Kenya cheetah

Budget Kenya Safari - Best National Parks Camping Tour

Tour Length8 days
Priced from pps $1990 R27126 £1539 1758 A$2807 C$2641 NZ$2952 Full pricing info
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Summary of this Camping Safari

  • Max. Group Size 7 Travellers
  • Departs from Nairobi, Kenya
  • Ends at Mombasa, Kenya
  • Accommodation Fully Serviced Camping
  • Transport Game Viewing Vehicle
  • Wildlife Big 5, Elephant, Exceptional Birding, Leopards, Lions, Migration Safari (Seasonal), Rhino & More
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Quick Itinerary Overview

Enjoy the amazing diversity of Africa's wildlife on this 8-day Kenya Camping Safari, with game drives in our custom-made 4x4 safari vehicles with pop-up roofs. Stay in small, intimate and unfenced mobile campsites either in Kenya's best parks or close to the national park boundaries.

You begin this Budget Kenya Safari in the legendary Masai Mara Game reserve. If you are on safari during the Great Migration, you may see the hundreds of herbivores braving the crocodile-infested Mara river as they travel in search of green pastures. Then our Kenya Tour takes you to experience close-up wildlife viewing and gain insights into the ecology of Lake Naivasha on a guided walking safari on Crescent Island.

View the diverse habitats and an incredible range of African wildlife in Amboseli National Park and Tsavo East National Park, where you'll see incredible volcanic rock formations, the Big Five of Africa and much more. Enjoy amazing views over the Marungu Hills after a 4-hour hike with a professional local guide before travelling to Diani Beach on the Kenyan Coast, where this Best Kenya Parks Safari finishes.

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Itinerary for this Tour

Day 1: Nairobi to Masai Mara National Reserve - Kenya

You are collected from your pre-safari accommodation in Nairobi, after which you meet your fellow travellers. Your guide for the next 8 days will give you a short briefing on what to expect during your budget African camping safari in Kenya. You set out from Nairobi in our custom 4x4 Toyota Land cruisers with pop-up roofs which allow excellent all-round views as you travel on your safari, and you are guaranteed a window seat. You will be staying in two-person tents at intimate, small camp sites during your stay, with basic camp ablutions. The camp and tents are set up by our support team, and our creative chef will be doing all the cooking, so all you have to do is enjoy the experiences that lie ahead on this wonderful wildlife safari.

Your journey ahead offers breathtaking views over the Great Rift Valley of East Africa. As you descend into the valley, the landscape flattens out as trees make way to open grasslands. You arrive in the famous Masai Mara in the early afternoon for your first African wildlife safari. You’ll never forget your first sightings of the legendary Big Five – elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhinoceros as you travel across the vast plains of the Masai Mara.

If you’ve come to the Masai Mara for the world famous Great Migration, you won’t be disappointed. The spectacle of one and a half million wildebeest, around 200 000 zebra, and half a million Thomson’s gazelles, as well as numerous other herbivores travelling along their annual circular route between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara is one of the greatest natural events on our planet.

The 1510 km2 Masai Mara shares its southern boundary with the Serengeti of Tanzania, and the herbivores cross over the Mara river from July onwards into Kenya in search of better grazing. Followed by lions, hyenas and other predators, the vast herds of migrating herbivores cross southwards again from around late October. You may be lucky enough to see a river crossing as hundreds of wildebeest, zebra, topis and gazelles brave the waters filled with waiting crocodiles during your Masai Mara safari.

In the afternoon, you arrive at your base camp just outside the borders of the park. Settle in and enjoy the feeling of being in the heart of Africa. You are served dinner under the stars, surrounded by the wilderness, and afterwards you can sit and chat around the campfire. You’ll hear the night bird's calls, and the snapping of twigs as animals move around in the African bush all around you as you go to sleep tonight, a uniquely authentic safari experience.

  • Travel: Between 5 -6 hours drive from Nairobi to Masai Mara. Distance approximately 270 km.
  • Lunch & Dinner

Day 2: Masai Mara National Reserve - Kenya

This morning you wake to your first day on safari in the African plains of the great Masai Mara. With the calls of the birds and insects all around you, and the gorgeous colours streaking the endless open skies, you’ll never forget your first morning in the wilds of Africa. After a full breakfast prepared on the campfire, you set off on your budget safari with your guide to explore all of the wonders that the Mara holds in store.

