Nov 07 2017 Written by: Rob Barbour Photography: Rob Barbour
Seven intrepid women travelers, a no nonsense female safari guide with a high powered rifle, one very enthusiastic snake and reptile enthusiast, several camels and a team of Samburu warriors makes for a great walking safari adventure.
The objective was to walk from the stunningly beautiful Karisia Hills in Nothern Kenya to Northern Laikipia with our camel train carrying our camp and supplies.
I had traveled and trekked gorillas with 3 of the women but their additional friends were new to Africa.
Observers may have felt it folly for so many women to be walking alone so far from civilization in an African country but with a veritable army in support – we never felt safer.
The terrain was breathtakingly beautiful in its diversity. From the cool 7000 foot summits of the forested Karisia Hills to rocky outcrop view points from where you could see our whole route laid out below us and on towards what felt like the edge of the world.
Days spent walking along side our camels and their handlers across or along dry river beds and swollen rivers. Onwards through peaceful valleys where Samburu cattle and goat herders in their vibrant red and pastel clothing and jewelry sought pasture for their animals. All were friendly and welcoming and slight amazed to see a group of “wazungu” (white folks) traversing their homelands.
The constant chatter of the birds and the distant clanging of ancient old wooden and metal goat and camel bells giving a feeling of peacefulness. Some endemic wildlife but despite our reptile expert desperate to show us a snake- not one to be found for the whole trip. One of the luxuries of the journey was the reality of not seeing another tourist for the duration and being completely disconnected from the digital world. This may have created anxiety for some until they realized the world was still as it should be when they were reconnected and they had actually enjoyed the disconnection.
The days fulfilling activity of walking from one camp to the next was rewarded with a cold beer or wine, a shaded place to rest ( and sometimes bathe in the rivers) and a very comfortable camp with comfy mattresses and linen, waterless toilets and piping hot bucket showers.
Complemented arguably by some of the best food to be had on any safari at any level of luxury. Kerry Glen the owner of Karisia Walking Safaris was our host. Kerry instilled confidence in our new Africa hands with her unflappable nature, her boundless knowledge of the bush and her pure joy in being with her camels, staff and any exciting event, bird, flower or animal we encountered enroute. Kerry truly is a camel whisperer and her Samburu staff clearly respect and love her like royalty.
The trip ended at Kerry’s luxurious tented camp – Tumaren, where we were able to reflect on the achievements of the last few days whilst enjoying spectacular sundowners and a sunrise over majestic Mount Kenya.
Some of the group went beyond their comfort zone but opened their eyes to new friends, new ways to see the world, preconceived perceptions with regard to other cultures and new options for their future adventures.