Kenya: Nomadic northern tribes, safaris and relax at Lamu Island

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Trip Duration Days - 15 Days

Kenya: Nomadic northern tribes, safaris and relax at Lamu Island

Price Starts from € 3260

In this third edition of the trip to Kenya, we would like to give it a new approach. Without abandoning the essence of the original ethnographic trip, we have added two animal safaris and an ending of charm at the paradisiac Lamu Island.

Following Last Places philosophy, “deeper and further”, Eva Colomer will guide a group of adventurous travelers to reach further than traditional safaris, plunging into a less known territory.
 
We will start with a unique ethnographic route, designed in search of the most remote and traditional tribes: Samburu, Turkana, Rendille, Gabbra, Maasai, Borana, Yaaku, El Mole etc, to experience their extraordinary way of life which survives in a harsh and untamed land.
 
Seminomadic societies, mostly pastoralist, who also combine farming with fishing, and sometimes stealing cattle from their neighbours, will amaze the traveler with their colourful traditional attire and sophisticated hairdos and body decorations.
 
After the direct contact with these unique peoples of northern Kenya, we will enjoy two safaris in search of the big 5 in Ol Pejeta Conservancy (the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, and the only place in Kenya to see chimpanzees) and in the Samburu National Reserve (with more than 900 elephants!). The sight of wild animals is an exceptional experience which will fulfill our dreams.
 
To finish up, we will relax on the beaches of Lamu after having sailed in a dhow, their traditional boats. Lamu was an important commercial point between Arabia and the Far West. We will share the labyrinthic alleys with the donkeys, the local means of transport, as there are very few vehicles.
 
From Nairobi to the north, close to the Ethiopian border, we will discover different ecosystems which have conditioned and shaped their inhabitants. We will come across endemic wildlife, volcanoes, deserts, oases, lakes and deserted beaches. We will cross Chalbi Desert and will swim in the mythic Lake Turkana, known as the Jade Sea by the colour of its waters. With its 250 Km long and 55 km wide, it is the aquifer reserve which allows life in these territories. Finally, the warm Lamu Island, with its motto pole pole (slowly, quiet), will introduce us to the Swahili culture.
 
We will travel by 4x4 and combine hotels, guesthouses and catholic missions with our tents put up within the villages. We will bring our own chef and rely on local guides to facilitate communication and to take pictures. A domestic flight will take us to Lamu Island.
 
A great dose of patience and good mood will be required as we will travel long distances along unpaved roads, with lots of dust and heat. Also, although there are nights at hotels and guesthouses, one should bear in mind the minimum comfort in the tented nights. But the reward at the end of the journey will well deserve the effort.
 
Ready for adventure?
 
Date: 22 January - 5 or 9 February 2022

Duration: 15 days (19 days with Lamu extension)

Guide: Eva Colomer, graduated in anthropology from the Universitat de Barcelona (UB). Africa lover and traveler with guiding experience.

Price per person (in shared twin accommodation):
11 - 12 pax: 3,260 €
09 - 10 pax: 3,610 €
07 - 08 pax: 4,050 €
       06 pax: 4,150 €

Individual supplement: 290 €

Extension to Lamu, Price per person (in shared twin accommodation):
11 - 12 pax:    990 €
09 - 10 pax: 1,010 €
07 - 08 pax: 1,010 €
       06 pax: 1,100 €

Individual supplement: 100 €

The price includes:
-
All transfers
- Transportation in 4x4 vehicle (except in Lamu)
- Domestic flight Nairobi-Manda-Nairobi (Lamu Island extension)
- Anthropologist Spanish Guide
- Food as specified in itinerary: BB= bed and breakfast; HB=Half board: bed, breakfast and dinner or lunch; FB= full board
- Bottled water
- Accommodation according to itinerary
- Camping gear except sleeping bag
- Cook during camping days
- Visits and excursions detailed in itinerary (National Parks, villages)
- Basic travel insurance

Price does not include:
- International flights and taxes
- Meals other than specified in included
- Soft drinks or alcoholic beverages
- Visa
- PCRs
- Tips
- Cancellation insurance
- Any other service not specified in “included”
ITINERARY*

Day 1: (Saturday 22nd January): FLIGHT TO NAIROBI

Night flight to Nairobi.

