Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia





Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    UK
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanked: 1028

    Default Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    22 January to 6 February 2017

    As part of a longer trip driving from Nairobi to the Bale Mountains in Ethiopia (and back), we spent some time in northern Kenya.

    The following posts are part of a longer trip - that trip report can be found here

    http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...Bale-Mountains

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    UK
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanked: 1028

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Day 1:
    Nairobi to Sabache Community Camp, Mt Ololokwe
    Time taken: 7 hours
    Distance: 357 kms

    Being early on a Sunday, we whizzed through central Nairobi and were in Nanyuki in 2¾ hours. How easy was that? As always, we stopped at Barney’s café at the Nanyuki airstrip for some sustenance, and did some other minor chores in Nanyuki. From Nanyuki it was an easy three-hour drive to the turn off to Sabache camp. We had never been to Sabache camp, but had heard good reports. http://sabachecamp.com/ Its position is perfect for those heading north or south on the Great North Road, and it is about 3 kms off the road tucked up a valley on the edge of the iconic northern mountain of Ololokwe. With prior warning, the staff would have provided water (collected, presumably, from a spring up the valley), but it did not matter for us – we are equipped with everything we need. The campsite had clean long-drop loos, and a large mess shelter. The eco-lodge and campsite is more rustic than it appears on their website, but the position is great and the staff very welcoming. Of course, we were the only people in either the campsite or the lodge. Firewood was supplied and the cost for camping was KShs 1,500 per person.

    Day 2:
    Sabache Community Camp to Marsabit
    Time taken: 3 hours
    Distance: 201 kms

    One of the last great adventures on the Cape to Cairo route - the notoriously bad section from Isiolo to Moyale - is now history: the new road is now complete thanks to the African Development Bank, and Chinese and Italian roadbuilders. But we were very grateful to them and we whizzed up to Marsabit in three hours.

    Marsabit is almost unrecognisable from 30 years ago: gone are the camels wandering through the dusty outpost; gone are the scantily clad tribesmen in their traditional regalia; gone are the Somali dukas selling a few tins of bully beef if you were lucky; gone is the edgy Northern Frontier feeling; gone is the euphoria of making it across the Chalbi Desert or from Isiolo without a serious breakdown or a shifta attack. It is all replaced by tarmac, a dual-carriageway, high-rise buildings and the inevitable boda-bodas. Yes, it is good progress for the people in this once forgotten part of the country, but I am glad I saw it before. Above the rapidly expanding town, in the administrative area on the hill, large forest trees still line the dirt roads and old colonial bungalows are still inhabited by administration personnel, and the boundaries of Marsabit National Park wrap around the town to the south-east.

    We set up camp at Camp Henry (also known as Henry’s Place) which is a few kilometres outside town, and well known to north-south overlanders. We were the only people there. A strong wind was blowing off Mt Marsabit and the desert, and we took shelter from the wind, but did cook on an open fire. It has a hot shower available and the camp is good value at only Ksh 500 per person per night.

    Day 3:
    Marsabit-Moyale-Yabelo
    Time taken (including border crossing): 8 hours
    Distance: 461 kms

    North of Marsabit is shifta (bandit) country – now mostly confined to history with the new fast road. However, knowing that a border crossing into Ethiopia can be fraught with difficulties – and the Ethiopian border officials close up shop for lunch from 12 noon to 2 pm – we left Henry’s Place just after first light at 7 am. At the police checkpoint, just on the outskirts of Marsabit, we were assured “hakuna shifta, hakuna mwizi (thieves), hakuna matata”, so off we zoomed down the immaculate and empty road. Dust devils, and some camels and goats were the only hazards.

