Worldwide Photographic Journeys

KENYA’S FAR NORTH – Lake Turkana and Beyond

Saturday 11th September – Sunday 26th September 2021

Leaders: Inger Vandyke and highly skilled local ethnographic driver-guides

16 Days Group Size Limit 7
Saturday 20th August – Sunday 4th September 2022

Leaders: Inger Vandyke and highly skilled local ethnographic driver-guides

16 Days Group Size Limit 7

KENYA: TRIBAL PHOTOGRAPHY TOURS WITH WILD IMAGES

Kenya’s spectacular Northern Frontier District (NFD) is the last truly ethnically diverse region of the country.  An extension of the Ilemi Triangle and bordering on Ethiopia, the NFD is home to many beautiful people including the Samburu, Gabbra and Rendille.  We have teamed up with a highly experienced local guide to visit the spectacular regions of Lake Turkana, the Chalbi Desert and Lake Baringo, visiting a total of eleven of Kenya’s most spectacular ethnic groups.

Lake Baringo and nearby Lake Bogoria, in the western part of Kenya feature large flocks of flamingoes and it is here we will visit the stunningly decorated Pokot people and the lesser known Njemps who are related to the Maasai. The Njemps are fishing people and we will take a canoe ride out on the lake to visit a community of these rarely visited people to learn about their life on the lake and photograph them.

Lake Turkana, sometimes referred to as the Jade Sea, is famous for it’s greenish-blue colours. It is the largest alkaline lake in the world. Lake Turkana is around 300 kilometers long and 50 kilometers making it the world’s largest permanent desert lake.  This beautiful place is home to some of Kenya’s most treasured ethnic people including the El Molo and Turkana.

In the vast wilderness of the Chalbi desert we may encounter nomadic people moving across the dunes by camel in between visiting communities of the Waata and Gabbra people.  It is here that the Samburu people dig their famous singing wells and we will stop to watch Samburu men dig deep wells while listening to them singing as they work.

We will hike up the sacred Mount Ololokwe with a group of Samburu warriors who will camp with us overnight on the summit and we will also enjoy watching and photographing Samburu children sliding down the waterfall slides at Mt Poi.

As we journey north we will visit the cradle of mankind at Koobi Fora, explore rock petroglyphs, visit tribal villages and learn about ancient singing wells.

We will experience the spectacular tribal dances of the Turkana and Gabbra people.  

Our northernmost points of the expedition will allow us to visit communities of Dassanech and Borana people, both stunningly beautiful tribes who live very close to the southern border of Ethiopia with Kenya.

Finally we will enjoy wildlife safaris in two of Kenya’s premier reserves, Samburu and Ol Pejeta.  In Samburu we may see dry country fauna that includes Gerenuk, Grevy’s Zebra and Reticulated Giraffe.  As we return to Nairobi we will stop for safaris in Ol Pejeta where we may see wild dogs and rhinos in the largest sanctuary for Black Rhinoceros in East Africa.

Tribes we will visit include:

  • Borana
  • Gabbra
  • Burji
  • Dassanech
  • El Molo
  • Rendile
  • Samburu
  • Pokot
  • Waata
  • Turkana
  • Njemps

Accommodation & Road Transport

The accommodation on the tour is in basic guest houses and lodges for the time we are in the tribal areas.  We will have one night at camp and two nights where there are pit toilets only.  In the reserves and in Nairobi our accommodation is a good standard.

There are plenty of rough tracks in northern Kenya and plenty of ‘off-road’ driving. Photo safari transport is by one Toyota Landcruiser 4×4 extended wheel base vehicle for the longer drives on the tour.  On safari in Samburu and Ol Pejeta we will be travelling in a 4×4 vehicle with open sides and open roof hatches . We will only take up to four guests per 8-seater safari vehicle, giving you plenty of space to photograph.

Walking

Most of the walking on tour will be easy and on flat ground in tribal villages.  The hike to Mount Ololokwe is strenuous but not difficult.

Climate

Most days in northern Kenya will be warm or hot, dry and sunny.

Photographic Equipment

If you use a full-frame DSLR or mirrorless camera for wildlife photography you should bring telephotos (and if need be converters) that will cover the range 100-600mm (even more if you like to photograph small to medium-sized birds). Most mammal images in the reserves will be taken at between 200-400mm. You will also find a wide-angle lens of around 24mm good for landscape photography and a ‘street’ lens of 24-105 or 70-200 will be required for photographing people

You can also get great photographic results in northern Kenya and Lake Turkana with a good quality bridge camera. It will be best if it has an optical zoom of 18-20x or more, combined with a reasonable wide-angle at the other end of the zoom range.

There will be opportunities for drone photography here around the regions of Lake Turkana, in the Chalbi desert and on Mount Ololokwe.  Please contact our office if you are planning to bring your drone so we can advise you about any flying restrictions that may apply to the tour.

