There are just six villas at Saruni Samburu. © Saruni

Kenya | Northern Wilds, Rhino Tracking & Great Wildebeest Migration | 7 Nights

Luxury is in the heart of the beholder, and a luxury Kenya safari is about more than sinking into soft cushions. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in landscapes, conservation initiatives and the lives of local people. Living in the moment makes more much sense when each one is breathtaking.

Two nights at Saruni Samburu

Despite the angle at which Lepayon cajoled his vehicle up the rocky slope to Saruni Samburu, we still weren’t prepared for the view that greeted us. Immediately in front of the lodge, the ground fell away precipitously to the valley floor, where a reticulated giraffe was drinking at the waterhole. After a delicious afternoon tea, we opted to descend again immediately for our afternoon game drive, with our first sighting of Grévy’s zebra proving to be the highlight. Rather than returning to the lodge for dinner, Lepayon drove us to a dry riverbed, where campfire flames and Samburu voices rose to the stars.Over breakfast, the youngest of our fellow guests regaled us with tales from their Warriors Academy bush skills course. Their enthusiasm was infectious, but we’d set our sights even higher than their jumps. The sound of the rotors echoed from the rocks as we took off on our helicopter safari, and gazed down on the astonishing vista spread out beneath us. The snow-capped peak of Mount Kenya appeared briefly, and we looked out over a tawny landscape dotted with knots of antelope and traditional Samburu villages as we made our way towards our picnic on the summit of Ololokwe, the sacred mountain.

Despite the angle at which Lepayon cajoled his vehicle up the rocky slope to Saruni Samburu, we still weren’t prepared for the view that greeted us. Immediately in front of the lodge, the ground fell away precipitously to the valley floor, where a reticulated giraffe was drinking at the waterhole. After a delicious afternoon tea, we opted to descend again immediately for our afternoon game drive, with our first sighting of Grévy’s zebra proving to be the highlight. Rather than returning to the lodge for dinner, Lepayon drove us to a dry riverbed, where campfire flames and Samburu voices rose to the stars.

Over breakfast, the youngest of our fellow guests regaled us with tales from their Warriors Academy bush skills course. Their enthusiasm was infectious, but we’d set our sights even higher than their jumps. The sound of the rotors echoed from the rocks as we took off on our helicopter safari, and gazed down on the astonishing vista spread out beneath us. The snow-capped peak of Mount Kenya appeared briefly, and we looked out over a tawny landscape dotted with knots of antelope and traditional Samburu villages as we made our way towards our picnic on the summit of Ololokwe, the sacred mountain.

Two nights at Saruni Rhino

Just over two hours after we left Saruni Samburu, we arrived on the banks of a dry riverbed in the Sera Community Conservancy, where Saruni Rhino appeared like an oasis among doum palm trees.As the midday heat began to dissipate, we headed out with Lepayon to make a tour of the local watering holes. Rather like we might on a Friday evening back home, but this was an infinitely more magical experience. At the first of them, two wary gerenuk looked up as we approached, and water droplets shone in the light. As we watched, the first wave of chirruping sand grouse came in to land, and shuffled to the water’s edge to soak up water in their feathers for delivery to their thirsty chicks. Nothing could disturb the wonder of this scene for us.We’d seen black rhino previously, but never had the chance to track them on foot. Their tetchy reputation preceded but also exceeded them – the young bull we caught up with was more slouch than grouch, and in no hurry to leave his patch of shade. Truth be told, neither were we – after the Sera ranger had used the GPS tracker to locate the rhino, we were enthralled to be so close to such a rare and ancient-looking creature, and we swelled with pride when the ranger explained that by coming here, we were also deterring any would-be poachers – so our rhino could sleep easy.

Just over two hours after we left Saruni Samburu, we arrived on the banks of a dry riverbed in the Sera Community Conservancy, where Saruni Rhino appeared like an oasis among doum palm trees.

As the midday heat began to dissipate, we headed out with Lepayon to make a tour of the local watering holes. Rather like we might on a Friday evening back home, but this was an infinitely more magical experience. At the first of them, two wary gerenuk looked up as we approached, and water droplets shone in the light. As we watched, the first wave of chirruping sand grouse came in to land, and shuffled to the water’s edge to soak up water in their feathers for delivery to their thirsty chicks. Nothing could disturb the wonder of this scene for us.