    Moyale is a real border town, but the Kenyan side was more sophisticated than I had imagined. We topped up with fuel in the town before arriving at the brand-new Kenyan immigration and customs buildings. Immigration took only a new minutes, but customs took slightly longer: this was because we needed to lodge the original vehicle logbook with the Kenyan customs and this required some paperwork. However, this was efficiently dealt with and less than 40 minutes later we crossed into the mayhem of the Ethiopian town of Moyale. 4x4 clearance is essential for crossing over the border and the chaotic roadworks. The Ethiopians are building new immigration and customs buildings (mirror images of the Kenyan ones), but work is very slow and it may well take years for them to be finished. This border upgrade is part of a bigger plan for the Mombasa-Nairobi-Ethiopia trade route and is, presumably, being funded by an organisation such as the World Bank. Kenya, presumably, hopes that Ethiopia will start relying on the port of Mombasa instead of (or in addition to) Djibouti.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    UK
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanked: 1028

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Day 10: Wild camp near El Sod to Marsabit
    Time taken (including border crossing): 8 hours 35 minutes
    Distance: 394 kms

    After a peaceful night’s sleep, we were up before dawn and had packed up camp when our neighbours arrived to say hello. It was a group of seven camel herders who were friendly and curious. They were terribly keen to help us pack the Land Rover and intrigued by the whole process. One of the young men had passable English, but with a lot of miming, we all played out our actions from the previous night. We understood that they thought our small fire was a good thing: baddies would not light a fire, but they did think that we might have been the police. Lots of shaking hands, smiling and laughing. I made up a pack of tea, sugar and biscuits for them and, as is customary in Muslim societies, gave them water. They were going to the salt mines at El Sod to get salt to take to market some many days walk away. They waved us off as we headed back through the thick bush to the dirt road.

    A few kilometres later, we reached the main tarmac road and turned south. Apart from a short 20 km section of tar from Negele Borena to Bitata, we had been on dirt roads for the whole trip to and from the Bale Mountains.

    Just under 2 hours later and 130 kms, we reached Moyale. First port of call was Ethiopian Immigration. The office was much busier this time. There was a Dragoman overland truck with about 10 people heading from Kenya into Ethiopia: they had camped at the KWS campsite on the Kenyan side of Moyale the night before and none of them had been to Ethiopia before. Also, in the queue were three Chinese who were travelling, we think, on public transport and were heading south. We were relatively quickly dealt with by the Ethiopian Immigration officials, but the Chinese were having more of a problem. They had to do everything through Google translate on an iPhone. How complicated that must be.

    Then it was off to see our Man U-supporting Customs official. Unfortunately, at first, he was not around and we were dealt with by a young lady. She could not understand why we didn’t have a Carnet. Eventually, our Man U pal appeared, took over, found our original documentation, returned the Kenyan documentation to us and we were free to go. Luckily, Man U had won their match at the weekend.

    We battled through even more chaotic roadworks with road rollers, dumper trucks and men wielding pick-axes to the calm of the Kenyan border controls. Here, we were warmly welcomed home by the Immigration officials whilst the Chinese struggled to fill in the entry and visa forms using Google translate. I am sorry to say, we did not offer to help them. Next stop was Kenyan Customs. This took slightly longer because there were three Somalis ahead of us. However, the same Customs official as we had dealt with on our way north was quick and efficient in returning our logbook to us. The last time we had seen the logbook was in his hands as he returned from inspecting our vehicle a week previously, but it had been securely locked away and was logged in and out in a ledger. Many will find this a strange statement, but … oh, the joys of efficient Kenyan bureaucracy.

    So, here we were safely back in Kenya. Now, we just had to get to Marsabit which we did in three hours. We arrived in Marsabit just after lunchtime and refuelled in one of the old petrol stations. As we were feeling extremely hot, hungry and thirsty, we asked the best man in town where to go for a snack and a drink: Indian petrol station owners know everything that is happening (or not happening) in town. We were directed the “Sam’s Café” which was pointed out to us behind the petrol station. I walked round, but couldn’t at first see it – it was “Psalms”. But they had cold drinks and we poured two sodas each down our throats in the very hot room. Going to wash my hands, I discovered a cool-ish shaded garden out the back where we repaired to and ate pancakes and “Croque Monsieur á la Marsabit”.