Be sure to bring plenty of spare battery power. Dust is an issue in northern Kenya if the weather has been dry for some time, so cleaning equipment is important. A beanbag and/or a monopod are very useful here for wildlife photography from the vehicle.

If you would like to talk over suitable equipment, please contact our office. We will be happy to advise you.

Photographic Highlights

  • Meet and photograph no less than 11 different tribal groups of people in Kenya’s Northern Frontier District (NFD)
  • Visit the stunning regions of Lake Baringo, Lake Turkana and the Chalbi Desert
  • Game safari drives in two of Kenya’s most beautiful national parks - Samburu and Ol Pejeta
  • Hike to the summit of Mount Ololokwe with a group of Samburu warriors and camp on the summit of the mountain with them
  • Visit the rock slides of Mt Poi
  • Experience the Singing Wells of the Samburu people
  • Cultural dances with the Gabbra and Turkana
  • Explore ancient petroglyphs in the region of Lake Turkana
  • Learn about Richard Leakey’s discovery of ‘1470’, a 2 million skull of Homo Habilis in Koobi Fora, the cradle of mankind
  • Photograph and learn about the religious shrines of the El Molo region
  • Numerous opportunities for portrait photography of some of Kenya’s most spectacular tribal people

OUTLINE ITINERARY

  • Day 1: Evening tour start at Nairobi
  • Day 2: Drive to Lake Baringo for lunch and take a boat tour on the lake to visit the Njemps people
  • Day 3: Early morning visit to a Pokot Village, and return to our lodge for an afternoon of rest. An optional excursion to Lake Bogoria to visit the resident flamingo colony may be arranged
  • Day 4: Drive via Wamba to Samburu with lunch on the way, afternoon game drives in Samburu
  • Day 5: This morning we will enjoy a final morning safari in Samburu before we drive to Sabache to hike with Samburu Warriors up Mount Ololokwe where we will camp with them overnight
  • Day 6: After a sunrise photography shoot with the Samburu Warriors we will descend in time for breakfast and a shower. In the afternoon we will visit the Samburu people and enjoy viewing the natural water slides on Mount Poi
  • Day 7: Today we will enjoy some morning cultural  activities with the Rendile people and drive north to Loyangalani on the shores of Lake Turkana
  • Day 8: Morning visits to the Elmolo people and their shrines. After lunch we will explore some local rock petroglyphs and as the light becomes beautiful we will experience some Turkana cultural dances until sunset
  • Day 9: Today we will drive along the shores of Lake Turkana to Sibiloi National Park where we will explore a petrified forest for landscape photography 
  • Day 10: A full day of visiting the Kobi Fora Museum and visiting the Dassanech people close to the border of Kenya and Ethiopia
  • Day 11: Today we will drive to North Horr and pass by the singing wells of the Samburu people before we enjoy a sun set over the sand dunes of the Chalbi desert
  • Day 12: Sunrise photography in the sand dunes before we visit the Waata people. We will then drive to Kalacha to visit a community of Gabbra people and watch their beautiful dances
  • Day 13: Our morning will be spent visiting Gabbra communities before we drive through the Chalbi desert to Marsabit
  • Day 14: Full day of visiting Borana and Burji people near Moyale before returning to Marsabit
  • Day 15: This morning we will drive to Nanyuki in the wonderful reserve of Ol Pejeta. We will arrive in time for lunch and a short break before an afternoon safari in the reserve
  • Day 16: A final morning game drive in Ol Pejeta will precede our drive to Nairobi where our tour will end with an evening flight

To see a larger map, click on the square-like ‘enlarge’ icon in the upper right of the map box.

To see (or hide) the ‘map legend’, click on the icon with an arrow in the upper left of the map box.

To change to a satellite view, which is great for seeing the physical terrain (and for seeing really fine details by repetitive use of the + button), click on the square ‘map view’ icon in the lower left corner of the ‘map legend’.

KENYA’S FAR NORTH AND LAKE TURKANA PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR:

PRICE INFORMATION

Wild Images Inclusions: Our tour prices include surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, all photography, driver and guide gratuities and national reserve entrance fees.

Deposit: 20% of the total tour price. Our office will let you know what deposit amount is due, in order to confirm your booking, following receipt of your online booking form.

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: Click here (you will need the tour dates)


2021: Provisional £5450, $7790, €6340, AUD10040. Nairobi/Nairobi
2022: Provisional £5450, $7790, €6340, AUD10040.

Single Supplement: 2021: £340, $490, €390, AUD630.
Single Supplement: 2022: £340, $490, €390, AUD630.

If you are travelling alone, the single supplement will not apply if you are willing to share a room and there is a room-mate of the same sex available.

This tour is priced in US Dollars. Amounts shown in other currencies are indicative.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

KENYA: NORTHERN KENYA AND LAKE TURKANA PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR: DETAILED ITINERARY

 

Day 1

Our Kenya tribal photography tour starts in Nairobi this evening with an overnight stay at the comfortable Four Points by Sheraton, close to Jomo Kenyatta airport.

