Twende Likizo: Road Trip Northern National Parks Kenya

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What’s more rewarding than escaping the crowds of the city to the Northern National Parks Kenya? This might prove a daunting task over Easter weekend if you’re taking Mombasa Road to the Coast or the Nairobi – Nakuru Highway. These are the usually the busiest routes given the many vacationers on the shores of the Great Rift Valley Lakes and the Indian Ocean.

Here’s an itinerary to try in just 4 days to the Northern National Parks Kenya.

Day 1: Nanyuki

At only 4-hours’ drive away from Nairobi, this small town attracts thousands of holidaymakers to the game sanctuaries and ranches. The most popular activity in Nanyuki is climbing the Mt. Kenya National Park using the Sirimon route.

Mt. Kenya Views From Nanyuki

A less strenuous activity is game driving around Ol Pejeta Sanctuary or the Lewa Conservancy. Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, called the sanctuary home for over a decade. The Chimpanzee Sanctuary makes a great location for nature walking.

Accommodation

Budget hotel Aberdare Prestige and Royal Cottages

Luxury hotel Sweetwaters Serena Camp 

Family villa Mount Kenya Eco Camp & Villas

Day 2: Archers Post

The small town is a 2-hour road trip from Nanyuki.  The town is a top destination for cultural tours where you can immerse yourself into the ways of the Samburu. Ensure to visit one of the Samburu manyattas; a family homestead.

Samburu warriors making a fire.

Samburu and Shaba National Reserves are great places for camping under the starlit skies. The parks are a haven for the tusker elephants, leopards and crocodiles in the Ewaso Ngiro River.

Accommodation

Cheap hotel Umoja Campsite

5-Star hotel Elephant Bedroom Samburu

Family-Friendly Koros Camp South Horr

Day 3: Marsabit

In no other town will you get acquainted to so many different tribes and be awestruck by the landscape. Marsabit town, set next to the extinct Mount Marsabit volcano, is only 3 hours away from Archer’s Post. Hike across the montane forest to see the crater lakes of which the most beautiful Lake Paradise is the most beautiful.

Paradise Lake Dry Season

Accommodation

Since the communities around Marsabit are a nomadic people (Gabbra, Borana, Rendille), accommodation is inexpensive with little variety.

Marsabit National Reserve has public camping sites complete with fireplace and washrooms.

Day 4: Back to Nairobi

The region may seem small but experiencing all of it may take a month. So, for your return journey, use the itinerary that takes you to the windward side of Mount Kenya.

1st pitstop – Isiolo Town for a bathroom break

2nd – Meru Town for lunch

3rd stop – Embu town to buy genuine rice from the rice fields

The road trip from Marsabit to Nairobi takes about 10 hours but a great music playlist and interesting conversations will make it appear short.

 

Recommended Read: The Kenya – Ethiopia Road Trip

 

FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY NOT THE DESTINATION

The road trip to Northern National Parks in Kenya up north differs from the journey to the Kenya coast. Though this highway is tarmacked all the way to the border with Ethiopia, The A2 is one of the roads least travelled. The route has lots of dramatic scenery for the photographer in the car to make it a longer journey.

The Kenya Ethiopia Highway

  • Always start early for the next town as afternoon temperatures may rise to 40°
  • Unlike what’s on the news, expect warmth from the local tribes
  • Get a local guide in each town who recognizes off-the-beaten paths
  • Don’t plan too much lest you miss the unexpected opportunities

For this road trip to Northern National Parks to be a success, ensure to pack:

  1. Light-coloured clothing that camouflages with nature. Avoid floral patterns and dark colours
  2. Cashless payment methods for the Northern National Parks
  3. Drinking water, no less than 2l per person per day
  4. Powerbank or multiple batteries
  5. Picnic items such as mats, folding seats, plastic cutlery, pen knife
  6. Camping gear
  7. Binoculars, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
  8. Mosquito repellent creams

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