    Fortified, we headed out of town to Henry’s Place. Here, we found it busy: a French registered Mercedes campervan, and a South African registered Toyota Land Cruiser. Henry can’t have been so busy for many years. The French couple in their early 60s were heading south; a Kiwi couple in their 40s in the South African registered Land Cruiser were heading north; and later in the afternoon a Finn arrived also heading north on a motorbike. We set up camp, and later swopped travellers’ tales over the cooking fire and a few drinks. The French had had severe suspension issues with their enormous campervan through Ethiopia and were relieved to be in Kenya: they, however, were under the misapprehension that the Kenyan roads were in good condition, including those in parks and reserves. We wonder how they are getting on…

    We had had a terrific adventure in Ethiopia with no mishaps, but we were happy to be back in Kenya. We slept soundly.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    UK
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanked: 1028

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Day 11: Henry’s Place, Marsabit to Lake Paradise, Marsabit National Park
    Distance: 30 kms

    We had a leisurely start to the day – bacon and eggs for breakfast, and a shower. But we were surprised that the Kiwis and the Finn - who were all heading north to Moyale and Ethiopia (and we had told them about the two-hour lunch break) – didn’t set off until after 0900. Everyone does things differently…

    We, however, were on the road back into the centre of Marsabit shortly after 0900, restocked with Kenyan shillings from the Equity Bank ATM, and did some shopping of basic supplies in a duka. We were pleased that we had found the beer depot the day before and had stocked up with Tusker.
    Having done all that, we headed up the hill and to the Ahmed Gate into Marsabit National Park. I have been trying to get to Lake Paradise for 47 years – last time we slid sideways down a muddy track in a Land Rover and had to retreat – but this time I was determined to get there. Our patience, however, was tested. That very day – 1 February 2017 – a new system had been put into place for the payment of the park fees. We had to go to the nearby KCB Bank to pay the exact amount directly into the Kenya Wildlife Services’ account. The KWS lady at Ahmed Gate wrote down the amount and the account numbers – yes, there were two accounts that needed to be credited: one for the US dollar park and camping fees, and one for the Kenyan shillings’ vehicle fees and a map. So, we drove round to the KCB Bank and waited in a queue. When we got to the teller, we were told there was another three-digit code needed in order to process our payment and we hadn’t been told that vital piece of information. We asked to see the bank manager, rang the bell on the door into the back office and, when no one answered, marched in. The bank manager was a delightful young man, we shook hands and introduced ourselves, he brought chairs for us to sit on, listened to our woes, phoned his friend who obviously was the Warden of Marsabit National Park, took our cash dollars and Kenyan shillings, took them to the teller and returned a few minutes with the required paperwork. [For others who might want to visit this gem of a park, one cannot pay by card at the KCB Bank: cash is king.] We thanked the manager for his help and drove back to Ahmed Gate. Here the young KWS gate attendant took our two receipts, wrote out and stamped the tickets, and we were free to go.

    Many people have never heard of Marsabit National Park, but this gem of a park was gazetted in 1962 and covers some 1,554 km². As the Kenya Wildlife Services say in their literature, it is “a remote montane paradise located in the burning wastes of Kenya’s rugged northern regions, Marsabit NP protects the massive extinct volcano of Mount Marsabit … and is a cool and green forested realm often swathed in mist.” We agree - it is like an oasis.

    Marsabit, and the surrounding area, was renowned for an ancient dynasty of elephants famous for their huge tusks: one bull called Ahmed had presidential protection and constant surveillance and, when he died, his tusks were found to weigh over 300 kg. Ahmed is now stuffed and on display in the National Museum in Nairobi. We hoped his legacy lives on, but feared that human pressure had taken its toll.

    Once through the gate, the rough dirt track climbs up to the rim of one of the numerous craters through lovely forest, the enormous trees clothed in orchids and lichens. The first crater we descended into, Gof Sokorta Diko, was where we had slid down sideways some 30 years ago. At the bottom, is the still-functioning Marsabit Lodge overlooking a small crater lake. We climbed out of that crater, and about 10 kms of reasonably tough driving later, we arrived at the viewpoint overlooking Lake Paradise. It is indeed worth the journey. We had paid to camp at the special campsite at Lake Paradise, and we wound our way round the crater rim and down to a vaguely visible track along the lakeshore. At the end of the track, we found the special campsite: it is, indeed, special and Lake Paradise is, indeed, a paradise. Those old wardens knew how to place campsites: facing east, with ample shade, an endless supply of firewood in the vicinity, and a good view. On the foreshore of the lake grazed buffalo and the rare and endangered Grevy’s zebra.

