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Experience the rugged and untamed wilderness in North Eastern Uganda and North Western Kenya.
Immerse yourself in the nomadic Karamojong and Turkana culture, hike Mount Moroto, cycle through remote communities, and enjoy an experiential safari in the Masai Mara. Turkana Land is largely unexplored allowing you to make your own discoveries and experience true adventures like nowhere else. Encounter a pastoralist world. Turkana Land and the Turkana people are pastoralist in nature. It defines who they are 70% of the Turkana continue to practice the traditional pastoralist lifestyle that appears to have been the first form of economy known to man. There are few places remaining in Africa where you can witness a traditional culture of such beauty and integrity. The Turkana culture is vivified by a unique wealth of dresses, hairstyles, jewellery, sayings, tales, songs, craftsmanship and knowledge. It is now your turn to be immersed in this preserved lifestyle amongst some of the most spectacular nature in Kenya and Uganda.
Welcome to Uganda! On arrival at Entebbe, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder if the day is at leisure.
Near the banks of Lake Victoria, Kampala, the capital of Uganda, is a lively city with a long history. Kampala is made up of 7 main hills – Makerere, Mulago, Kololo, Mengo, Kibuli, Old Kampala and Rubaga. It was first called the “Kasozi Ka Impala” by the Buganda people because it was a natural sanctuary for impalas. The name was later changed to Kampala by the British colonialists for easy pronunciation.
Today, Kampala is a mixture of natural, historical, cultural and political sites dotted around the bustling, hectic streets that make up Uganda’s capital.
2 nights Fairway Hotel or similar
Enjoy a leisurely morning before departing on a tour of Kampala, where you will explore cultural sites such as the Kasubi Tombs and the Gadhafi mosque.
The burial place of the royal family of Buganda Kingdom, the Kasubi Tombs are located on Kasubi hill (northwest of Kampala city). They have been listed world heritage site under UNESCO because of their historical and cultural significance. The site is the major spiritual centre for the Baganda where traditional and cultural practices have been preserved. The large thatched building located at the core of the site represents the best existing example of a Baganda palace/burial site. Its place as the burial ground for the previous four kings (Kabakas) qualifies it as a religious centre for the royal family, a place where the Kabaka and his representatives carry out important rituals related to Buganda culture.
The Gadhafi mosque is the main Muslim shrine in Uganda. Built in 1972 by Uganda’s President Idi Amin Dada the mosque was formerly known as the old Kampala main mosque. In 2007, the mosque underwent a major renovation funded by the late Colonel Muammar Gadhafi of Libya, and the mosque was renamed after him. A tour of the mosque is incomplete without visiting the minaret for one of the bests views of Kampala city and its buildings.
Lunch today is in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, it is all about giving back. Walk to one of Kampala’s slums and participate in a food pantry experience where you will be serving food to street children in the slums. (B)
Setting off early at 6am, you will drive east of Kampala. Make a stop in Jinja for a two-hour boat ride of the source of the Nile river and Lake Victoria. The Jinja region is renowned as the source of the river Nile. On a cruise along the Nile River, you can visit the exact point where the Nile separates from Lake Victoria and starts is descent to the Mediterranean.
Following the cruise, stop in Jinja town for brunch and then continue the drive into the foothills of Mt. Elgon near the Kenyan Border. It’s a four-hour drive to your final destination, Sipi Falls, a series of five cascading waterfalls. Also referred to as the ‘most romantic falls’ in Uganda, hiking up Sipi Falls gives a stunning view across Lake Kyoga, the Karamoja low-lands, coffee plantations and other surrounding areas. Upon arrival you will then check in to your lodge in time for dinner. (B,D)
Overnight Sipi River Lodge or similar
After breakfast, head out for a tour of Sipi’s coffee plantations that supply some of the world’s famous coffee brands, such as Starbucks. Meet the farmers and learn the art and science of making coffee, including brewing your own coffee as well. Feeling active? Enjoy a three-hour hike to the top of the Sipi Falls.
Return to your lodge for lunch before setting off for a four-hour drive to Moroto. Moroto is located in the Karamoja region, one of the last frontiers of the true African wilderness. The region around Moroto is a forest reserve protecting a range of habitats from arid thorn savanna to dry montane forest and contains over 220 bird species, monkeys and wild cats.
