Laikipia Safari Four Ways
Laikipia Walking Safaris
Laikipia is rugged, undulating, rocky, beautiful, wild and remote. The climate is perfect, high altitude makes it cool at night and warm during the day. Basically perfect walking country. Then there is the game. Elephant, giraffe, lion, African wild dog, leopard, cheetah, hyena, buffalo, zebra, warthog, hippo and all the quirky different antelope species. This is simply one of the best places in Africa to go on a walking safari.
There are a few operators offering walking safaris in north-west Laikipia using light-weight but comfortable mobile camps which is moved each day. The camps provide hot showers, long drop loos, a fully stocked bar and freshly cooked meals around the campfire. Tents are custom made with comfortable bedrolls and fresh linen allowing you to lie under the stars at night listening to the nocturnal sounds of the bush.
As well as the big game there are several unusual and some threatened species in this part of Kenya such as grevy's zebra, striped hyena, beisa oryx and aardwolf. The bird life in Laikipia is particularly good and there is a huge diversity of habitats from open plains, to riverines and cliff faces.
Generally a walking safari involves a steady walk for a couple of hours in the morning and the same in the afternoon. Others prefer to cover more ground and climb some of the rocky outcrops to get spectacular views. They set the pace after they have met the group and discussed with them how fit they are, where their interests lie and what suits them best.
A lovely way of incorporating a walking safari into your Kenya itinerary is to perhaps spend your first three nights at a permanent lodge exploring the area and enjoying the huge range of activities available before embarking on a walking safari for two or three nights. Alternatively, it is a great way of transferring from one lodge to another in Laikipia or even further north in the Matthews Range.
Laikipia Helicopter Safaris
Want to 'pimp' your Kenyan safari experience? Then there's no better way than with a helicopter ride across the savannah or, even better, to two of Kenya's most iconic mountains, Mt Kenya and Ol Lolokwe.
If you're feeling particularly flush or pushed for time, then Original Travel can also arrange a helicopter transfer between lodges or down to the coast, but a visit to Mt Kenya is particularly recommended. The peaks that remain are the lava plugs of the eroded volcano, and travelling by helicopter, you will land at one of the many spectacular lakes and tarns that cover the upper slopes. A delicious picnic breakfast is supplied and you can spend a few hours fly-fishing for rainbow trout from the lakeshore. To experience the mountain at its best, visits are scheduled in the early morning, so you will be on the mountain by 0730.
Even more adventurous is a flight to Ol Lolokwe, the sacred mountain of Northern Kenya's Samburu people. The mountain rises a virtually sheer 3,000 ft above the plains with a flat summit covered with giant cycads (the planets oldest plant species) lending the whole place a distinctly 'Lost World' feel but without the inconvenience of carnivorous dinosaurs. The helicopter collects clients from their lodge or camp before an exhilarating flight through the scenic landscapes of the vast Northern Frontier District, and then touches down on the summit of Ol Lolokwe. Enjoy a walk in the forest and a cool drink on the cliff edge, before flying back on a different route back to the lodge or camp, in time for lunch.
Why We Love It
The beautiful Ol Malo Lodge have their own helicopter on site, and so offer some incredible experiences to guests, from sundowners on granite outcrops, to breakfasts by flamingo pools, to a few days exploring Turkana in north west Kenya, staying in a Kikuyu-run camp.
Laikipia Camel Safaris
A camel safari is the ideal way to travel through the wilds of Northern Kenya, escaping the constraints of a vehicle (cars can't get here anyway), and where the camel train is the only traffic for miles around you.
Every day is unique, and each safari is specially designed to suit different interests or needs, catering for luxury without compromising adventure. On safari you walk through a spectacular variety of country from high montane forest, to broad sand rivers or luggas, and with the changes in habitat there comes an attendant change in ecology and wildlife.
Each day you will wake up to the sun rise, eat a delicious breakfast prepared by the chefs, and begin the journey accompanied by a Laikipia Masai tracker and a few riding camels who carry your refreshments and day-packs. The pack camels and mobile camp usually follow behind, passing to set up the next camp and allow you to spend time investigating things of interest you see on the way. By the time you arrive at the next camp a cool drink and gourmet lunch is waiting for you!
Afternoons are generally spent relaxing, reading or enjoying the scenery before going for an evening walk and sundowners. In the evening hot showers are offered before drinks by the fire and a three course dinner under the stars, reminding you how simple true luxury really can be. We recommend anything from five to seven day camel safaris followed by a few days at one of the fabulous lodges in the Laikipia area at the end of your safari.
Laikipia Biplane Flights
Fulfil any lingering 'Out of Africa' or Biggles fantasies with a biplane flight over the Kenyan savannah.