If you didn’t see all of the Big Five yesterday, keep a close watch out for the elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffalo. There is a high concentration of African lions in Masai Mara, and you may also see the black-maned lions that live here. On the plains, the zebra, antelope, hartebeest, wildebeest and gazelles graze, always under the watchful eye of the predators who hide out under cover of the long grass, or shelter high up in acacia trees.

You’ll see the beautiful Masai giraffe browsing on the shrubs and trees that line the rivers and hillsides. In the rivers, you could see hippos and crocodiles, as well as warthogs and buffalo on the river banks. You’ll be amazed at the sheer number of different birds that your guide will help you identify. From large raptors including vultures to numerous water birds, there are over 470 different bird species that you may see on your wildlife safari today.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3: Masai Mara Region to Lake Naivasha - Kenya

You leave Masai Mara this morning another delicious full breakfast prepared over the campfire. Early morning is a good time to see nocturnal wildlife heading for cover for the day. You may see civet cats or caracals on the trail of prey as you begin your journey towards Lake Naivasha. The drive takes you from the rolling hills and savannahs of the Masai Mara up into the mountains of the Kenyan Rift Valley and you arrive at the lovely Lake Naivasha after about 6 hours.

The surface area of Lake Naivasha depends on rainfall, but on average the lake is around 13 km across and is surrounded by lush swampland, where buffalo and hippos stay cool in the heat of the day. Beyond the swampland are forests of yellow-barked fever trees where you may see the delightful black and white colobus monkeys playing in the tree-tops. Your destination is Crescent Island Conservancy, a private game reserve that is either an island or a peninsula depending on the water levels of the lake. Crescent Island is separated from the mainland, so there are few predators on the island, allowing the herbivores to graze in comparative safety.

You have the opportunity to get really close to the wildlife of Crescent Island, as you take a walking safari this afternoon. Your guide is extremely knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of Crescent Island, and will give you great insights into the ecology of the area, pointing out the varied bird and wildlife. Fish eagles call from the skies above, as you gently explore the island, surrounded by the smells and sounds of the African bush. You may get close to a beautiful Masai giraffe or even come across the tiny dik-dik antelope as you walk through the papyrus and grasses of this tranquil haven.

Base camp for the night has been set up on the lake shore beside the waters of this Great Rift Valley Lake, right under the acacia trees. With a delicious dinner prepared for you, all you have to do is enjoy the magic of this special location, perhaps hearing the sounds of hippos grazing in the darkness beyond tonight’s campfire. Listen out for nocturnal African birds and animals as the sounds of the lapping water on the shores send you to sleep tonight.

  • Travel: 6.5 hours from Masai Mara to Lake Naivasha. Around 310 km.
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Guided walking safari on Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha

Day 4: Lake Naivasha to Amboseli National Park - Kenya

You wake up beside Lake Naivasha this morning and after breakfast, your journey south begins. After travelling for around five hours, you arrive at Ambesoli National Park in the afternoon.

Amboseli National Park is in Kenya’s dry land area and receives on average only 350 mm of rainfall. The dusty plains of Amboseli are broken up by lush green marshlands, fed from underground by the melt waters from the snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, some 50 km away from the park. These permanent waters and the grasses and other plants that they support attract an amazing diversity and density of wildlife.

You set off on an afternoon wildlife safari through this wonderful landscape today. A bird lovers paradise, there are over 400 species of birds including around 50 raptors in Amboseli National Park. Among the water birds, you could see kingfishers, egrets, black-winged stilts and white pelicans. Amboseli is particularly famous for its large herds of elephants, and you’ll see many of them enjoying the waters of the marshlands, as you safari in this watery wilderness.

From our base camp inside Amboseli National Park, you can enjoy exceptional views over the plains of the park. Mount Kilimanjaro is a constant backdrop, its glaciers dazzling white as the snow and ice reflect the bright African sun. Relax over dinner and enjoy the wonderful display of stars in the endless, open skies.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Travel: 6 hours from Lake Naivasha to Amboseli National Park. Approximately 330 km.
  • Guided afternoon wildlife safari drive

Day 5: Amboseli National Park - Kenya

Waking up to the incredible view of Mount Kili’s snow caps this morning, you set out early, with a whole day of wildlife encounters ahead of you. You can hope to see lion, leopard, elephants and buffalo in Amboseli today.

