Kenyan Wildlife Safari with Stephen Mills

A special intimate ‘off the beaten’ track luxury safari in Laikipia on the private El Karama Wildlife Conservancy with Stephen Mills, naturalist and wildlife film producer. Walking safaris, night drives and jeep safaris to look for the Big 5, wild dogs and much more… Private safari planes will take you directly to El Karama maximising your wildlife viewing time

Stephen Mills MA (Oxon) MFA IAWF CF is a professional naturalist, and wildlife researcher, conservationist and writer as well as an acclaimed wildlife film producer and cameraman. He is former chairman of the International Association of Wildlife Film-makers.

As a writer, producer and cameraman, Stephen has made over 40 films for TV, including Man-Eater: To Be or Not To Be and Rhino Journey.  He wrote the award-winning BBC films Tiger Crisis and Wolf Saga and has worked on many Natural History Unit/BBC TV series and films including Land of the Tiger, The Private Life of Plants and Winners and Losers.

On Safari with Stephen Mills

Being on safari with Stephen is fun and informative. Stephen encourages people to go out into the field and watch wildlife, so you can expect to spend time sitting quietly and immersing yourself in the moment, observing the action as it unfolds before you and understanding animal behaviour. Stephen is a very good naturalist and an excellent birder, and loves to share his wildlife knowledge and stories of all creatures great and small with his guests. Stephen is always excited by the prospect of spending time out in the bush and on the plains, and El Karama particularly appeals to him because there is a chance of seeing wild dogs, the conservancy offers an old fashioned style safari experience with hardly any other vehicles and it belongs to his niece! Additionally, El Karama offers the opportunity to do bush walks and night drives and to visit neighbouring Ol Pejeta Conservancy to see black rhino. A private safari plane directly from Nairobi’s international airport will maximise your wildlife viewing times and minimise travelling times in Kenya.

Stephen with guests in The Serengeti

El Karama Wildlife Conservancy offers an intimate safari experience on 14,000acres in the Laikipia Region and overlooking the Ewaso River.  The habitat has a wildlife density second to the Masai Mara and is home to lion, leopard, elephant and *buffalo, so 4 of the Big 5 and several endangered and indigenous species to Laikipia including Reticulated Giraffe, Grevy Zebra, Gerenuk and the Laikipia Hartebeest. There is also a good chance of seeing wild dogs. The 5th of the Big 5, black rhino, we will look for on the day spent at nearby Ol Pejeta Conservancy.  The verified bird count in El Karama Conservancy has reached 432 species including migrants and it is an Important Bird Area since 2018. El Karama has pioneered a new Leopard monitoring technique using stationary mirrors and trail cameras to ID leopard.

El Karama provides the opportunity to connect with wildlife on a deeper level without dozens of other jeeps, and walking safaris and night drives. Our private party will have exclusive use of a stretched open-sided safari vehicles so everyone will all be with Stephen every day. We may even have exclusive use of the whole Conservancy some days.

“Anyone familiar with Africa knows how much it has changed in the last 30 years. Lions have declined by more than 80% and the wildlife has been pushed back and mostly corralled within the boundaries of the national parks. These are still lovely but viewing pressure has escalated dramatically and visitors in high season can find themselves hemmed in by 20 or 30 jeeps all jostling round one charismatic animal. But there are one or two places where the old Africa still exists, where the wildlife comes and goes according to its old rhythms and where you can have the place almost entirely to yourself. One of them is El Karama conservancy in Laikipia which is owned by the Grant family and run by my own niece Sophie Grant. I have always been very cautious about mixing business and family but El Karama is so special I now feel it would be nuts not to. Visitors have been enjoying excellent sightings of lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, gerenuk and, frequently though unpredictably, wild dogs (painted dogs). I feel it is time to start taking my guests there, where we will be assured of a very personal and extremely comfortable welcome and where we will have a chance to share a bit of relaxed Africa as it used to be”. Stephen Mills

* The last two years of drought have taken its toll on the buffalo population so herds are currently much reduced.

El Karama Lodge

The lodge provides understated luxury in a variety of accommodation types. There is a choice of staying in 2 comfortable ensuite bandas or 2 luxury river cottages (supplement applicable) . Our party will have exclusive use of the dining mess and you can expect lovely fresh fruit and vegetables from the lodge’s organic garden. El Karama is the home of Stephen’s niece Sophie and her husband Murray so this will be a unique old-fashioned family safari experience like no other.

To find out more about El Karama Lodge click here 

Main mess
Swimming pool

River cottage

Safari Summary

15 January Arrival day. Meet Stephen Mills and your event host at Nairobi Airport. Fly to El Karama

16, 17, 18, 19 January Uninterrupted wildlife viewing with Stephen Mills in El Karama and Ol Pejeta Conservancies – game drives, walking safaris and night drives.

20 January Return to Nairobi and continue your journey home or overnight in Nairobi.

Dates:  15 – 20 January 2024
Number of guests:4 – 5
Price per person: £6,295.00

Price includes: 5 nights El Karama Lodge including all meals, exclusive use of a safari vehicle, walking safaris and night drives, El Karama and Ol Pejeta Conservancy fees, safari flights and transfers in Nairobi, 1 nights accommodation in Nairobi including dinner, guest naturalist and event host

Useful information:

Flights to and from Nairobi are not included.

UK guests should book directly with Kenya Airways or British Airways or through Dial A Flight or Trailfinders

A Tourist visa is required for entry to Kenya. The process is now only available online . You will need a passport with at least 6 months validity from the date of arrival, copies of the itinerary and your passport plus a colour photograph 2″x2″. The cost is US$51 payable by credit/debit card. Please make sure you apply using the official site

For specialist inoculations and heath requirements for Nairobi and Laikipia please check with a specialist travel clinic. The Laikipia region is considered low malaria risk.


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