    We set up camp under large forest trees, had lunch, a siesta, a cup of tea and then went out for an exploration. Although the map shows a track going around the crater rim this is no longer passable, and this mountain park is not designed for going on game drives. We did, however, drive down the track which we would be taking the following day. It was rough and sections required low range and diff-lock. When we could, we turned around and diff-locked our way back up the mountain. There is a terrible drought in northern Kenya this year, so it was no surprise to see illegal grazing of cattle in the park, but the herdsmen were very careful not to show their faces and did, in fact, skedaddle pretty quickly from Lake Paradise when they heard our Land Rover.

    Back at Lake Paradise, huge herds of buffalo were coming down to the lake to drink and wallow deep in the water. We watched from the comfort of our camp chairs with sundowners in hand. Just on last light, we spotted a herd of elephant coming carefully and stealthily down to the lakeside to drink. What a thrill! Ahmed’s legacy lives on. Unfortunately, it quickly got too dark to see them on the other side of the lake.

    We had a fabulous evening and night on our own with hyenas fighting and laughing nearby, and buffalos grunting. We were in paradise.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    UK
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanked: 1028

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Day 12: Lake Paradise, Marsabit National Park to Sera Conservancy
    Time taken: 9 hours 15 minutes
    Distance: 201 kms

    Early in the morning, we struck camp and headed down the rough track to the Karare Gate where we exited the National Park and turned south on to the new immaculate tarmac. We sped down the road through Laisamis and Merille to the village of Sereolipi.

    A few days previously, I had phoned the Northern Rangelands Trust’s tourism hotline to ask whether we could camp at Sera Conservancy and go walking with rhinos in their rhino sanctuary. I have posted about the Northern Rangelands Trust before, but here is a short description:

    In 2004 the Northern Rangelands Trust was formed to help remote communities with a mission to “develop resilient community conservancies which transform people’s lives, secure peace and conserve natural resources. It does this in a number of ways. It raises funds for the conservancies. It provides them with advice on how to manage their affairs. It supports a wide range of training and helps broker agreements between conservancies and investors. It also monitors performance, providing donors with a degree of oversight and quality assurance”.

    With the assistance of the Northern Rangelands Trust, 33 community conservancies have been formed which cover more than 44,000 sq kms and 400,000 people. More information on this exemplary organisation can be found on their website at http://www.nrt-kenya.org/

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	NRT map.jpg 
Views:	152 
Size:	611.7 KB 
ID:	435756


    Rufo from the NRT Tourism was terrific. At short notice, she radioed the Sera Conservancy HQ and arranged our visit, texted and emailed me all the details, and checked with a phone call that I had received it. I had been out of internet contact for two days so hadn’t received her email, but as we sped down the immaculate new road, I phoned her. It is usual when visiting any of the Northern Rangelands Trust conservancies to pay beforehand through the Trust. However, most Kenyans have MPesa – the mobile phone payment system invented here in Kenya by Safaricom – but we don’t. That would have been the easiest way to pay. Rufo told me that I wasn’t to pay cash at the Sera Conservancy and she would trust me to pay the money due retrospectively. I told her that we would drop in to her office at the gates of Lewa in four days’ time enroute to Nairobi. What a great service. More details on the Sera Conservancy can be found here - http://www.nrt-kenya.org/sera/

    So, at the village of Sereolipi, we turned east into the unknown. A fairly rough track took us through typical northern Kenyan pastoralist scrub. 23 kms from Sereolipi and the main road, we arrived at the Sera Conservancy HQ. Here, we were warmly welcomed by the Warden, Johnstone, and his colleagues. Our assigned ranger, Lewis, was ready and waiting with his tent, rucksack, rifle and rations. We filled up our watertanks and a jerrycan with fresh water, and headed off on a 28 km drive to a remote lugga in the Conservancy. This drive did take over an hour, but we were delighted with the piece of Africa chosen on a lugga under acacia trees and doum palms. This is what we like: wild camping with no facilities. We set up camp under the shade of an Acacia tortilis, and Hugh and Lewis went on a walk to set up our Trail Cam whilst I had a welcome al fresco shower with our own shower system. Later, some Rendille camel herders came to call – Lewis seemed to know everyone in the 345,000-hectare group ranch and conservancy – and we gave them some water to drink.

