Jade Sea Explorer Tour

Kenya – Jade Sea Explorer Tour – a 14 day Small Group Tour.

Kenya was a safari pioneer, and for a time a victim of its own success. Tales of tourist minibuses chasing each other, surrounding an unimpressed solitary lion in a cloud of dust and clicking camera shutters were not uncommon. However, Kenya’s vision has evolved. On this tour harsh deserts, mountains, soda lakes, and game parks combine with tribal villages, towns and big cities in a diverse appreciation of a country synonymous with East Africa. Travellers are guaranteed an African experience with a genuine Kenyan identity, and not just a game lodge fantasy.

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.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour Pace


Tour style


Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.


Arrive in Nairobi where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax after your flight. Overnight at Hotel Boulevard or similar. No meals are included.

(Approximate driving time: seven hours)

Today we head north to the village of Isiolo. Along the way we encounter nomadic tribes inhabiting the intervening bushland. Wildlife is also in evidence, and species commonly seen include reticulated giraffe, oryx, and long-necked gerenuk antelope. Overnight at Samburu Sentrim Camp or similar. (BLD)

Wildlife starts the day early. As such, before breakfast we’ll be out on a game drive hoping to observe key species. After the main heat of the day has passed, we head out again, tracking the paw prints of lion, leopard and cheetah through dramatic bushveld. At a nearby waterhole we’ll watch elephants as they converge to drink, and crocodiles as they lurk in the shadows waiting for an opportunity. Overnight at Samburu Sentrim Camp or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: seven hours)

It’s a challenging drive today – over 250km on rough road towards the extinct volcano of Mount Marsabit. The peak is surrounded by lush forested hills, a welcoming oasis rising high above the dry heat of surrounding desert plains. In the afternoon we’ll take a guided walk around Lake Paradise in Marsabit National Park, a reserve known for the size of its elephants’ tusks. Overnight at Jirime Hotel or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

This morning we visit Marsabit town, a settlement of around 5,000 inhabitants. We may encounter nomadic Rendille warriors who roam the land wearing their flamboyant traditional dress of purple and red robes, combined with feathers, beads and goat skins. We continue our journey through a landscape of crater lakes and volcanoes, entering the Chalbi Desert’s flat plain, formed by an ages-old crater lake which fills during the rains to form an expansive shallow body of water. Kalacha Dida is an oasis on the edge of the desert and a traditional watering place for nomadic tribes, mostly Gabbras. We take a guided walk to meet those hardy people inhabiting this harsh yet abundant environment. Overnight Missionary Guest House or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

Although demanding, the journey to Sibiloi National Park’s remote and wild plains is well worth the effort. We take an evening game in search of nocturnal wildlife before dinner. Overnight Allia Bay 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. Those camping will have shared facilities.

Today we explore the park, looking out for a variety of species adapted to the arid environment, including gerenuk antelope, oryx, the rare lesser kudu, together with grevy’s and burchell’s zebra. Carnivores such as hyena, golden jackal, cheetah, lion and other small cats, including caracal, are also present. Overnight Allia Bay Guesthouse or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: six hours)

From the northernmost extent our trip, we head south to the shimmering blue-green hues of Lake Turkana. At Loyangalani, a location for John Le Carre’s ‘The Constant Gardener’ and the subsequent film, we explore the lake shores for exceptionally large Nile crocodiles. Here too we encounter the El Moro people, Kenya’s smallest tribe and its last remaining true hunters. Overnight Palm Shade Camp or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

The stony road south traverses lava flows and sand fields as it leads towards the jagged peaks of Mount Nyiru. Despite being surrounded by dry desert the slopes are forested and now form Mount Nyiru Forest Reserve. We stop at the small hillside market town of Maralal, first inhabited by Somali settlers in the 1920s and now dominated by Samburu tribes. In the afternoon we explore surrounding bush where we may see gazelle, zebra and antelope. Overnight Ngari Hill Guesthouse or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: five hours)

Continuing south, we’re bound for the shores of Lake Baringo. Though fed by several rivers, the surrounding environment is predominantly hot and dusty, making the lake and its islands a magnet for life of all kinds. We take an afternoon guided walk in search of a variety of birdlife. Overnight Baringo Soi Safari Lodge or similar. (BLD)

The route may change subject to road conditions.

(Approximate driving time: one hours)

We arrive at Lake Bogoria around lunch time, later taking an afternoon game drive. Wildlife includes kudu, impala, grant’s gazelle, cheetah and waterbuck. Overnight Lake Bogoria Resort or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: two hours)

The morning we explore the surrounds of Lake Bogoria, admiring thousands of pink flamingos that congregate to feed on the lake during the season. Later, we drive to Lake Nakuru National Park, also renowned for large concentrations of flamingos, but also a sanctuary for endangered black and white rhinos. The reserve has one of the highest densities of wildlife in Africa, and we have excellent chances of spotting lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant and buffalo during an afternoon game drive. Overnight Elementaita Sentrim Lodge or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: three hours)

Today we return to Nairobi via Lake Naivasha, an area of spectacular scenery with good opportunities for game viewing and birdwatching. We take a boat cruise, searching for hippos, African fish eagles and those animals visiting the lakeshore to drink. In the afternoon we visit Elsamere Conservation Centre, former home of George and Joy Adamson, famous for their lifetime struggle to conserve Kenya’s wildlife. We leave Lake Naivasha in the afternoon and drive directly to Nairobi’s international airport for onward flights. (B)

Please note: Departing flights should be booked no earlier than 10pm.

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

Please note that tour dates for 2022 and 2023 are still provisional and may change by a day or so.

Single supplement from £475.

Return flights from London to Nairobi start from around £500 per person. Please contact us for a quotation.

Airport transfers are included if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.

Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour in Nairobi costs from £57 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £83 per person in a solo occupancy room.

Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Kenya - Jade Sea Explorer Tour Map

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Transport throughout in 4WD
  • All accommodation
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Services of English speaking guide
  • Entrance/park fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips (discretionary)

For me, this trip to northern Kenya was a real adventure. The section between Marsabit and Maralal was especially exhilarating, driving through desert and semi-desert, past huge rock outcrops and extinct volcanoes, across great spreads of ancient lava, passing almost no other vehicles, and then to see, through the dust, the shimmering expanse of Lake Turkana. with its cratered islands, innumerable birdlife, and grazing zebra and topi. Add to this the range of local groups who survive in so harsh an environment, and you have a really memorable experience.


C. Buckle, UK