A camel safari
is the activity of either riding camels or using camels to porter equipment on longer treks. The activity does not necessarily include going out in search of wildlife, as the word 'safari' may imply to some people.
In this section we will only talk about camel safaris in eastern and southern Africa. Clearly there are likely to be further options in the Sahara to the north, but we do not presently cover these areas.
Camel safari is most commonly offered in Kenya
, especially in the more arid northerly areas, where the local Samburu and other tribal peoples are familiar with these potentially difficult animals.
Several high quality lodges offer short camel rides, with guests typically riding the camels, which are led by Samburu handlers through the bush. It is usually a relatively tame experience, but can be fun nonetheless. Notable amongst these are Sabuk
, Ol Malo Lodge
, Desert Rose Lodge
, Lewa Sirikoi Camp
and Lewa Wilderness Lodge
Some of these camps also offer multiple day excursions, which tend to be rather more adventurous.
Proper multiple day camel expeditions are a much more specialist proposition. There are some very cool and experiences guides in Kenya with whom we can organise serious explorations of the remote desert areas around Chalbi and Turkana, but you really do need to be up for a hardcore adventure and be ready to take on board the security risks in this region.
The closest thing that we offer as standard is the two or three night trek between Lewa and the Il Ngwesi Valley, which starts at Morani Bivouac
Another area where camel safari has been tried in northern Tanzania
, notably at one of the big overland restcamps to the west of Arusha, but these have never amounted to more than short rides out over the surrounding Maasai Steppe.
We have heard of people trying to offer longer expeditions around Lake Natron, but are yet to have experienced this ourselves or had any first hand experience.
There are also some limited camel safari opportunities in Namibia
, where the animals have long since been used to police the remote diamond fields and continue to work on anti-poaching patrols.
From time to time some brave soul sets up a camel riding operation which tries to take people deep into the desert dunes on overnight trips, but these seem to fade just as fast. The only operations that tend to endure are simple short rides in locations such as Solitaire.