Trailing and treks in the wilds of the African bush, Africa walking safari, trekking safaris or hiking safaris, whatever the name is a unique form of enjoying nature at a close encounter. Wildlife, vegetation and people.
Walking safaris like biking safaris ensure a thrilling up close and personal experience of the bush. The walks and trails or hikes should be lead by an experienced trail guide who should also have the basic guiding skill i.e. should be a qualified tour leader/guide. Experience and knowledge of trained bush leaders is a prerequisite for the success of this kind of alternative wild adventure. This type of an adventure is a unique opportunity to enjoy the original safari outfit of the fore explorers.
Kenya walking safaris are very rich in cultural experience since they are lead by the local guides and they are also full of memories of nature. You walk and trek in the most remote pristine and exquisite locations. But how do you choose the best walking safari? When you shop around you will see that almost all the tour operators are offering a walk in Loita hill. This is an area very rich in wildlife and culture and it borders Masai Mara National reserve. But is this the only area offering the best view or experience?
Let go north and see a different area that one can have as walking safari destination. Here I will not talk of Mount Kenya since that park is unique because it the only park where walking and trekking is done throughout the year. I will be talking about a Walking/trekking safari in Tumaren in Samburu
Tumaren is a stunning 3000 acre property dedicated exclusively to the management and conservation of wildlife. With 360 degree sweeping views of Mount Kenya to the South and the vast Frontier District to the North, Tumaren is a window onto the romantic wilds of northern Kenya. Neighboring a series of other large conservation areas Tumaren is also blessed with healthy numbers of game and predators. Kenya. An evening walk on the ranch typically will turn up Gerenuk, Impala, Steinbuck, Common Zebra, Grevy’s Zebra, Elephant, Grant’s gazelle and Dikdik. Several days spent in the area will likely find the more shy or less common species such as Lesser Kudu, Eland, Hyena, Bat-eared Fox, Reticulated Giraffe or the endangered Lelwel’s Hartebeest. The lucky visitor may see the local Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Aardwolves or Wild dogs and night drives turn up Aardvarks, Zorillas, Caracals, Wildcats or White-tailed Mongooses. At Tumaren visitors can enjoy the property as a starting point for a camel safari or as a base camp to explore from. Game drives, mountain biking and walking are all included options for guests at Tumaren.
A typical walking safari will look like
Day one visitors are welcomed at the airstrip from Nairobi or Nanyuki with a cool drink.
A beautiful outcrop of stone overshadows the camp and you will have seen the feature from miles as you approached in the vehicle. The local Laikipia Masai calls these rocks Nayusere and stone chippings suggest that they have been used as a camp for millennia.
We too will use the rocks starting with a refreshing lunch and short rest in our classic roomy safari tents. After lunch they head out on a short walk looking for game and getting a feel for the country. As the sun begins to set you will find ourselves at the crest of Nayusere and there a blanket with drinks and biting. As we enjoy our sundowners we will continue to spot game from our vantage and watch as the baboons come back to roost on the face of the rock. A short descent will find us back in camp for a delicious hardy dinner.
Day two would be heading out early after breakfast so to see as much game as possible on our walk north towards Camp. Along our walk we will walk across large plains as well as mixed bush. Herds of Zebra, Oryx and Grant’s gazelle predominate on the large plains with smaller numbers of Jackson’s Hartebeest and Thompson’s Gazelle. In the mixed bush we find Dikdik, Gerenuk, Impala and Lesser Kudu if we are lucky enough to see them. We will be at a camp around lunch time. After lunch we will, resting, and later another walk in the evening to a pretty spot for sundowners.
The third day is a busy day heading down toward the Ewaso Nyiro River, which runs along the eastern edge of the Laikipia Plateau and then turns eastward toward Samburu National Reserve. Along the way we will be looking for Eland, Steinbuck, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Grevy’s Zebra as well as all the tough-to-see predators such as Wild Dog, Hyena, Lion, Leopard or Cheetah. You will also be looking from high open points for Elephants as we as the shy Buffalo that hide by day in thick bush. For safety reasons you will have armed rangers blind walks through thick bush country where we can’t know what is around the next corner are discouraged. On arrival at the Ewaso Nyiro you may want to take a quick swim before lunch. After lunch, our rest and sundowners on a high rocky hillside.
The last day involves a farewell party to your clue, the local guide cooks and other members to be left behind. You then take a flight to Nairobi or have a drive to your next adventure destination in Kenya.
After this king of walking safari you can truly say that you have had a walking safari in Africa and more so Kenya.
Benefits of this tour are:
Though highly priced it helps the local people directly since they are the guides, cooks and are involved in planning and execution of the program.
Minimal ecological disturbance since people use camels instead of vehicles for the transport of camping material and food
The money paid to conservancies are used for conservation of the very ranch you undertake the walk.
Time saving since you use airspace more than driving.
You learn more about the people’s culture since you are with them compared to the custom safaris where you are confined to safari vans and lodges.