Tag Archives: northern kenya

Trippin’ on Turkana (Part 1) – [PHOTOS]

So it’s done. I finally made it. No more side-eyes from inquiring minds; “Yes I know you’ve traveled a bit around the country, but have you been to Lake Turkana?” All that’s it in the past, I can finally walk with my head held high. Thought I’d do something different for this article and post a photo essay with minimal chat, hope you you enjoy it.


Spot the human.




Day 1: Approach to Ngurunit and the Ndoto Mountains after leaving Laisamis. Couple of years since I was last here, still exciting.


At camp we’ll be sleeping out in the open on the top platform, sweet. You can just about see the showers at far left.


Mount Poi looking handsome from camp. Even though the lugga is dry, waterholes have been dug into the river bed and it’s quite busy.


Samir gets down doing dinner. ‘Someone’ brought the wrong gas/stove combination so we’ll cooking with fire for the reminder of the trip.


Post-dinner fatigue (the day started in Nairobi at 4am!)


But if you’re travelling with photographers there’s always time for some shooting.


Early 15min walk from camp to catch the sunrise. Photo lightened considerably, it was much darker. At this point Brian realizes he’s forgotten a battery, he has to walk all the way back to get it.


I don’t know what Samir is doing on his phone, there’s no network in Ngurunit.


Finally enough light to to get non-stop clicks going.


Shooting Mount Poi, morning is always best when the light hits it’s flat face.


Only thing I love shooting more than landscapes is landscapes with people in them. I try and do this as often as possible, a common theme in my photography.



Love this spot, glad I found it on my first visit here.

South Horr


Just outside Ngurunit with Ol Doinyo Mara in the background, Catrina drives up and down this road for our photographic pleasure.


The new Wind Farm Road from Laisamis almost to the lake makes this drive so much easier now.


Approaching the Nyiru Range and Lake Turkana Wind Farm where we stop for some fuel (thanks Angie & Nick).


We’re in proper volcanic territory now at Kibrot Pass.


My first look at Lake Turkana, enough to bring a tear to a grown man’s eye.


 South Island National Park in the background looks like a lost world.




The road to Loiyangalani winds along the Lake. It’s in horrific condition. 30km takes us almost 1 1/2hrs.


Western side of Mount Kulal.

Palm Shade Resort


Palm Shade Resort is a welcome oasis in an otherwise bleak landscape. Good shade, nice lawn and clean showers and toilets. Best campsite in this area by a long shot.


Good meals, water, sodas and cold beers are available here.


Mesh tents; so important when camping in Northern Kenya. You’re likely to boil otherwise.


Evenings are for chatting and fresh fish from the lake. Note the odd shape of the tent, the wind here is something else.

Desert Museum Loiyangalani



Not the most entertaining of museums but in a town with little to do it becomes a highlight.



The self-catering rooms here have the best view in town. There’s also a pool (not working on my visit).


Looking North from the museum.

El Molo Village


Road to El Molo Village, 30min from Loiyangalani


We take a tour of the village, not really my thing but I do it anyway. Horrifying to see and hear about the impact to the lake by the Gibe dams in Ethiopia.

Lake Turkana


These friends really penda taking photos of each other. You can find their work on Instagram @samirdave69 and @urbanskript.


At the KWS Loiyangalani office. We decide a trip to the island is not worth it.


By the fishing landing site.


Dried fish from the Western shore ready for transpost 600km away to Kisumu.


Brian sharing some video footage, my favorite photo of the trip.


2nd favorite photo of the trip. I’m usually deathly shy of photographing people!


Best part of any trip; when there’s nothing to do.







…and snapshots.



Capturing moods and moments.



Lucky enough to get a shooting star.



Nanyuki to Ngurunit – 94km 3hrs 35 min. From Laisamis road is still well graded. If only going to Ngurunit high – clearance 2WD will maje it in the dry season.

Ngurunit to Loiyangalani – 150km 4hrs. If continuing up this way 4WD only.

Accommodation & Contacts

Ngurunit: See my previous post on Lasamu Camp here.

Loiyangalani: Palm Shade Resort – Telephone: +245-726-714768, Email palmshadecamp@gmail.com or Facebook page here.

Desert Museum Curator – Contact: Andrew +254-727-208642

KWS South Island Warden – Contact: Buru +254-723-755560

Last proper fuel stop is in Isiolo and engine check, FILL THAT TANK. Fuel in drums might be available in Loiyangalani (ask for Muriuki).

Final Words

I cannot stress how remote these areas are with very intermittent cell reception, help is a long way off. Download the offline map Maps.me to your phone. It can literally be a life saver showing you the nearest settlements, fuel stations, hospitals etc. Plus its great for navigation and finding places of interest!

Items including (but not limited to) 2 spare tyres, fuses, engine oil, basic tools, towrope, compressor, first-aid kit, lots of water should be considered and can make the difference between a great trip and an unpleasant experience. DO NOT assume you will find any supplies along the way, imagine the worst and plan for it.

If you would like to read the long-form article I wrote for Nomad Magazine about this trip you can find the link here. And as always if you have any questions ask away in the comments, I always answer.