Day 2: (Sunday 23rd January): NAIROBI-LAKE BARINGO (5h)
Upon arrival and immigration and customs clearance, we will head northwest mostly along tarmac road up to near lake Baringo, home of the seminomadic Pokot. Lunch box. Accommodation at a hotel. FB

Day 3: (Monday 24th January): LAKE BARINGO-MARALAL (4h)

We will devote ourselves to meet the Pokot culture, an ethnic group off the beaten path, whose women will amaze us with their huge beaded flat necklaces. After this, we will leave Lake Baringo area and head north up to Maralal, already in Samburu territory. Lunx box. Accomodation in a hotel. FB.

Day 4: (Tuesday 25th January): MARALAL-SOUTH HORR (3h)

After breakfast, we will continue north to reach South Horr. We will pitch our tents in a manyatta to get to know the seminomadic Samburu, the showy Nilotic tribe with colourful necklaces and anklets whose economy is based on cattle herding. We will look for the moran, the initiated young men with attractive attire as a symbol of their recent new status. Accommodation in tents in a Samburu village. FB.

Day 5: (Wednesday 26th January): SOUTH HOR-LOYANGALANI (3h)

In the morning we will still have some more time to deepen our knowledge about the Samburu lifestyle, for example how they milk the camels and goats. After breakfast we will head north to the mythic Lake Turkana, which will amaze us with its blue waters in such an arid land. We will arrive in Loyangalani, already in Turkana land, to devote the rest of the day to get acquainted with the place. Accommodation in Palm Shade guesthouse. FB.

Day 6: (Thursday 27th January): LOYANGALANI

After breakfast, we will meet a much unknown minority tribe who live by the shore of the lake: the El Molo, devoted to fishing and hunting of the crocodile and at present assimilated by the Turkana and the Samburu. In the afternoon, we will visit a Turkana village, a Nilotic tribe who, in this harsh land, used to live on cattle but due to extreme drought has been forced to widen their diet with fish, a taboo food in the past. Their colourful attire, their huge beaded necklaces and multiple earrings will fascinate us. Accommodation in Palm Shade guesthouse. FB.

Day 7: (Friday 28th January): LOIYANGALANI-ILERET

Breakfast and departure to Ileret, on the Ethiopian border, along a dirt track which will test our endurance. On the way, stop at Singing Well, a drinking tough for the camels, donkeys and goats of the Gabbra, whom we will meet in detail later in the North Horr area. Accommodation in the Catholic Mission in Ileret. FB.

Day 8: (Saturday 29th January): ILERET-DASSANETCH VILLAGE (1h)

After breakfast at the mission, we will visit the fishing community of Dassanetch fishermen at the shore of Lake Turkana and we will find out how the big fish makes it to Nairobi and even to the neighbouring Uganda. We will also visit the TBI (Turkana Basin Institute), interesting archaeological and paleontological research center funded by Richard Leakey, devoted to the discovery and preservation of our ancestors’ heritage. After the visit, we will explore the area in search of the Dassanetch, known and feared by their neighbours for their fighting skills. We might even encounter scarificated men. We will put up our tents in their village so we can deepen our knowledge and get a closer look of this unique tribe. Accommodation in tents. FB.

 Day 9: (Sunday 30th January) DASSANETCH VILLAGE-NORTH HORR (6h)

After breakfast, we will abandon the septentrional area to head south. We will cross Chalbi Desert and arrive in North Horr, where we will meet a Cushitic nomadic pastoralist tribe related to the Borana, both speakers of Borana, though the latter are not nomads. It’s the Gabbra, whose economy is based on camels. We will meet them near the oasis, the only green area in many kilometers around. Accommodation in the Catholic Mission. FB.

Day 10: (Monday 31st January) NORTH HORR-KARGI (5h)

After breakfast in the Mission, we will plunge into Rendille land, another example of a Cushite tribe. We will sleep in our tents among their semi-spherical domed houses made of sticks and cloth, near Kargi. We will enjoy the sunset while discovering these seminomadic desert peoples devoted entirely to camels, which provide not only food (meat and milk) but are also a means of transportation in this arid land. We will try to find an old woman still wearing the traditional headdress. Accommodation in tents. FB.

