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5 Secret Places In Kenya You'll Love

May 16th 2016  |  Community Safaris, Kenya, Wildlife Safaris  |  by  Francis Naumann
5 Secret Places In Kenya You'll Love

It is hard not to fall in love with Kenya: most visitors, after their first holiday, want to return to further explore secret places in Kenya. These off the beaten path regions each have their own merits with unsurpassed wildlife, easy access, and diversity of holiday accommodation. They are great for both families and groups of friends. Picture yourself watching sunset from a rocky kopje or the tranquil lakes: in Kenya there is something for everyone and, in their own way, they are all beautiful, as are these five stunning secret places in Kenya:

Rift Valley

East Africa is being slowly torn apart by tectonic forces, and the scars are visible from space. It’s surely no coincidence that either side of this extraordinary tear in the surface of the earth is some of the most fertile land on the planet, which has given rise to the greatest biodiversity of any place on earth.

The Safari and Conservation Company - Samatian flamingos Kenya

Samatian Island flamingos

Parts of the Rift Valley are well known to safari-goers, the lakes of Nakuru, Naivasha and Manyara have attracted visitors for decades, but others are even more worthy of interest; Baringo, Bogoria, Magadi, Natron and Turkana being among the most unusual and fascinating to visit. It’s here that you find volcanic springs, huge escarpments and mountain ranges, flamingos, arid landscapes, soda encrusted lake shores, life at the extremes, unique wildlife and people to match it.

Samatian Island is a great holiday base for exploring a part of this magnificent trench in the earth’s crust.

The Safari and Conservation Company - Samatian pool overlooking lake Kenya

Samatian pool overlooking Lake Baringo

Laikipia

This broad expanse of rugged uplands to the north west of Mt Kenya was just cattle country in colonial times, and as a result received few visitors unless by accident or to buy livestock. In recent years a number of the ranches have embraced conservation and it now has one of the fastest growing and most diverse wildlife populations in East Africa.  It’s one of the best places to see wild dog and rhino anywhere in Africa.

fly Camp sosian laikipia kenya campfire

Fly camping at Sosian, Laikipia

Much of the land is in private hands and this means there are no restrictions as to the safari activities you can do. Night drives, walking, mountain biking, camel and horse riding, fly-camping and lots of picnics are encouraged here. The scenery is superb and it feels like properly wild country, even though you can drive here from Nairobi in around three hours.

Laikipia Wilderness Accommodation (7) owl Kenya

Laikipia Wilderness, tent accommodation

Stay somewhere like Sosian or Laikipia Wilderness for the full flavour of this wonderful region.

Lake Turkana

It’s the ancestral home of all of us but very few of us have visited or could pin point on a map. One of the largest lakes in Africa, and the planet’s biggest permanent lake in a desert, Turkana lies in the Rift Valley, mostly in northern Kenya but with the tip running into southern Ethiopia.

It is a spectacular place with some extraordinary landscapes, jade coloured waters, plentiful crocodiles, and incredible populations of massive Nile perch. It’s surrounded by some of the harshest terrain on earth where, somehow, some of the toughest but most delightful people manage to live too.

Lobolo mess tent, Lake Turkana

Lobolo mess tent, Lake Turkana

Such a remote and isolated location adds hugely to the drama, and the surreal appearance of  extraordinary colour in the midst of a desolation of lava, sand and rock is quite astonishing.

Take a truly remote safari and go and see it for yourselves; stay at Lobolo Camp and it’ll be an unforgettable adventure.

Lobolo tent interior, Lake Turkana

Lobolo tent interior, Lake Turkana

Chyulu Hills

The youth element of Africa’s landscape, this gorgeous range of hills only popped a few thousand years ago, as if to blow a raspberry at neighbouring Kilimanjaro. We learnt about them because Richard Bonham thought they looked lovely from the air and decided to set up home here.

olDonyoLodge_DrivingthePlains_JeremyGoss

Driving through the plains, Ol Donyo Lodge

He named his safari lodge Ol Donyo Lodge (The Spotted Hill) and we have grown to love the gentle curves, the views across the plains to Kilimanjaro, the relaxed wildlife, the Masai who live here, and incredible feeling of space and peace that pervades.

If you relish the idea of some private wilderness for your African holiday, this, or Campi Ya Kanzi, are the places for you.

Campi Ya Kanzi Accommodation lounge Chyulu Hills Kenya

Campi Ya Kanzi lounge, Chyulu Hills

Loita Hills

If you look on a map at the space between the Masai Mara and the Great Rift Valley, it seems that there is nothing of interest there, a blank that might be inhabited by a few subsistence farmers and little else. Settlements and features don’t seem to have troubled either the map-makers or explorers.

Leleshwa leopard and porcupine loita hills Kenya

Leleshwa leopard and porcupine, Loita Hills

But, delve deeper, zoom in, and you’ll suddenly see deep valleys, big hills, dense forests, secret waterfalls, and hidden plains. There’s wildlife living here, along with a few scattered Masai and their simple, movable homesteads. You can take a walking safari into the hills, for one day or a week.  Local people and their donkeys carry the luggage and the camp, leaving you free to explore the beauty of the hills and forests.

Walking with people who live here is the best way to do it, and you’ll learn a huge amount about life in such a beautiful and remote place, one that’s truly off the map.

Leleshwa tent interior suite loita hills Kenya

Leleshwa tent interior suite, Loita Hills

Leleshwa is a great place to start from.

Any questions?

If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris.  If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

2 responses to “5 Secret Places In Kenya You’ll Love”

  1. Eileen Cannon says:

    Want to plan a visit to Kenya which includes a visit to The DSWT elephant orphanage We have adopted one of the orphans already and shall be adopting again.
    Also a visit to the elephant camp in Samburu. Please can I have some ideas.

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