Travels with camels
Camel trekking is a wonderful way to see Kenya – and is particularly popular in the north. Looking for a more adventurous trip to take with our kids some time ago, we headed to the Laikipia base of Karisia Walking Safaris, an outfit offering the camping “lite” experience to the full-blown luxury expeditions.
Camping – luxury? Oh yes. We started our trip at the Tumaren camp, located in the Laikipia heartlands, and our home for the night. The camp, more of a glamp, is semi-permanent with elegantly-furnished bedrooms, delicious meals and a tented living room open to the wild.
The next day, we were introduced to the camels – surly-looking creatures that deigned to give us a ride. If you’ve ridden camels before, you may agree that they are not the most comfortable mode of transport, so we alternated between camel rides and walking through the wilderness, where plains game strolled, and deadly snakes slithered across our path.
Mid-morning, we stopped for a spot of rock climbing, our young daughter proving more adept than either of her parents at scaling an apparently sheer rockface, before heading to our bush camp on a bend of a river, where we found our tents set up for us and a mess tent erected for lunch.
Elephant crossed the river during the afternoon, and we got closer on foot than we ever had in a vehicle, a viewing all the more enhanced by the solitude and peace as the only ones there.
Not a natural camper, I don’t entirely look forward to a night in a tent, associating it with uncomfortable nights on with paper-thin roll mats, or wet sleeping bags from an invisible leak, but this was quite different. Mattresses, decadently made up with copious bedding, provided a more than comfortable place to lay one’s head, and our children headed to bed with rare excitement.
While we did this trip before the pandemic, little appears to have changed. Karisia offers a full range of camping experiences from the simpler dome tents to more spacious tents. Guests have the option to stay at Tumaren base camp and head out on day trips, including visits to schools, camel creches and a baboon research centre, or take longer walking trips of up to seven days, staying at different camps. The many staff involved in these trips ensure a smooth transition at every point, with camels doubling up as pack animals on the journeys.
Prices start from around $280 per adult per night on a full-board basis for mobile safaris (minimum three nights) or $200 per night if staying at the Tumaren base camp.
Tel: 0721 836 792 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.karisia.com
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About the Author
I'm a former travel magazine editor, focused on Kenya, before which I covered news in Africa and beyond. These days, I travel with my kids.