Providing you are arriving at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport today, a meeting and transfer to our hotel will be provided.

Day 2

This morning we will drive to Lake Baringo in western Kenya.  This beautiful lake is home to the Pokot people and the Njemps, a smaller group of fishing and agropastoralist people who are related to the Maasai.  On our first afternoon at the lake we will take a small canoe ride out to visit a village of Njemps people living on an island.

Our lodge for the evening is perched high on a cliff overlooking the lake.

Day 3

After a morning visiting the beautiful Pokot villages near Lake Baringo we will enjoy an afternoon visit to the beautiful Lake Bogoria to photograph its stunning flocks of flamingos until sunset.

Day 4

After breakfast we will drive north via Wamba to the spectacular game reserve of Samburu, arriving in time for an afternoon game drive.  Samburu is rich in northern specialist species such as the Grevy Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk and the Beisa Oryx (also referred as Samburu Special). The reserve is also home to a minimum of 900 elephants. Large predators such as the Lion, Leopard and Cheetah are also present.  Our lodge is spread out along the banks of the beautiful Uaso Nyiro River within the reserve.

Day 5

We will enjoy another early morning game drive in Samburu before returning to the lodge for lunch.  In the afternoon we will drive to Sabache where we will start our hike to the top of Mount Ololokwe with a group of Samburu warriors.  This literal highlight will see us staying on  the mountain overnight so we can enjoy photography with them at sunrise and sunset.

Day 6

Today we will descend from the mountain to a nearby lodge in time for breakfast and a shower before we  drive to Ngurunit for lunch.  In the afternoon we will visit the waterfall rockslides of Mt Poi which are a favorite location for Samburu children to swim and slide for fun in the waterfalls.  Our accommodation will be at a local camp in the heart of the Ndotos, a region that is home to Kenya’s Rendile people.

Day 7

This morning we will enjoy a morning of photography with a community of Rendile people before our lunch and drive to the shores of Lake Turkana.  Our lodge is situation on the south-eastern shores of the lake, close to the beautiful El Molo and Turkana people that call Kenya’s Jade Sea home.

Day 8

Our full day of photography in the region of Lake Turkana starts with visiting a community of El Molo people, the smallest ethnic group in Kenya.  When the light becomes harsh we will explore one of the four sacred shrines of the El Molo people.  Located on Lorian island, the shrines belong to individual clans of the El Molo and each has a specific purpose of worship for the El Molo people who visit them.  We will then enjoy lunch and an exploration of some ancient rock art on the shores of the lake before a final cultural dance and village visit with the beautiful Turkana people.

Day 9

Exploring the shores of Lake Turkana by car, we will drive north to Sibiloi National Park in far northern Kenya.  This region is home to the Dassanech people who also have communities in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia.  Our accommodation for the evening is in traditional houses (or Bandas) close to the Koobi Fora Museum which houses the original Australopithecus skull discovered by renowned anthropologist Dr Richard Leakey.

Day 10

This morning we will drive to visit a local community of Dassanech people before we return to our Bandas for lunch.  In the afternoon we will relax and enjoy a small excursion to the Koobi Fora Museum.

Day 11

Today we will depart for North Horr, stopping to visit the famous Singing Wells of the Samburu people.  Dug by Samburu men who sing while they work hard to dig these deep water wells.  By late in the day we will be in the sand dunes of the Chalbi Desert where the Gabbra people live as camel nomads.  Sunset will be in the dunes of the desert.  Our accommodation will be in a basic guest house.

Day 12

Sunrise again will be in the dunes of the Chalbi before we visit a local community of Oromo speaking Waata people for photography. We will then drive further to Kalacha to spend the afternoon with the local Gabbra people for photography.  Our accommodation will be in a basic guest house.

Day 13

This morning we will visit a local Gabbra homestead before we embark on an adventurous drive over the Chalbi desert to Marsabit where we will stay in the heart of a region that is home to the beautiful Borana and Burji village.  Our lodge is basic yet comfortable and within easy reach of several local villages.

Day 14

A full day of photography with the local Borana and Burji people in the region around Marasabit.

Day 15

Today we will commence our drive back towards Nairobi, arriving at Nanyuki on the Laikipia Plateau.  Our last night of the tour will be in the beautiful Ol Pejeta Game Reserve, the large protected area for rhinoceros in East Africa.  We will arrive in time for an afternoon game drive before our final dinner of the tour in our safari lodge.

Day 16

This morning we will enjoy a final game drive in the reserve before we return to Nairobi for an evening departure.

Please note:  

  • At the end of the tour we can arrange a transfer for you to any Nairobi hotel on request. Day rooms or overnight stays, and international airport transfers can be arranged, according to your requirements at an extra cost.

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