Konso Cultural landscape is the ultimate destination for this trip as you get to experience old religious and cultural traditions stretching back 21 generations. Meet the ornamental and vibrant Hamer tribe for a rewarding cultural experience.
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Upon arrival at the airport, we are welcomed by a Kibo Slopes Safaris representative and transferred to Silversprings Hotel for check in and a pre-safari briefing. Accommodation will be on bed & breakfast basis at the Silver Springs Hotel.
After breakfast we transfer to the Wilson airport where we board a charter flight to Sibiloi National Park arriving just in time for lunch. Our driver will be waiting at the airstrip for transfer to Illeret. Here, the cars are already waiting for us to take us to the self-catering Museum Bandas on the lake shore. If the road conditions are good we arrive in time for lunch at the bandas. In the afternoon we take a visit to the nearby Kobi for a Museum visit. In the late afternoon to the bandas for dinner and overnight stay. The accommodation is very basic, but it is the best which can be found in this remote place.
After breakfast, we explore the Sibiloi National Park. Yesterday’s visit to the Museum gave us a good introduction. Today we visit the archeological excavation sites of the giant tortoise, the giant crocodile and ancient mammoth which are well preserved for visitors and date back to 1.9 to 1.5 million years. On our way, we have to pass treacherous sand dunes and may spot game such as zebras, oryx and giraffes and a variety of birdlife. Finally, we reach the petrified forests, a mountain which was built by volcanic eruption 12 million years ago and buried a complete forest underneath. On the flanks lie fossilized logs which were brought to the surface by erosion over the years. In the afternoon we return to the bandas for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, we drive north back to Illeret, the last settlement on the Kenyan side. At the police station, we show our passport together with our ready Ethiopian Visa and get a letter with which we will be able to get an entry stamp in Omorate on the Ethiopian side. At about lunch time our Ethiopian Crew and cars arrive and we bid the Kenyan crew good bye. The next 40 km to Omorate are the most difficult parts of this journey. Roads are practically nonexistent as we pass dry or wet sandy riverbeds which are equally treacherous. After receiving the entry stamp we drive on better roads to Turmi for at the Buska or Turmi Lodge.
Today has been set aside to visit the Hamer people. The Hamer, a colorful pastoralist community, is the dominant tribe in the area. A local English speaking guide takes us on a walk through the villages and the market. With some luck, we may get to watch their rituals like a traditional wedding or the passage from boyhood to adulthood where the young man has to run across the backs of 30 heads of cattle lined up next to one another. It is clear that we have to ask for permission and pay for the photo shots. Our guide will assist us in doing this. We will have lunch in a local hotel in town while dinner and overnight stay will once again be at the Buska or Turmi Lodge.
Today we pay visit to a Konso King and a village up the highlands and get to learn about their culture. We arrive in Konso for lunch at the Kanta Lodge. The Konso Cultural Landscape, an arid area of stone walled terraces and fortified settlements were recognized as World Heritage Site in 2011. It constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations. Later, we drive to Kanta Lodge for our dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, we drive through a scenic landscape to the town of Yabello. The Borana are pastoralist people and are part of the Oromo which are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. Their colourful traditional attire is much more ‘African’ and unique. Yabello is the largest town in the Ethiopian Borana area and are also found in northern Kenya. Dinner and overnight stay will be at Yabello Motel.
After breakfast, we continue our Journey south from Yabello to El Sod. We will find a spectacular crater lake known as Chew Bet in Amharic language, which translates as 'salt house'. For centuries the Borana people have harvested salt from the lake for human and animal consumption. Salt for animal consumption is distributed widely including northern Kenya to keep the cattle healthy. The lake is situated in a beautiful setting. We may opt to take a short but strenuous hike along the same path donkeys take to bring out the salt. We also visit a Borana Village and finally drive to Moyale, where we spend the night at the Moyale Guesthouse in the Ethiopian part of the town.
Today we cross the border back into Kenya. The formalities take a while before we are able to drive drive southwards to Marsabit. Another oasis marked by the volcanic Mount Marsabit dominates the area. We arrive in town for a late lunch and proceed to explore the National Park with a game drive to Lake Paradise, arguably the most scenic spot in the conservation area. In the late afternoon we check in at the Jeremy Hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, we drive down south to the Samburu Game Reserve north of the central highlands. The 220km drive takes about 4-5 hours and passes through arid and semi-arid areas along the Great North Road. At Archers Post we enter the game reserve and head straight with game drives en-route for the oldest lodge in the park, the Samburu Game Lodge. Here we enjoy a delicious lunch. In the afternoon, we head for our first game drive along the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River. Dinner and overnight stay will be at the lodge.
Today, we start the day early with breakfast at 6.00am to avoid the heat of the day. Samburu Game Reserve offers unique game only seen in this particular area as since they have adapted to the rough scrub desert condition in the area. Some of these animals include the Grevy’s zebra, the Reticulated Giraffe and the Beisa Oryx. Besides buffaloes and herds of Elephants, the morning game drive offers a possibility of seeing lions and leopards along the Ewaso Nyiro River in Buffalo Springs. We return to the lodge for lunch and at rest at the pool. As the sun begins to set in the late afternoon and the game wake up for their evening strolls and hunts, we head for another game drive. Dinner and overnight stay will once again be at the lodge.
After breakfast, we leave Samburu and drive back to Nairobi to end this superb tour. We pass the shadows of the majestic Mount Kenya and have lunch stop at the scenic Kentrout Restaurant on the way. In Nairobi we drop off at the airport or designated hotel for connection to onwards travel arrangements.