Ahoy!! 😀 Are you ready to explore #DestinationLaikipia?
I’ve been counting down to this very moment, when I could finally share our Laikipia escapades with you… and BAM! It’s time. 😀
Late last year, I partook a splendid project touring Laikipia County to showcase its rich, diverse offerings.
I was thrilled to work alongside a team of superb Photographers & Bloggers: Mwangi Kirubi (Mwarv), Kevin Ouma, Mutua Matheka (Truth Slinger), Tj (the_mentalyst), Josh Kisamwa, Timothy Kariuki, and Rachel (Safari 254).
Together, we covered over 3,000 Kilometers of open country, grand conservancies, rocky terrains, remote villages and towns!
I will share our stories, exploits and adventures in a continuing series dubbed #DestinationLaikipia.
<P.S. Look out for epic Vlogs & Blogs from the team as well.! > 🙂
The People Of West Laikipia
Laikipia County is colossal in size, extending from the Great Rift Valley to the slopes of Mount Kenya.
It boasts of a rich variety of cultures: the Samburu, Pokot, Borana, Kalenjin, Kikuyu, Turkana, Maasai and many more.
We were fortunate to encounter these beautiful People of Laikipia as they went about their daily lives…
P.S. This is a small sample and not a representation of Laikipians as a whole.
Nyahururu Farmers’ Market
Our first team, tasked with exploring West and North-West Laikipia , consisted of Mwarv, Kevin, Tim and I. We also had John Kingori and Paul as our guides, from the Laikipia Tourism & County Govt. respectively.
The guys left Nairobi a day before, starting out in Nanyuki… I caught up the next day in Nyahururu, at the Farmers’ Market, where they were wrapping up.
Nyahururu is about a 3.5 hours’ drive from Nairobi, via the Gilgil Route. It is a lively town, known for its cool weather and plentiful, farm produce.
The biting Nyahururu cold, slightly reminded me of Kinangop. 🙂
Clad in their heavy jackets & armed with steaming, hot tea, the sellers were barely fazed by the freezing cold or imminent rains…
Thanks to the rains, I didn’t get to chat up any of the sellers. However, I learned later on that the market services a significant portion of Laikipia County.
We retired for the night at Thomson Falls lodge in Nyahururu. <Look out for a future Post on Thomson Falls Lodge>
Rumuruti Livestock Market
The next day, we left Nyahururu for Rumuruti a little after 11 a.m, about an hours’ drive.
Pulling up, I was captivated by the wondrous colors of men and women spread out over the field, in their traditional Maasai garb.
The scene resembled a Carnival, except it’s a market for their most prized possessions: cows & goats. It felt like we’d stepped into a different world… 😀
Sticking out like sore thumbs, in our non-traditional outfits and peculiar gadgets, we sought permission for pictures.
The Rumuruti Livestock Market is the biggest and best-planned market in Laikipia County. Similar, but smaller markets take place in Olmoran, Ngare Ngiro and Kimanjo.
Livestock buyers and sellers travel from Maralal, Meru, Gilgil, Isiolo, Nyeri, and Nairobi, to far as Somalia during peak seasons.
It takes place every Thursday, and is open to all.
Some buy livestock for fattening-up in readiness for peak seasons, while others resell in Nairobi, Naivasha, and Mombasa for beef.
A Means To Survival
The market greatly supports these communities’ livelihoods. About 1,000 heads of cattle are sold in a month, and up to 10,000 sheep per month.
With cattle, the cost depends on a variety of factors: age, weight, gender & whether or not it’s a castrated bull. Usually, the cows weigh between 100-200kg.
The goats’ prices range from Kes. 7,000 to Kes. 15,000 per head.
One boy told us how his father usually brings him along to find odd jobs and learn the business.
“Today’s not a good day. There are too many kids here,” he said in Swahili. They don’t have the luxury of staying home when schools are closed. He earns about Kes. 500 on a good day.
I was genuinely impressed by the overall enterprising spirit of the market. It’s neither an easy nor a pretty affair, but they get it done. 🙂
After Rumuruti, we ventured into the deeper parts of Laikipia marked by limited connectivity and Conservancies teeming with wildlife.
We spent the second night at the glorious Ekorian’s Mugie Camp… (Blog post coming soon… 😉 )
Day three saw us driving for miles with nothing but zebras, camels and shrubs for company, until we came upon Luonyek village. 🙂
It is home to a community of Pokots. They are a guarded people, wary of strangers…
Uncertain of how they’d receive us, we stopped at a ‘respectful’ distance, before getting their Chief’s consent to wander in…
The villagers came out of their mabati houses to steal curious glances.
And oh, their lovely children! 😀 At first they were shy, keeping a safe distance, until curiosity got the best of them…
Helpless giggles followed Mwarv around when he took off racing after a boy on his bicycle, to capture the right shot… 😀
And their eyes grew big with wonder at the Snapchat filters on my phone…
So we made silly Snapchat videos together and sang fake birthday songs for effect. The sound of their laughter was priceless. 🙂
You get the feeling that living in what looks like the middle of nowhere, the people of Luonyek are content in their simple pleasures and lifestyle. 🙂
I’ll always treasure this short, but special encounter at Luonyek Village. 🙂
Each of these unique experiences reminded us how much of Kenya there’s yet to see, feel and explore. 🙂
I look forward to sharing more of our #DestinationLaikipia escapades with you, plus the daring adventures we got up to with Team 2.
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Thank you for reading my lovelies! 😀 I would love to read your comments, questions or feedback. Leave a comment down below, and I’ll be sure to respond! 😀
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