Jade Sea Explorer
Jade Sea Explorer
Kenya has long been one of the most established safari destinations in Africa, a country rich in wildlife that offers some of the best game viewing on the planet. What few people know is that the country is also incredibly diverse, both ethnically and geographically, with landscapes ranging from lush forest to searing desert. On this trip we venture to the little visited northern regions, an arid land home to a number of different ethnic groups including the Samburu, Gabbra, El Moro and Rendille, all of whom adhere to very traditional and unique ways of life. We explore the haunting Chalbi Desert, an ocean of volcanic sand where only the toughest species survive, and continue to Sibiloi National Park and the mighty Lake Turkana, the largest desert lake in the world. Here we find the El Molo, who hunt the hippos and giant crocodiles that they share their home with. On our return south we visit the stunning Rift Valley lakes with their superb wildlife. This tour offers travellers the chance to explore parts of Kenya which see very few visitors, giving a glimpse into ways of life that have disappeared in most parts of the world.
Day 1 – Nairobi
Arrive in Nairobi and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax after your flight.
Overnight Hotel Boulevard or similar.
Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, was established at the turn of the century by the Europeans as a stores depot during the building of the East African railway. Without plan or design it established itself as the capital of the British protectorate, and today has a population of around three million comprising a mixture of African, Asian and European. While the predominant tribe is the Kikuyu, the city does not have one single dominating ethnic group. Its accidental choice as capital, virtually located on the meeting territories of three important tribes, has been diplomatically fortunate for the economic growth of the country.
Day 2 – Samburu National Reserve
Head north to Isiolo village and encounter the colourful nomadic tribes which reside there. We then continue on to our accommodation for the night, enjoying a game drive en route and spotting exotic wildlife unique only to this region, such as the reticulated giraffe, oryx, and gerenuk. Overnight Samburu Sentrim Camp or similar. (BLD)
Throughout this region, local Samburu tribespeople can be seen wearing their traditional dress and ornate jewellery. The Samburu are pastoralists, who live to the south and east of Lake Turkana. The social structure is essentially a gerontocracy - rule by elders - assuring the elders first choice among the young unmarried women. Men are usually about 30 by the time they marry, but the women marry at about 17 years of age.
Day 3 – Samburu National Reserve
The early morning finds us out and about on a game drive, a great opportunity for photographs and tracking rare wildlife. We enjoy an afternoon game drive on the dry ochre plains hopefully encountering herds of dusty elephants drinking at waterholes, crocodiles lurking in the shadows and track paw prints of lion, leopard and cheetahs amidst dramatic bushveld. Overnight Samburu Sopa Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Samburu National Reserve
This reserve covers an area of 104km² and lies in the fascinating semi-desert northern frontier area of Kenya. Samburu is famous for its reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra and long-necked gerenuk, which are quite commonly spotted here, though rarely in the southern parks. Lion and leopard live in the reserve but are not always seen. Crocodiles are often seen in the Ewaso Nyiro River that flows through the park.
Day 4 – Marsabit National Park
Drive approximately 250 km on a rough road towards the extinct volcano of Marsabit. The peak is surrounded by lush forested hills, forming a welcoming oasis rising high above the dry heat of the surrounding desert lands. This afternoon we have a guided walk around the nearby lake.
Overnight Marsabit Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Day 5 – Chalbi Desert
Visit Marsabit town in the morning, where we can see the nomadic Rendille warriors. We continue our journey through the land of crater lakes and volcanoes and enter the Chalbi desert, a flat plain formed by a age old crater lake which fills up to form a shallow body of water during heavy rainfall. Kalacha Dida is an oasis on the edge of the desert and a nourishing watering place for nomadic tribes, mostly Gabbras who are on the move. We set out on a guided walk meeting various tribes living in this harsh yet abundant environment.
Overnight Missionary Guest House or similar. (BLD)
Day 6 – Sibiloi National Park
A long day of driving through the shifting landscape of the north. Although rather demanding the journey to Sibiloi National Park and the beauty of the remote and wild plains is well worth the effort. Overnight Allia Guesthouse or similar. (BLD)
Please note that accommodation here may be a mixture of camping and rooms, as the guesthouse has a limited number of rooms.
