Travel to Kenya and Ethiopia on a trip from Nairobi to Addis Ababa

Encounter fascinating cultures, iconic wildlife and beautiful scenery on this enthralling journey across northern Kenya and into Ethiopia. From heading out in search of Africa's Big Five in Lake Nakuru National Park to travelling across the black lunar landscape of Marsabit and soaking in the natural hot springs of Wondo Genet, this little-visited region is a wellspring of diversity. Meet friendly Rastafarians in the spiritual movement's original home, proud warriors in the Samburu National Reserve and the truly remote tribespeople of the Omo Valley. Raw, rugged and well off the beaten track, this small group adventure stands as an atypical yet elementary part of the African travel experience.


Start
Nairobi, Kenya
Finish
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Countries
Ethiopia, Kenya
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland, Wildlife
Code
YDOR
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 6, Max 22

Why we love this trip

  • Discover the flamingo-filled expanse of Lake Nakuru

  • Explore the pristine wilderness of Samburu National Reserve

  • Meet friendly tribespeople in the Omo Valley

  • Visit the Awassa Children's Project

  • Look for the elusive Simien red fox in Bale Mountains National Park

Itinerary

Border Information: If joining in Nairobi, you will most likely enter Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).

There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting - your leader will need to check your Ethiopia visa (please see below for details).

If you would like to explore Nairobi fully, we advise you arrive a day earlier, or arrive early in the morning to give yourself a full day before the meeting in the evening. Possible activities include visiting the Karen Blixen Museum, the National Museum and the Langata Giraffe Centre. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Nairobi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Nairobi.

In Nairobi we will camp in the grounds of a peaceful eco-camp in the suburb of Karen.
Hotel for the night: Wildebeest Eco Camp
Wildebeest Eco Camp
151 Mokoyeti Road West
Karen
Nairobi
Kenya
+254 7347 70733 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Visit to the David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage in Nairobi : KES 500

Explore the museum at the site of the former home of Karen Blixen, the author of 'Out of Africa' : KES 1200

Visit the Langata Giraffe Centre in Nairobi : KES 1000

Learn all about the different tribal groups of Kenya at the Bomas of Kenya cultural centre in Nairobi : USD 40

Discover some of Kenya's ancient hominids at the National Museum in Nairobi : KES 1200 

Head out on a guided safari walk in Nairobi National Park : USD 25

About Nairobi:
Nairobi is a lively city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The Kenyan capital takes its name from the Maasai meaning 'Place of Cool Waters'. Today it is a busy, bustling place that comes alive through it's many markets, shops, bars and restaurants, not to mention its vibrant nightlife. If you have time to explore the city, the National Museum of Kenya and Karen Blixen Museum are both worth a visit, or you can get up close to the giraffes and help to feed them at the Langata Giraffe Centre.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
" Day 2 to 3 "

This morning our journey begins with a short drive to Naivasha, on the shore of a beautiful calm lake in the Great Rift Valley. Here we will have the chance to take an optional boat trip on the lake to spot hippos and African fish eagles, and also to visit the Elsamere Born Free Foundation at the old home of Joy Adamson.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

On the following day we will have free time to enjoy some excellent optional activities around Naivasha. Naivasha is the base for exploring the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary and the Hell's Gate National Park, two scenic areas that are some of the only places in East Africa where you can safely explore and look for wildlife on foot.

In Naivasha we stay at a well equipped campsite on the lake shore. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Visit the Elsamere Born Free Foundation at the former house of the conservationists Joy and George Adamson : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Boat trip on the beautiful and serene Lake Naivasha (price for the whole boat) : KES 7000

Walking safari in the wildlife-rich Crater Lake Game Sanctuary : USD 40 

Explore the beautiful landscape and wildlife of Hell's Gate National Park by foot or by bicycle : USD 50 

About Naivasha:
Northwest of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi lies the serene Lake Naivasha. A beautiful lake with some excellent campsites along the shore, there is the fantastic opportunity to take a calm boat trip to spot a wide variety of birds (including the African fish eagle) and the hippos that call the lake home. Naivasha is also home to the Elsamere Conservation Centre, a sustainability and conservation trust based in the former home of Joy of George Adamson, the founders of the Born Free project.

Naivasha is also the gateway to the fabulous Hell's Gate National Park - a rugged and primordial landscape, Hell's Gate is full of wildlife but contains no dangerous predators, meaning that it is one of the few National Parks that visitors are able to explore on foot and by bicycle. The nearby game reserve of Crater Lake is also perfect for walking safaris amongst the wildlife of the region. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
" Day 4 to 5 "

Today we will make our way to Nakuru, our base for tomorrow's excursion into Nakuru National Park. If we make good time on the drive we may have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will head into Nakuru National Park for an included full-day game drive in local safari trucks. Nakuru is a beautiful park with a large lake and many forested areas - it is teeming with wildlife and there is an excellent chance to see both black and white rhinos!