Arrive at your camp in time for dinner. (B,L,D)
Overnight Karamoja Safari Camp or similar
Set off early morning for a half-day hike of Mount Moroto. The hike is quite challenging but offers spectacular views of the Karamoja savannah plains. The mountain is inhabited by one of Uganda’s smallest tribes, the Tepeth. They are the indigenous inhabitants of the Karamoja planes that escaped into the mountains when the Karimojong settled on their lands. You will meet them along the trail and pass through their villages where you will get to engage with some of the locals and learn about their way of life. Return to the lodge for lunch.
Later in the afternoon, head to the Manyatta (a Karamojong community) for a night in the Kraal. Here you will experience the typical pastoral life of the Karamojong by bush camping at night with the animals and shepherds in the Kraal. Share stories and play games with the warriors around the campfire and learn about their nomadic lifestyle. (B,L,D)
Overnight Bush camping – 2-person tents, and inflatable mattresses, sleeping bag are provided, plus a basic dinner and breakfast and opportunity to shower and refresh at the Karamoja Safari Camp the next day.
Set off early this morning at 7:30am for a hike up Mt. Moroto to the natural spring pool that flows over the steep hills of the mountain down the plains of Karamoja land. The 10km trail starts directly from Moroto town and quickly climbs up the mountain following a steep trail and is rated as medium-hard.
Alternatively, you can choose to visit a cattle auction and market day. You can’t beat the diversity of people, the colourful fabrics, the variety of produce and of course the famous trading of animals. It’s a unique opportunity to interact with different tribes, taste local foods, drink local beer and see the locals sniffing their tobacco. It’s the best place in Karamoja to shop for a unique souvenir. (B,L,D)
Overnight Karamoja Safari Camp or similar
Departing from Moroto town after breakfast, you will embark on a scenic seven-hour journey in a strong four-wheel drive vehicle. Following the rugged volcanic foothills of the massive Mt. Moroto, your drive crosses the Ugandan border and descends into the sand plains of Turkanaland. At 77,000 square km, Turkana County in Northwestern Kenya is the second largest county, covering more than 13% of Kenya’s surface. The Turkana people are the second largest pastoralist tribe in Kenya after the Maasai.
Your route passes artisanal gold mining sites, cattle camps and settlements of the Karamojong-tribe. As the landscape changes, the Karamojong locals and cattle farms change to the people of the Turkana-tribe who are proudly herding their camels. On the road, you will stop at a traditional Turkana homestead for a traditional, colourful experience of their rich culture. From here, you will continue to the buzzing and rapidly developing Lodwar town, crossing several wide sandy rivers on the way.
Arrive at your camp in time for lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. (B,L,D)
2 nights at The Cradle Tented Camp or similar
After breakfast, head out of Lodwar with a packed lunch to spend the day visiting a Turkana tribal community. The Turkana are nomadic pastoralists who live in temporary communities called Manyatta. Spend the morning in one of the manyattas learning about their way of life. You may head off with the Turkana warriors to find fresh pasture and water for their cattle, or you may choose to stay with the women in the manyatta and help out with the daily activities in the village such as preparing local food and making traditional beads and accessories. You can be taught how to harness donkeys (donkeys play a major role in the life of the Turkana) and even head out with the donkeys to get water from a nearby borehole.
