Once a year, go someplace you have never been before.
I have been to Laikipia North so many times now I have lost count. I assumed by now I would know all the corners but my recent participation in the great grevys rally reminded me there is a lot I am yet to see. I was privileged to attend the inaugural rally in another beautiful space in Laikipia North in 2016 and wrote about it here . When I was informed my team was going to Tumaren camp, I was a bit hesitant since I had no idea where that was and rumor had it that it was too close to Nanyuki town but then again I am always open to adventure and one can never turn down a trip to Laikipia North because as long as you stick to your lane you are in for a free game drive, amazing landscapes and rock formations. (Note to self write a book on Laikipia north someday).
Our journey to Tumaren started at around 7 AM from Nanyuki. The drive was generally pleasant as we were lucky to find a herd of elephants with lots of calves at a watering hole near Laikipia wilderness camp. If you know me well then you would understand how excited I get around elephants (People give me funny looks ).
We also found beer cans on the road which most likely came from another #ggr team that went ahead of us. I get really annoyed by people who litter. I can not understand how you can make a conscious choice to spend a lot of money and time in a conservation event as big as this and at the same time be a part of the litter problem by trashing a conservation area. We stopped to collect the trash which is insignificant if you think about the problem from a broader perspective.
At some point we had a flat but luckily we got help from a well wisher who happened to be driving a vehicle as our jack malfunctioned. We took a few photos and had a great time getting to know each other.
For the rest of the drive to Tumaren, I was in worlds unknown since I had never been past Mpala research center. I was able to recognize a small town, Ilmotiok, and the familiar landscape of the North. We got to Tumaren at around 11 AM where we were welcomed with a cup of tea in classic Kenyan style despite the scorching sun. We then set up camp and headed out for a drive.
We couldn’t find any grevys or giraffes for a while but interestingly when we found a lone grevy and got all excited ready with our cameras to shoot, we were accused of trespass by a local. Most of the conversation was in Maasai so I didn’t understand much but we sorted it in the most diplomatic way possible. Our ranger assured us that we were within the borders of Tumaren… okay we were at the border.
We moved on and found a dazzle of about 15 grevys and two plain zebras, our spotter Machira can confirm this figure since his estimations were annoyingly accurate.
I loved Tumaren’s walking safaris concept. They major on walking /camel safaris unlike most of the parks I have visited in this region. Of course the rules still apply that you must be accompanied by an armed ranger for protection since they understand the terrain as well as wildlife behavior, keep a reasonable distance from the wildlife and whatever you do DO NOT disturb them.
Before I digress further, we went tracking on foot and despite the heat I was super excited. We tried our best to single out the grevys so that we could get clear photos but the plain zebras kept creating chaos. Eventually we got a few shots which I hope will help in the analysis.
at the end of day one we were treated to a spectacular sunset and I spotted a spotted hyena on top of a rock on our way back to camp (see what I did there)?
In the evening, We told stories by the fire, some of us ( read me) almost sat on the fire because I was afraid of the cold…in my defense I almost froze while camping at Naibor and am still hang up on that. (cameras were charging so no photos)
The next morning, we set out before sunrise. The animals were out to play. We found a hyena and her cubs playing on top of a rock, there were quite a number of gerenuks (giraffe necked gazelles) which were extremely shy and a few giraffes which we were happy to track on foot.
We had a great experience at Tumaren apart from a few hiccups here and there the major one being that our driver was not conversant with the area and was afraid to go off-road despite having a 4WD. If we were in another park that doesn’t allow tracking on foot,we would not have gotten anything done since we would have been restricted to the designated paths away from the zebras and giraffes. Generally though he was a great guy with a great sense of humor. I guess the wilderness especially as extreme as Laikipia north was just not his cup of coffee.
1. Tumaren is a beautiful place that offer a amazing walking and driving safari. You can get a tailor made package depending on your preference. Check out their official website for more information and prices.
2. You can access Tumaren by driving on the Nanyuki Doldol road , take a left towards Juakali and proceed straight through Mpala research center, Elkarama ranch etc etc. You can also follow Nanyuki Ilpolei route via musul. From our campsite we could see Musul from a distance. Tumaren also has an airstrip for those who would prefer flying there.
3. Get all your supplies in Nanyuki if you are camping. If you stay at the lodge you will be sorted.
4. Network coverage is non existent so be ready to leave the tech world behind.
5. This area can get extremely hot during the day and cold at night… Pack appropriately.
A big shout out to the county government of Laikipia (tourism department), Sema Laikipia and the rangers who took care of us at Tumaren.
To the grevy zebra trust… Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this event.
Until the next one
Plant a tree this rainy season
Do not litter or make excuses for people who do
Take care of your environment
Love, respect and conserve wildlife in your own small way
Go out and have an adventure!
leave a comment…
Love & love.