Trekking in Samburu – The OlolokweAn extraordinary program with easy walking opportunities in unique destinations to the north of Kenya. The program combines leisurely walks, game viewing safaris and interactions with the local people. Our first stop is Aberdares National Park for wildlife viewing and visits to spectacularly picturesque falls. Next is Mountain Rock Lodge at the base of Mt. Kenya where you will meet the local Kikuyu people and visit the Sweetwaters Game Sanctuary. Finally we visit the arid Samburu country for opportunities to interact with the nomads of northern Kenya, hike with them and sample wildlife endemic to the arid north.
Accommodation for this itinerary is a mix of bush camps (fully supported) and a comfortable local lodge. The bush camping section on this trip allows us access to wilder areas. Irrespective of the location we never compromise on health, safety or reasonable comfort. And although we generally don’t include luxury lodges in our itinerary planning, lodge accommodation can be arranged for most nights on private group departures if required.
Day 1: To Aberdares National Park.
Depart from Nairobi to the Aberdares National park via Mutubio gate after breakfast. Aberdare Park is one of the most pristine and less visited national parks in Kenya. The park hosts the third highest mountain range in Kenya, rising up to 4001m and with dramatic waterfalls that are the hallmark feature of this park. Due to it’s high peaks, waterfalls, bountiful wildlife, lichen-hung forests, churning pools and trout-filled streams, this park is a haven to nature lovers and trekkers alike. It’s possible to hiker to the summits or visit the various attractions on foot. Wild animals including elephant, buffalo, giant forest hog, duiker, bushbuck, black rhino, eland, leopard, serval cat among others roam freely in the park. Bird life is also abundant as is the varied floral species. Overnight camp at Kiandogoro campsite inside the park in spacious tents. (B,L,D)
Day 2: To Mount Kenya Forest.
Morning game drive around the Salient area of Aberdare Park to see animals that eluded us yesterday. Later we drive to Mountain Rock Lodge – a comfortable country-style resort nestled in the forested slopes of Mt. Kenya. The forest environment is lush, pleasant and where there will be opportunities for guided nature walks and visit to the neighbouring local villages. The virgin natural forest was once a shelter for the Mau-Mau fighters who resisted the British rule in the 1950’s and en-route our naturalist guide will reveal their forest foods, herbal medicines and survival techniques providing an understanding of the history and ecology of these forests. In the evening we return for dinner then overnight at the lodge in simple but comfortable rooms. (B,L,D).
Day 3: Sweetwater’s Game Sanctuary visit.
6am. bird walk (discretionary) and viewing of mount Kenya from the forest clearings then have breakfast followed by short drive to the nearby Sweetwaters Game sanctuary. Sweetwaters is a private conservancy with a higher wildlife-to-area ratio than any of Kenya’s national parks. It also doubles up as an orphanage for chimpanzees that were rescued from war torn Great Lakes region of central Africa. Located on the plains of Mount Kenya, Sweetwaters is host to all the members of the ‘Big Five’ (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo and leopard). At the forefront of the Kenyan conservancy programme, the conservancy boasts the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, hosts the only chimpanzee sanctuary in Kenya and shelters large numbers of rare and endangered species. After exhaustive game viewing sessions before and after our picnic lunch we head back to Mountain Rock lodge for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D).
Day 4: Kikuyu farm visit / Samburu National Park.
Black and white Colobus monkeys crashing around the branches above us as we head to the local villages and Kikuyu farms. At the village we have cultural interactions and tea with the villagers. (If schools are in session we’ll also visit a local primary school we support). After lunch at the lodge we depart to Samburu National Reserve. Samburu is a semi-arid ecosystem that teems with a host of wildlife endemic to the northern part of Kenya. Chief among them being, reticulated giraffe, grevy zebra, oryx, Somali ostrich and gerenuk (the gazelle with longest neck) among others. Apart from the endemic species, elephants, buffaloes, gazelles, crocodiles, impalas, lions, dik-diks, elusive cheetahs and leopards are also found here. Today there will be an evening game drive. Overnight at camp by the Ewaso Nyiro River. (B,L,D)
NB: This being a hot and dusty environment, it is advisable to consider upgrading the accommodation to stay at a more comfortable lodge in the park at an additional cost though.
Day 5: Interaction with Samburu tribesmen.
A morning of intense game drives in Samburu where our expert guides and drivers will take you to different locations of Samburu and the nearby Buffalo Springs reserves for spectacular chances of spotting wildlife. After lunch we set off to the base camp of Ololokwe Mountain in the Namunyak conservation, an area endowed with magnificent infinite hills and beautiful landscape. On arrival we meet our local hosts, the Samburu tribesmen who will give us a detailed overview of their land and culture. Our bush camp today is at Kirish Camp site at the base of the Olololokwe Mountain, which we shall climb the following morning. This mountain is sacred to the Samburu sub-tribe of northern Kenya who apparently are related to the Maasai found in the southern part of Kenya. We use this evening to sort out logistics of local Samburu guides, security and donkeys for the next day’s trek. Dinner and overnight at Kirish bush Camp in tents (B,L,D)
Day 6: Climbing up Ololokwe Mountain.
Start the memorable hike of Ololokwe with donkeys carrying provisions for two days. You hike up the steep slope through the high altitude forest comprising of acacia trees, pencil cedar, cycad palms and podo carpus arriving at the campsite after about 4 hours for a picnic lunch. We set camp then hike to Mt. Ololokwe summit (2000m) and explore the various viewpoints. The views from these points are awesome – on one side is Mathew ranges with its Warges Peak (2600) majestically standing out and in the southeast are expansive plains extending to Nyambene Hills. Namunyak Conservation area is a Samburu community run conservancy that acts as a dispersal area for the wildlife from Samburu and Meru parks. Our visit to this conservancy goes along way to help the local people and consequently encourage them to conserve and protect the environment. Dinner and Overnight at Bush Camp on top of Ololokwe Mountain. (B,L,D)
NB: The Ololokwe trek (2 days) can be substituted with a wildlife safari to Meru park in the same amount of time and at the same price. This alternative option suit groups seeking a less demanding but interesting option.
Day 7: Journey back to Nairobi
Drive back to Nairobi with stopover at Mountain Rock Lodge for lunch. Arrival back to Nairobi is in the late afternoon.