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Loiyangalani

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The Marsabit Lake Turkana Festival is one of those “must attend” festivals in Kenya. The festival has been held annually in Loiyangalani since 2008 and it brings together the 14 communities found within the county who are dominantly pastoral and have preserved their culture. You will interact with communities like the Turkana, Samburu , Borana, Gabbra , Rendile , El Molo , Somali, Burji ,Konso, Sakuye ,Waata, Garee, Wayu, and Dassanatch, the last 5 I learnt of their existence at the festival.These communities are stereotyped to be enemies due to the many incidences of banditry in the region, but here , they were all, eating , drinking, singing and dancing together.  The air in Loiyangalani was charged, super charged. The excitement of the people was almost tangible and equally contagious. The locals were expectant of the “fruits” the festival would bring the town whilst I was expectant of what I…

 What inspired my first, solo, backpacking expedition in Kenya you may wonder? Well, curiosity and a moment of insanity may be to blame I believe. Most people who know or have heard of Northern Kenya have the perception that the area is dry, undeveloped and is a security threat to all due to the numerous insecurity cases ranging from cattle rustling to deadly inter community/clan clashes. One may thus wonder, why, of all places , I chose this area. Well, it is only after one of my foreign readers queried on the safety of solo, female backpackers travelling in Kenya that it hit me, I didn’t actually know, as I had never traveled solo in Kenya. My conscience wouldn’t be clear if I responded with a generic response as all my articles and information are about my actual, personal experiences. My brain thus conjured this amazing albeit insane plan that…

All I had ever heard about Northern Kenya was negative. Community clashes, banditry, drought, poverty, among others. Thus as I ventured off, this is all I was prepared to see and experience. I was however greatly impressed with the beauty that is Northern Kenya and thus will share both the good and the bad, everything has two sides like a coin, right? 1. Friendly People The people I met on this venture were very friendly. Yes, at first most were skeptic of this “stranger”, but with time, most became my friends and others felt like family. They are very warm, smiling seems like a part of them and they will go out of their way to make one feel welcome. 2: Rich Culture This region is over flowing with culture. The communities here have managed to shrug off being consumed by the foreign culture opting to appreciate their vibrant culture.…

 Loiyangalani, home of Lake Turkana was to be my last stop on my backpacking solo, overland, via public means, from Nairobi to Northern Kenya expedition. I thus approached it from Baragoi via hitch hiking a lorry/truck. This was not my preferred mode of transport but after having stayed in Baragoi for about five days and discovering that there are no public vehicles from there to Loiyangalani, this was my only option. When we heard that a truck/lorry heading there had stopped over in the town, I hurriedly went to talk to the driver and plead my case. He eventually agreed albeit one condition, I would have to sit atop the railings of the truck/lorry as its front and back compartment were full with luggage. I did not hesitate, if this is how it would have to happen, then that is how we would travel. I however did it with my heart…

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