Northern Kenya is lightly populated, untamed and often barren. Setting foot in these parts is like leaving the 21st century; it is an explorer’s heaven, and the variety of tribes that live here are some of the most captivating people in the world. They include the Samburu, Turkana, Rendille, Boran, Gabbra and El – Molo. This rugged 1,800-km expedition is run in land cruiser or expedition trucks. You will traverse along some of Africa’s worst roads; see beautiful mountain forest surrounded on all sides by hot dusty deserts, eventually arriving at our camp on the shores of the Jade Sea (Lake Turkana. This is the only camp situated right on the beach of the lake with spectacular views of the South Island. The camp comprises 12 double traditional Turkana palm leaf huts, a dinning/lounge, kitchen, showers and toilets that are all available for use, if not, we pitch tents nearby. Our 20-seat boat is based here and is available for sunset cruises and exploring the surrounding areas. You will see a great variety of tribes during the tour and cross the Chalbi Desert if dry. During the rains it becomes an enormous shallow lake. And at Tuum we spend time camel walking with Samburu local guides on the foothills of Mt. Nyiro.
Day 1 & 2: Nairobi – Samburu
Depart Nairobi in the morning heading north via the shoulder of Africa's second largest mountain, Mt Kenya to the Samburu Game Reserve. Accommodation in our semi-permanent campsite is beautifully set under a canopy of trees or we may pitch tents on the edge of Uaso Nyiro (meaning Brown in Samburu) River. Cold showers are available which are amazingly refreshing in the hot, dusty climates.
Day 3: Samburu - Marsabit
We head north again along the Trans-African highway to Marsabit (meaning place of cold), an astonishingly cool, green and hilly oasis rising high above the dry heat of the surrounding desert lands. The local Rendille and Samburu people in their bright red outfits, beads and earrings make it a vibrant place.
After setting up camp, we visit the lodge inside the National park and as long as the roads are dry we drive to Lake Paradise and Little Lake. Here, an indigenous forest and a desert come together to create the most compelling landscape on earth. Elephants and greater kudu abound. The dense forest in the park is also home to a variety of birds.
Day 4: Marsabit – Kalacha
We visit Marsabit town and another volcanic crater before making our way back into the desert and lava flows. We camp at Kalacha, a small Gabbra settlement on the edge of the Chalbi Desert.
The Gabbra are an Eastern Cushitic people related to the Somali-Rendille in their historical origins in the southern Ethiopian highlands about AD 1000. The men wear traditional shorts and a blanket-cloak and the women wear a wrap-around and head cloth. They are pastoralists, particularly attached to their camels.
Day 5 & 6: Lake Turkana
We depart early crossing the Chalbi Desert to Lake Turkana which is the largest desert lake in the world and extends for 288 kilometers up to the Ethiopian / Kenyan border. It is surrounded by volcanic rock and desert. We arrive at our semi - permanent beach village where we have our traditional Turkana Huts; which make it a perfect place to relax, protected from the scorching sun and heat characteristic of the climate of this remote area.
The following day is spent relaxing, basking and bathing only interrupted by a short boat excursion to visit the surrounding area. In addition, we visit Loiyangalani and the community settled there while in the evening we may visit one of the Turkana Manyattas [optional] for traditional dances at an extra cost if clients wish. An unforgettable experience under a star studded sky so close you can almost touch it.
Turkana, formerly L. Rudolf is now named after one of the tribes who live on its shores and it is in this area that Richard Leakey uncovered the three million year old fossils of ‘Homo Erectus.’ This pre historic site is now known as the “Cradle of Mankind”. The Lake is also known as the “Jade Sea” because of its remarkable blue – green colour. This is a result of algae particles, which shift with changes of the wind and light, so that the water surface shifts from blue to grey to fabulous jade. The lake is home to the largest population of Nile crocodiles in the world. If the weather permits we take a short sunset boat ride to the surrounding areas.
Day 7: Lake Turkana - Maralal
We journey via the Horr Valley situated between Mount Nyiro and Ol Doinye Mara viewing the breath taking scenery as we continue to climb on torturous, rocky hills to Maralal. Near Maralal is one of the most breaths taking scenes in all of Kenya – the Losiolo escarpment, an endless stretch as land drops down to the Suguta valley.
Maralal is the unofficial capital of the Samburu people and has a distinctly frontier feel about it, like something out of a ‘wild west’ movie. It boasts a colorful Samburu market and a game sanctuary that lies just outside of town. Maralal is also home of the Maralal International Camel Derby that happens once a year between July and October and attracts riders and spectators from the four corners of the world
Day 8: Maralal – Nairobi
Heading south again via Laikipia Plains and Nyahururu we may stop at the Thomson falls named after Joseph Thomson who walked from Mombasa to Lake Victoria in the early 1880s. Shaped by the waters of the Ewaso Narok River, the falls plunge over 72m into a rift, spraying the dark forest below. After lunch we drive back into Nairobi by mid-afternoon
USD $ 1240 per person
Departure Information: Fridays
Safari prices include
- Accommodations in comfortable walk-in Tents, camping beds, and mattresses
- Separate showers and toilets
- Meals as indicated, B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner
- Transport in a Customized Safari Van with Guaranteed window seat
- Access to photographic roof hatch in the Safari Van for photography and better viewing
- Services of an Experienced English speaking Driver-guide
- Game drives and sightseeing as per the itinerary
Park entrance fees
Safari prices exclude
Personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, and room service; gratuities to your safari escort, camp staff, driver-guide and personal insurance coverage
Please click here to book this safari