    Just after dinner, we heard a huge crash in the doum palms behind us: Lewis did not react at all, but we knew it was an elephant: we hoped we would have a good photo on our Trail Cam. We had a great night with a blazing campfire on the edge of the lugga.

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to Wazungu Wawili For This Useful Post:


  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    UK
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanked: 1028

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Day 13: Sera Conservancy to Samburu National Reserve
    Time taken: 8 hours (including tracking rhinos on foot)
    Distance: 131 kms

    As always, we were up early, had breakfast, collected the Trail Cam, and struck camp. On the Trail Cam were excellent shots of an aardvark (wow), a genet cat, and our doum palm-crashing friend - a bull elephant.

    Lewis was in radio contact with the rangers inside the rhino sanctuary and the trackers were out. The drive to the northern gate took about half an hour. The rhino sanctuary is, of course, fenced and encloses 105 km² - more on that subject later from “Mzungu Moja”. There are 11 black rhinos in the sanctuary – one being a Sera-born baby rhino.

    We found the rhino trackers deep inside the sanctuary with their radio locater. We parked up and set off on foot through the thick bush with four rangers – only Lewis was armed. With adrenaline pumping, we crept through the bush until we were stopped by a hand signal. About 30 metres away were two rhinos deep in a bush. Unfortunately, it was siesta time and they were fast asleep. But this was a thrilling sight. We crept back to the Land Rover. The radio locater indicated that the next nearest rhinos were about 3 kms away in even thicker bush. So, instead of a 6 km walk, we brewed up tea and coffee for us and the rangers, and we all sat on the roofrack munching biscuits. Nearby, was a small herd of elephants peacefully browsing. What a place. The rhino sanctuary rangers wanted a lift back to their accommodation and, with four people on the roofrack, I carefully drove back to the gate.

    Having dropped the three rangers back at their camp, we and Lewis did a game drive through the sanctuary visiting some of the waterholes that have been put in place, and exited the sanctuary not far from the Sera Conservancy HQ. There, we dropped Lewis off, said our farewells and thanks, and headed towards the main road. What a great place.

    Fences are bad: But…

    As a general principle, I disapprove of fences in the wilder areas of Africa. They stop wildlife migrating, isolate populations to the long-term detriment of their breeding viability, and can directly damage some species, particularly giraffe. In periods of drought, such as currently affecting Northern Kenya, pastoralists are restricted in their access to relief grazing. This can lead to social unrest, as is the case now in the Laikipia area of Kenya (there are wider issues also at play in that area). I would be deeply unhappy to feel that Kenya could end up, like much of South Africa, as a series of small fenced conservancies demanding active management of animal populations to preserve them.

    And yet, when I stepped inside the Rhino Sanctuary in Sera Conservancy, my prejudices were challenged. Under the current drought conditions, the area outside the Sanctuary is denuded of nearly all grazing: just bare earth and dust is visible below the thorn scrub. Within the sanctuary, grass, albeit dry, survives, and the 105 sq km appears like a lush oasis. This is due to the fence, which apart from hindering poachers and confining the rhino to a known and protectable area, excludes the local pastoral communities’ livestock. Being a community-owned and managed project, the sanctuary (and indeed the restrictions on grazing in the wider conservancy) are not yet producing any problems locally. Indeed, it might result in the locals understanding better the implications of their current livestock holding and grazing patterns, and persuade them to reconsider their traditional views which measure all status and wealth in terms of livestock numbers. In which case, this fence could do much to address the real and wider causes of environmental degradation.

