Il Ngwesi: A Genuine Community Eco-Lodge

Il Ngwesi: A Genuine Community Eco-Lodge

Il Ngwesi is arguably the only upmarket lodge in Kenya that is totally owned, managed and staffed by a community. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and I finally had a chance to get out there. I had heard through the grapevine that the lodge was struggling in the recent tourism downturn and that some of the infrastructure was getting tired. I was curious to see for myself.

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Up in the Trees of the Ngare Ndare Forest

	 Up in the Trees of the Ngare Ndare Forest

Those who have been lucky enough to experience a walking safari will know that there is nothing quite like viewing wildlife on foot. You’re fully immersed in the sights and sounds (and smells) of the bush, without the disconnect of a vehicle. So I completely understand the event’s popularity: it may be one of the world’s toughest marathons, but it’s easily one its most scenic.

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The Great North Road – A trip through the wild splendour of northern Kenya.

The Great North Road – A trip through the wild splendour of northern Kenya.

When I first travelled this road you considered things were going well if you made the trip from Isiolo to Moyale in 2 days. The rough corrugated dirt road, strewn with either rocks or a fine clinging dust, was hard work in the dry season. During the rains however it was almost impossible. It wasn’t unheard of for the journey to stretch to a week, as buses and lorries became stuck in mud over their axles, and completely blocked the road.

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Not all safaris are created equal

Not all safaris are created equal

Like a burglar on a suburban driveway, I wince at every little scrunch underfoot. While the breeze is in our favour and there’s enough vegetation to conceal our movements, the parched earth presents a challenge. It’s dotted with gravel. Desperate to steal a close-range glimpse of one of Africa’s most impressive wild animals, I creep forward as softly as I possibly can.

We’re tracking a rhino in the remote Kenyan bush, a delicate undertaking requiring stealth and absolute silence. The animal concerned is not a white rhino — the placid, wide-mouthed grass-eater; it’s an eastern black rhino. They’re critically endangered and notoriously feisty.

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Stuck in Sereolipi - Adventure in Disguise

Stuck in Sereolipi - Adventure in Disguise

Silvester was back!

We left Sereolipi with the intention of getting to Nairobi. However, the heat had sapped our energy so we decided to sleep in Isiolo and got back to Nairobi the following day.

What started off as a 4-day trip in The Big North had ended up being a 7-day adventure. We were happy to be back in Nairobi but immediately started wondering when we’d get the chance to be back in northern Kenya.

Next destination : Moyale!

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#OnetouchLive – The Big North, Day One

#OnetouchLive – The Big North, Day One

For many years, The Big North has been a forgotten territory. Lack of infrastructure meant only resilient pastoralists and opportunistic bandits called this home. But around ten years ago, President Kibaki’s government decided to prioritise tarmacking of the A2 from Isiolo to Moyale. Now complete, this stretch of asphalt has opened up The Big North to those seeking to soak in the beauty of semi arid lands that hug the skies where jagged mountains quench themselves by sipping rain clouds. Welcome to Kenya’s last frontier.

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