The Mathews Range
is is a chain of mountains which runs from Samburu
in Central Kenya
for around 200km into the wild lands of the Northern Kenya
Peaking at over 2500m the higher altitudes benefit from a considerably milder and better-watered climate than the surrounding savanna, with slopes and valleys clad in thick forest. These areas act as critical oases for wildlife during the dry season, especially elephants, which migrate annually up and down the slopes.
There are just two excellent small lodges in the whole of this mountain range, so there is virtually no chance of encountering other guests. A world apart from most of the country's main tourist areas. These lodges are based on the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, an excellent community conservation initiative which protects sections of this vast unfenced open rangeland for wildlife.
Although there is plenty of wildlife here, it tends to be much more elusive than in more conventional safari locations. Major predator sightings are very few and far between. By way of compensation, the lodges offer a range of other activities, with mountain treks, forest walks, stalking elephants on foot and scenic flying expeditions up to the remote Lake Turkana.
Cultural interaction with the local Samburu tribes-people can also be very strong, notably at the famous Singing Wells, where warriors extract water by hand from deep excavations.
This area is one which appeals to guests for whom that advantages of getting right off the beaten track outweigh the potential for relatively low animal sightings.
So we tend to recommend it most to experienced safari travellers who are also relatively outdoorsy and therefore able to take advantage of the excellent walking and hiking.Sarara Camp
... is a really top quality family-run camp in a savanna environment to the east of the mountains and offering a really broad range of activities.Kitich Camp
... is an even more remote camp set high up in the western valleys and offering more of a forest experience, with the potential for on-foot encounters with elephants.Saruni Rhino
... is a great highlight, the base for a major rhino release and protection scheme and a lovely intimate bush experience.
All three camps can be reached by light aircraft or road and the usual stay duration is 3 to 5 nights.
The Mathew's Range is usually combined with at least one other area in this Kenya Central
region, notably in the Meru
, Lewa Downs
, Il Ngwesi Valley
and Laikipia North
areas, as well as the Maasai Mara
way off to the southwest.