A Northern Kenya Adventure: Part 4 – Ngurunit to Nairobi
In the last post, we travelled from North Horr to Ngurunit. This is the last post of this series, covering the journey from Ngurunit to Nairobi as well as some important tips to help you plan your trip. If this is the first post you are reading, I would suggest starting with the first post (Nairobi to Marsabit) and proceed from there for easier flow.
Photography by Elvis and yours truly
My sleep was cut short by a chilly wind at dawn. It was freezing. If you recall, I opted to sleep in a tent but unfortunately, we didn’t hear any elephants passing by. One of us did hear a lone elephant trumpeting. So, at least, they were there, we just didn’t see them. We had a long day ahead of us and so we had to leave Ngurunit early. I caught the sunrise as I got ready.
Being the last day, day four of our trip, we were travelling from Ngurunit to Nairobi. After a quick breakfast, we headed out for our last activity, quad biking.
Quadbiking is done at the lugga next to the campsite so we did not have to leave the premises to enjoy the activity. I had never quad biked before and I was very excited to do it. Stephen, the owner is a very patient instructor. There is only one quadbike at the moment, so you have to take turns. We did not spend much time quad biking because we were pressed for time. To fully enjoy the experience I would recommend at least biking for 30 minutes. The backdrop of the surrounding hills is stunning, it was a wonderful experience.
You get to see the lugga and the nearby forested area. Herders with their donkeys and goats were passing by as we were biking.
I reckon that the campsite needs to invest in more bikes so that visitors can have a better experience. I highly recommend quad biking when in Ngurunit. Back at the campsite, there were ladies selling woven crafts. If you are interested, be sure to support them.
After that, we said goodbye and started our journey back to Nairobi. Again scenery started changing as we made our way to Laisamis. The stretch of the road is very bumpy.
Shortly after we joined the highway, the Great North Road, and it was smooth sailing from there.
Right before getting to Archer’s Post, we were stopped by the Special Forces Squad for a routine check-up. They stop and search all vehicles coming from Marsabit, Moyale and Ethiopia. They do a quick search of the vehicle and each person’s luggage. Make sure you carry your national ID or your passport, which they also check that.
After that we made our way to Nanyuki for some lunch, then drove straight to Nairobi.
Here is a visual tour of my experience.
Things to Know before travelling to Marsabit County
- First things first, the trip is not for everyone. I would not recommend it for kids, especially toddlers, they would get very tired, and fussy due to the extreme temperatures and long distances. I would also not recommend it to people who dislike travelling long distances by road. The trip is most suitable for intrepid travellers, campers, nature enthusiasts, and adventure junkies. Do not go there expecting luxury.
- Bear in mind that the drive between the destinations is quite long and beyond Marsabit, there are no tarmac roads. Having this in mind will save you from a lot of disappointment and a lot of heartaches. It also follows that the accommodation at each of the stops is by no means luxurious. It is extremely basic and it is important to carry your own toiletries.
- As you will be spending a lot of time in transit, make sure that you are comfortable. Wear comfortable clothing. Carry some snacks, have your entertainment (be it a book, music, podcasts, or a show, whatever tickles your fancy). If you can nap in the vehicle, even better.
- Marsabit County is generally hot. Hydration is key. Carry water and drink lots of fluids. It also helps to take some sugary stuff, whether that be snacks or juice or soda, to up your energy levels. If you have a cooler box, make sure you carry it so that you have some cool drinks throughout the trip. We did not and we had to endure drinking warm drinks. A hydration bladder and cooling towel were highly recommended. The former keeps water cool throughout the day.
- Do not forget to wear sunscreen and pack light clothes for the day. Evenings are cool, carry a warm sweater. Marsabit town was chilly in the evening, North Horr was cool and Ngurunit was freezing cold at dawn. Insect repellent also comes in handy.
- Be a sustainable traveller and make environmentally conscious choices such as not littering.
- If you love watching stars, you are going to fall in love with Marsabit. The starry nights are absolutely gorgeous. Download the Star Walk app to see the beautiful constellations in the night sky. The sunsets, sunrises, and moonrises are also breathtaking.
- I paid Kshs. 31,000 for the trip (inclusive of food, transport and accommodation) and I used JustRioba Tours led by Winnie Rioba, who curates amazing girls’ trips. I highly recommend travelling with her. Everybody on the trip was good vibes and I had an amazing time. I’d also recommend Safiri Nasi, who we also traveled with. Other groups that have been highly recommended to me are On the Go Explorers, Virgin Explorers, Village Girl Travels, Begin North Adventures and Turn Up Travel.
- When budgeting, remember to set aside money for miscellaneous things such as buying drinks and snacks, donations, souvenirs, lunch, swimming, and other things that are not included in the tour package.
- During the trip, it is important to keep time, because the journeys are long. It’s always better to get to a place before it gets dark for safety reasons and also because it’s easy to get lost, especially when you are new to an area. I would also suggest using an experienced driver or a local because navigating the place can be tricky. It’s extremely imperative to have a local lead you and let you know in case there are any safety concerns.
- There are other routes to access these places. For instance, you, can branch off at Laisamis from Nairobi and start with Ngurunit and then from there proceed to Loiyangalani, North Horr and finish with Marsabit town, and then drive back to Nairobi. There are many routes, dependent on the activities you want to do and how long you want to stay in each place.
- My trip was four days, three nights long, and I wish it was longer. If you are not pressed for time and money, I’d suggest spending a minimum of a week in Marsabit County in order to have a slower pace and a more relaxed experience. If we were to do six days, we would have spent a night at each place, on the third day instead of travelling from North Horr to Loiyangalani to Ngurunit, we could have slept at Loiyangalani. Then travel to Ngurunit on the following day.
- If you are self-driving, stock up on fuel and carry extra. I would suggest fuelling at every station you come across past Marsabit town. Ensure you carry spare tires.
- Lastly, have a good time and enjoy yourself. This is Northern Kenya, one of the most beautiful places in the country! Take in the beautiful surroundings and immerse yourself in the experience. Interact with the locals and have fun.
Again, I highly recommend visiting Marsabit County. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of things to do in the County and how diverse it is.
Those are my tips and I hope you enjoyed this series. It was so beautiful living and reliving those moments, and if you’re interested in traveling to Marsabit, please reach out to me I’d be happy to help. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments below.
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Until next time,