This unique safari journeys to the places at the heart of Born Free’s rich history and current works. The captivating story of Elsa the lioness as told by Joy Adamson – and later in the movie Born Free – changed the world’s view of wild animals and conservation, and here you’ll have the extraordinary opportunity to experience it for yourself. What's more, you’ll be contributing directly to the Born Free Foundation.
• Shaba: 1 night
• Meru: 2 nights
• Nairobi: 1 night
• Amboseli: 2 nights
Safari Itinerary - 7 nights
Day 1: UK to Nairobi Depart the UK on your overnight flight to Nairobi.
Day 2: Nairobi to Shaba On arrival in Nairobi, you’ll waste no time in heading straight for Born Free territory. A six-hour drive will transport you to Shaba National Park – a small lesser-visited reserve in the north of the country, and the place where Joy Adamson – conservationist and author of Born Free – lived a fascinating life. En route, you’ll have lunch at the Trout Tree Restaurant near Mount Kenya for an interesting dining experience within and around a huge fig tree! Once you arrive in Shaba, you’ll embark on a game drive towards the elegant oasis of Joy’s Camp. Shaba is dry country, similar to nearby Samburu, and wildlife here includes the Grevy’s zebra and gerenuk, as well as abundant birdlife. With just ten tents, Joy’s Camp overlooks a natural spring and is built on the site of Joy Adamson’s tented home. This is the area where Joy reintroduced Penny the leopard into the wild and where she lived for many years until her death in 1980; there’s a small gallery here telling her life story. An esteemed Elewana-managed property, the camp is environmentally aware and works with the local community to share with its guests the secrets of a wild, forgotten area; and for Adamson admirers and Born Free fans, it’s a place full of romance and nostalgia. Stay: Joy’s Camp. L, D.
Day 3: Shaba to Meru Head out on an early game drive in the Shaba National Reserve before returning to the camp for breakfast. A mid-morning game drive provides another opportunity to see the reserve’s fascinating landscapes. After lunch, continue to Meru National Park, the historic home of Elsa the lioness. It was here that Joy and George Adamson returned Elsa to the wild. Encounter a true wilderness experience on a private game drive through the park’s diverse landscape dominated by huge baobab trees. This little-visited and unspoilt park is also home to the exclusive Elsa’s Kopje – an elegant and secluded safari lodge with spectacular views. Opened by Virginia McKenna in 1999, this eco-friendly lodge is sculpted into the hill above George Adamson’s first campsite – the place where he raised and released orphaned lions. Stay: Elsa’s Kopje. B, L, D.
Day 4: Meru Enjoy a traditional bush breakfast arranged by the lodge. Explore this beautiful park further on three game drives, during which you may spot black rhino, cheetah, leopard and rare antelope amongst other African wildlife. You will also make a visit to the site of Elsa’s grave. Stay: Elsa’s Kopje. B, L, D.
Day 5: Meru to Nairobi After an early breakfast at the lodge, begin the seven-hour drive to Nairobi with a picnic lunch en route, arriving late afternoon. Here you’ll have the rest of the day and evening at leisure, giving you the chance to relax in the comfortable Nairobi Serena Hotel and the choice of dining at the hotel or venturing out to a local restaurant. Stay: Nairobi Serena Hotel. B, L.
Day 6: Nairobi to Amboseli Today take a leisurely breakfast before being met by a Born Free representative to accompany your visit to the world-famous Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Spend some time with the elephants as they are fed by staff, who are also on hand to answer any questions and talk about their experiences with these rescued baby elephants. Having visited historic properties central to the Born Free story over the last few days, enjoy lunch before moving on to the second part of the itinerary to see the Foundation’s current work in action. After lunch at Pampa Grill, travel on to Amboseli National Park, where a game drive en route to Ol Tukai Lodge provides the opportunity to spot large herds of elephant, cheetah and buffalo against the dramatic backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro. Ol Tukai Lodge has some of the best views of Mount Kilimanjaro, plus chalet-style rooms and an open-air bar. Stay: Ol Tukai Lodge. B, L, D.
Day 7: Amboseli After breakfast, visit the Amboseli Elephant Research Project (AERP); the research arm of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE). Born Free provides funding for the AERP through the elephant adoption packages that it sells. A short talk from an AERP representative will explain the work of the trust as well as the research projects being undertaken. As a result of their work, the park’s 1,500 elephants are amongst the most studied large mammal population in the world, with the knowledge gained helping to conserve them, the park and the surrounding ecosystems. This afternoon, visit Ol Moti School, supported by Born Free (you may like to bring small gifts for the children such as pens and books). Funds raised so far have enabled the school to expand from just 74 children in 2004 to educating more than 365 children today, with new dormitories, classrooms and toilets. Stay: Ol Tukai Lodge. B, L, D.
Day 8: Amboseli to Nairobi This morning you’ll visit one of the lion-proof Maasai bomas created by Born Free in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service. Amboseli is a region of high human-wildlife conflict, with lions destroying livestock, and the local community destroying the lions in return. Typically, Kenyan livestock is held in enclosures made of thorn bushes. The problem with these enclosures is that lions can find a way through the bushes and are then able to drag out cattle and goats to feed on. The difference with a lion-proof boma is that it is constructed of chain fences around the homestead, enclosing the families and their livestock. The thick mesh is able to prevent night-time attacks from lions on the hunt and, so far, this method – piloted in Amboseli – has proved to be 100% lion proof. Return to Nairobi with a picnic lunch en route, and enjoy the comfort of a day room at the Eka Hotel before your return flight to the UK, arriving the following day. B, L.
Kuoni & the Born Free Foundation
The Born Free Foundation was established by husband and wife actors, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, who were inspired by their time in Kenya making the big screen adaptation of conservationist Joy Adamson’s best-selling book, Born Free. Joy’s book (and the subsequent film) was a real-life tale of her and husband George’s magical relationship with Elsa, an orphaned lioness that was hand-reared and then re-released back into the Kenyan bush. Kuoni has a long-standing relationship with Born Free – it’s been one of our chosen charities for over ten years and we support a number of its projects. Born Free helps fight the plight of wild animal suffering worldwide, and it needs to raise at least £3 million each year to fund its causes. Born Free believes that wildlife belongs in the wild, and we do too.
Zanzibar 5 nights
The exotic ‘spice island’ of Zanzibar has all the ingredients for a relaxing end to your Africa experience: dazzling white sands, clear waters perfect for underwater adventures, and a fascinating UNESCO-listed capital.
Zanzibar 5 nights All Inclusive
Opt for All Inclusive in Zanzibar for a completely relaxed, stress-free experience with your drinks and dining taken care of.