    In the meantime, there it sits, in a lovely part of Africa: Yes, many giraffe have been killed by it (although greater familiarity is reducing this damage), and the elephant, giraffe and other herds residing within the sanctuary are confined and will need interventionist management. But these problems are being addressed and are not insurmountable. Perhaps this is a good fence. What some bright spark should invent is a fence which stops cattle, goats and rhino, but allows free passage to elephants, giraffe and other migratory game. Now there’s a challenge…

    You can read more about the Sera Conservancy here and a useful and comprehensive report on the Rhino Sanctuary here.


    Heading back towards the main road from the Sera HQ, we didn’t follow our tracks back to Sereolipi, but went west, then south and then west again. With the Mt Ololokwe in the distance for most of the drive, we weren’t going to get lost, but this was a road less travelled. For those of you who have never been to northern Kenya, you have a treat in store. Visible from this area were some of the great mountain ranges – Ololokwe, Warges, the Mathews Range and, in the far distance, the Ndoto Mountains. Earlier in the morning, Mt Kenya would have been visible to the south, and the Nyambene Hills to the SE.

    Once back on the main road it was about 40 kms to Archer’s Post. Here we stopped in a bar for a cold soda, but didn’t feel like the nyama choma on offer. This was our turn-off to Samburu National Reserve, and a few kilometres later, we came to the gate. We paid for three nights camping in the public campsite – cash USD or Kenyan shillings only accepted.

    Samburu used to be a firm favourite, but we hadn’t been for many years. It was a bit of a shock to see so many tented camps and lodges now on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro, but there weren’t too many vehicles in the park. The other shock was how few trees there were along the once the tree-lined river, but it is still a great park. We set up camp in the Riverside public campsite overlooking the mostly dry river. We did not do an afternoon game drive – we now had time to “chillax” – although the catapult was put to good use to keep the vervets at bay. John, the camp attendant, was also kept busy.

    We had a good evening and night, though the dusty wind was a trial at times.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    UK
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanked: 1028

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Days 14 and 15:
    Samburu National Reserve and Buffalo Springs

    The drought was affecting Samburu, with the river mostly dry, and livestock grazing going on across the river in Buffalo Springs National Reserve. However, although livestock were getting access to Buffalo Springs and to the river, there appeared to be some moderation, and the Buffalo Springs Reserve was far from eaten out and contained considerable numbers of game. After an initial morning drive around Samburu, during which we had a lovely view of a leopard (along with quite a few other vehicles), but little else, we largely concentrated on Buffalo Springs, a Reserve less known to us. Scenically it is pleasing, containing more water than the Samburu Reserve on the North side of the Ewaso Nyiro River. The Isiolo River (a stream, really) was running well, and the various springs appeared healthy. The Buffalo Springs themselves provided a pleasant break on our second day, when we took swimming togs and had a refreshing and cooling dip in the crystal-clear water.

    It appears that the popularity of Samburu is starting to habituate some animals: a Kudu and her calf happily browsed around the campsite in close proximity to people, but, more concerningly, on return to our campsite one time, we found the camp attendant having a face-off with three bull elephants who wanted to pass through. Eventually they were persuaded to pass round along the river bed and through the bush behind. Monkeys, of course, are an issue, and there is a clear need for constant security within the campsite. It is mildly irritating that one appears to have to pay for this separately – one would expect the camp fees to include local security. But we would far rather pay for that than to go down the route of fenced off camps, which, to our minds, ruin the atmosphere of camping in wild Africa.

    On our second day, having seen no lion, and due to depart the following morning, we went for a final short drive in Samburu itself. A sleeping lioness was seen close to Samburu Lodge, and four young cheetah were spotted resting after killing and eating some buck. We had been tipped off about this by a passing driver, and there were a few other vehicles watching. It was good to see that Park Rangers were also in attendance ensuring that vehicles did not press too close and disturb the cats. Of course, we did see the Samburu specialities – gerenuk, Reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, and oryx – as well as the “usual suspects”.

    Day 16: Samburu National Reserve to Nairobi
    Time taken: 8 hours
    Distance: 419 kms

    On our final morning, we quickly packed up and took the track out to join the main road just north of Isiolo, and turned right for Nairobi. Half an hour’s drive from Isiolo, we pulled in to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and called in to the Northern Rangelands Trust office. We met and paid the very efficient Rufo for our stay in Sera Conservancy, and then headed south. Mount Kenya was visible in all its glory until well past Nanyuki.