Day 11: (Tuesday 1st February) KARGI-SAMBURU RESERVE o BUFFALO SPRINGS (5h)

After having experienced so many exciting encounters with some of the most amazing tribes of Kenya, we will start our second part of the trip: we couldn’t leave Kenya without visiting some of its most iconic places. Ready to find the big 5? Accommodation in a hotel. FB.
 
 Day 12: (Wednesday 2nd February) SAMBURU R. o Buffalo S.- -NANYUKI (3h)

We will have the whole day to explore the area in search of wildlife in this unique reserve which is home to more than 900 elephants! In the afternoon we will leave the place and head to Nanyuki. Accommodatin in hotel. FB.

Day 13: (Thursday 3rd February) NANYUKI-OL PEJETA CONSERVANCY-NAIROBI (3h)

In the morning we will enjoy our last safari in Ol Pejeta Conservancy, famous for its black rhinos and the only place in Kenya with chimpanzees. After our lunch box, we will say goodbye to rural Northern Kenya and arrive in the overcrowded Nairobi. If the clouds allow us, we will be able to see Mount Kenya (5.199 mts) on our way, the highest mountain in Kenya and second in Africa, after Mount Kilimanjaro. PCR. Accommodation at Rudi hotel. HB (lunch)

Day 14: (Friday 4th February) NAIROBI

After breakfast, there are various possible visits: for African art lovers there is the African Heritage House. To have a final summary of everything we have experienced, there is the National Museum. For those who are fans of Out of Africa, Karen Blixen Museum, the famous farm in Africa where the film was shot. Lunch at the Talisman Restaurant or similar (not included). In the afternoon, we go back to the hotel for check out, paperwork (PCR results etc). At the appointed time, transfer to the international airport for the flight home. Night on board.

Day 15: (Saturday 5th February):
Arrival at destination and end of our services


LAMU ISLAND EXTENSION

In the afternoon of day 14 (Friday 4th February), there is still some time for shopping or to relax at the hotel. Dinner at the hotel, not included. Accommodation at Rudi hotel. BB.

Day 15: (Saturday 5th February)

Breakfast at the hotel. Final hours to complete with some of the last visits, depending on the flight departure time. At the appointed time, transfer to Wilson domestic airport for our flight to Manda. Transfer by boat to Lamu Island. Lamu Old Town, the oldest and the best preserved example of Swahili settlement in East Africa, is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Centre which will amaze us with its architecture and wooden carved doors. In the afternoon we will be able to enjoy the quietness of the island and plunge into the Swahili culture. Accommodation in hotel. BB.

Day 16: (Sunday 6th February)**

Full day to relax and enjoy the fantastic with sandy beaches, or stroll along the winding alleys of the Old town among the donkeys, or to enjoy the delicious cuisine, a fusion between the east and the west. Cultural visits to the Fort, local market etc. Accommodation in hotel. BB.

Day 17: (Monday 7th February)**

PCR in the morning. Dhow trip in the nearby mangroves to enjoy the colours of the sunset. Accommodation in hotel. BB.

**Days 16 and 17 with their activities can be interchangeable.


Day 18: (Tuesday 8th February)
We will have some more hours of quiet in this paradisiac island before we start our way back home. At the appointed time, transfer on boat to Manda airport to catch the flight to Nairobi for the international flight home. Night on board.

Day 19: (Wednesday 9th February)
Arrival at destination and end of our services.


*Orientative and flexible itinerary, subject to unexpected last minute changes due to the condition of the roads, logistical issues or bad weather.

Tourist visa for Kenya

An online visa is compulsory to enter Kenya. There is no possibility to obtain it on arrival. Last Places can help guide on the process but it is the responsibility of the traveller to get it. https://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html



Health and compulsory vaccines to enter Kenya
The yellow fever vaccine is compulsory. We strongly recommend antimalaria prophylaxis, but best of all is to visit your GP doctor or your Health Department in advance so you can obtain the exact medical advice for the areas we will visit. At the same time, we follow WHO protocol regarding safety measures against COVID 19. At the time of writing this, a negative PCR on arrival (96 hours prior entering Kenya) and another one for departure are required. Please, check your own country regulations. Before the date of departure, we will update this information related to COVID-19 requirements and safety measures.


Security in Kenya
In general, Kenya is a safe country. Nevertheless, one must watch out in Nairobi (avoiding certain neighbourhoods at night, taking care of own belongings when visiting markets and crowded places. When driving, close windows and lock doors of vehicle, especially at traffic lights and traffic jams). It is advisable not to drive when night falls (animal crossings, little visibility etc).


