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Kenya Central

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Kenya Central

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... is a relatively high altitude part of the country, an island of well-watered and fertile landscapes surrounded to the north and east by arid steppes.

The heart of the region is the broad saddle between the Mount Kenya and Aberdares mountain ranges. Whilst the peaks remain protected by national parks, the surrounding areas are now heavily populated and dominated by intense small-scale agriculture.

From a safari perspective, the most interesting areas lie around the northern and eastern margins, where the rivers of the central highlands flow out into the surrounding semi-desert. Here the human populations are much less dense and there is much more opportunity for wildlife.


Areas ...

Meru ... is a relatively remote, little-visited and highly attractive game reserve situated 100km to the east of Mount Kenya.

Lewa Downs ... is an important fenced private wildlife reserve situated 40km to the north-east of Mount Kenya and containing a good range of high quality lodge options.

Borana Hills ... is another fenced private wildlife reserve on the western border of Lewa Down and containing two very high-end lodges.

Il Ngwesi Valley ... is an extremely attractive unfenced wilderness area which stretches northwards from Lewa Downs and containing a couple of very cool lodges.

Samburu ... is small but very well known national park which lies 85km north of Mount Kenya, centred on the critically important Ewaso Ngiro River and containing a full range of wildlife, but busy with safari traffic.

Shaba ... lies just to the east of Samburu and is, in many ways, very similar. Animal densities are much lower, primarily due to poaching, but visitor numbers are also considerably lower. The reserve contains one high quality lodge.

Mathew's Range ... is a relatively remote and little-visited upland area a little further north, which contains a couple of rather interesting lodge options.

Laikipia North ... lies 100km to the north-west of Mount Kenya and is a relatively remote area of former Colonial Era cattle ranches, the majority of which have now been converted back to wildlife. There are some extremely characterful and high quality lodge options here.

Laikipia South ... is a rather less wild area just 30km to the north-west of Mount Kenya and centred on the substantial town of Nanyuki. There are some important conservation projects around here and some interesting lodge options.

Mount Kenya ... itself is a very impressive massif which offers some really interesting hiking, although these days we are very rarely asked to include it in trips since the majority of guests want to go one better and trek Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Aberdares ... is a range of mountains 75km to the south-west of Mount Kenya which contains a couple of very famous old lodges, but which is peripheral to the vast majority of visitors.


How we like to include this region in trips ...

There really is something for everyone in this area, such a broad range of landscapes, lodges and experiences. The vast majority of longer trips to Kenya include at least one stop up here.

The most common way to visit the area is simply to fly in to one of top lodges and stay for 3 to 4 nights, in which case it is most commonly combined with the Masai Mara and possibly the Amboseli or Chyulu Hills areas.

But it is also possible to spend a good deal more time travelling overland between the various locations in this area and stay a good deal longer.

A good example would be to fly into Lewa Downs for a 2 to 3 of nights, then overland north through the Il Ngwesi Valley for 3 to 4 nights and onward to Samburu for a further 2 to 3 nights, possibly even extending north to the Mathew's Range for a further 3 to 4 nights.

In other words it would be easy to spend 10 to 14 nights properly exploring this area alone, although there are not many people who have the time or funds to deploy on such an adventure.

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Lenny Franklin
Lenny Franklin, Senior Safari Consultant
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Jay Hanson
Jay Hanson, Senior Safari Consultant
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Ida Du Preez
Ida Du Preez, Purchasing
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Clare Grim
Clare Grim, Senior Safari Consultant
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