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Horse Trek Through the Kenyan Highlands TOP007 1

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Horse Trek Through the Kenyan Highlands

The Laikipia Plateau in the Kenyan Highlands is one of East Africa’s undiscovered natural treasures. This exciting adventure predominantly focuses on this area and allows you the chance to get to know the place and people well. It’s second only to the Maasai Mara in terms of its game concentration. Laikipia’s remote landscapes are home to ancient rock art, the rare black rhino, and the largest elephant herds to be found outside of Kenya’s national parks. Cross savannahs and valleys rich in wildlife as you explore this remarkable haven on horseback.

Stay at comfortably opulent cattle ranches along the way as well as camp out beneath the stars from time to time. You’ll make your way into the Lollgaiga Hills and then down among the kopie scattered plains that will take you to the Ewaso Narok River. With the opportunity to learn firsthand about life on the arid plains, you’ll enjoy a safari experience unlike any other. Travel a land far removed from all tourist trails as you ride in the shadow of Mount Kenya.

Highlights:

  • Enjoy life on an authentic Kenyan cattle ranch Take in the wonders of the Laikipia Plateau
  • Travel with an experienced, knowledgable, and remarkable Kenyan guide
  • Taste authentic East African cuisine
  • Take a guided bush-walk to learn about the trials and joys of life in the African bush
  • Revel in the landscape provided by the highest peaks in the Laikipia
  • View fantastic game including lions, cheetahs, wild dog, over 300 bird species, giraffe, leopards, zebra, and elephants
  • Visit a hyena den Learn about and see the ancient rock art discovered in this area
  • Enjoy a botany walk around the Ewaso Narok River
  • Stay at Suyian Eco Lodge and see a side of Kenya that few are privileged to see

The eight day trek begins and ends in Nairobi but the base camp for the expedition is an authentic cattle ranch that has been home to your hosts for three generations. Experience hardworking and traditional family life first hand. The adventure in East Africa will be a big, wide open experience for all. If you’re looking for a once in a lifetime adventure, there is nothing like a night under the wild African sky to stick with you and open your heart.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Starting this morning at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta international Airport
We transfer by scheduled flight to Lewa Downs. On arrival, we will be met by our guide and driven the short distance to the ranch. Home to the Dyer family for three generations and named after the native Boran cattle that thrive in these arid grasslands, the ranch sits in the heart of a beautiful conservation area, sandwiched between the iconic slopes of Mount Kenya and the mountains and deserts of the north. After a chance to relax and soak up this idyllic setting, late this afternoon we venture out on the horses for the first time, to enjoy the African bush at its most majestic and serene.
ACCOMMODATION RANCH (1 NT)

Day 2: Explore Borana on horseback
Our first full day at the ranch offers a chance to take an early morning riding safari with a local guide, stopping to enjoy a picnic breakfast in a secluded valley along the way. This is truly one of the most unique and exhilarating ways to experience this magical setting. Returning to the ranch, the rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy at our own pace. The ranch has some 2,000 head of cattle and the ranch manager, Michael Dyer, is more than happy to show guests around. We can learn about the trials of life on a cattle ranch in the African bush – elephants in the vegetable patch, lions in the cattle boma and the ever-present dangers of drought, famine and flood. This afternoon also offers the opportunity to take a guided bush-walk, to experience a little more of the true tranquility of this timeless landscape.
ACCOMMODATION RANCH (1 NT)

Day 3: Ride into the Lolldaiga Hills
Just to the north-west of Mount Kenya, along the eastern edge of the Rift Valley, lie the hills and high country of the Laikipia Plateau. Home to rare black rhino and some of the largest herds of wild elephants outside Kenya’s national parks, this region is a haven for more endangered species than anywhere else in East Africa. Mounting up and leaving the ranch behind this morning, we follow a trail that takes us through Ole Naishu and up into the Lolldaiga Hills, towards the highest peaks in Laikipia. The ridges and valleys that surround us offer a stunning backdrop to our ride today. These landscapes are blessed with a rich diversity of game, including wild dog, cheetah, lion and some 300 species of birds, so there is every chance of some fantastic game viewing during the journey to our overnight camp.
ACCOMMODATION CAMP (1 NT)

Day 4: Exploring the Lolldaiga Hills
As well as its abundant animal life, the Lolldaiga Hills are also home to a number of archaeological sites and ancient rock art. This morning we will ride out to take in some of the region’s cultural, as well as natural, highlights, visiting some of its rock art before moving on to a hyena den. Returning to the camp for an afternoon’s siesta, this evening we then have a chance to take a walk out into the surrounding bush with one of our experienced guides.
ACCOMMODATION CAMP (1 NT)

Day 5: Ride across Enasoit to Mpala Ranch
The edge of the Lolldaiga Hills form a rich wildlife corridor between the eastern and western landscapes of the Laikipia Plateau. Riding down through the Monkey Valley this morning we will cross Enasoit Ranch. Enasoit’s watering hole attracts a wide variety of life, with elephants, giraffes and buffalo all regular visitors. Predators too are well represented including lions, wild dogs and leopard. We ride on through the expansive landscapes and cross the Nanyuki River en route to our final destination for today.
ACCOMMODATION CAMP (1 NT)

