Ol Pejeta, Laikipia & Samburu NR, Kenya
The Heart of Kenya
£10,550 pp sharing
At a Glance
Dates: August 11th - August 21st, 2025
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £10,550 pp sharing (with a £1,750 single supplement), excluding flights.
In a sentence: Explore Kenya's spectacular centre, from the 'black panthers' of Laikipia to the desert wilderness of Samburu.
Many visitors to Kenya see only Nairobi and the Masai Mara. There's nothing wrong with this, of course, as the Mara has so much to offer! But, for those in the know, Central Kenya packs an arguably even greater punch. Boasting the highest density of predators in Kenya outside of the Mara, Ol Pejeta is perhaps best known for playing host to the world's last (putatively) northern white rhino. But the game-viewing more generally is sensational, with oddities such as aardvark and striped hyena seen regularly, alongside lion, elephant, black rhino and much more. Samburu, in many ways, couldn't be more different. Dominated by desert and punctuated only occasionally by rivers, this is a real highlight of Kenya, offering wildlife hardly ever seen elsewhere, including the 'Special Five'.
The highlight, though, must be the remotest reaches of the Laikipia Plateau. It is here that the world-famous Giza resides, a confiding melanistic leopard who has proven to be many a photographer's dream in recent years. This is also the epicentre of Kenya's fragile wild dog population, offering some of the best chances to view these iconic predators anywhere in East Africa. As if the melanistic leopards and wild dogs weren't enough, Laikipia is also replete with other game species including elephant, rhino, giraffe and meso-predators such as serval and striped hyena.
On arrival into Nairobi, you will be met by your Pictus Safaris tour leader and transferred to your comfortable local hotel. There will be a pre-tour briefing in the hotel this evening, with the remainder of your day at leisure following your long inbound flight.
After breakfast in the hotel this morning, guests are transferred to Nairobi Wilson Airport for your flight northwards towards Kenya's central highlands. On arrival at the airstrip, guests are met by the guide and private vehicle set aside for the sole use of our group and transferred to our lovely accommodation deep within the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. We should expect to encounter our first wildlife of the tour on this drive, with impala, Grant's gazelle, zebra, reticulated giraffe and much more likely to be seen. Famously, the conservancy supports the highest densities of large predators in Kenya outside of the Masai Mara, and we may even be lucky enough to spot our first big cats of the tour this morning - lion, leopard and cheetah are all regularly encountered here.
Arriving at our accommodation in time for a late lunch, guests will have a couple of hours to settle into the luxurious surrounds of our camp before we head out on the first game-drive proper of the tour. Our camp is perfectly located for exploration of the plains and woodland that dominate the conservancy. We are likely to strike into the heart of the reserve this afternoon, focussed on tracking down the prides of lion that reside here. Elephant, buffalo, giraffe, eland and much more are likely to be encountered regularly here. If very lucky, we may come across the small population of Grevy's zebra that remain in the conservancy and, as the light fades, we may be fortunate enough to come across striped hyena or serval.
We return to camp for a freshly-prepared dinner, but our day doesn't end there. The northern reaches of the conservancy are a wonderful area to spotlight after dark. Striped hyena and aardvark are relatively common here, and these quieter parts of Ol Pejeta are also the best bet for cheetah and wild dog here. These predators ar typically diurnal, but occur in small numbers in the conservancy, and nocturnal sightings are as common as daytime sightings. Following a full first day on safari, we return to camp late for some well-earned rest.
Days Three to Four
The next two full days are ours to explore Ol Pejeta in a private vehicle. Morning, evening and night drives will allow us to target particularly unusual species that seem to thrive in the conservancy, including striped hyena, serval, Grevy's zebra, beisa oryx and reticulated giraffe. The usual suspects when it comes to big game will also be present in good numbers - from elephant and buffalo to lion and black rhino. Leopard and cheetah, as well as wild dog, are present, albeit not as common as in some other protected areas. Night drives are some of the most productive in East Africa, with aardvark, striped hyena, caracal, serval and much more a good bet.