In Nakuru we will stay at a beautiful and well equipped campsite located on a dairy farm on the outskirts of the town. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Take a safari in 4x4 vans in the beautiful Lake Nakuru National Park : Included in Kitty

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Walk to explore a colonial dairy farm and visit a local women's knitting collective : USD 5

About Nakuru National Park:
Lake Nakuru National Park was established in 1968 to protect the huge flocks of lesser and greater flamingos that live here. At times there are over one million of these spectacular birds roaming around the acrid waters of the soda lake that is the centrepiece of the park. Even if you are not a keen birdwatcher, the sight is inspiring and it is not hard to understand why the lake has become such a favourite for African wildlife documentaries. Nakuru is also where much of the film Out of Africa was shot. The park is located on the floor of the Rift Valley and is a mixture of bushland, forest and rocky escarpment. Each area is an important habitat for many different species of wildlife. Besides the prolific bird life, the park is also well established as one of East Africa's premier parks for big game. Beside the lake, hippo, water buck, warthogs, Bohor's reed buck and zebra can regularly be found. Further up in the forests there's a large population of black and white colobus monkeys, and the ultimate forest predator, the leopard. However, Nakuru's biggest draw is probably it's rhinos. In the late 1980s the Kenyan Wildlife Services used the park as a rhino sanctuary, and it now has a stable black and white rhino population. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
" Day 6 to 7 "

Today we will head through the hills of central Kenya through the area's beautiful scenery and tea plantations, to arrive at the small village of Naro Moru at the base of Mount Kenya.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day in Naro Moru to take optional walks around the lower slopes of Mount Kenya, explore the nearby Mau Mau caves, or take an optional game drive in the nearby Sweetwaters National Reserve.

In Naro Moru we will stay at a well equipped campsite

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Visit the spectacular Thomson Falls at Nyahururu : Free

Guided walk to the Nayaroi Caves in the foothills of Mt. Kenya, used by the Mau Mau during the rebellion against British colonial rule : KES 1000

Head out horse riding in the forests around Naro Moru : KES 1000

Nature walks around the base of Mt. Kenya, searching for bird life and Colobus monkeys : USD 15

About Naro Moru:
Naro Moru is a tiny village on the western flanks of Mount Kenya, most famous as being the starting point for the most popular trekking route up the mountain. There are many activities available for short-term visitors, such as day-treks on the cool forested slopes of the mountain to look for birds and local caves used by the Mau Mau in their fight against the British in the 1950s. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (1)
  • Lunch (1)
  • Dinner (1)
Today we will travel to the Samburu region near to the small town of Archer's Post, where we will visit a Samburu village. Here we will be shown around the village and their homes, play with the children and learn all about the way of life here for the Samburu people!

We will camp in the village in the heart of the community tonight, where there are no toilet or washing facilities. 

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Visit and stay at the Samburu tribal community and cultural project, learning all about the culture of the Samburu people : Included in Kitty

About Samburu Village:
We stay at a Samburu village just outside the Samburu National Reserve. Similar in appearance to the Maasai but less known, the Samburu are a proud warrior tribe. Here we watch traditional Samburu dancing, and learn about Samburu tribal life and customs. The project is run by Samburu tribesmen for the benefit of the community. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today we will get up early and enter the Samburu National Reserve, where we will head out for the entire day for game drives in the truck (breaking for a long lunch during the heat of the day).

Samburu is a stunning National Reserve and is a great opportunity to spot big game such as cheetah, leopards, lions, and buffalo. The Reserve is also home to other animals rarely seen in the National Parks further south, such as Grevy's zebras, Somali ostriches and gerenuk ('giraffe-necked antelopes').

Tonight we will wild camp in a camping area in the National Reserve - facilities are very basic, but the area is a 5-10 minute walk from Samburu Lodge.

Please note that during very wet conditions we may need to use locally chartered 4x4 jeeps rather than our truck to get a good game drive in - in this instance we may make this option available at extra cost. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Head out for a wildlife safari in our overland truck through the Samburu National Reserve, in search of local wildlife including gerenuk and Grevy's zebra ; Included in Kitty

About Samburu National Reserve:
The Samburu region has hardly been touched by tourism and its pristine wilderness is home to a fascinating mix of Kenya's nomadic tribes who still retain traditional ways of life. These tribes include the Samburu, Rendille, Turkana, and Kalenjin.

The Samburu National Reserve is famous for its reticulated giraffes, Grevy's zebras, graceful gerenuks, and Beisa oryx, whilst crocodiles are often seen in the river. If we are lucky, we may also see lions or leopards here. The Ewaso Nyiro River meanders through the reserve forming a ribbon of oases in the parched landscape.

