Kenya: In the Footsteps of Elsa

Kenya - in the footsteps of Elsa

Kenya: In the Footsteps of Elsa

On your Kenya safari you’ll follow in the footsteps of Elsa, the lioness made famous by Joy Adamson’s book ‘Born Free’. If you want to venture off the regular tourist route with exceptional safari guides, and experience wildlife conservation first-hand – this safari is for you! The private conservancies we stay in provide an important dispersal area for wildlife moving out of the national parks and game reserves, as well as employment and support for local communities. You’ll enjoy the best possible game viewing in open 4×4 safari vehicles, off the beaten track and well away from the masses of tourist vans and minibuses in the National Parks. You’ll explore the African wilderness and track animal footprints on guided walks with Maasai warriors. Experience amazing game drives and guided walks and then relax in the comfort of our superb safari camps. 


Our award-winning camp is set within a private community-owned conservancy adjacent to Amboseli National Park.  You’ll visit an authentic Maasai village, home to many of our camp staff, and experience night game drives and guided walks in exclusive wilderness areas. These activities are not permitted in National Parks. Selenkay was the first private conservancy in Kenya and is now home to over 300 elephants, lions, gerenuks and an abundance of other wildlife – a true success story for conservation and local communities.

Ol Pejeta

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is situated between the foothills of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares mountain range. It has over 10,000 large mammals and it is the only park where the big 5 and chimpanzees can be seen. It is also home to the fastest growing population of rhino in Africa. There are southern white rhino, about 80 endangered black rhino and, in a special sanctuary, the last two northern white rhino in the world. Also in the Conservancy is the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee  Sanctuary which was established in 1993 by The Jane Goodall Institute and Kenyan Wildlife Services as a refuge for rescued chimpanzees. It is the only place in Kenya where non-indigenous chimpanzees can be seen.

Meru National Park

Meru, in remote northern Kenya, is perfect for lovers of remote places: much of the park has no roads and there are certainly no minibus queues for a lion sighting. UNESCO describes it as “one of the remaining true wilderness areas in Kenya, and the world”.  This is where Joy Adamson raised her pet lioness “Elsa”, the subject of her best-selling book ‘Born Free’. The Park doesn’t attract large numbers of visitors, so it is ideal for safari enthusiasts who want to enjoy a quieter but exceptionally good wildlife experience. As well as the ‘Big 5’ game here includes rare Grevy’s zebra and lesser kudu, huge herds of buffalo and a rhino sanctuary.

Masai Mara

Our award-winning camp is situated in a private wildlife conservancy adjacent to the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve. You’ll have a day in the Reserve to see the incredible sight of millions of wildebeest and zebra migrating from the Serengeti in search of fresh grazing and water. Game viewing within the conservancy is spectacular with an abundance of big cats, giraffe, elephants, gazelles and much more.

Maximum group size will be just 8 participants on this exclusive ‘safari in comfort’. 

Escorted from Nairobi, Kenya by African Encounters director Karen Platzer and professional local guides.

On your Kenya: In the Footsteps of Elsa safari you will fly between camps to avoid long drives on very rough roads, and experience day and night game drives in 4×4 safari vehicles and bush walks with Maasai guides for the ultimate African adventure.

Starts: Nairobi, Kenya    Ends: Nairobi, Kenya

Optional extension: End your incredible safari In the Footsteps of Elsa with four relaxing days on the beautiful Kenya Coast!


Day 1: Independent arrival in Nairobi and transfer to your very comfortable tented camp in Nairobi National Park.

Day 2: Meet your baby elephant at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi. African Encounters takes out a personal 12-month sponsorship of one of these orphaned babies for every booking on this safari. You’ll also enjoy close encounters with endangered Rothschild giraffe at the Giraffe Centre and visit a local community project.

Days 3 – 5: Amboseli, Kenya. Spend 3 days exploring the abundant wildlife and landscapes in our private conservancy, and a day trip into Amboseli National Park.

Days 6 – 8: Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Laikipia, Kenya. With the largest population of endangered black rhinos in East Africa and a sanctuary for rescued chimpanzees Ol Pejeta is definitely worth a visit.

Days 9 – 11 Meru National Park, northern Kenya, where George and Joy Adamson raised the orphaned lion cub Elsa, is one of Kenya’s last true wilderness areas.

Days 12 – 14: Masai Mara, Kenya. You’ll spend 3 days exploring our private conservancies with their profusion of wildlife, and no other vehicles in sight, as well as a day trip into the famous Masai Mara National Park.

Day 15: Depart Nairobi, or join our Kenya Coast extension

Tour includes

  • Quality accommodation in luxury tented camps in private conservancies.
  • 12 month fostering of an orphaned baby elephant at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
  • Visit Nairobi’s Giraffe Centre, a sanctuary for the endangered Rothschild giraffe
  • Meals and drinks as per itinerary.
  • Traditional Maasai village visit.
  • Remote Meru National Park, home to Elsa the lioness from Born Free
  • All transport as per itinerary.
  • Internal flights as per itinerary.
  • All park and conservancy fees.
  • Game drives in open 4×4 vehicles.
  • Sundowners, guided walks and night game drives.
  • Qualified and knowledgeable safari guides.
  • Arrival and departure transfers.
  • This African Encounters Signature Safari will be personally escorted from Nairobi by company founder and director Karen Platzer for groups of 4 or more participants. For groups smaller than 4 people the tour will be guided by qualified local guides.

Not included

  • International airfares.
  • Travel insurance (mandatory).
  • Tips and gratuities. Your guide will run a tip kitty on request.

Extensions available

Kenya Coast

Kenya Coast

The Kenya Coast is the perfect place to relax for a few days after your amazing Kenya safari. Enjoy a morning walk on the white sands of beautiful Diani Beach, enjoy...

What our clients have to say...

“Karen at African Encounters has done it again! Botswana in 2016 was a wonderful safari experience which encouraged me to join her in Kenya in 2017. What a fabulous time our small group had. We met marvellous people, saw wonderful animals and stayed in great locations. Again, a trip beyond expectations. I can’t wait to go again!”

Jenny Anderson, Napier

At a glance

  • Destination(s)

  • Tour Pricing

    Priced from: NZD14,570.00 per person
  • Travel Date(s)

    3 Mar 2020 - 17 Mar 2020
  • Tour Length

    15 days
  • Tour Highlights

    • Meet your foster baby elephant at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi.
    • Avoid the crowds by staying in small exclusive tented camps in private conservancies.
    • Explore remote Meru National Park, the home of Elsa, the lioness made famous in the award-winning movie BORN FREE and the best selling book written by Joy Adamson.
    • Each camp has just 6 or 7 tents with comfortable beds and en-suite bathrooms.
    • Game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles, perfect for wildlife viewing and photography.
    • Enjoy walks with Maasai guides, village visits, night game drives, picnics & sundowners.
    • Experience incredible wildlife encounters with no other vehicles around!
    • Fly between camps to avoid long drives on very rough roads – spend more time with the animals!
    • Escorted from Nairobi, Kenya, by African Encounters director Karen Platzer and qualified local guides*

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