Weather- when is best to visit Kenya
Last Places organizes trips to Kenya all year round, though some more remote areas can only be reached in dry season (from June to September and in January and February). Kenya, like most of other African countries, has got two main seasons: rainy and dry. It rains (short showers) from mid-October to December and again from March till June (long rains). Kenya is situated on the Equator Line and enjoys three types of weather according to the geographical area: humid and warm on the coast, mild in the west and southwest where you find mountains and the high plateau, and finally warm and dry in the north and east. The hottest period is from December to March, with temperatures reaching 25 to 29 centigrade. Nevertheless, if you are travelling in high areas, the temperature is rather chilly, especially at night.

Currency
The Kenyan Shilling (KES) is the currency of Kenya. You can bring euros or dollars likewise. There are exchange offices at the airport and there is the chance to exchange along the trip in the designated places. There are bank notes of 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50 shillings, and coins, though hardly ever used.
About 400 euros for drinks other than water, meals not included in the program and souvenirs. If you would like to buy art or craft it is advisable to bring more.
Tips: they are not compulsory, but expected and appreciated
Credit cards: they are only useful in Nairobi and even so, in many places cash is required. Do not rely on credit cards.


Kenya's Timezone
GTM/UTC +3. There is no time change in summero.



Electricity, charging batteries, cameras and mobiles
In Kenya the power plugs and sockets are of type G. The standard voltage is 240 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. To charge our batteries during camping days, there are sockets in the vehicle to charge mobiles while in route. Camera batteries and other electrical gadget will be charged at the hotels. An extra set of batteries and a power bank are recommended.


Communications / internet in Kenya
Kenyan international telephone code is +254. Wi-fi is only available in some hotels along the route and guesthouses, sometimes with weak connectivity. The traveller can buy a SIM card for connectivity along the trip, but in some remote areas it might not work.


Language
English and Swahili are the two official languages in Kenya. But there are about other 70 languages spoken. In villages and when visiting the tribes it is difficult to find people who can speak English, that’s why we travel with a guide-interpret who will help us communicate during the visits.


Recommendations and Prohibitions - Protocol when visiting tribal societies
The majority of the following behaviour guidelines are observed in a daily basis, but sometimes, fascinated but what we encounter, one might forget them. Some recommendations are to protect their habitats and traditions..

Greetings and introduction: on arrival, and with the help of our guide-interpreter, we will encounter the chief of the community. We will introduce ourselves and explain the reason of our visit. After a brief chat, we ask for permission to wander around the village, interact with its inhabitants and take pictures. This way, the visit flows in a more natural and relaxed atmosphere

Interaction: although the chief of the community has granted us permission to visit his village, if we wish to enter inside a house or private area, we should ask explicit permission to the owner. This applies not only to buildings, but also to the lands, animals, totems and natural surroundings. Tribal life is a whole and has a much wider meaning which affects the lives of its inhabitants who live in symbiosis with their animals and nature.

Presents: We will avoid bringing clothes, footwear, toys, plastic and utensils which do not belong to their culture, because this would accelerate the global process against the preserving of their customs. Simple apparently harmless gestures, like giving sweets to the children, can have major consequences like cavities. We will bet for presents which already belong to their culture, like fabrics bought at their local markets and which are already a regular product for them. If we bring medicines, we will take them to the medical center to ensure its correct administration.

Photography: Like in many other countries in the world, it is strictly prohibited to take pictures of the police or army, and to places considered strategic, such as military areas or buildings, places of high security and governmental buildings.
When taking pictures at people in their villages (tribes), it is always preferable to start the visit by greeting the chief of the community and after the introductions are done, we can discuss and come to an agreement on the photography protocol. We will ask for explicit permission to the person or people if we wish to take a picture of them. Sometimes we might be asked to pay for the posing, so it is advisable to discuss this price beforehand in order to avoid misunderstandings.The guide in Last Places can help deal with this once in the villages.

 • Observing without judging: Despite being sometimes difficult, it is the best way to plunge into other societies. The experience of interacting and learning from cultural diversity is the best legacy that we will acquire from tribal life.

Environment: In our trips we promote the protection of the environment and try to respect the natural surroundings by minimizing our impact and leaving no trace behind.