Walking in the North Kenyan Desert

I wrote this as our little plane carried us from the North Kenyan desert back to the real world.  I am not the best flyer and feel even worse on small planes, but I had to get on the plane to get home.  I distracted myself by writing this blog…

 camel safari 9We all shed a tear as the plane pulls away from an amazing 10-day trip spent with the beautiful Samburu men of Northern Kenya.  It was a great honour to have the opportunity to get to know their kind and happy natures.

Waking up at 5am to the best alarm clock ever, Creepy’s singing as he fills our water trough, the love filled singing and the calls of “Jambo” (‘hello’ in Swahili)  certainly wakes you up with love in your heart and a smile on your face.  Within half an hour of waking, we hit the trail; if there is a hill to climb, Helen finds it, especially with the help of Lemongas leading the way with no map and a broad grin on his face. We blindly follow, trusting him to take us where we need to go.

Down the Lugga (river) we go, followed by six beautiful camels carrying our day packs and breakfast.  Most mornings we are lucky to see footprints of some description; I now know what elephant, aardvark, goat and camel prints look like.

The Samburu walk with a feather-light glide – they can easily walk for hundreds of kilometres without water or food – while us Muzungos (Swahili for ‘white people’) stomp around, frightening any animal that happens to be in the vicinity.  Some days, we walk 10 or even 20 kilometres, whatever is required; and even though we are in the desert, the scenery changes constantly. Sometimes, we must channel our inner mountain goat as we scramble over the passes, passing local people along the way.  One particular day we encounter the most beautiful ladies looking immaculate in their bright clothing but dressed in simple kikoy, their hair cropped short and necks swathed in the most amazing layers of woven necklace. We aren’t allowed to take photos but I can still picture their faces.

Another day we came around a bend in the Lugga nearing the end of the morning walking session, to come across a group of ladies singing; they are singing for rain.  The women move away up the Lugga as the Samburu started making camp and we think they have gone, only to be treated to them coming back down the Lugga and standing right in front of us, singing.  It is the most unearthly sound, penetrating right into the soul, it gives me goose bumps and the most spiritual feeling…

camel safari 5

This is where I stop my recount of my time in the North Kenyan desert as the plane suddenly lands.  I am very relieved to land safely, but also very sad to be back…   

The Safari was organised by Michelle Richmond, who is running different Safaris throughout Kenya and Africa.  The safaris are extraordinary and will change your life.

If you’d like to know more, drop me a line and I would be happy to share.

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