Kenya safari: expedition to Lake Turkana

A real journey with the Financial Times to the far north of Kenya

Where
Kenya
When
June to August
How long
10 nights
How much
From £5,390 PP
why
A REAL ADVENTURE; OFF THE BEATEN TRACK; PROPER WILDERNESS
staying in
WILDERNESS CAMPS; FLY-CAMPING UNDER THE STARS

There is arguably nowhere in Africa where you can undertake as authentic and expeditionary a safari as here in Northern Kenya.

Travelling with the Financial Times, Rod put together this proper journey - away from any crowds and into areas of extreme natural beauty.

Head up to the far desert north and the near-mythical Lake Turkana – only discovered in 1888 despite being Africa’s 5th largest lake and having a shoreline longer than Kenya’s coast – home of millions of crocodiles, monstrous Nile Perch and varied wildlife, both fossilized and present. Driving off the fertile Laikipia Plateau everything becomes an increasingly parched and it takes a mind-shift to imagine anything survives in this otherworldly moonscape sustained by a jade sea. But survive it does with both the familiar (zebra, buffalo, gazelles, hyena) and esoteric (Tiang, Heuglin’s Bustard) eking out a living.

Running an expedition such as this requires a particular skill set and a fair amount of kit – other vehicles encountered are few and far between so self-reliance is essential. The camps themselves are stripped-down affairs – camp beds, dome tents and a basic drop loo and bucket shower – the focus here is very much the journey and much of the time spent gazing out over the ever-changing landscapes interspersed with surprising revelations, tens of thousands of sandgrouse alighting out of a clear blue sky to drink from a desert oasis, encounters with minute yet proud tribes or fossicking for meteorites.

A journey to Turkana is something else altogether, a glimpse of where we came from and where we may be going, no longer overlords but subjects of creation, careful with water and other species, knit closer to each other under the burning sky.”

- FINANCIAL TIMES

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LAIKIPIA PLATEAU

TIME IN THE WILDERNESS

Part one of the expedition delivers you into the expert hands of, Steve and Annabelle Carey, owners of Laikipia Wilderness Camp and experts in this type of safari. Walking is the camp speciality where you can arrange anything from a half-day jaunt out of camp to a full multi-day mobile safari. Walking safaris in Kenya and especially in this area are sublime - being on private land you can do whatever you host permits including walking, swimming and fishing. The feeling of freedom is palpable. 

The wildlife in this part of Kenya is stunning with appearances from many of the star attractions; lion, leopard, elephant, wild dog and buffalo. 

LAIKIPIA PLATEAU

STRIKE OUT & SLEEP OUT

During the three nights staying at Laikipia Wilderness Camp you will have the opportunity to walk out of camp to a beautiful spot where you'll find everything you'll need for a night sleeping out under the stars. Excellent preparation for the nights to come. 

LAIKIPIA PLATEAU

DESERT SPECIALISTS

An endangered Grévy's zebra - a desert specialist surviving on the semi-arid grasslands in Northern Kenya with isolated populations also in Ethiopia. 

Current estimates are not more than 2,700 are left in the wild, 120 in Ethiopia and the remainder in Northern Kenya - by contrast there are approximately twice as many critically endangered Black rhino in Africa. 

Grévy's zebra are the largest living wild equid and can survive five days without water. 

Lake Turkana

CAMPING UNDER THE STARS

After driving north to Loinginlani and setting up camp on the shores of Lake Turkana. Pictured you'll see the camp and the "safe" swimming area - inexplicably, yet reliably, free from crocodiles.  

LAKE TURKANA

SUNSET OVER CAMP

"As the stars brightened, we lined up camp beds on the beach and wriggled into our covers." 

Financial Times

LAKE TURKANA

COOL WATERS

On arrival in camp, we headed straight for the cool, jade waters of Lake Turkana, all the children shreiking with excitement after our journey from Laikipia. Local fisherman watched on. 

