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Tsavo elephant safari

Walking with Giants in Tsavo – 13 days


Tsavo East National Park, Kenya

from US$ 10,414 per person sharing

Bush-walking

Classic Safari

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Walking with Giants in Tsavo – 13 days

E-mail    +27 (0)21 701 1622

Indication Price (from): US$ 10,414 per person sharing *view all prices and dates

Length: 13 days

Group Size: 8

Location: Tsavo East National Park, Kenya

Departure Dates: Set departure dates

INDICATION PRICES

Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.

OUR CHARGES

The price you see includes all services rendered by us and we only generate revenue once and if you book one of our safaris. Going directly to any of the lodges and other suppliers in our safari packages will not save you money because we earn discounts from suppliers based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

Join us for 13 days in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park as we follow the wise old elephant herds over an 80km walking route along the Galana River as it winds through the park, from Tabangunji Camp to the park boundary and then onwards by vehicle to the Indian Ocean shore of Malindi.

Sharing the elephants’ home on equal footing surely supersedes any previous game viewing experience you may have had, and of course we’ll also encounter other wildlife such as the famous maneless lions of Tsavo, rare hirola, range-restricted fringe-eared oryx, the 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!

Day 1: Arrival in Nairobi

Upon your arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, you will be met by our local representatives as you step off from the plane. You will be escorted through immigration, baggage and customs and thereon transferred to the beautiful Hemingways Hotel in Karen (yip you guessed right….on Karen Blixen’s original farm).

No walking today.

Day 2: Nairobi to Mzima Camp

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.

Day 3: Mzima Camp to Kudu Camp

You rise with first light, and after breakfast start your foot safari across the vast 8,000 square mile wilderness that is Tsavo. 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 in order 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 range.

Day 4: Kudu Camp to Kichwa Tembo Camp

You rise with first light, and after breakfast start your foot safari across beutiful country, following the Tsavo River and under the impressive Ngulia 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 leads to 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 for the British, a well-watered direct route to the mountain, while the Germans were well aware of its comparative easy access to the British railway, which linked the Kenyan coast (Mombasa) to the interior (Nairobi). A track that was blown several times.

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

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

Day 5: Kichwa Tembo Camp to Maji Ya Chumvi Camp

Downstream from Kichwa Tembo, lies Maji Ya Chumvi (saltwater) our next camp, now in the dry heart of Tsavo. Wildlife is ubiquitous and you can expect to encounter Impala, Grant’s gazelle, zebra and giraffe frequently. 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 quarry such as Gerenuk, Dik-dik, Striped Hyaena and perchance Lion, you will be back at camp at dusk.

Today you walk 10 miles (16 km)

Afternoon game drive.

Day 6: Maji Ya Chumvi to Maneaters Camp

Today the Tsavo River leads one into the area of the famous “Maneaters of Tsavo”. Your morning walk covers about 8 miles (13 km) and takes you into the region where in 1896 two lions ruthlessly 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 imported 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 still sports a large lion population, and there are good chances that 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.

Day 7: Maneaters camp to Epiya Chapeyu 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 of 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 “posey” 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.

Days 8 & 9: Epiya Chapeyu Camp

After breakfast, you will walk down 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.

Game is plentiful and easier to see and approach, sporting one of the largest lion populations in East Africa, the very rare Peter’s gazelle, big herds of zebra, hartebeest, impala and Fringe-eared oryx frequently seen along the Galana River.

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 with simple words.

At this point of the safari, one can easily, and naturally, feel as much a part of the wilderness as the wildlife you are meeting. Without a doubt your senses will have awakened to a state where you can instinctively hear, see, and feel things, that no amount of concentration at the beginning of your walk could ever have produced.

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

Days 10, 11 and 12: Durusirkale Camp

Today you get a distinct feeling that you are the only people walking in this region. Your guides’ vast experience in this area and a great understanding of the wildlife that can be encountered on foot along the Galana becomes crucial and evident. Your exploration of the Galana River banks continues and it is quite likely that you will encounter tracks or lions themselves, as well as Elephant and Buffalo. Trusting your guides directions and instructions is key, and the experience is invariably singular, 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 Day 11 and 12

Today you get a distinct feeling that you are the only people walking in this region. Your guides’ vast experience in this area and great understanding of the wildlife that can be encountered on foot along the Galana becomes crucial and evident. Your exploration of the Galana River banks continues and it is quite likely that you will encounter tracks or lions themselves, as well as Elephant and Buffalo. Trusting your guides directions and instructions is key, and the experience is invariably singular, 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 Day 11.