    Six hours later, including a 45-minute stop for refreshment, we were back in Nairobi. A great safari, covering 3,354 kms (2,084 miles), a good variety of magnificent scenery, sightings of Ethiopian wolves, Ethiopian endemic birds, and all of “The Big Five”. Our tracks can be seen here.

  9. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Wazungu Wawili For This Useful Post:


  10. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Leipzig
    Age
    62
    Posts
    182
    Thanked: 96

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Thank you so much for this lovely report. I felt like I'm back at Lake Paradis and enjoied the Pool of Buffalo Springs again.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Nairobi
    Posts
    85
    Thanked: 35

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Hi Wazungu Wawili,
    Curious to know if you heard / experienced any of the effects of the drought. There have been some disturbing events with invasion of ranches / conservancies.
    I didn't experience anything heading to marsabit few weeks back but lots of clients and friends living there have some disturbing news.
    Did you feel any insecurity at all or was it talked about or mentioned along your way?

    Regards,
    Atakan

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    UK
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanked: 1028

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Quote Originally Posted by atakanmerdin View Post
    Hi Wazungu Wawili,
    Curious to know if you heard / experienced any of the effects of the drought. There have been some disturbing events with invasion of ranches / conservancies.
    I didn't experience anything heading to marsabit few weeks back but lots of clients and friends living there have some disturbing news.
    Did you feel any insecurity at all or was it talked about or mentioned along your way?

    Regards,
    Atakan
    Hi atakanmerdin

    Thanks for posting. As we mentioned in our posts about Sera and Samburu, the drought is bad. The invasions of ranches is on the western side of the Laikipia near Rumuruti, which, as you know, is a long way from Samburu NR and Marsabit. What I have been posting here is about the community owned conservancies and group ranches not privately owned. There is a thread on this forum in which I have posted on this matter vis a vis the Laikipia. If you read our post on Marsabit and Sera Conservancy, we hope we put the case reasonably clearly. We had a great time and never felt unwelcome or uncomfortable. I understand you are from northern Kenya. Which part?
    Last edited by Wazungu Wawili; 2017/02/18 at 08:21 PM.

  13. The Following User Says Thank You to Wazungu Wawili For This Useful Post:


  14. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    UK
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanked: 1028

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4273.jpg 
Views:	60 
Size:	55.1 KB 
ID:	439822
    Marsabit National Park: Lake Paradise

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4278.jpg 
Views:	70 
Size:	178.4 KB 
ID:	439823
    Camping at Lake Paradise - we were in paradise

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4293.jpg 
Views:	62 
Size:	161.6 KB 
ID:	439824
    Sera Conservancy: camping on the edge of a lugga

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4308.jpg 
Views:	70 
Size:	95.4 KB 
ID:	439825
    Sera Conservancy: the rangers and the radio locator

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4315.jpg 
Views:	84 
Size:	109.3 KB 
ID:	439826
    Coffee break in Sera Conservancy

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4319.jpg 
Views:	46 
Size:	86.9 KB 
ID:	439827
    On the road less travelled with Mt Ololokwe in the distance

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4337.jpg 
Views:	51 
Size:	71.1 KB 
ID:	439828
    The Ewaso Nyiro River in Samburu National Reserve

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4380.jpg 
Views:	50 
Size:	51.3 KB 
ID:	439829
    Mt Kenya from near Isiolo

  15. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Wazungu Wawili For This Useful Post:


  16. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Leipzig
    Age
    62
    Posts
    182
    Thanked: 96

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Camping at Lake Paradise - we were in paradise
    @WazunguWawili you dreamed such a long time to be there. Now you made it too. It's a very special place. Thanks for adding the pics.