On one morning, we will make a beeline for the fringes of the park, where guests are able to come face-to-face with the last two northern white rhinos in the world. These two incredible animals were brought here from a Czech zoo and are under 24-hour armed guard - we will have the rare privilege to spend time with them on foot in their fenced-off corner of the park, and to learn more about the plight of this subspecies. Guests may also opt to visit the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, where chimpanzees from across East Africa are rehabilitated, often after rescue from the pet trade.
When not on game drives, our camp is a hugely comfortable and well-appointed space in which to relax and bird.
This morning, we bid goodbye to Ol Pejeta and transfer by road to the remotest corner of the Laikipia Plateau. Whilst our new camp is not too far from Ol Pejeta as the crow flies, this transfer will take all morning, and we will arrive at Laikipia Wilderness in time for a late lunch.
The next few days will offer perhaps the best game-viewing of the entire tour, and we hope to start with a bang this afternoon. Our private vehicle allows us to focus completely on one of our key targets, the melanistic leopard, Giza. This beautiful leopard, sometimes referred to as a 'black panther', has made headlines across the safari world in recent years, as her relaxed nature and striking looks make for incredible photographs. She can sometimes take some tracking down, but any effort will be worth it for the chance to spend some time in the presence of this delightful cat.
After a long evening, hopefully spent with Giza, we return to camp for some rest.
Days Six to Seven
Our next two days will see many hours spent in the field, often in pursuit of Giza or one of the other melanistic leopards sometimes seen on this property. This can mean early starts and late finishes, but the results are always well worth it.
When not on the trail of 'black panthers', this is a superb area for sightings of wild dog, and is the best area in which to see these special and charismatic animals in East Africa. Wild dogs often move great distances, so sightings can never be guaranteed, but we will dedicate at least one day to these wonderful creatures.
As we move around the plateau, we are more than likely to encounter many other special residents of this unusual area. Elephant, reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra, plains zebra, buffalo and much more are common, and rarer species include leopard (non-melanistic), lion and spotted hyena. At night, on our extended drives, striped hyena, aardwolf and aardvark are encountered regularly.
Our final morning in Laikipia sees us depart for an altogether different environment - Samburu. Arguably the most famous safari destination in Kenya outside of the Masai Mara, Samburu is the gateway to the arid savanna and deserts of Kenya's north. As such, and despite its relatively short distance from the lush grasslands of Laikipia, Samburu is home to a quite different cast of characters.
Following our arrival at our luxury camp in the early afternoon, our first game drive here will focus on the 'Special Five'. This term is given to five species uncommon elsewhere, but relatively regularly encountered here - the gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra, Somali ostrich and beisa oryx. The arid savanna also supports the odd desert warthog, and the little-seen lesser kudu. But Samburu is perhaps most famous for its high density of leopard, and the quality of sighting here can be truly superb, with spotted coats contrasting with the orange rocks. If lucky, wild dog or even cheetah may put in an appearance this evening before we return to camp.
Days Nine to Ten
Our final two full days in Kenya are set aside for us to explore Samburu. We will of course target any key species that may have eluded us to this point, but will also focus on improved photographic opportunities, and seeing some of the unique sights that Samburu has to offer. Days will be spent scanning the rocks for signs of leopard, and meandering alongside the Ewaso Ngiro river in search of large breeding herds of elephant. The drier parts of the park are the best for gerenuk, lesser kudu and desert warthog, all of which we should encounter during our stay here. When not on drive, our accommodation here is one of the very finest lodges in Kenya, and is a lovely place to end our stay in the heart of Kenya.
This morning we return to the airstrip to meet our flight back to Nairobi Wilson, where this tour ends.
Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.
Dates and Prices
This tour will run in August 2025, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when wildlife populations congregate around water sources. The tour will run from August 11th to August 21st, 2025.
The cost of this trip is £10,550 per person excl. flights. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Drinking water is included. There is a £1,750 single supplement for this trip. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £3,200, plus any single supplement, must be paid.
Flights and Visas
Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Nairobi at the beginning or end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost.
British nationals no longer require a visa to enter Kenya, but do require an ETA. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa.
Weather and What to Bring
The weather in Central Kenya in August is mild and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 11 degrees Celsius, but it will feel colder than this on night drives.
A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.
Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars.
Safety and Security
There are currently no security concerns in any of the areas visited by this tour.
To secure a booking on this fantastic holiday, please fill out the details below.