An Intro to My Kenya Safari

Great Rift Valley
A safari is one of those exotic sounding vacation ideas that sounds like a wonderful fantasy trip to add to your bucket list, but that not many people take. This trip started with what sounded like a good deal on a safari pacakage from Costco Travel. Their travel department is known for having good prices on high quality packages – leaning towards 5 star hotels rather than budget accommodations – and the price they were offering on an 8 day safari to Kenya seemed too good to pass up. Rob didn’t go with me on this trip, although I wish he had, and I kept him updated with trip journals that I’ll post here with some of the photos I took on the trip.

The trip followed this schedule:
Day 0: Land in Nairobi and spend one night at the Sarova Stanley Hotel
Day 1 and 2: Drive to Shaba National Reserve and spend two nights at the Sarova Shaba Game Lodge with game drives during the day.
Day 3: Stay at the Mount Kenya Safari Club
Day 4: Drive to Lake Nakuru National Park and stay at the Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge
Day 5-7: Drive to Masai Mara National Reserve and spend three nights at the Mara Sarova Lodge, with game drives during the day.
Day 8: Return to Nairobi, get a day room at the Sarova Stanley if needed and depart Kenya.

It was a once in a lifetime trip, and while I would definitely go back if given the opportunity, I’m glad that I had at least this one chance to make it out there. Driving through Kenya was amazing, as was getting up close and personal with the wildlife. It makes me want to go out to the zoo to reconnect, yet I think that the zoo might never be the same after this.

I’m posting what is (more or less) the complete itinerary from the Costco Travel Website here for my own reference. Read through it or skip it, but this is about as much information as I had before leaving for the trip.

Kenya Rock Art

– As per Costco Travel itinerary as posted on website at the time of my return –

Vacation Includes

  • Meet and greet service upon arrival
  • All ground transportation indicated in the itinerary in deluxe air-conditioned vehicles
  • Safari transportation in a seven-seat mini-bus with a pop-up roof for excellent game viewing and photography, with a window seat for every passenger
  • One night in a Deluxe Room at The Sarova Stanley Hotel (Nairobi)
  • Two nights in a Standard Room at Sarova Shaba Game Lodge (Shaba National Reserve)
  • One night in a Fairmont Room at Mount Kenya Safari Club (Mount Kenya)
  • One night in a Standard Room at Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge (Lake Nakuru National Park)
  • Three nights in a Standard Tented Room at Mara Sarova Lodge (Masai Mara National Reserve)
  • 22 meals
  • Services of qualified English-speaking guides, drivers, rangers and trackers
  • Admission to all game parks indicated in the itinerary
  • Flying Doctors air ambulance service
  • All applicable taxes


Day 1

Upon arrival at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, you’ll be met by a Lion World Tours representative and transferred to your hotel.

The New Stanley Hotel first opened in 1902 as “The Stanley.” Throughout the years, modern Nairobi sprung up around the hotel, which, with its ideal location and vibrant atmosphere, lies in the center of the commercial business district.

The New Stanley has undergone a complete yet sympathetic refurbishment. The design concept takes on a Victorian theme, retaining the lovely, historic high ceilings and old-world charm, while incorporating every comfort and amenity for today’s traveler.

With this transformation, the hotel is now known as The Sarova Stanley Hotel.

No meals included today.

Overnight accommodations: The Sarova Stanley Hotel in a Deluxe Room

Day 2

After breakfast this morning drive north to “Born Free” country where Joy and George Adamson raised Elsa the lioness in the wild. The beautiful Shaba National Reserve, along with Buffalo Springs, is part of the area known as “Samburu.” Arrive in time for lunch at the comfortable Sarova Shaba Lodge, which is built around natural springs and offers an oasis of green in the midst of the beautiful but harshly arid landscape. The Sarova Shaba Lodge is located high above the Shaba Game Reserve, and it cleverly incorporates the beautiful natural springs as one of its special features, also offering itself as the perfect base from which to explore The Shaba Reserve.

Spend the afternoon discovering the unique wildlife of the reserve, which is famous for its elephants and lions. Return to the lodge in time to relax before dinner in the restaurant, which is raised on timbered stilts overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro River.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight accommodations: Sarova Shaba Game Lodge in a Standard Room

Day 3

Today you’ll take in an early morning and an afternoon game drive in the Samburu National Reserve, located on the banks of Kenya’s Ewaso Nyiro River. On the opposite side of the river is the Buffalo Springs National Reserve, located in Northern Kenya.

