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2021: Kenya’s Lake Turkana and Chalbi Desert

Key Information

Date: Saturday, September 11, 2021
Duration: 16 days
Cost: Provisional £5560, $7790, €6380, AUD10040. Nairobi/Nairobi. Singe Supplement £350, $490, €400, AUD630
Places: 7

This booking will be made through a third party website and will open a new tab when you press Book Now


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.


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.


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.

Key Information

Date: September 11, 2021
Duration: 16 days
Cost: Provisional £5560, $7790, €6380, AUD10040. Nairobi/Nairobi. Singe Supplement £350, $490, €400, AUD630
Places: 7

This booking will be made through a third party website and will open a new tab when you press Book Now

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