Sibiloi National Park

THE CRADLE OF MANKIND

At the entrance to Sibiloi National Park, there is a sign that says "Welcome to the Cradle of Mankind" and in the absence of any people, there is a real sense of wild obscurity. The landscape is characterised as semi desert and is the home to archaeological sites that have contributed more to the understanding of human evolution than any other site on the continent. 

Chalbi Desert

Oasis in the desert

The two expedition vehicles traversing the Chalbi desert, East Africa’s only true desert - the sandy floor of an ancient mega-lake. Chalbi means Salt in the local Gabra dialect and much it is covered with a thin white salt crust.

As the journey went on the four boys had become expert riders of the 4x4 and knew better than to ask if we were nearly there yet.   

Marsabit National Park

GREEN WITH GREAT GAME & BIRDS

Marsabit Crater Lake – the black specs on the far side are a herd of buffalo. Although rarely visited Marsabit National Park is very beautiful and, did you know... was the location of Africa’s first ever wildlife documentary,  shot by Osa & Martin Johnson between 1924 and 1927. 

Marsabit National Park

BUFFALO FROM THE SKY

This area is beautifully green and the lush grass attracts large herds of elephant and buffalo. Photographed from the sky, you'll see this large herd grazing on the shores of Marsabit Crater Lake. 

DEPARTURE

CHASE THE HORIZON

"Our travelling had changed us all; we were fit from walking, quick to notice, unbothered by bugs and intrigued by the bush, not fearful of it. Taking turns on the shaded side of the vehicle and sleeping out were natural now. We were accustomed to the gulfs of the night, to the yelps of jackals and the yodels of hyenas, to the day rising in crimson and silver, to exchanging night stories around the morning fire."

Financial Times 

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+44 (0) 1747 830950

Our experienced travellers include:

Andrea Hulme
Andrea Hulme
Vanessa Janion
Vanessa Janion
Rod Tether
Rod Tether

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

Reviews

Personal service and excellent organisation

"This was our first holiday to be organised by Natural High. We made the enquiry on New Year’s Eve for a departure in February and within a few days they had produced a wonderful-sounding itinerary in Costa Rica. There were helpful notes for packing as they seem to have someone there who has been to any chosen destination. We did do some groundwork for flights but left it to Dial-a-Flight who were also most efficient. We visited the office as it is very local to home and everyone there was cheerful and interested in our upcoming trip. We were presented with a leather file which turned out to be the most useful item en-route for all our paperwork ..... and it smelled lovely!
The holiday was one of our best ever. Not just because we saw a plethora of wildlife, but because there was always someone waiting to whisk us to another destination, be it to the airport, from the airport or a boat to a lodge etc. And they did it with great charm and humour and were always very knowledgeable about any queries we had.
For the last 8 days we had a driver/guide who was just outstanding. He was very familiar with the 3 remaining lodges where we stayed and his rapport with the other staff and guides helped to ensure that we were really well looked after. He was a skilled naturalist, had a great sense of humour and was always putting our welfare first - he made a wonderful companion for the trip.
All of the above meant that it was a really relaxing holiday so that we could maximise our time looking at the flora and fauna of Costa Rica.
We would highly recommend Natural High ...... where next?!"

Ken and Caroline

Natural High

"Brilliant, everything is so well organised. We have had two trips of a lifetime organised by Rod Tether who is also a guide extraordinaire!"

Antony & Jane Braithwaite RT

Fantastic Natural High

"Perfectly organised trip to two great Nomad camps in Tanzania!"

Anonymous

Natural High nailed it again

"Sledding in Sweden was our second wonderful holiday with Natural High. From the moment you speak to them to when you get home the service and attention to detail is wonderful.
Everything is so well planned and organised that you can just sit back and really enjoy your holiday. We couldn’t recommend husky sledding in the north of Sweden more. We all agreed it was one of the best family holidays ever."

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