Off the beaten track
Posted On 14th April 2016
Thorn Travels was a part of a recently concluded familiarisation visit highlighting some of Kenya’s most romantic locations. The Kenya Tourism Board sponsored circuit began at the capital; taking off from Wilson airport to Samburu before embarking on a drive through Central Kenya, and the part of the Rift Valley, and back to the Nairobi. This montage highlights the trip.
Named after Florence Kerr Wilson, a pioneer of aviation in Kenya. Established in 1933 as Nairobi Aerodrome and later renamed Wilson Airport in 1962.
Samburu National Reserve lying on the edge of northern Kenya's arid savannahs is a destination that will appeal as much to the safari first-timer as it will to the veteran. The pack pitched at tented Samburu Intrepids camp for two nights located on the banks of the great Uaso Nyiro River. From this luxurious base, the wild was made more palatable. Drives resulted, in among others, the spotting what is referred to as the 'Samburu Big Five' - Grevy's zebra; the long-necked gerenuk; reticulated giraffe; besia oryx; and Somali ostrich.
*Writer’s pick-Make sure to visit an authentic Samburu village to learn about these proud people.
Mount Kenya (5,199 m) is an extinct volcano some three and a half million years old and the sacred home of Ngai, God of the Kikuyu people. The team stayed at the timbered Serena Mountain Lodge with an open-air viewing-deck looking down on to its own water hole and salt-lick that attracted herds of elephant and buffalo.
*Writers’ pick: Morning nature walk that ends with a bubbly champagne breakfast is a must do.
The team had buffet lunch half-way between Nyeri and Nyahururu at the Tafaria Castle. Completed in 2012 AD, this castle sits on a hill overlooking Mount Kenya and the Laikipia Plains and is an ideal venue for those in search of a unique and special getaway in the countryside.
*writer pick: Make sure to horse around.
The Aberdare Range (formerly, the Sattima Range, Kikuyu: Nyandarua) is a 160 km long mountain range. Treetops Lodge Nyeri lies in the path of an ancient Elephant migratory route between the Aberdare Ranges and Mt Kenya National park, and is strategically sited right in front of a natural watering hole and salt lick. This game viewing lodge was originally built in 1932 and is famous as the place where the then-Princess Elizabeth ascended to the British Throne.
*Writer’s pick: You have a very good chance of spotting the rare Mountain Bongo and or black rhino- if only you don’t sleep.
A few kilometres from Gilgil off the Nairobi-Nakuru highway is Elementeita. This area derives its name from the Masaai word muteita, meaning "dust place", a reference to the dryness and dustiness of the area. Lake Elementaita is a RAMSAR Site - Convention of Wetlands of International Importance and was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sunbird lodge named after one of the more than 450 species of birds of this area provided the perfect setting for experiencing a most breath-taking sunset.
*Writer’s pick: Savour unrivalled views of the landscape and the lake from the hammocks hanging on the balcony of the bird themed cottages.
From our tour I conclude that Nakuru excels for its nightlife and Naivasha for its accommodation options.
Writers pick: Visit the Elsa Conservation Trust and re-kindle the memories of Born Free by watching the documentary, The Joy Adamson Story and visiting the museum. Cresent Island is also worth your time. If you are a party animal then Nakuru’s Platinum is your natural habitat.
Thika Dam (Ndakaini)
Ndakaini dam that produces 430,000 m3/day of water that is about 84 per cent of total supply of water to Nairobi residents made it to this list for its understated splendour. The dam’s construction started in the year 1988 when the Kenya Government compulsorily acquired approximately 1,200 acres of land to create space for the construction of the dam to supply portable water to the residents of Nairobi City and its environs.
View the visual route below
(Photos: Wilberforce Okwiri/ Thorn Travels)