Travel to Kenya and Ethiopia on a trip from Nairobi to Arba Minch

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
Arba Minch, Ethiopia
Countries
Ethiopia, Kenya
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland, Wildlife
Code
YDOR
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 6, Max 22

Why you'll 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/campsite 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.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Optional  NNP Animal orphanage & Safari walk, Nairobi  KES 500
Optional Explore the museum at the site of the former home of Karen Blixen, the author of 'Out of Africa' KES 1200
Optional Visit the Langata Giraffe Centre in Nairobi KES 100
Optional Learn all about the different tribal groups of Kenya at the Bomas of Kenya cultural centre in Nairobi USD 40
Optional Discover some of Kenya's ancient hominids at the National Museum in Nairobi KES 120
Optional Head out on a guided safari walk in Nairobi National Park USD 25

Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Optional Visit to Lake Naivasha KES 7000
Optional Horseriding or cycling at Hells Gate Free
Optional Explore the beautiful landscape and wildlife of Hell's Gate National Park by foot or by bicycle USD 50
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Safari in Lake Nakuru National Park Included in Kitty
Optional Walk to explore a colonial dairy farm and visit a local women's knitting collective USD 5
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Optional Visit the spectacular Thomson Falls at Nyahururu Free
Optional 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
Optional Head out horse riding in the forests around Naro Moru KES 1000
Optional Nature walks around the base of Mt. Kenya, searching for birdlife and Colobus monkeys USD 15
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Visit to Samburu tribal community and cultural project Included in Kitty
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Wildlife safari in Samburu National Reserve Included in Kitty
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.
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.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Included Guided Omo Valley Tribal Tour visiting either the Hamer, Banna, Mursi or Ari tribes. Included in Kitty
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.
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.

Activities Description Approx. Cost
Optional Hire bicycles to explore the stunning surrounds of Arba Minch ETB 200
Optional Boat trip on Lake Chamo to see the crocodile 'market' ETB 450
Optional Visit the fascinating village of Chincha to learn all about the culture of the Dorze people ETB 100
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Overland expedition vehicle, 4x4

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (5 nights), Camping (with facilities) (5 nights), Guesthouse (1 night), Hotel (5 nights)

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Nairobi to Arba Minch trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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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 Arba Minch trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Nairobi to Omo , January 2017

Hermann Mueller