Easter holidays, Eid, May Day, Kenyatta Day – there are plenty of long weekends throughout the year and if you live in Nairobi you might be wondering how to spend a four-day weekend. This article will give you four ideas of how to spend a long weekend and explore Kenya beyond Nairobi’s city limits.
1. Lumo and Amboseli
Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary lies adjacent to Tsavo West National Park and offers stunning sunset views of Mt Kilimanjaro. It’s about a seven-hour drive from Nairobi so you can arrive in time for a late afternoon game drive on your way to your accommodation. The next day, spend the full day searching for leopards around the rocky outcrops and wonder at the red elephants that inhabit the sanctuary. The shy Lesser Kudu is prevalent and many birds can be seen. Depart early the following morning for Amboseli National Park where you can again enjoy a late afternoon game drive to your accommodation in the middle of the park. Wake up to sunrise views of Mt Kilimanjaro as you head out for a morning game drive before making your way back to Nairobi. Alternatively you could swap Lumo for Tsavo West.
2. Maasai Mara and Lake Nakuru
Depart Nairobi early for the famous Maasai Mara, where you can go for an afternoon game drive after lunch. Spend the whole next day game driving including a visit to the hippo pool and seeking out the lions that became famous through the BBC’s Big Cat Diary. There are opportunities to go for a hot air balloon flight at dawn, visit a Maasai village or walk with the Maasai up to the escarpment for stunning views over the reserve. On the third day drive to Lake Nakuru National Park, where you can find accommodation inside the park. Evening and morning game drives provide opportunities to see rhinos and Rothschild giraffes before returning to Nairobi. This itinerary could be just as enjoyable going to Nakuru first and then to Maasai Mara.
3. Lake Naivasha and Maasai Mara
It’s a short two-hour drive to Lake Naivasha leaving you most of the day to enjoy the activities available there. You might want to cycle through Hell’s Gate National Park, hike up Mt Longonot or take a boat ride on the lake. Early the next morning you might opt to go for a walking safari at Green Crater Lake or Wileli Conservancy before heading to the Maasai Mara. An afternoon game drive can be enjoyed, followed by a full day in the park the next day. Before heading back to Nairobi on the last day, there is time for a final morning game drive and perhaps a visit to the neighbouring Maasai village. Again, this itinerary could be done in reverse – heading to Maasai Mara for two nights first and then enjoying the final night at Lake Naivasha and doing the activities on the day you return to Nairobi.
4. Lake Magadi
If you are interested in heading off the beaten track a bit and not spending so many hours driving from place to place, Lake Magadi and the surrounding area offer a different experience. This is also a fantastic trip to see the migratory birds that visit Kenya at this time of year. On the way you can hike Ngong Hills, stop at Olepolos for lunch and then stay at the Olorgesailie Pre-Historic Site for the first night. The next day continue to Magadi town and into the Lake Magadi Conservation Area where you set up camp for the second night. The hot springs are very hot if you are brave enough for a swim, otherwise you can take a walk, do some bird watching or just chill out. From Lake Magadi head to the cooler Nguruman Escarpment where you can camp not far from the town at a campsite in the wildlife corridor between Maasai Mara and Amboseli. In the morning go for a walk with the camp staff to see the wildlife and birds of the area before driving back to Nairobi.
On the first three trips, there are options to stay in lodges or to camp, while the Lake Magadi trip is camping only. You are welcome to contact OTA to discuss your weekend plans further.