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I saw him from across the room and I smiled at him, even though I had only seen him from a far on my last visit to Turkanaland.  He seemed to sense my gaze and looked in my direction, a beautiful smile breaking from his lips, revealing white sparkling teeth.  He rose and walked towards me, eyes locked on mine as if daring me to turn away.  The last time I saw him, I didn’t get adequate time to look at him, learn his features, see him in his element or learn who he really is.  No way was I going to let this chance pass me by and so I gawked, unashamedly. When he stood before me, I was impressed by his firm strong handshake, his confident gaze, his pronounced physical features and I noted he had a cute parting between the teeth on his lower gum.  He greeted…

Lodwar town is the capital of Turkana County, better known as Turkanaland. Turkana Land is located in Northern Kenya, a region that is greatly misunderstood by outsiders. They say if you truly want to know about a car, talk to its makers and read its manual. This is part of the reason that drove me to go on a solo backpacking, fact finding expedition into Turkana Land. I wanted to know and experience it from the source, learn about it from its locals, be guided by them and let it expose itself to me, in its rawest form. I discovered that it is like an oyster, seems rough from the outside, but is all forms of precious pearls within. I have shared about some of the pearls here https://www.wangechigitahitravels.com/the-best-kept-secret-that-is-eliye-springs-turkana/,   https://www.wangechigitahitravels.com/my-homecoming-to-turkanaland/  https://www.wangechigitahitravels.com/eliye-springs-resort-the-pearl-of-eliye-springs/ As I ventured into Turkanaland, with Lodwar being my first stop, I was anxious about so many things, one…

Turkana county also referred to as Turkanaland and is believed to be the  “Cradle of Mankind”, due to it being home to the remains of the most complete, early human skeleton ever found in the world. The skeleton is believed to be between 1.5 to 1.6 million years and is referred to as “Turkana Boy” or “Nariokotome Boy”, after the location it was found in. Growing up, I heard so many negative things about my “home” -drought, poverty, bandits, cattle rustling, food aid-the list is endless. Instead of scaring me off, it left me with a burning desire to “one day visit”, see, explore and experience the region for myself. Surely I told myself, it can’t be all dark and gloom, there must be something nice, beautiful, a silver lining in the cloud and I was going to go in search of it. First forward to 2018, and for some reason, Turkana sprung to…

Camel Derby is an annual event that is held in Maralal town, Samburu county in August. As the name reveals, it has lots to do with camels, but there is so much more. There are various activities that one can partake in like actually racing atop a camel, to running, bike racing, cultural integration among others. There are also parties that happen during the four day event and you can also take a tour around the place. Camel Race : This is the highlight of the festivities and includes both local and international riders. Most of those who take part in it seemed to be amateurs who then had guides to lead the camels. I however noted that most if not all the competitors were foreigners.The other locals like myself seemed content with watching and cheering them on, no way was I going to race atop a camel. We  watched…

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…

Everyone I asked about how to get to Lake Turkana from Suguta Marmar had the same response, “Nani huenda huko” which is swahili for, “who goes there?” I thus opted to proceeed to Maralal town hoping to get help there seeing as it is a big town. After several failed attempts, we found a lady who was honest enough to tell us why no one was helping our pursuit.  She spoke to us like a worried mother and said, ” Wasichana wenye huenda huko ni wasichana wanaenda na wanaume wazungu ama wazee”   which translates to,” the girls who travel there are those who are travelling with male foreigners or old men.” (Ouch). However, I think just seeing the look in our eyes, the backpacks on our backs and the lack of foreign or old men around us, seemed to settle her and she informed us that we would need…

Suguta Marmar and Maralal towns are found in Samburu County, which is located in the Northern region of Kenya and is dominantly occupied by the  Samburu tribe/community. My decision to delve into this region which doesn’t fall into the usual “tourist” areas especially for backpackers, was guided both by the urge to solve a mystery as well as satisfy my adventurous spirit. One of my foreign readers had queried on the safety of solo, female backpackers travelling in Kenya and 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 I should attempt to backpack via public means, solo, overland from Nairobi to Lake Turkana in Loiyangalani. I figured, if I…