Kenya’s Northern Frontier is the wildest area of the country. Huge expanses of arid desert and semi-desert are inhabited only by highly nomadic pastoralists such as the Pokot, Turkana, Samburu and Soyei.
Camels walk along rutted dusty tracks alongside hardy cattle and their herders. There are huge mountain ranges, the great expanse of Lake Turkana and mile upon mile of harsh unforgiving desert.
Most of Kenya’s Northern Frontier is inaccessible to regular tourists, with only the hardiest of backpackers making journeys up into this area. However, there are two places that are currently possible to reach — the Matthews Mountain Range and Lake Turkana. Two more exciting spots you could not find in Kenya. However, these are not for everybody. Due to the remoteness of the area no scheduled flights go here. Access is by private charter from Nanyuki and stays are strictly for those of an adventurous nature.
Matthews Mountain Range
The Matthews Mountain Range is the most accessible place in the Northern Frontier and home to one small but excellent camp called Kitich. The mountains are craggy, with thick forests, open scrub, deep gorges and beautiful open clearings. Exploring is only possible on foot as there are no roads and game is wild but prolific. Elephant are found in great numbers whilst lion, leopard, greater kudu, waterbuck, giant forest hogs, buffalo and even wild dogs are among the other species found, together with more than 200 bird species. The area is home to the pastoral Samburu and Soyei people and stays here make it possible to meet and learn about these cultures.
The great expanse of Lake Turkana is awe-inspiring. It is famous for its high concentrations of crocodiles and whilst you are more likely to see a couple at a time, there are sandbanks where you can see a hundred or so at night. The lake is a wonderful place for birdwatchers with lesser flamingos, spoonbills, goliath herons and many more species found there. The lake is also popular with serious fisherman with over 60 species of fish in the lake. Of particular interest to anglers are tiger fish, catfish, tilapia and enormous Nile perch.
With two small camps on the lake shores and only private charters going in here it is an expensive place to visit, but one of the wildest you’ll find in Kenya.
Suggested itinerary featuring Kenya's Northern Frontier
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Kenya's Northern Frontier, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Kenya's Northern Frontier
Places & hotels on the map
Places in and around Kenya's Northern Frontier
- Karisia Hills Kenya's Northern Frontier
- Matthews Mountain Range Kenya's Northern Frontier
- The Laikipia Plateau 366 kilometers away
- Loisaba Wilderness Conservancy 375 kilometers away
- Ol Lentille Conservancy 396 kilometers away
- Samburu National Reserve 404 kilometers away
- Sosian Ranch 411 kilometers away
- Shaba National Reserve 415 kilometers away
- Il Ngwesi Group Ranch 426 kilometers away
- Borana Ranch 432 kilometers away
- Ol Pejeta Conservancy 439 kilometers away
- Lewa Wilderness Conservancy 440 kilometers away
- Lake Nakuru 476 kilometers away
- Lakes of the Great Rift Valley 476 kilometers away