Day 7 – Sibiloi National Park
The day is spent exploring the landscape. This area is home to a large variety of arid environment species including gerenuk, oryx, the rare lesser kudu and Grevy's and Burchell’s zebra. As well as this, carnivores such as hyenas, golden jackal, cheetah, lion and other small cats including caracal can be found here. Overnight Allia Guesthouse or similar. (BLD)
Sibiloi National Park
The National Park which also is a UNESCO world heritage site lies on the North Eastern shores of Lake Turkana, known for its protection of wildlife, birdlife and paleontological sites and fossil remains. The park contains several different types of habitats, from lake shore with water vegetation to arid, desert-like lava rock terrain; savannah plains to riverine forest. You will reach places where fossilized elephant, crocodile, tortoise and forests have been excavated. The local museum shows findings from the Leakey family renowned for their studies of fossils and early human in East Africa.
Days 8-9– Lake Turkana
From the northernmost point of our trip we head south to the shimmering blue-green hues of Lake Turkana. We head to the oasis of Loyangalani, where we explore the crystal shores, search for exceptionally large Nile crocodiles and encounter the smallest tribe in Kenya, the Elm-Molo, Kenya’s last remaining hunters. Overnight Palm Shade Camp or similar. (BLD)
Lake Turkana, also known as the Jade Sea, is the largest desert alkaline lake in the world and supports a complex network of fish, grazing mammals, bird life and predators. The colour of the lake 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 extraordinary jade. Its lapping shores extend for 288 kilometres up to the Ethiopian / Kenyan border and its depths reach up to 140m. Said to have originated from either Somalia or Ethiopia, the El Moro reside on the “Island of Ghosts” in villages on the shores of Turkana. They live off the land, hunting water species such as fish, hippopotamus and even the cunning Nile crocodile.
Day 10 – Maralal via Mt. Nyiru
We depart on a stony road heading further south to the jagged peaks of Mount Nyiru as we traverse across lava flows and sand fields. Despite being surrounded by dry desert the peaks of Mount Nyiru are forested. Continue to the small hillside market town of Maralal, pioneered by Somali settlers in the 1920’s. Overnight Ngare Hills or similar. (BLD)
Day 11 – Lake Baringo
We continue our journey south bound to the shores of Lake Baringo in its hot and dusty setting. The scenic lake is fed by several converging rivers and contains several small islands. We set out on an afternoon walk in search of a variety of bird life. Overnight Baringo Roberts Camp or similar. (BLD)
Day 12 – Lake Bogoria
Drive to Lake Bogoria, arriving around lunch time. This afternoon take a game drive. The reserve plays host to kudu as well as impalas, Grant’s gazelles, cheetahs and waterbucks. Overnight Lake Bogoria Resort or similar. (BLD)
Day 13 – Lake Nakuru
The morning finds us exploring the surrounds of Lake Bogoria and admiring the thousands of pink flamingos which congregate on the lake during season, before driving to Lake Nakuru. Lake Nakuru is renowned for large concentrations of flamingos and is also a sanctuary for the endangered black and white rhinos. This reserve has one of the highest densities of wildlife to be found on the continent and our chance of spotting lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant and buffalo are excellent during an afternoon game drive. Overnight Elementaita Sentrim Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Lake Nakuru is a very shallow strongly alkaline lake 118km². The park covers the lake and a land strip around the northern, eastern and western shores, and south to Makalia Falls. The shores are surrounded by swamps, which during the driest seasons disappear to give rise to huge white salt crusts. The riverine forest opens up southward in a bush and acacia tree savannah. The eastern and western shores are framed by ridges that offer splendid lookouts over the lake. At the west shore, Baboon Cliffs are the preferred habitat for some of the park's species, while in the east, a part of Lion Hill is covered by a magnificent Euphorbia, or candle tree forest, giving the landscape a prehistoric look. Several hides have been erected near the lake for bird observation, and in addition to birds and rhinos, the park is home to a large number of mammals, including lions and leopards.
Day 14 – Lake Naivasha
Today we return to Nairobi via Lake Naivasha, an area of spectacular scenery with good opportunities for game and bird watching. We take a boat cruise, searching for hippos, fish eagles and thirsty antelope. In the afternoon we visit Joy Adamson´ s famous Elsamere farm house. We leave Lake Naivasha at around 3.30pm for the 2 to 3hrs drive directly to Nairobi’s international airport. Check-in and depart Kenya. (B)
Please note you should book a flight to depart from Nairobi no earlier than 10pm.
Tour style: Pioneer
Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation on twin share basis
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance / park fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
Any airport taxes
Please note that you should also read the Country Notes in association with this itinerary for practical information about your trip and the destination you will be visiting.
The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and Undiscovered Destinations.