The beautiful scenery of the East African plains is even more stunning from the air, and there's no better way to see it than from a new biplane designed to look and fly like the original Weaver Aircraft Company Wacos that were considered the best sports biplanes of the 20s and 30s, the golden age of African aviation.
The Waco has an open cockpit and can accommodate two passengers seated side by side in front of an experienced pilot. Original Travel can either arrange a game flight (complete with the 'Out of Africa' music played over the state-of-the-art sound system) or even a transfer between lodges, with your bags travelling overland as there's not much room on the plane. There is also a camera system on board so you can take away a tape of what will be one of the most memorable experiences of any Kenyan safari. Robert Redford sadly not included.
The best of Kenya
Riding Safaris in Kenya
Due to the sheer variety of its landscapes and places to stay, Kenya remains an unsurpassed riding safari destination.
Whether that be based at luxurious lodges or atmospheric mobile tented camps, riding with herds of giraffe in northern Kenya or across the Mara River with the wildebeest on their annual migration, a riding safari in Kenya promises to be an unforgettable experience.
Famous for its fascinating people and wildlife-rich environment, the Mara is one of the most enchanting places in the world and a safari here is a fast paced spectacle. For less experienced riders, or those wanting a gentler ride, the Chuylu Hills, close to Amboseli and with wonderful views across to Mount Kilimanjaro, are magnificent. The game is fantastic and it is also heavenly for serious bird watchers.
For a truly original wildlife experience head north to Laikipia for the Big Five and sightings of the extremely rare wild dog.
When you are truly 'safaried out', continue your Kenyan journey by heading down to Kenya's fantastic coastline for some indulgent chill time.
Helicopter Safaris in the Northern Frontier District
Original Travel now offers Kenyan helicopter safaris way beyond the tourist trail and deep into the remote heartlands of the Northern Frontier District.
This area, which covers huge tracts of the nation's north-east, is Kenya's last great frontier - full of extraordinary and contrasting landscapes. Remote ranges of tropical forest-topped mountains sit amongst huge areas of arid deserts and the only human inhabitants of this wild landscape are tribespeople living a life little changed for centuries. Desert-adapted animals abound in the north with Grants' Gazelles, Kudu, Gerenuk, Oryx and the rare Golden Jackal particularly striking.
Our helicopter safaris allow easy access to this seriously beautiful part of Kenya - a region far off the beaten track made all the less accessible by land thanks to enormous ravines, spectacular rock formations, volcanic craters and saline water pools teeming with crocodiles and water birds. The Northern Frontier District of Kenya is unspoilt Africa at its very finest, and it is now within reach.
All our helicopter trips are entirely tailormade so can last from a day or two, or - given the necessary budget - far longer but this sort of free-roaming luxury comes, unsurprisingly, at a cost.
Trip highlights that we would highly recommend working into any itinerary would include Lake Turkana, known as the 'Jade Sea' because of its remarkable blue-green water. The lake is one of the largest desert lakes in the world and the climate here is hot and dry with the landscape dominated by volcanic rock and basalt lava flows.
The self-explanatory Central Island has more than a dozen craters and cones, three of which are filled by smaller lakes. For anyone with even a passing interest in the origins of our species, this is where it all began for the human race, with this part of the Great Rift Valley famous for its paleontological sites. Early hominid fossil deposits have been found on both sides of the lake.
The Sibiloi National Park which lies on the lake's eastern shore, is home to huge fossilised trees up to 150 feet long. On the southern shores of the lake there are many rock-art sites with engravings by early man, dating back as far as 7,000 years. Nile crocodiles, a species that has survived for more than 200 million years, are found in great abundance on the lakeshore.
To the south of Lake Turkana lies the Suguta Valley and some of Africa's most dramatic scenery. Think deserts, salt lakes, the evidence of a spectacular erosive past in the form of jagged lava fields and colourful scree slopes. A seasonal soda lake called Logipi is home to thousands of flamingos. The spectacular island in the lake's centre is known as Cathedral Rock and expeditions into the valley are best done in the early morning or in the evening to avoid the intense mid-day heat.
Finally, and away from the soaring temperatures of the deserts we recommend taking refuge in the cool, refreshing surroundings of the montane forests. These silent, pristine forests sit on the summits of the striking cliff faces rising 3,000 feet out of the arid plains. These forests are home to giant cycads, the oldest plant species on the planet, as well as beautiful strangler figs, podo and cedar trees. Follow the trails left by elephants through this untouched wilderness before arriving in clearings that reveal spectacular views over the desert below.It's all a bit 'Lost World' - without the dinosaurs, fortunately.
There are plenty of other places to visit on any exclusive helicopter safari, and our expert Kenya team can talk you through ideas in more detail, or work the flights into a larger Kenya itinerary. With this being a helicopter safari, the possibilities are endless and it really is a case of access all areas.
Consider a helicopter safari for your ultimate honeymoon in Kenya.