Day 13: Exit Tsavo east, drive to Malindi and fly to Lamu Island

In the morning we will make an early start and drive to the Indian Ocean town of Malindi. We will then take 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 Africa 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 fell to mass commercialisation. Lamu Island is much more than a beach destination (although the beaches are beautiful), it is a chance to visit the 14thCentury town of Lamu, take a guided tour around 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 the majority of 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 resting and relaxing nights here.

Day 14: Lamu to Nairobi and Depart

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.)

Indication Price (from): US$ 10,414 per person sharing (see below for further pricing where relavant)

Departure Dates: Set departure dates

Single person supplement: US$ 1,000

2021 Departure dates
07 February – 20 February spaces still available
28 February – 13 March spaces still available
06 June – 19 June spaces still available
20 June – 03 July spaces still available
04 July – 17 July spaces still available
 August 11 – 24 spaces still available
18 July – 31 July spaces still available
01 August – 14 August spaces still available
15 August – 28 August spaces still available
29 August – 11 September spaces still available
12 September – 25 September spaces still available
26 September – 09 October spaces still available

Please enquire about GROUP SAFARIS

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

Price Includes:
Internal flights to Tsavo East and back to Nairobi from the coast, all hotel accommodations, all transfers to airports, on safari accommodation with fully equipped private camps, game drives on 4×4s whilst on safari, professional walking guide meals, a complimentary camp bar of sodas, mineral water, beers and evening wines, snacks, access to all parks and reserves as well as park, camping and permit fees, and 24/7 office support.

Price Excludes:
International flights, visas, excess baggage charges, telephone calls, laundry, items of personal nature, travel and medical insurance, tips (ca.100 USD for camp staff) and any activities not specified in the itinerary.

INDICATION PRICES

Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.

OUR CHARGES

The price you see includes all services rendered by us and we only generate revenue once and if you book one of our safaris. Going directly to any of the lodges and other suppliers in our safari packages will not save you money because we earn discounts from suppliers based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

COVID-19

Visa – Can be applied and paid on arrival, but it can only be paid by credit card and it is preferable that you apply in advance for an eVisa via http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html

Curfew – Nationwide curfew (9pm – 4am) to continue until 30th August.

Requirements for travel to Kenya

  • Passengers must have a medical certificate with a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, issued no more than 96 hours before departure
  • Fill out a “Travelers Health Surveillance Form” online for contact tracing
  • There will be health screenings on arrival
  • Depending on the country of origin, some travellers may be required to quarantine. A list of exemptions can be found here
  • Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival will be required to quarantine in their accommodation for the first 14 days. Passengers seated on two rows surrounding anyone on a flight displaying symptoms will be traced and required to quarantine for 14 days.

Restrictions in Kenya
There are a number of COVID-19 safety measures in place throughout Kenya:

  • There is a nationwide curfew from 9 pm to 4 am
  • Face masks must be worn in public places
  • Social distancing rules apply when using private vehicles – anyone driving a car must fill only 50% of the vehicle’s seat capacity.

Quarantine Exempted Countries.
This Health Registration Form must be submitted.

Additional Information

Climate: June through October is Kenya’s long dry season, it generally does not rain, and when it does it may just be a mere thunderstorm that will not last long or disrupt our activities. It is cloudy and cool with daytime temperatures ranging between the 16° and 27° excellent for walking, cooling down to 10° or lower at night time.

Difficulty: This is a walking safari, and we will hike on average seven to ten miles (11 – 16 kilometres) each day across country that is generally flat. An average to good level of fitness is required. We recommend that you undertake some moderate aerobic activities (hiking, jogging, fast-walking, bicycling) for at least 30 minutes a session three or four times a week for at least a month before you come.

Accommodation: For your night’s accommodation in Nairobi we can suggest quaint, small, family-run hotels outside the city centre, to avoid the traffic, hustle and bustle of Nairobi. On safari, we sleep on beds in well-ventilated, fully netted, 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 and shower tents are set up close to your sleeping tent, the water for the showers is heated and the toilet tent has a sit-down pit toilet.

Booking and payment details: Once you have decided to join this safari, you will need to contact us for a booking form, which will include details relating to deposit and final payments etc. As our groups are small they fill up quickly.

Client Testimonials

See this blog post to find out what others have had to say about this trip or read our blog from guide, Iain Allan here.

Gratuities

It is recommended that each person allows for US$ 250.00 for tips

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" Make a real difference for African conservation - come on safari with us. We support sustainable, ethical tourism that benefits wildlife and communities. "

Simon Espley, Africa Geographic CEO