We’d seen black rhino previously, but never had the chance to track them on foot. Their tetchy reputation preceded but also exceeded them – the young bull we caught up with was more slouch than grouch, and in no hurry to leave his patch of shade. Truth be told, neither were we – after the Sera ranger had used the GPS tracker to locate the rhino, we were enthralled to be so close to such a rare and ancient-looking creature, and we swelled with pride when the ranger explained that by coming here, we were also deterring any would-be poachers – so our rhino could sleep easy.

Three nights at Saruni Mara

Our light aircraft flight not only took us from one end of Kenya to the other, but from one incredible ecosystem to an entirely different one, with the bald mountains of Samburu giving way to the rolling grasslands and koppies of the Masai Mara.Staying at Saruni Mara in the Mara North Conservancy was the perfect solution to our desire to be close to the Great Wildebeest Migration without having to share the experience with too many other people. From our secluded valley, we could head into the wooded hills, or venture out onto the plains, which, as we’d seen from the air, were already covered in game. The migration had arrived, and our guide Jackson knew just where to head on our first game drive to introduce us to a few thousand new friends – although we found that telling them apart was problematic.The prospect of a hot-air balloon ride over the plains was tempting, but we ultimately decided to keep that for our next visit. With the wildebeest massing for a river crossing, we didn’t want to miss a moment of the action on the ground. The tension was palpable as more and more antelope pressed together above the water, and eventually several plucked up the courage to leap in. As they splashed across in safety, the floodgates opened and hundreds more followed. We sat spellbound, our picnic (delivered from the lodge so we wouldn’t have to miss a thing) temporarily forgotten.Jackson proposed that we spend the day within the conservancy, as he had something special he wanted to show us. As we drove up into the hills, he consulted the paw prints in the road and told us that he’d recently seen a leopard with a new cub. He stopped well short of the den, so as not to draw attention to it, and we settled down to wait. It was worth it, even though we only saw the ball of spotted fluff with big blue eyes for a few seconds as it peeked out from under a log, looking for its mother.

Our light aircraft flight not only took us from one end of Kenya to the other, but from one incredible ecosystem to an entirely different one, with the bald mountains of Samburu giving way to the rolling grasslands and koppies of the Masai Mara.

Staying at Saruni Mara in the Mara North Conservancy was the perfect solution to our desire to be close to the Great Wildebeest Migration without having to share the experience with too many other people. From our secluded valley, we could head into the wooded hills, or venture out onto the plains, which, as we’d seen from the air, were already covered in game. The migration had arrived, and our guide Jackson knew just where to head on our first game drive to introduce us to a few thousand new friends – although we found that telling them apart was problematic.

The prospect of a hot-air balloon ride over the plains was tempting, but we ultimately decided to keep that for our next visit. With the wildebeest massing for a river crossing, we didn’t want to miss a moment of the action on the ground. The tension was palpable as more and more antelope pressed together above the water, and eventually several plucked up the courage to leap in. As they splashed across in safety, the floodgates opened and hundreds more followed. We sat spellbound, our picnic (delivered from the lodge so we wouldn’t have to miss a thing) temporarily forgotten.

Jackson proposed that we spend the day within the conservancy, as he had something special he wanted to show us. As we drove up into the hills, he consulted the paw prints in the road and told us that he’d recently seen a leopard with a new cub. He stopped well short of the den, so as not to draw attention to it, and we settled down to wait. It was worth it, even though we only saw the ball of spotted fluff with big blue eyes for a few seconds as it peeked out from under a log, looking for its mother.

