Expedition of the African Rift (Kenya > Ethiopia > Kenya)
Region: Northern Kenya & Southern Ethiopia
Duration: 24 days including 9 to 10 days of treks and 6 days of boat rides + walks
Type: Hikes, exploration, cultural encounters and boat rides
- 9 to 10 days of treks in the territories of 4 great pastoralist peoples of the region, and numerous walks lasting a couple of hours
- 6 days of boat rides and walks on Lake Turkana and the Omo River Valley
- Cultural encounters with Samburu, Turkana and Rendille peoples in Kenya and Dassanech, Hamar, Konso and Borana in Ethiopia
Physical level: Difficult
Period: From June to October
Group size: From 3 to 5 participants
A sneak preview:
This is a great trip, that only we at African Rift Odyssey know and are able to execute: A true expedition across the most remote regions of Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia, two regions that we access by boat through Lake Turkana and River Omo; extraordinarily beautiful areas whose pastoralist peoples that are symbolic of the region will let us explore its secrets, in the course of the entirely exclusive treks and boat rides.
- An expedition that is in all ways exclusive, in one of the most wild and original regions of Africa – Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia,
- A particularly qualitative itinerary, borne of consolidated experience in the region,
- 9 to 10 days of treks in the Samburu, Turkana, Hamar and Rendille regions, walks in the Dassanech and Borana lands,
- Exclusive boat rides across Lake Turkana and Omo Valley that takes us to the most beautiful and inaccessible sites of this region including the Magical Central Island,
- A lovely variety of ecosystems and cultural areas,
- Other than in Hamar region, we will encounter no other tourists along the way.
Day to day plan:
Day 1: Nairobi > Lake Naivasha: After the formalities in Nairobi (having left the country from a point that has no border customs department), we travel to Lake Naivasha where we will eventually have the time for bird watching on the lake.
Day 2: Naivasha > Samburu: A stage that marks our entry into Northern Kenya. First spectacular view of the Rift Valley, a beautiful way to start!
Day 3: Samburu land: Easy walk in the morning with our Samburu guide-friends to get to Lesiolo Peak, greatly enlarging the view over the landscapes awaiting us. Drive to South Horr, at the foot of Mount Nyiro.
Days 4 & 5: 2-day trek on Nyiro Mountains: We are ready for 5 days of trekking, starting with 2 days on Nyiro Mountains that we will cross with our Samburu team. These mountains, sacred to these people, are a true treasure. The lush grasslands claim their place in what is truly the most beautiful and impressive primary mountain forest in East Africa, with its giant trees. After a night on the mountain, we get to the summit where we enjoy an uninterrupted view on the next part of our trek upto Lake Turkana…
Days 6 to 8: 3-day trek in Suguta Valley & Lake Turkana: The trek continues, this time with our Turkana friends. A large caravan of donkeys carries our luggage and mostly our water, essential in tolerating the great heat that we will experience. In 3 days of trekking, we will get to the mythical Lake Turkana, through Lake Logipi on the floor of Suguta Valley, where we will contemplate the region’s most beautiful and great landscapes. At the end of our trek, we will travel by boat to reach the amazing site of Nabuyatom bay.
Day 9: Boat ride on Lake Turkana: Our 6-day boat adventure on the “Jade Sea” and the Omo Valley starts, alternating boat ride and walks. After having done the delicate climb of Nabuyatom volcano, we board the boat to get to Loyangalani’s oasis village.
Important to note that the weather conditions on the lake, majorly its strong winds that sometimes bring about storms will dictate our trip, but ideally here is what we wish to achieve
Day 10: Boat ride to Central Island: Drive on 4×4 to Sibiloi Park. It is from here that we travel by boat to get to the mythical Central Island where we will spend the night. The magic of the place and the isolation in the middle of the immense lake get us carried away.
Day 11: Boat ride to Koobi Fora: After exploring the island on foot, with its impressive crater lakes hiding some secrets, we get to the site of Koobi Fora, one of the cradles of mankind.
Day 12: Entry into Ethiopia: Whereas we have in the past entered Ethiopia through the river, we are henceforth prohibited by the customs authorities. Our entry into Ethiopia will therefore be through difficult routes… on the way, we return to Dassanech area and go up to Omorate where we will do the immigration formalities. Night on the shores of River Omo.
Day 13: We do a 1 and 1/2 day boat ride on the Omo River Valley up to its delta. The birdlife is abundant and the crocodiles and avaran lizards are impressive. In the mid afternoon, we will put up our camp near a Dassanech Village that we will visit when the herds are back for the night.
Day 14: River Omo > Hamar Land: After exchanging greetings with our Dassanech hosts, we return to Omorate; it is the end of our boat adventure, but other joys await us. We quickly drive to Hamar region using a 4×4 vehicle.
Days 15 to 17: 2 to 3 days of walking or trekking in Hamar region. We complete our hike through a section of Hamar region, renowned agro-pastroralists who distinguish themselves by extreme body art, much more than all other ethnic groups that we have and will encounter. We will of course adapt our program to local festivities that are quite frequent especially the “bull jump” ceremony where the entry of a young man into adulthood is celebrated. And usually on the afternoon of the 17th day, we travel to Konso territory.
Day 18: Konso territory > Borana territory: We dedicate the morning to the exploration of a cultural part of Konso. Despite being far in the South of Ethiopia, Konso traditions and way of life are completely different from the people of Omo Valley, majorly terrace farming and fortified villages. After this brief visit of Konso territory, we will go to the territory of the Borana people.
Day 19: Day is spent in Borana territory, mostly to appreciate their hospitality during a coffee ceremony different from the one traditionally practiced in the rest of Ethiopia. We will also go to explore one of their famous “singing wells” where the young men take their herds to drink water. Later in the day we drive to Moyale border, which marks the end of our 8 days in Ethiopian territory. Return to Kenya for a night in a hotel.
Day 20: Moyale – Rendille land: Long drive to Rendille region, last stage of great choice, in these amazing Northern Kenya / Southern Ethiopia regions.
Days 21 & 22: 2 – day camel trek in the Ndoto Mountains, literally “dream mountains”, where the immense granite monolith majestically towers over us. Following our guide, our small camel caravan led by the women who know how to best load the animals, we pass through the mountains to reach a couple of natural pools that will define our journey.
Day 23: Rendille land – Mount Kenya: We leave the ecosystems and cultural regions of Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia, where we have journeyed in the course of 22 days! Reaching Central Kenya with its great agricultural people, we get to the forest at the foot of Mount Kenya.
Day 24: Mount Kenya – Nairobi: A last walk gives us the opportunity to explore the forest where we observe birds and mostly the three species of monkeys that live here. Transfer to the airport for the return flight.Back to the tours list