Rocky and rugged, northern Kenya has a completely different feel to the lush, green plains of the south. It’s generally drier, hotter and – dare we say – wilder, offering a more off-the-beaten-track experience.
There are several regions to explore in this fascinating hinterland, each with their own delights. I’d suggest you start with a helicopter excursion as it’ll give you a great overview of the region. You can fly to the slopes of Mount Kenya and other inaccessible places and fish for trout in mountain lakes.
You can also take to the air in Laikipia in the very same biplane that was used in the filming of Out of Africa. While you’re in the area, you simply must spend a night sleeping on a star bed – it’s an experience like no other.
Back on the ground, explore the region using the best local transport available: the camel! Or if you prefer bumps to humps, ride quad bikes instead.
Game drives in Samburu, along the doum-palm-lined lifeline that is the Ngiro River, give you a chance to find the Samburu Special Five, and more.
You can also spend a day with elephant there. The Douglas-Hamiltons have devoted their lives to protecting the Samburu pachyderms, and they’ve shared decades of research with local guides via their Save the Elephant foundation.
If homo sapiens interest you too, go on a cultural visit with the Samburu people – you’ll get to appreciate their traditional clothing in eye-popping red and white, and their intricate beadwork. You can even learn the ways of the Samburu warrior.
Alternatively, fancy some royal romance? Take a game drive in Meru National Park – it was close to here that Prince William proposed to the then-Catherine Middleton. It’s also where Elsa the lioness, of Born Free fame, grew up.
Finally, don’t forget to visit the rhino in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a Unesco World Heritage Site that provides a haven for these threatened creatures.