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Northern Frontier District

Northern kenya is a vast, hot and desolate region. The people of this region; the Samburu, the Turkana, the Gabra and the Rendille are very authentic and picturesque looking but since living conditions in this region is so challenging and tough, unrest between the different ethnic groups have sometimes occurred and one should always check about the current safety situation before seeting off to Kenyas northern frontier region. If you are not flying in, you will have to travel thousands of kilometres on dusty roads to get to Lake Turkana – the premier attraction for tourists to come this way. The Jade Sea as it is often called, is set amidst arid mountains in the desert and the lake and its surrounding landscapes have a truly special character to them and they are almost moonlike in their wild and unforgiven appearance.

Goat herders at Lake Turkana
Herders with their goats emerge like out of nowhere. Humans have lived in this area for millions of years and some of the earliest humanoid fossils was excavated in Sibiloi National Park on the eastern shore of Lake Turkana. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

The vast emptiness and “wild” feeling of the landscapes in Northen Kenya stands in stark contrast to the central highlands and here you can see nomadic tribesmen in traditional dresses with colorful ornamentation holding spears for protection and hunting. In the century it is still possible here to meet nomadic tribesmen in traditional dresses with colorful ornamentation holding spears for protection and hunting.

Lone camel south-west of lake Turkana. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

Despite Lake Turkana being the primary destination and ultimate goal for a safari to this part of kenya, one even more lasting impression of the region might be the people you meet on the way as one cannot cease to think about how their lives must be like in such challenging surroundings. If you are looking for “real” safari and an adventure of a lifetime we can say with confidence; Kenyas Northern Frontier District won’t disappoint you!

Chalbi desert is actually a seasonal lake but rain is sparse in this region and the lake bed is usually dry. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

There are lots of attractions in Kenyas Northern Frontier District and just outside Isiolo lies Samburu, Shaba and Buffalo Springs National Reserves. When you venture further north you will come to Marsabit National Park – a beautiful green oasis in the midst of a vast desert. From Marsabit you can cross the Chalbi desert to eventually approach Lake Turkana – the destination for most safaris to the area. Despite the whole region looking barren and desolate, the ecosystems are unique habitats with a rich and varied fauna.

Somali ostriches in Chalbi desert and Mount Kulal in the vicinity seen through sizzling hot air. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

In Kenyas Northern Frontier District you will find subspecies to the more commonly known. Grevy’s zebra for instance, has more slim and more dense stripes than their more southern living cousins (The common zebra). The reason for this might be explained in the higher temperatures in the region, as the black and white pattern provides a local cooling effect right above their skin. The giraffes in the region mostly consists of reticulated giraffes and the ostriches is a different subspecies (Somali ostrich). One of the endemic species of this region is the beautiful and graceful Giraffe Gazelle or Gerenuk.

Martial Eagle in flight Northern Kenya
Martial Eagle in flight. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

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