Go wild in Kenya’s Big North

If extraordinary, off-the-grid (and off-the-charts) adventures are your thing, then we definitely advise you to head for Kenya’s big north and experience a side of ‘the last frontier’ that few have discovered. The thing about the big north is that it’s wildly beautiful and remote, offering the perfect setting for exploring the bush in any way other than from the back of a game vehicle.

That’s right, here is where you can game-view by foot, camel, horseback or boat.  You can even hop into a helicopter and see some of the region’s least accessible areas from the air. If you’re a photographer, an adventurer, and a fishing enthusiast, these two camps in Kenya’s big north are calling you…

Mad about Ol Malo Helicopter Camp

We like to think we’ve seen and experienced it all. But when our very own Your Private Africa founder, Nick, says that the new Ol Malo Helicopter Camp on Lake Turkana, “is one of the most ‘out there’ locations in Kenya’s far north”, then you’ve gotta know it’s one for the bucket list.

 “Lake Turkana, home to the massive Nile perch fish and numerous ‘dragons of the Jade Sea’ (aka crocodiles), is leading the way in high experience, high adventure, down-to-earth, fun safari activities beyond your regular game drives,” he enthuses, “and that’s why Ol Malo is definitely part of YPA’s ‘greatest day’ experience in northern Kenya.”

Living it up in luxury and family hospitality at Kalepo Camp

While spending time up north, we also happened to fall head over heels in love with the family-owned and operated Kalepo Camp in the Namunyak Conservancy. It not only provides a beautiful base from which to explore the big north, but it’s close to the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary and can arrange a visit for you to see the orphaned and abandoned elephant calves waiting to be released back into the wild.

Kalepo Camp opened as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, making it quite a new offering and, frankly, one of YPA’s best-kept secrets. The location is wild and delightfully off the beaten track, while the camp provides for the ultimate tasteful and well-hosted stay. In our opinion, it’s “downright magical”. 

If you’re looking for one or two locations to add on to your big north adventure, here are two more of our lesser-known favorites:  

Go island style off the coast of Lamu

Lying just off of Kenya’s far north coast is a string of beautiful Indian Ocean islands – Lamu, Manda, Pate, Kiwayu and Manda Toto – known collectively as the Lamu Archipelago. It’s an area of great archaeological and historical interest, as well as ample natural beauty. These islands are well worth visiting for a more tranquil and away-from-the-crowds Kenya beach holiday, particularly popular as a post-safari add-on. If you’re keen to snorkel and scuba dive, keep in mind that the best time to visit is between November and March, when the water is clearest. Other activities include historical walking tours, dhow sailing trips, sea kayaking and diving with dolphins. 

Take rainbow rock panoramas in the Suguta Valley

The Suguta Valley is sensationally nicknamed ‘The Valley of Death’ because it is without a doubt one of the hottest, driest places on earth, full of ancient fossils and dramatic rock formations. Giant granite rocks perched atop eroded volcanic ash stacks (known as ‘hudus’) dot the surrounds, before giving way to the famous ‘Painted Valley’. Here, you can explore a deep rocky gorge that is layered with contrasting strata of different coloured rock and volcanic ash, creating a magical rainbow-like effect.

As you can see, there are many exciting ways to experience the wild other than from the inside of a game viewing vehicle. For more info on your perfect big north adventure, get in touch. Email us travel@yourprivateafrica.com

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