Let me start by saying that Kenya is a magical country. I have lived in this country for more than three decades now and this is the first time that I have toured the Northern region.
Join me on this journey through the North and embrace the magic.
We embarked on our journey from Nairobi at around 10 AM. We drove our way through Karatina, Nanyuki, Isiolo and Archers Post up to Laisamis on an amazing and clearly marked road.
After a few hours on the road, we passed by the Elephant migration corridor. This corridor as our guide told us is where elephants migrate from Lewa Conservancy towards Meru to give birth, and eventually die.
Elephants, as you may know, remember places where the herd has found food and water in the past. Researchers believe elephants’ good memories are a big part of how they survive and why so many live for so long (50 to 60 years or more on average).
We were made to understand that if you pass by that road very early in the morning and late in the evening, you would be able to spot the elephants crossing to and fro.
As we proceeded with the drive, we were informed that the Ministry of Tourism, through the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) had chosen Buffalo Springs National Reserve as one of the film locations of Lion King among others.
An oasis in Kenya’s Buffalo Springs Shaba Reserve helped the creative team figure out the spot where the animals gather to lap up some much-needed hydration.
This is an alternative choice for guests who desire a discerning and unfettered safari trip in northern Kenya’s bush country.
The reserve is part of a larger ecosystem that includes Samburu National Reserve to the north and Shaba National Reserve to the North East.
We then had a stopover in Isiolo town for lunch and I couldn’t help but notice the town has good hotels and lodges.
Most residents of this town are Muslims but there are Christians too. Jamia Mosque and the Catholic Church’s bell towers are the landmarks of Isiolo.
The culture in this town is diverse as it is home to the Borana, Somali, Meru, Samburu and Turkana people.
We got to Marsabit as the sun was setting and headed to Jirime Hotel and Resort where we put up for the night.
As we departed from Jirime early in the morning, we got to learn that the hotel was named by the Borana after a common tree in the area.
We are now enroute to Loiyangalani and I can’t help but thank my gods that we have an off-road car because the roads are rough.
INTO THE DESERT: CHALBI DESERT
For those fond of mother nature in her diversity, Chalbi Desert, located in Marsabit County is a real gem.
Located East of the famous Lake Turkana and spreading to the Ethiopian border, the magical desert is one of the hottest and most arid places in Kenya and covers an area of about 100,000-square kilometres.
The desert is believed to have been a lake that dried up a thousand years ago, therefore, the name Chalbi, which means ‘bare and salty’ in the Gabbra dialect.
Chalbi desert is a perfect place for motorsports, camel derbies and caravans, safaris, filming and nature-treks, among other adventures.
El Molo Bay is home to Kenya’s smallest tribe. The El Molo, whose numbers have dwindled through intermarriage, linguistic and cultural practices, have been absorbed into the Turkana and Samburu communities. They are one of the last true hunter-gatherer communities, and the location is also a good place to spot crocodiles and birdlife.
At Loiyangalani, we put up at Malabo Resort which had outstanding scenic views. From the resort, you can see Lake Turkana and enjoy the ambience.
The resort sits on the slopes of a plateau which is a kilometer from the shores of the great Lake Turkana.
As the sun goes down over the horizon and the blue waters of the famous Lake Turkana, We head into our spacious self-contained rooms to relax after the day’s adventures.
Kenya’s Lake Turkana—the world’s largest permanent desert lake—inspires the parched, arid lands. Simba can be seen here crossing between the Pride Lands and the Cloud Forest.
The dry lake beds around Mount Kilimanjaro, just over the border between Kenya and Tanzania, were used to create the look of the area where Simba collapses after his desert crossing in the Lion King.
The Turkana is a film destination that KTB has leveraged on to give prominence to Kenya’s scenic views and promote tourism.
As we move towards Maralal town at this point, I can’t help but notice the hundreds of kilometers that we have covered so far.
The Maralal Camel Derby is an annual event, held midyear just outside Maralal town. This is Kenya’s best known and most prestigious camel race that attracts both local and international competitors.
The event is a major attraction for spectators as well as racers, and the competition is fierce.
This is an event which attracts tourists from not only Kenya but also abroad. The experience is breathtaking.
The entertaining nature of the festival elicits great fun and this plus the local competition brings the small desert town to life.
If you are visiting Kenya during the race period, don’t miss Maralal.
After the Camel Derby, we headed to Nyahururu which is very cold, thus making the wearing of warm clothing a necessity.
Giraffe Ark Game Lodge was our final destination during this trip and it was the icing on the cake. If you are ever around this area, this is the place to stopover.
The lodge is a serene sanctuary that graces the plains of Kieni in Nyeri County and is strategically placed between the majestic Aberdare.
There are Ranges to the south and the imposing snow-capped Mt Kenya to the North.
The lodge boasts soundproofed rooms and suites that are stylishly decorated and designed with parquet flooring, en-suite bedrooms and private balconies which offer stunning views of the environment.
Giraffe Ark Game Lodge is 4 km away from the Solio Ranch and in close proximity to Aberdare National Park and Mount Kenya National Park.
This marks the end of our Northern circuit tour. With that, all I can leave you with is to EMBRACE THE MAGIC!