From Observation Hill you take in views of the wide expanses of the swamplands teeming with wildlife including hippos, buffalo and elephants. There’s very little vegetation in Amboseli aside from the swamplands, which makes it very easy to view the wildlife here. Your guide will take you to see the mostly dried up Lake Amboseli, the dusty, arid landscape an amazing contrast to the brilliant greens of the marshlands. In the acacia woodlands of the Amboseli, you’ll see impala and Masai giraffe browsing, and elephants also gather here in the heat of the day.

On the plains of Amboseli, you’ll see thousands zebra and Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles, as well as wildebeest, and large land birds like the secretary bird and ostrich. With open landscapes and gazelle to bring down, you could see a cheetah on the hunt. Spotted hyena, lion and jackals are always nearby where large herbivores are roaming, and you have a good chance of big cat sightings in this extraordinary national park.

After a beautiful sunset over the never-ending horizon of Amboseli, relax and chat about the day with your fellow travellers. Enjoy another night around the campfire, deep in the endless African bush. Listen out for eerie sounds of the hyenas, and the beautiful call of the nightjars in tonight’s nighttime concert, as you drift off into sleep...

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Full day guided wildlife safari drive

Day 6: Amboseli National Park to Tsavo East National Park - Kenya

Today you leave the magnificent landscapes of Amboseli behind as you journey south-east towards the Tsavo East National park, which forms part of the 22 000 km2 Tsavo National Park, one of the world’s largest wildlife reserves.

Tsavo East National Park is an area of exceptional biodiversity and beauty. The park covers over 11500 km2, with spectacular landforms caused by volcanic activity, and a rich variety of habitats for over 500 bird species and a great many mammals and reptiles. The open dry grasslands in the south contrast strongly with the thick Acacia-Commiphora woodland in the north where you’ll see giraffes browsing, with riverine forest of acacia and palm along the rivers. The Galana River runs through the park and is a good place to see dik-diks, waterbucks and kudus which gather here gather. On the plains, the gazelle, impala, klipspringer, duikers and plains and Grevy’s zebras are preyed upon by spotted and striped hyenas, jackals, leopard, African hunting dogs, and leopards. You could also see any of six different mongoose species, standing to attention in the long grasses. Tsavo is also known for its large herds of ‘red’ elephants – so named after the iron-rich red volcanic dust that the elephants cover themselves.

Mudanda rock is an imposing 1.6 km rocky outcrop, and from this outlook, you’ll have excellent views of the hippos and crocodiles in the natural dam below. Elephants, giraffe, and numerous herbivores refresh themselves here. You could also see warthog and marsh mongoose and clawless otters enjoying themselves in the waters or on the shore. Tsavo East National Park has a unique population of mane-less male lions. The male lions of Tsavo also protect unusually large groups of female lions. You can particularly hope to see these groups of Tsavo lions gathered around the Aruba dam and the Kanderi swamp, or lazing in the sun on one of the many kopjes in the park.

You’ll be astounded at the Yatta Plateau volcanic formation. Measuring 290 km in length, this is the world’s longest lava flow and was created by lava flowing from Ol Doinyo Sabuk Mountain. There are seasonal pools and swamps along the length of the plateau in the wet season, as well as thick bush and from the top, you can experience amazing views of the park, with Mount Kilimanjaro standing sentinel to the west.

After your afternoon absorbing the wonders of Tsavo East National Park, relax and freshen up. Enjoy a relaxed dinner and fireside drinks with your group before you fall asleep in the darkness that teems with wildlife all around you, your mind full of the extraordinary sightings of the day.

  • Travel: Approximately 3 hours from Amboseli to Tsavo East National Park. Around 200 km.
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Afternoon guided wildlife safari drive

Day 7: Tsavo East National Park to Tsavo Conservancy - Kenya

This morning you set off on your second wildlife safari drive inside Tsavo East National Park after a delicious camp breakfast. In the early morning light, keep a close watch out for aardwolf, civet cats, bat-eared foxes and pangolins and porcupines making their way home after the night’s adventures. Look up into the boughs of the trees, and you may see a leopard or a caracal resting up after a successful night on the prowl.