Day 6: Ride through Mpala and across the Ewaso Narok River to Suyian
Crossing the kopje filled landscapes of Mpala this morning, we ride on to the Ewaso Narok River, whose life-giving waters attract wildlife from all across Kenya’s arid northern plains. Crossing the river we then continue towards the captivating Suyian eco-lodge, run by the remarkable, and extremely knowledgeable, Anne Powys. Anne, an expert botanist and geologist, has spent her life amongst these timeless landscapes and an evening botanical walk in her company introduces us to a side of the African bush that few will ever see.
ACCOMMODATION LODGE (1 NT)

Day 7: Exploring Suyian
We have a full day to enjoy the extraordinary landscapes and bountiful wildlife of Suyian today both on foot and horse-back. Anne will accompany us on our explorations again, doubtless regaling us with her rich wealth of stories and anecdotes. ‘Suyian’ means wild dog in the language of the Maasai, and it is not unusual to come across these rare animals hunting in packs. This beautiful natural setting also attracts Burchell’s zebra and elephant, as well as leopards and hyenas, so there is every possibility of some priceless encounters before we make our way back to the lodge for a final night under a wild African sky.
ACCOMMODATION LODGE (1 NT)

Day 8: Tour ends in Nairobi
Today we drive back to Nairobi to connect with the ongoing flight back to London.

More Details
Additional Trip Notes:
Start point:Nairobi
Finish point: Nairobi
Accommodation:
Camp (3nts)
Ranch (2nts)
Lodge (2nts)
As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this trip we will stay in two incredible lodges at the start and end of the trip and in between we will be camping in the African bush – African style! We will be canvas ‘A’ frame tents with beds (made up with sheets and duvets) these camps have bucket showers and long-drop loos, which may be shared. The camps are not enclosed and a real treat will be to see game in and around camp. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.
Meals:
Breakfast – 7
Lunch – 8
Dinner – 8
Transport:
On this horse trek through the Kenyan Highlands tour we will use planes, 4WD, minibuses and of course horses.Climate:
The weather in Kenya is fine all year round with little seasonal variation. During the day it will get hot while at night temperatures can drop quite sharply and it can feel cold. The long rains fall in April and May and the short rains in November.
Riding Ability:
You should be able to ride at a high standard; this ride if for experienced riders and it’s important that you are comfortable at all paces as there may be times that you have to take your own line through thick bush to move away from game. If you are unsure about your riding ability please do not hesitate to contact the office. Riding times will vary but you can expect 4-6hrs/day.
Types of Horses:
Most of the horses are thoroughbred or a throughbred-cross, standing between 14.2hh and 16.3hh. Most of the horses at Borana are polo-schooled ponies and respond to being ridden one handed, neck reining and preferably ridden with a long rein to ensure a more enjoyable ride for both rider and horse.
Tack:
There are a few Australian stock saddles and one western saddle otherwise you will be riding in an English saddle. If you prefer Australian or Western saddles please let us know. The majority of the horses are ridden in snaffle bridles. Saddle bags are provided.
Weight Limit for Riding:
Maximum weight limit is 200lbs (14 1/2 stone or 90kg).
Riding with Game:
You are riding in an area with dangerous game. That said, you will be with experienced guides at all times. At the start of the ride you will be given a full safety briefing about riding in this type of environment.Safety when Riding:
Although we understand that a large part of the fun of horse riding holidays is the freedom you derive from riding wild and free over magical terrain, we would like to point out that this form of holiday can be hazardous and it is important you follow a few basic rules:
  • Firstly you must be a competent rider, you must be able to turn and go, taking into account you will be riding in an area full of wild and dangerous game. If you are not sure if your level of riding skill is sufficient for the particular trip you are signing up for, please contact the office for advice.
  • We strongly recommend that you wear a hard hat – at least while you get used to the horses. Accidents can happen to anyone at any time particularly while both horse and rider are sussing each other out. A hard hat can be the difference between a minor accident and a very serious problem.
  • Concentrate – particularly over tricky terrain. It is all too easy to get carried away with the scenery, the adventure and the ongoing conversations. Remember you are riding and take care.
  • Until you are sure of your horse’s demeanour, try to keep at least a meter apart.
  • Pass messages back.
  • And if you do all that and use your common sense, all should be fine and you will have a fabulous horse-bound adventure holiday.

   

Departure dates:

  • 4th March 2017 from £4,295 per person (land only)

What is included?

  • Full services of the Trip Operators Tour Leader with local guides and drivers
  • Meal plan with drinking water as required with the majority of meals being taken in local restaurants where viable
  • All transport as outlined in the itinerary
  • All accommodation
  • All entrance fees, as per itinerary

What is not included?

  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Local airport taxes
  • Tips (always optional, but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information pack you’ll receive after booking)
  • Beverages other than drinking water & any costs of a personal nature
  • International flights to/from the start/finish of the trip
  • Airport transfers

Operator

“This operator is a multi-award winning adventure travel company specialising in small group tours and tailor made holidays to some of the most extraordinary destinations across the Indian sub-continent, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, Latin America and Europe.

We love their unique, original itineraries – whether they are for small group travel or individually created for tailor made clients – allowing you to take journeys that venture beneath the surface of the region. This operator concentrates on the locations they know and love. They don’t source itineraries from other agents, nor do they run the same tour over and over (thus creating a ‘tourist circuit’, spoiling an untouched region). Instead, they rarely run any group tour more than a couple of times a year and they are on routes they have discovered for themselves, to give a truly authentic, off-the-beaten-track experience.”

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