In the afternoon, you will take part in a community dialogue about conflict resolution between tribes, women’s rights and promoting peaceful co-existence between the Turkana and neighbouring tribes. (B,L,D)
Join the Turkana community as they head to the weekly livestock market day. Learn how the market day has become a major driver for peace between communities. Later, enjoy a traditional performance celebrating the peaceful coexistence between the Turkana and the Matheniko tribes. Head back to your lodge for lunch. Later in the afternoon, check out and head to the Lodwar airport for your flight to Nairobi. This is a two-hour flight including a stopover in Eldoret. Arrive at your hotel in Nairobi in time for dinner. (B,L,D)
2 nights Wildebeest Eco Camp or similar
Enjoy a guided tour of the sights and sounds of the capital Nairobi including a visit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which operates the first and most successful orphan elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation program in the world. Then visit the Giraffe Centre, created by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife to educate people about the Giraffe and working to improve the numbers of the Rothschild Giraffe subspecies from extinction. Finally, you will stop at the Karen Blixen Museum. Karen Blixen is a Danish author who wrote her nonfiction memoir Out of Africa after she moved back to Denmark. In this work, she reflected on her life as a settler in Kenyan from 1914 to 1931. She wrote with nostalgia about the land and the people of Kenya and about her personal triumphs and hardships. The site of the Karen Blixen Museum was once the centre piece of a farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills owned by Danish Author Karen and her Swedish Husband, Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke. Enjoy lunch at the Karen Blixen Coffee Gardens before heading back to your accommodation. (B,D)
Set off early in the morning at 6am for an eight-hour journey to the Siria escarpment on the western region of the Masai Mara. Pick up a packed lunch at Sarova Mara Camp before going for a game drive as you make your way to Mara West Camp. Arrive at your camp at approximately 2pm. Have lunch and then check in to your rooms.
For the next two days you will be taking part in the Africa Mission Services community development program. Africa Mission Services (AMS) is an international, non-governmental organization (NGO) registered in Kenya. Their mission is to assist rural, underdeveloped communities within Africa to improve their quality of life. During your stay at Mara West Camp, you will be working with the AMS field research team to collect data on the wildlife living in the reserve which will help to develop techniques to the local Maasai community co-exist with the wildlife who also call the conservancy home.
Later in the afternoon, commence orientation with a brief overview of the program followed by safety orientation. You will receive basic training on survey techniques that you will be using over the next two days, such as distance sampling, setting camera traps, use of GPS and other relevant field equipment.
Return to the lodge for dinner. (B,L,D)
3 nights Mara West Camp or similar
Enjoy a full day of exciting field wildlife research alongside the team of field researchers dedicated to collecting data on lions and other amazing wildlife. While traversing the vast African wilderness, you will have an opportunity to be immersed in the science and experience of hands-on conservation work. The conservation data you help collect is vital and critical in trying to find solutions to the challenges facing lions while creating coexistence with local communities as well. Most importantly, help to provide robust data to inform conservation policy and management within the amazing conservation landscape. The wildlife is usually more active in the early morning and late afternoon. Hence, the field activities start at the break of dawn from 6:30 am to 11 am, and later in the afternoon from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
Conduct vehicle-based mammal surveys along permanent transects. This is a unique opportunity to monitor and understand trends in the wildlife population in the conservancy, while you search for lion sightings. It is a great way to expand your knowledge and learn about lion research, getting to know their personalities, and interesting facts about the iconic African lion. While opportunistically searching for lions, you will also record the location and abundance of lion prey such as zebra and other herbivores using distance sampling, noting the presence or absence of calves and other young animals — data that will be later compared to sightings and observed behaviour of lions and other large carnivores to see which prey species they are following. While the animals move about in search of feeding grounds, you will observe and record the vegetation in the area to assess habitat use. (B,L,D)
Today you will be assisting with the Camera Trap Survey. Given the elusive nature of other large predators such as hyenas and leopards, non-intrusive camera trapping techniques are used to understand predator abundance. Accompanied by our experienced field team, today will bring you up close and personal with the sights, smells and sounds of the African bush. You will help to deploy camera traps within set 2 x 2 km grids throughout the conservancy. Other duties may include helping to change memory cards, recording battery status, and downloading images from camera traps around the conservancy. Assist with species identification and tag camera photos of wildlife captured by the camera-traps grid by their unique patterns of stripes or spots. The Camera Trap Survey tasks will be done by hiking, the walk is not designed to be strenuous however a reasonable level of fitness is required, as you will be expected to walk for up to 1km to some camera trap stations. We could recommend that you wear closed shoes and carry a sunscreen and a hat. To avoid disturbing wildlife while out in the field, clothing should be in neutral colours. (B,L,D)
Depart back to Nairobi by road. Arriving in Nairobi in the afternoon you will check in to the hotel and enjoy some time to relax before heading out for a final dinner. (B,L,D)
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight. (B)
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**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.
* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.
* A minimum of 4 adults is required to guarantee this departure.
A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.
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This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.