You can expect to see more of the magnificent red elephant herds of Tsavo East today. You may even have the treat of seeing them powdering themselves in the iron-rich red soil that they use to shelter their skin from the sun and insect pests. Enjoy watching out for your last sightings of the rest of the Big Five in Tsavo East National Park, and keep your eyes open for the amazing birdlife too.

You arrive in the Tsavo Conservancy in the afternoon. This is a vital wildlife corridor joining the Tsavo East and West National Parks, allowing the migratory animals to move freely between the two. If you are visiting during the dry season, you can expect to see elephants, giraffes, and other herbivores on the move through the conservancy towards the west, where there are more permanent bodies of water.

You have a few hours to just relax in the camp before you enjoy your last authentic safari dinner in the wide expanses of the African bush. After dinner, you can sit around the campfire under the endless canopy of the star-studded African skies. As you lie in your tent, enjoy every sound of the nighttime concert that surrounds you, as this is your last night away from it all.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8: Tsavo Conservancy to Diani Beach - Kenya

You have a wonderful experience in store this morning after breakfast. A local Tsavo Conservancy guide leads you on an easy 4 hour walking safari into the Marungu Hills. On the journey, you are completely immersed in the smells and sounds of the African bush. You’ll see termites and dung beetles, and hear the rustle of small wildlife bustling around in the grasses and thorn scrub, as your guide shares detailed local knowledge with you about the fauna and flora that make up the local ecology.

At the summit, you will enjoy the magnificent views over the Marungu Hills and the plains beyond. You’ll see birds of prey circling the skies as they hunt, and herbivores grazing in the distance, and you may even have a close-up encounter with some small wildlife as you gently make your way through the bush.

After your hike, you board your land cruiser for the journey to Diani Beach. Enjoy the wonderful changes in landscape on your drive as the dry grasslands and red soils of the plains make way to lush, green forested hills where monkeys play in the canopies. Then begins the descent to the beautiful blue seas and dazzling white sands of the Kenyan coast. Your guide will take you to your outgoing accommodation when you can take your leave of your fellow tour members and guide.

Please note: If you would like to fly out from Mombasa airport on the last day of your safari, please contact African Budget Safaris before booking your flight.

  • Travel: Approximately 3 hours from Tsavo to Diani Beach.
  • 4-hour hike in Marungu Hills
  • Breakfast & Lunch

Please note:

You will overnight in basic campsites inside the national parks or on the outskirts thereof. Wherever possible, we select small, intimate campsites for our guests. You sleep in a spacious two-man dome tent (2.1 x 2.1 m) equipped with mosquito nets and comfortable 5 cm thick sleeping mats. The back-up team will do all of the setting up on the safari. Basic communal ablution facilities can be found at all campsites. You should bring your own sleeping bag or enquire from us about hiring one.

You will travel in a custom 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser, which has been designed to conquer the ever-demanding road conditions in East Africa. All vehicles have pop-up roofs which can be opened during game drives. A window seat is guaranteed for each traveller.

This Kenya Camping Safari Adventure can be booked on a private basis on any day of the year. For pricing details, please contact us at African Budget Safaris.

Child Policy

This tour does take children.

There is no official age limit. However, we don’t encourage parents with children under the age of 8 to join a camping safari due to the lengthy drives and the fact that nights are spent in unfenced campsites. Please keep in mind that the responsibility for each child lies with you as a parent at all times.

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+Where does the tour go to?
+Included in the Tour Price
  • Camping safari as per the itinerary
  • Transport in a 4×4 safari vehicle with pop-up roof and window seat
  • Professional, English-speaking guide
  • Professional, English-speaking cook
  • Overnight stays in safari tents
  • Camping equipment (tents, sleeping mats, chairs, tables etc.)
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • Mineral water
  • Activities as per the itinerary
  • All national park fees
  • Flying Doctors Insurance (AMREF) during the safari
+Not Included in the Tour Price
  • Sleeping bag
  • Flights
  • Optional activities
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Tips
  • Visa fees
  • Spending money for souvenirs etc.
  • Travel insurance
+Departure Dates

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