We will visit the Samburu Cultural Centre outside Samburu National Reserve. Similar in appearance to the Maasai but lesser known, the Samburu are a proud warrior tribe. Here we watch traditional Samburu dancing, and learn about Samburu tribal life and customs. The project is run by Samburu tribesmen for the benefit of the community. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today we will have an early start to travel through the very rarely-visited region of northern Kenya, crossing the infamous Marsabit-Moyale road to the very northern border town of Moyale. The scenery today is spectacular as we travel through the black lunar landscapes near Marsabit and pass mountain greenery, spectacular craters, watercourses, bush country and termite mounds.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.

In Moyale we will stay in a basic local hotel or camp in a local campsite.

Please note that due to security issues in this particular area, we will sometimes be accompanied by two armed police escorts.

Today will be a joining day for new passengers in Arba Minch, where there will be met by our local guide.

About Arba Minch:
Meaning 'forty springs', Arba Minch takes its name from the streams found between the two Rift Valley lakes of Abaya and Chamo. The town has stunning views over the lakes and surrounding forested areas, and also has an excellent and vibrant market.

Lake Chamo National Park is home to what the locals refer to as the 'crocodile market'. This is a place on the shores of the lake where vast numbers of crocs congregate, some of which reach over 7 metres in length. The lake is home to the Guji and Ganjule people who traditionally hunt hippos and are famed for their 'ambatch boats', which resemble the boats carved in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians. 
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Border information: Exit Kenya at Moyale, enter Ethiopia at Moyale.

For those on a longer combination trip starting in Cape Town or Victoria Falls, please play special attention to the visa notes in the information below.

Today we will cross the border into Ethiopia and have a full day of travel to Konso, home to the local Konso people and our gateway to the very remote Omo Valley region of southern Ethiopia.

In Konso we will camp in the grounds of a basic lodge.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

About Konso:
In the far south of Ethiopia on the banks of the Sagan river is the town of Konso, the gateway to the Omo Valley. Home to the Konso people, a Cushtic speaking people native to the region, there are many traditional Konso village in the area where little has changed about the way of life over the centuries and old traditions are strongly upheld.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
" Day 12 to 14 "

Over the next 4 days/3 nights we will be exploring the remote and rarely visited tribal areas of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia.

We will keep these days on a flexible itinerary so that we can react to news of special events being hosted by particular villages or tribes; as such, we cannot provide an exact itinerary for these days. However, we will aim to visit various tribal villages in the area, such as villages of the Hamer, the Mursi and the Konso tribes.

We will camp in basic campsites on all these nights without possibility of upgrades, and we will try to spend at least one of the nights camping in one of the tribal villages (this is not guaranteed to be possible on every trip).

Estimated Drive Times - between 4-9 hours each day.

Please note that we will be travelling through very remote areas with rough roads and basic conditions on these days. Please also note that it is absolutely vital that you follow your tour leader's directions regarding responsible tourism in these regions, especially with regards to giving things away for free and taking photographs of the locals. 

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES 

Journey through the remote Omo Valley, visiting several tribal communities along the way (possibly including the Hamer, Banna, Mursi, Ari, Konso or Danesesch tribes) : Included in Kitty

About Omo Valley Region:
The Omo Valley region is unusual in that it is home to so many different tribal groups, all living very close to one another in such a small area. Anthropologists believe that this is because thousands of years ago this area of Africa acted as a kind of ethnic crossroads, as different groups of people migrated between north, south, east and west. Exploring the many small communities and settlements here will give you a fascinating insight into the different tribes, their cultures, traditions and way of life.

On Dragoman trips we travel with a local guide, who will be able to introduce us to the Hamer, Mursi, Arbore and the Danesesch tribes. There are also other tribal groupings throughout the area and our guides will explain some of their traditions and customs. Life is distinctly tribal throughout the region, with few modern amenities. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (3)
  • Lunch (3)
  • Dinner (3)
Today we will exit the Omo Valley region and arrive in the town of Arba Minch, a small town overlooking Lake Chamo.

In Arba Minch we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Border Information: If you are leaving in Arba Minch, you will most likely exit Ethiopia at Arba Minch Airport (IATA code: AMH).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Arba Minch. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below. 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Hire bicycles to explore the stunning surrounds of Arba Minch : ETB 200

Take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, a stunning lake with a dense population of crocodiles : ETB 450

Visit the fascinating village of Chincha to learn all about the culture of the Dorze people : ETB 100 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

11 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners

Transport

Overland expedition vehicle, 4x4

Accommodation

Camping ( 14 nights ), hotel / hostel / lodge / cabin ( 1 night )

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.
2. There is no single supplement available on this trip.
3. This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman.

We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Ethiopia before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Nairobi to Addis trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 1 review in the last year.

Nairobi to Omo , January 2017

Hermann Mueller