Northern Kenya

This is a vast area of forested and barren mountains, deserts and scrubland occasionally broken by oases of vegetation and the huge Lake Turkana. Northern Kenya accounts for almost half of the country and yet only a fraction of the population live here. The people who do inhabit the area - the Samburu, Rendille, Boran, Gabbra, Turkana and Somali - are semi-nomadic peoples that cross between their villages in the region using ancient migration routes, existing as they have done for generations, hardly affected by the modern world. The main reason tourists come to Northern Kenya is to see the wonders of Lake Turkana - the Jade Sea - and, in spite of the barren environment, there are also plenty of national parks. Just north of Isiolo you will find Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba national reserves, all three along the banks of the magical life-giving Ewaso Ng'iro River and which jointly cover an area of some 300 sq km. Further north still are the less-visited parks at Maralal, Losai and Marsabit. Travelling in the northern regions can be rough and uncomfortable; the roads are far from good, distances between places are vast, there are very few facilities, and it's a long way from the comfort of the game lodges and beach hotels in the rest of the country. Unfortunately, these days there are also increasing safety issues in the region, as well as an 18-year-long refugee crisis, which has given rise to conditions of acute poverty.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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