  17. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Nairobi
    Posts
    85
    Thanked: 35

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Hi atakanmerdinThanks for posting. As we mentioned in our posts about Sera and Samburu, the drought is bad. The invasions of ranches is on the western side of the Laikipia near Rumuruti, which, as you know, is a long way from Samburu NR and Marsabit. What I have been posting here is about the community owned conservancies and group ranches not privately owned. There is a thread on this forum in which I have posted on this matter vis a vis the Laikipia. If you read our post on Marsabit and Sera Conservancy, we hope we put the case reasonably clearly. We had a great time and never felt unwelcome or uncomfortable. I understand you are from northern Kenya. Which part?
    Hi there WW, what a late reply. I'm not "from" Northern Kenya at all, I have lifelong friends and other connections to Northern Kenya but none ethnically. Of late spend quite some time doing some work / projects there as well. Spent most of my time up north in Serima, South Horr, Ilout, Marsabit, Korr and Ngurunit. When in Kenya next please do drop a line, would be a treat to meet!

  18. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Rio de Janeiro
    Age
    64
    Posts
    55
    Thanked: 10

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Wazungu Wawili what a pleasure to see your pics of Lake Paradise and the others as well. In 6 january 1988 was I camped at the very same spot near the lake shore and it was an unforgettable experience indeed. It was my childhood dreams to one day reach the famous lake, since I read I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson,when I was twelve years old. I´m happy to see that nothing has changed since then fortunatelly. Actually it was not changed since the Johnsons time when they spent four years at their permanent camp just near the lake entrance in the 1920´s. Only the water is a lot less nowadays as Martin Johnson (Osa husband) predicted in one of his books that the water receeded at a rate of two meters each ten years. In 1988 I was still able to see the remains of the Johnsons camp foundations. When I return there in august 2005 most of the place was completely covered by bush and I couldnt find any trace of the foundations, because my restricted time there. I miss Kenya like crazy, I have traveled a lot in Africa, in lion countrie always, and still looking back, nothing can compare with this beautifull land called Kenya. The place of the perfect climate all over the year in the highlands, the big open plains full of wildlife, what a land Kenya is my God!!! Millions thanks for share your adventure pics, my eyes are completely wet right now, Best Regards.

  19. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Serengetiman For This Useful Post:


  20. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    UK
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,537
    Thanked: 1028

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Thank you, Serengetiman! That is one of the most moving replies I have ever had - and it makes posting on this forum worthwhile.

    I too dreamt of getting to the famed Lake Paradise as a child in Kenya, but the NFD was a closed area in those days and getting there was a huge challenge. We tried to get there in 1986, but had to retreat after we slid sideways down one of the craters. The old Johnson films of Mt Marsabit and Lake Paradise in the 1920s are fascinating. Times are a-changing in northern Kenya with the new road, but old Africa is still out there.

    Yes, Kenya is a wonderful country with a huge variety of scenery: from the glaciers of Mt Kenya to the white beaches of the Indian Ocean.

    Karibuni Kenya!

  21. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Rio de Janeiro
    Age
    64
    Posts
    55
    Thanked: 10

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    Thanks lot Wazungu Wailli , but what I have stated before is the truth in my mind. When for the first time I set footin Kenya in october 1987, I had a strange feeling that everything looks just too familiar to me, the smells, the noises... I always though that in some of my past lives I had a very happy life in Kenya and this is why something keep calling me back again and again to this fantastic adventure land. Is a pity Nairobi become a somewhat unsafe place for tourists in the last ten years or so. This is why I start do to safaris in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa after 2005. All of then have good lion countrie, but Kenya is different, unique I dont know exactly why. I read a lot of books on the early explorers and hunters and my library have a good africana section. Most of the early hunters and explorers writings deal with Kenya and in my mind Kenya is the real Safari Land. The variety of scenary you cant find it anywhere in the world. The big open spaces with lonely mimosa trees scattered here and there on the plains, this is what epitomizes Africa for me. I really hope in my next life I will be born in Kenya again, but back in the early 1900´s. To feel again the happyness and freedom of just being out into the blue, enjoying at the full the solitude of the unequaled kenyan wilds. Reading this great trip reports made me melancholic about Kenya today, no good. Best Regards to all.

  22. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Serengetiman For This Useful Post:


  23. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Nairobi
    Posts
    85
    Thanked: 35

    Default Re: Northern Kenya: On our way to and from Ethiopia

    wow... we kenyans need to make more use of our beautiful country! and realize how special this place is!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •