African bush; it is essential that one does precisely as the animals do. Your daily routine will, therefore, emulate the behaviour of the wildlife around you. Up at first light, eat an energizing breakfast, and head out along the trail. You will reach Kudu camp by noon in time for a hearty lunch and well-earned siesta (the animals insist on this too).

The rest of the afternoon will be spent relaxing, soaking in the beauty of this place, birdwatching and game viewing from our camp.

Today you will cover a distance of about 6 miles (10 km) along the Tsavo River, as it winds across magical country towards the impressive Ngulia mountain range.

You rise with first light, and after breakfast, start your foot safari across beautiful country, following the Tsavo River and under the impressive Ngulia mountain range. The craggy, sharp-rising Ngulia mountains offer a dramatic backdrop to this section of the river.

As the morning wanes towards noon, the trail reaches a point beneath the spectacular Kichwa Tembo (elephant’s head) peak. This dramatic 3,000-foot spire soars above the banks of the river. You will reach your camp in time for lunch, followed by a well-earned siesta.

The afternoon will be spent relaxing, soaking in the beauty of this place, birdwatching and learning a bit about the history of this enclave during the First World War.

This region of Tsavo was the location of intense fighting during the First World War when Tanzania was known as German East Africa, and Kenya was British East Africa. The Tsavo River was of vital logistic importance during what would become the battle for Kilimanjaro. It offered the British a well-watered direct route to the mountain. The Germans were well aware of its comparatively easy access to the British railway, which linked the Kenyan coast (Mombasa) to the interior (Nairobi). A track that was blown up several times by the Germans.

As a result of this, the Tsavo River region was heavily fortified, and today many indications of the First World War still exist.

Today you will cover a distance of 11 miles (18 km) along the Tsavo River

Downstream from Kichwa Tembo, lies Maji Ya Chumvi (saltwater) - our next camp, in the dry heart of Tsavo. Wildlife is abundant; you can expect to regularly encounter impala, Grant’s gazelle, zebra and giraffe. Tsavo hosts the largest elephant ecosystem in the world, and the Tsavo River is a vital lifeline for them. After lunch and siesta, you will have a game drive in search of rarer quarries such as gerenuk, dik-dik, striped hyena and perchance lion. You will be back at camp at dusk. Today you walk 10 miles (16 km)

Today the Tsavo River leads you into the area of the infamous “Maneaters of Tsavo”. Your morning walk covers about 8 miles (13 km) and takes you into the region where in 1896, two lions halted the advance of the British Empire in its tracks.

During the three-month period that it took the British to build the railway bridge across the Tsavo River, using labourers from India, two lions ate over 130 men. Eventually, after a rather extensive effort, Col. John Paterson hunted them down.

You will reach camp in time for lunch, and after a short siesta, you continue your foot safari in the late afternoon for a further 6 miles (10 km) to Tsavo Bridge, which still stands proudly and in pristine condition.

Later you are met by the vehicles and driven back to camp. Interestingly, this region supports a large lion population, and there are good chances you will see them as they take advantage of the shade offered by doum palms on the banks of the river or hear them at night from camp.

This morning you will drive a short distance to Tsavo Bridge, and from the drop-off point, you will continue walking downriver. Today you enter Tsavo East National Park (owing to the immensity of Tsavo, for administrative purposes, it has been divided into two separate regions: Tsavo West and Tsavo East).

At this point, the Tsavo River makes its way down towards the confluence with the Athi River, beneath the prominent Yatta Plateau, where it forms the Galana River at a place called Tabagunji.

The walk today is about 5 miles (8 km), across country dominated by many rock kopjes (outcrops).

You reach a “posse” of awaiting vehicles in the late morning; they are here to collect you and drive you to the next camp.

After lunch and siesta, another game drive has been planned for those eager to explore the Galana River.

After breakfast, you will follow the Galana River. This, Kenya’s most beautiful river, is very different in atmosphere to where you have been in previous days. It is wider, palm-fringed, and excellent predator country.

Today you will soon notice that you have entered a totally different ecosystem. The dense undergrowth of Tsavo West has given way to semi-desert country, bordered to the north by the Yatta Plateau (the longest lava flow on earth – 260 miles in length). The Galana River here is wide and characterised by wide sandy beaches and lush palm tree groves.

Wildlife is plentiful and easier to see and approach. The area sports one of the largest lion populations in East Africa, the very rare Peter’s gazelle, large herds of zebra, hartebeest, impala and fringe-eared oryx.

This also holds Tsavo’s biggest elephant population, and to see a herd of elephants silently loping across the sand to the river’s edge, then wading through the blue water to the distant shore, is a sight that can’t be described in words.

After your walk, you return back to camp for lunch and a well-earned rest. As usual, a game drive along the river awaits for the latter part of the day.

Today you get the distinct feeling that you are the only people walking in this region. Your exploration of the Galana River banks continues, and it is quite likely that you will encounter lions, elephants and buffalos. Trusting your guide's directions and instructions is key, and the experience is safe and unforgettable.

Lunches are served at camp on both days, followed by late afternoon game drives.

You will walk 6 miles (10 km) on day 10 and 10 miles (16 km) on days 11 and 12.

In the morning, we will make an early start and drive to the Indian Ocean town of Malindi for a 25-minute flight northwards to the beautiful island of Lamu, arriving in time for lunch.

Lamu Island is much more than simply a place to spend the final night on this amazing safari. It is a major African destination, offering an incredible insight into the coastal Swahili culture of the East African coast. Lamu Island is what Zanzibar used to be before it became commercialised. The 14th-century town of Lamu offers guided tours of the labyrinth of narrow streets which make up Old Town and its coral buildings. This is truly a step back into a distant past. There are no cars in Lamu; transportation is by donkey or dhow sailing boat.

You will stay in what is arguably the best hotel in Kenya: Peponis! This boutique, atmospheric hotel with amazing food is all that you could ask for.

We strongly recommend two or three nights at Peponis on Lamu Island – and we dare you to say we're wrong! We are saying this because most participants on this walk feel that a one-night stay on Lamu Island simply was not long enough, and several have left disappointed that they had not booked in for a few more nights.

We take the mid-afternoon flight to Nairobi where we have arranged dayrooms at a hotel close to the international airport. Our vehicles will transfer you to the airport for your homebound flight.

(Please note that our June departures of the Great Walk will not fly to Lamu, but will overnight at Medina Palms at Watamu, a small town 15 miles south of Malindi.)

Why us

We live here, in Africa, and have been doing this since 1991. Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late or a few kilometers off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity?

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