In the middle of the reserve, the Ewaso Nyiro flows through palm groves and thick riverine forests that provide essential water, without which the game in the reserve could not survive in the arid country.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight accommodations: Sarova Shaba Game Lodge in a Standard Room

Day 4

This morning you’ll depart for the Mount Kenya Safari Club, which is situated in the shadow of Kenya’s highest mountain. Enjoy lunch at this legendary resort, and then spend this afternoon at leisure to enjoy the various activities the resort has to offer.

With magnificent views of majestic Mount Kenya, the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club’s beautifully appointed guest rooms are set in more than 100 acres of landscaped gardens, and offer a unique blend of comfort, relaxation and adventure. Originally the retreat of movie star and Club founder William Holden, the Club’s illustrious former members have included Winston Churchill and Bing Crosby.

The Club offers many recreational activities, including croquet, horseback riding, a bowling green, golf and more. Please note: Activities are available for an additional cost.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight accommodations: Mount Kenya Safari Club in a Fairmont Room

Day 5

After breakfast travel via Nyahururu for Lake Nakuru National Park, famous as the home to thousands of lesser and greater flamingo. This park also provides sanctuary to Rothschild giraffe, rhino and leopard. You’ll arrive at your lodge in time for lunch, after which you’ll depart on an afternoon game drive.

Set on a plateau in an elevation above Lake Nakuru, Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge is beautifully landscaped with natural foliage and a startling variety of flower gardens. At the Flamingo Restaurant, dine inside or poolside overlooking the lodge grounds and the valley. Accommodations are chalet-style with a private shower, a mosquito net and a veranda with a panoramic view of the flamingo pink-rimmed lake.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight accommodations: Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge in a Standard Room

Day 6

After breakfast you’ll drive to the world-famous Masai Mara National Reserve. Arrive in time for lunch at the Mara Sarova Lodge, a deluxe tented camp. Mara Sarova is set in the African bush, but the tents all have permanent roofs, zip-up fronts, electricity and en suite facilities. Relaxing outside your tent, listening to the orchestra of rasping cicadas, croaking tree frogs, and the intermittent call of birds and monkeys is a memorable symphony.

Spend the afternoon on safari in Kenya’s most popular reserve. Arrive back in camp in time for a swim, a refreshing shower, campfire cocktails and dinner in the delightful central restaurant.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight accommodations: Mara Sarova Lodge in a Standard Tented Room

Day 7

Spend the entire day on safari in Africa’s richest wildlife viewing arena. Historically teeming with wildlife, the Mara hosts Kenya’s largest lion prides and elephant herds. Other predators include leopard, cheetah and spotted hyena, while in the Mara River you’ll see pods of hippo and Nile crocodiles.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight accommodations: Mara Sarova Lodge in a Standard Tented Room

Day 8

Enjoy another day of unforgettable game drives. The photo opportunities are endless as you watch for giraffe, topi, gazelle, zebra, buffalo and more than 550 species of birds.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Overnight accommodations: Mara Sarova Lodge in a Standard Tented Room

Day 9

After breakfast at the lodge bid farewell to the Masai Mara as you depart for your return journey to Nairobi. Drive back down the Great Rift Valley, passing the dormant volcano, Mount Longonot, and lakes Elmenteita and Naivasha on the way.

Transfer to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in time for your departure flight. Bid farewell to Africa until the next time.

Meals included: Breakfast

Daytime accommodations: The Sarova Stanley Hotel in a Dayroom

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Suzanne at 4:13 pm

    Would you recommend this Safari through Costco? I only see South African Safaris on their site now, do you know if this one is still available? Thank you in advance.

  2. Nic Author at 6:18 pm

    Hi Suzanne,

    I don’t know if it was a lack of interest or the political unrest in/near Kenya, but Costco may have decided to drop this particular tour. I know that their travel partner on the tour was Lion World Travel – – and they still offer the tour. I would still highly recommend it, it covered a lot of ground and was a fantastic overall trip!

  3. Suzanne at 9:03 pm

    Thank you so much for your swift response, and your endorsement that the Safari you bought through Costco was good. Really appreciate your opinion. Happy trails.

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