The trip isn’t over, Part 2 coming soon…







Namunyak Conservancy – A De Brazza Baraza

Some of you with more time on your hands than you know what to do with might stay up nights wondering how some of my travel ideas come about. Sure, sometimes it takes months of planning but sometimes things unfold in the simplest way possible; like this email I received…

Mr. T: Hi, I took a quick trip up into Namunyak last week and visited a really cool little campsite which is being developed by Museums of Kenya.  The really cool part though was their research work on the rare De Brazza monkeys which they have been studying there for a number of years. I am hoping to plan a trip up that way later this year to explore more around the Mathews/Namunyak region. It is big though so will need to give it a few days… are you keen?

KC: Yes! A thousand times yes!

I know, I really should play a bit hard to get sometimes, if I was a lady of the night I wouldn’t make enough cheese to feed a mouse. So thats how 9 explorers, 3 cars, 2 dogs and a mountain of supplies find themselves in this part of Kenya to expose sample its many secrets.


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Sera Conservancy – Walking With Rhinos

Do not wear any bright colours otherwise they will spot us. Always remain behind a ranger and follow my instructions. Speak in whispers and tread very carefully so as to maintain silence. Be aware of your surroundings and always look out for the largest tree around you should the animal become agitated for any reason.

I know right? How can you not be excited when listening to a brief like that? My hands are clammy and my heart is tripping like an EDM track at what seems like 100 beats per minute. I’m nervous and excited about one of the most unique wildlife experiences you can have in Kenya  I’m going to be tracking one of the most endangered species in the the world, the black rhino…on foot.

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Kalama Conservancy – The Perfect Pit -Stop

How much do I love Kenya’s bit of the Great North Road? I can count the ways for days. Out of the entire 7000+ kms all the way from Cape Town (South Africa) – Cairo (Egypt) Kenya’s infamous 500km section of lunar surface from Isiolo – Moyale put us in the unenviable position of ‘number last’  but that is now all behind us. Who do we give props for this? Was it ex-president Kibaki? Wherever you are mzee please pokea a fist bump. The soon to be completed stretch of the Isiolo-Marsabit-Moyale road has created massive potential in the previously marginalized Northern Kenya counties and has already created better tourism opportunities and brought enhanced security to this previously ‘unknown’ region.

As we’ve seen before Kenya is full of surprises so of course there’s a little conservancy just off this highway that’s just begging to be visited.


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Westgate Conservancy – A Conservation Conversation

Conservation can be a really boring subject. Depending on how it’s presented on a scale of 1-10 some might rate it ‘watching Olympic golf’. Now most of us like the idea of conservation just as long as not too much is asked of us; liking a photo of a cute elephant on Facebook? That we can do. But actually understanding what impact we have on our environment and working to reduce it? Not so much fun. So there are reasons why conservation can be boring to some, but there are also ways to make it interesting as I find out for myself….


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Naibunga Conservancy – The Untold Story

As a traveller and sometimes writer I am obsessed with the stories that are not being told about Kenya and if you have been reading this blog that theme is pretty obvious right across the board. I do not desire the obvious. I am constantly plagued by the thought “Surely there must be more than marketing leads me to believe there is?” You’re about to find out just how true that is.


Sunrise at Wakumbe Hills

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Marsabit National Park – Northern Kenya (Part 4)

First, apologies for the lateness of this, the fourth and final instalment in what has been one hell of a ride through the Northern reaches of Kenya. A trip came up in between the writing of this article and the previous one so I’ve been a bit turned around and trapped totally tripping over trips in tandem. If you’re late to the party there was Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 previously. But no fear here we are, and it’s fitting that this series ends with one the oldest and most well known of the country’s parks, and yet one of the least visited (because it’s far, quite far.)


Lake Paradise in Gof Sokorte Gudho

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The Ndoto Mountains – Northern Kenya (Part 3)

Our expedition wanders ever deeper into the hinterland but we do not tire. We are energized by the curiosity of things to come and are fuelled by wanderlust, snacks and diesel. The forth day of our adventure finds us in high spirits, we have found our travel rhythm and it beats to a strong and steady drum. If you haven’t already, you can see how far we have come to get us here in Part 1 and Part 2 of our journey. In the meantime what do the days ahead hold in store? More than we can imagine…


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Nakuprat – Gotu Conservancy – Northern Kenya (Part 1)

“Let’s do something big”. Those four innocuous words uttered six months before this trip slowly snowballs into what turns out to be a 10-ten day monstrosity, spanning a total of 1,500km through some of Kenya’s least visited but most beautiful desert landscapes. The more experienced among you might be saying “Pffft, 10 days? Bunch of pussies”, but for me this is big, really big. This is the longest camping trip I’ve ever taken and if you really want to get out of your comfort zone and find true adventure then Northern Kenya is definitely the place to do it.


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Camping On Mount Ololokwe – 12 Years A Slave (Part 2)

If you’re just catching up, i suggest you read Part 1 here first.

I survived the night, pretty obvious huh? For a minute there I didn’t think I’d make it through what I can objectively say was the worst night in a tent in my life (and I’ve had many).

The morning begins with almost no clue of the what transpired the night before, almost as if the mountain means to apologize.


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