Turkana, in northwest Kenya, is a land of extremes. Scorching temperatures, intense droughts, and flash floods are the routine features of a difficult existence for the region’s pastoralist tribes. Believed by anthropologists to be the cradle of human civilization, the Lake Turkana basin remains virtually untouched by modernity – a kind of living museum that offers a rare glimpse into the way life was millenia ago.
Posts tagged ‘tribes’
After our brief but fantastic visit to Samburu National Park, we headed further north to spend a couple of days in the Matthews Mountains. So few tourists make it to the Matthews Range that this scraggly sierra does not even appear on Google’s otherwise reasonably detailed map of the country, making this area one of Kenya’s many hidden treasures.
Last week Kenyans went to the polls in the country’s much anticipated political party primaries. The rapidly approaching March 4 general elections will be Kenya’s first since the disputed 2007 presidential election plunged the country into horrific ethnic violence, leaving over a thousand people dead and displacing half a million others. The primaries were viewed by many as an important litmus test, a gauge of Kenya’s preparedness for peaceful, democratic transition.
Although Nairobi is undoubtedly East Africa’s prime metropolis, it offers surprisingly little of interest to the average visitor. We have a few favorite spots where we’ve taken most of our guests, such as the elephant orphanage and giraffe center, but our list of must-visit places is rather brief. It was therefore a bit of a challenge to come up with enough interesting activities to fill the three days we had in Nairobi before D’s family departed.
Northern Kenya is a sparsely-populated, forgotten land that is home to about a dozen pastoralist tribes, which frequently give the impression of being untouched by modern civilization and the passage of time. Lonely Planet calls the northern half of this country some of the most exciting wilderness in Africa, daring adventurers to explore it only if they are willing to withstand appalling roads, searing heat, primitive food and accommodation, vast distances, and more than a hint of danger. Who wouldn’t want to go?
Leafing through her guide book, Marni stumbled upon a description of the “eerie and hauntingly beautiful” ruins of Gede, which are hidden away in a strand of forest not too far from the beach house we had rented in Watamu. D also found a reference to the ruins in Bill Bryson’s African Diary, which he had coincidentally plucked from the well-stacked bookshelf at the house. Intrigued, we headed to Gede late one afternoon, as the ruins are rumored to be at their most striking when they are lit up by the descending sun.