is the vast region which is centred on the well-watered Central Highlands and runs north to the distant borders with Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
It is an hypnotic region where isolated forest-clad mountains and dramatic volcanoes stand proud of vast parched grasslands, arid rocky landscapes and sandy deserts.
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.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
... 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.
As we travel further from the Central Highlands, so the land becomes more arid and inaccessible. This region is largely out of range for tourism due to a chronic lack of infrastructure and significant concerns over security.
The only way we presently access this incredible region is on flying safaris from lodges in the areas above. Such flying expeditions can last anything from a few hours to several days, depending on how much of this remote region you want to explore.Chalbi Desert
... is a very arid place which is best known for the Gabbra people who inhabit the area and have a particularly interesting culture.Maralal
... is a dusty town which lies on the road north to Turkana and is best known for its annual camel racing festival.