What sets it apart

Each of the three lodges we stayed at on our luxury Kenya safari had its own unique character – a blend of location, sympathetic architecture, and the warm hospitality provided by the staff at each of them.We loved the fact that our activities were led by warriors, and yet a deep sense of peace pervaded our entire experience. We soon felt ourselves completely in tune with the rhythms of Kenya, and realised that while other itineraries might be more like a greatest-hits compilation, we were getting to listen to an entire album, and appreciate the B-sides as well as the crowd-pleasers.Ending in the Masai Mara gave us an opportunity to rub shoulders with the Great Wildebeest Migration, and we couldn’t help remarking on the fact that we had gone there in search of tens of thousands of animals, whereas at Saruni Rhino we had been looking for one of fewer than a dozen.We loved how each lodge was entirely appropriate for its particular setting, and yet stood out in unexpected ways: the delicious Italian-inspired food at all three was a surprise, and countless small details made us feel welcome, whether on arrival or returning from watching a river crossing or tracking rhino on foot.Kenya is a country of immense contrasts and wonderful surprises, and yet certain themes ran through our entire safari – not least a growing conviction that by being here, we were helping to conserve for tomorrow, what we were enjoying today.

Each of the three lodges we stayed at on our luxury Kenya safari had its own unique character – a blend of location, sympathetic architecture, and the warm hospitality provided by the staff at each of them.

We loved the fact that our activities were led by warriors, and yet a deep sense of peace pervaded our entire experience. We soon felt ourselves completely in tune with the rhythms of Kenya, and realised that while other itineraries might be more like a greatest-hits compilation, we were getting to listen to an entire album, and appreciate the B-sides as well as the crowd-pleasers.

Ending in the Masai Mara gave us an opportunity to rub shoulders with the Great Wildebeest Migration, and we couldn’t help remarking on the fact that we had gone there in search of tens of thousands of animals, whereas at Saruni Rhino we had been looking for one of fewer than a dozen.

We loved how each lodge was entirely appropriate for its particular setting, and yet stood out in unexpected ways: the delicious Italian-inspired food at all three was a surprise, and countless small details made us feel welcome, whether on arrival or returning from watching a river crossing or tracking rhino on foot.

Kenya is a country of immense contrasts and wonderful surprises, and yet certain themes ran through our entire safari – not least a growing conviction that by being here, we were helping to conserve for tomorrow, what we were enjoying today.

DAY 1–2

Elephant are plentiful in the northern Kenya, and you’ll likely see them on your game drives from Saruni Samburu. © Saruni

You’ll be met as you disembark from your international flight at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, and assisted through customs and immigration. Following a private transfer to Wilson Airport, you’ll take a scheduled light aircraft flight to Samburu National Reserve. You’ll then take a transfer to Saruni Samburu, where you’ll spend two nights.

DAY 3–4

Saruni Rhino faces onto the dry Kauro lugga (riverbed). © Saruni

A transfer will take you from Saruni Samburu to Saruni Rhino, where you’ll spend two nights.

DAY 5–7

The deck of the honeymoon suite at Saruni Mara is ideal for private dinners with your love. © Saruni Mara

After a transfer from Saruni Rhino to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to the Masai Mara. A transfer will take you to Saruni Mara, where you’ll spend three nights.

DAY 8

Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya.

After a transfer from Saruni Mara to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light aircraft flight to Wilson Airport in Nairobi. A private transfer will take you to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where you’ll be assisted through check-in for your international flight.

  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, taking into account when you’d like to travel, how long you’d like to be away for, who you’d be travelling with, what safari lodge style you’d prefer, and more.
  • This luxury safari trip idea is simply to show you what’s possible. To see what this type of safari costs, and what’s generally included, click hereFor a general overview of African safari prices, you can click through to our blog.
  • We also offer a curated selection of Kenya safari packages, wrapped and priced for your convenience, click here to explore them.

Get an expertly planned safari trip proposal

Find your inspiration | Leave the dull parts to us

Enquire Now

Looking for inspiration?

Sign up for our occasional newsletter and we’ll feed your imagination with exciting safari ideas.

SAVE YOUR SAFARI INSPIRATION ♡

Create a personalised storyboard for your African safari.

When you see something you love, simply click on its ♡ icon and it will be added to your MY CANVAS page.

Access your shortlist at any time by clicking on MY CANVAS in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Got It!

Get an expertly planned safari trip proposal

Enquire Now

Want to get in touch?

Contact Us

Creating your canvas!

By clicking on the heart, you’ve just added your first safari item to your canvas, which is where you can curate your personal collection of luxury safari inspiration. View and save your canvas by clicking here, and you'll be able to access it at any time by tapping on the heart icon in the menu bar.

Got it