Wilder by Far and wild logo

Why you should try a camel safari in Laikipia

An alternative yet exciting way to explore Kenya



Travel Writer
Published on

09 Mar 2018

Updated on

17 Nov 2020

Karisia Walking En Route

It is early morning in Laikipia, a remote and beautiful wilderness in northern Kenya. As the sun rises across the plateau, a peaceful silence extends across the Rift Valley from Lake Baringo to Mount Kenya, with only the soft and rhythmic padding of feet breaking the stillness. It isn’t elephants, or even humans making those sounds.

It is in fact camels. Surprising on a Kenya safari holiday!

These occasionally grumpy ships of the desert aren’t just found in the Sahara, the Gobi and the Outback. They’re also quite at home here in the arid landscapes of Laikipia, which incidentally is the size of Wales. Thankfully large enough for me not to have to use Olympic swimming pools for comparison, or even worse, football pitches.

Camel trekking with Karisia Walking Safaris is a rather unique safari experience. It’s a good old-fashioned adventure where sleeping under canvas and dining around campfires feels just as luxurious as Egyptian cotton sheets in 5* hotels. The day begins with a bush walk, following in the footsteps of Samburu and Maasai tribesmen as they point out unusual animal tracks, medicinal plants, and geological formations. The pack camels plod along behind, carrying the mobile camp equipment and guest’s belongings. For a great vantage point and a bit of a rest from hiking, guests can ride camels too.

Karisia Walking Accommodation
Karisia Walking accommodation

Animal populations here are superb, and Laikipia is a sanctuary for elephants, leopards, lions and plains game. The Big 5 live here alongside rare northern species such as the Grevy’s zebra, and the elusive wild dog.

Yet here in Laikipia it’s not just about the wildlife. It’s about the journey. There’s nothing quite like riding as part of a camel train through dry riverbeds and across majestic plateaus studded with thorny acacia and wild palms. Vistas here are huge, stretching across to forested mountain slopes and mysterious rocky gorges. It’s the sort of place that makes you feel alive and in tune with nature.

Camels are the only traffic in this area, making it a peaceful and even spiritual experience, only added to by the gentle tinkling of bells dangling from the animals’ necks. If it’s your first time on a camel, perhaps one of the shorter day treks is a good place to start. Riding these hardy desert beasts does take some getting used to, but you can always get off and walk instead. For the more adventurous, several of the lodges in Laikipia offer multi-day camel safaris exploring some of the remotest parts of the region.

Karisia Walking Camels River Crossing

During the morning the pack camels trundle off ahead so that when guests arrive at lunchtime the camp is already set up, a gourmet spread is waiting alongside cold drinks and a welcome sit down in the shade. Afternoons are about relaxing and exploring around camp where archaeological artefacts such as flints and pottery are often found, giving an insight into the long and fascinating cultural history of the area.

Evenings bring with them bushwalks and sundowners, two safari staples. Then it’s time for dining out under the stars and enjoying drinks around the roaring campfire as the air becomes cooler. After a night under canvas it’s time to wake at sunrise to the sounds of the bush and enjoy a sumptuous breakfast out in the wilds. I always think food tastes so much better outside!

Karisia Camel Train
Karisia Camel train

Most guests like to spend a few days at one of Laikipia’s lodges after their camel trek as a treat at the end of their adventure. These are some of the most luxurious lodges in Kenya, and a great way to meet local people who work there through community involvement in tourism.

Laikipia can easily be combined with a Masai Mara safari or with Samburu, and makes for a great Kenya family holiday.

For more inspiration, take a look at our 26 favourite safari holidays, our best African honeymoon ideas or our top family safari holidays.

To arrange your safari holiday, call us on 01768 603 715.


Speak To Our Kenya Experts Today

  • Marc


    Kenya Specialist

  • Alistair


    Kenya Specialist

Call an expert on

01768 603 715

Far & Wild Customer Reviews

See what our customers have to day about us...
Read all reviews

I didn't realise my high expectations could be so easily exceeded

Hannah and Elaine travelled to Kenya in November 2023 on a trip organised by .

I've already recommended Far and Wild to a couple of friends

Paula travelled to South Africa in December 2023 on a trip organised by Alistair.

It was SO NICE to have someone else do it for me.

Cathy travelled to Tanzania and Zanzibar in December 2023 on a trip organised by Alistair.

A dream to visit Mum's birth place!

Christine travelled to St Helena Holidays and South Africa in December 2023 on a trip organised by .

100% value for money

Adam travelled to Kenya in January 2024 on a trip organised by Ruth.

Adventure of a Lifetime in Kenya

Maria travelled to Masai Mara Safari in October 2023 on a trip organised by Ben.

Plan with an expert Plan with an expert

Have a look at our original holiday experiences and then contact us with your brief, or call 01768 603 715

A tailor-made itinerary just for you A tailor-made itinerary just for you

Our experts will send you a detailed holiday itinerary specified to your desires. It's our service promise to you.

Value guarantee Value guarantee

Tailor-made doesn't mean expensive! Ask about our price promise and book with financial security.