Days 1-5: The first 5 riding days of this trip will take us to one of the most remote places in Ethiopia and indeed in Africa: the Omorate. Roads go from large and windy with green landscape through forest and agricultural fields to desolate savanah tracks made up of sand, stones and bush. You will experience the first day of very challenging riding during this trip. You will not have it easy but we guarantee it will be worth it! Visit the Gibe Water Falls on the way to the Omo National Park where if you are lucky you can spot elephants, buffalos, antelopes and giraffes. Take a ride on the Omo plains alongside its wildlife. In Omorate visit the Nyangatom tribe.
The Nyangatom are a numerically small and warlike pastoral ethnic group of south western Ethiopia and south eastern Sudan, who live with their herds in this inhospitable area. They struggle to get water, as they have to dig wells, whereas other local ethnic groups just go to the rivers. Food is often scarce, the men herd animals. While herding their animals the men live on a staple of milk and blood taken from their cows (without harming them seriously). Upon killing an enemy they scar themselves repeatly to stop the bad blood from magically killing them. They are blessed and have their names changed when they kill (299 km asphalt/ 864 km off-road). Overnights: Lodgings and camping.
Days 6-10: The border crossing with Kenya will be one of your toughest riding days. The road is mostly sandy but you can also find rocks and fesh-fesh. You will ride throught different kinds of sand from soft to hard, moist to dry, deep... It’s lots of fun and one of the most beautiful and hard rides you will ever do in your life. We will put up our tents between the sand dunes of Eliye Springs, an Oasis in the Desert of North Kenya on Lake Turkana.
The Kenyan roads you will ride are horrible, mostly made up of destroyed pavement and not well maintained. Some parts are broken pavement with most of it being corrugated or washboard, with potholes and fesh-fesh. Your off-road skills will be very needed! We will spend 1 day in South Turkana National Reserve and 1 day in the lakeside town of Jinja. Jinja is where the Victoria Nile flows out of the Lake and where action goers meet: go white-water rafting or kayaking, quad biking, horse riding or what the hell… just relax before the border crossing to Uganda(352 km asphalt/ 527 km off-road). Overnights: Camping and lodgings.
Days 11-14: Your stay in Uganda will be unforgettable! There is of course the first of 2 equator crossings, but shall we dare to say that the highlight will be the day-ride to Lake Bunioni? From the scouting trip our tour leader did last year this is the one day that is absolutely unforgettable. Nobody, absolutely nobody does this road. All green wherever your eyes reach; curvy roads on mountainous landscape. It has the reputation of being very dangerous and you do need to be very careful.
The landscape is so beautiful it is very easy to loose concentration and with some of the tracks being so narrow with cliffs on both sides focus is a must. But man, is it worth it!!! Your stay in Uganda will include an overnight stop in its capital city, Kampala and 1 day spent in Lake Bunioni, the deepest crater lake in Africa and second in the world. Camp on its shores and enjoy some peace and tranquillity after the last riding days or go for a hike, bird watching or canoeing trip (490 km paved / 161 km off-road). Overnights in Lodges or Camping if preferred.
Days 15-18: In this 4 days you will cross two countries: Rwanda and Tanzania. As soon as you enter Rwanda you will understand why it is called the country of the thousand hills. It is an incredibly beautiful country with lots on offer if you extend your stay. Our main suggestions need to include a Mountain Gorilla Trekking and a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center. A Mountain Gorilla Trekking is the pinnacle of all the wildlife experiences available in Africa and Rwanda is with no doubt the best place for this. The Kigali Genocide memorial center is a site of burial for victims, who were killed in the Kigali region. After the genocide, as mass graves were being discovered around the city it was decided that a single monument/ burial place should be created, where the victims could be laid to rest with dignity, this is now their final resting place.
A distinctively Rwandan craft is the cow dung 'paintings' that are produced by a local co-operative in the village of Nyakarimbi near the Rusumo Falls Rwandan border with Tanzania. Curious enought to buy one? The Rusumo falls, where you will spend one day, are a voluminous and impressive rush of white water located on the Kagera river part of the most distant headwaters of the river Nile, one of the principal headstreams feeding into Lake Victoria (360 km paved/ 260 km off-road). Overnights in lodges.
Days 19-25: The second border crossing with Kenya will take place during this leg of the trip. You will also cross the equator for the second time! You will spend one day in Nairobi. There is a lot to keep you busy in Kenya’s bustling capital city but if you want to get out of town maybe you will end up visiting the Langata giraffe centre or bond up and close with orphaned animals at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage which is the oldest animal orphanage in Kenya and is set in the Nairobi National Park.
Another stop worth mentioning is the Samburu National Reserve. The reserve is rich in wildlife with an abundance of rare northern species such as the Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk and the beisa oryx (also referred to as Samburu Special Five). The reserve is also popular with a minimum of 900 elephants. Large predators such as the lion, leopard and cheetah are an important attraction. Your resting day during this part of the trip will be spent in the tiny oasis of Loiyangalani, “the place of the trees”, which attracts many travelers to its palm groves, where a constant wind offers relief from the searing heat. Loiyangalani is a good base for exploring - either by boat to South Island National Park, or by climbing nearby Mount Kulal, a challenging climb which needs to be undertaken with care.
Lake Turkana is the biggest permanent desert lake in the world, fed solely by the Omo River. The 'Jade Sea' is inhabited by giant Nile crocodiles, hippos and Nile Perch weighing up to 100 kgs. The lake is surrounded by inhospitable lands with year round scorching heat and the sparsely populated El Molo Bay is home to members of the Turkana, Samburu and El Molo tribes which you can visit. The El Molo are Kenya’s smallest tribe and one of the last true hunter-gatherer communities. In many places here, life continues unchanged as it has for centuries. The bay is also a good place to spot crocodiles and birdlife. You can make a fishing expedition on the lake and try your luck in catching the giant Nile Perch or landing a Tiger fish (1,084 km paved / 297 km off-road). Overnights in lodges.
Days 26-30: We are almost at the end of our adventure trip and the return to Addis is just a few days away. We will cross the border with Ethiopia and head to Jinka. Our last resting day will be spent in the Mago National Park where we will visit a Mursi tribe whose women split and stretch their lower lips to make room for the insertion of terracotta or wooden dishes as a sign of beauty (+/- 720 km off-road). Overnight in lodges.
Day 31: Departure to Addis (325 km asphalt).
Tour dates: 1 - 31 August!
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