Drive or fly to Ol Donyo Uasin airstrip which is just northeast of the northern end of the Mathews Range. The flight is dramatic and beautiful and it gives a good sense of the country that we will be covering on our walk. The 6 hour drive from Nanyuki is also very scenic and those choosing to drive can be picked up from the scheduled flight into Nanyuki.
We will spend two nights at the our first camp to acclimate and to explore the back end of Mt. Kimaning. Here, we can try to see the elusive and endangered De Brazza Monkeys. The camp is in a beautiful glade beside a stream with big rock pools ideal for swimming.
On the second day we will walk up the river valley enjoying the river, cycads and hopefully, some De Brazza monkeys, Colobus Monkeys, or the secretive elephants.
We will begin our walk after an early breakfast heading south, along the eastern side of the Mathews and then west and up and over the hills to our last camp near Kitich. The camels will carry the luggage and accompany us bearing refreshments and snacks along the way. We will walk below Croton forests and through occasional grassy glades. Cycads will mark our way like sentinels from an ancient past. If we walk quietly we will have a chance of hearing a Leopard grunting, a Crowned Eagle calling or a Bushbuck barking. We will always be looking closely for signs of the many Leopards that call these forests home as well as the De Brazza monkeys that frequent the rocky streams.
The team of camels walk seperately to us and our own riding camels and each day they will set up camp before we arrive. Along the way we will be walking along a footpath that has been used for millenia as a route to the markets on the western side of the mountains. Even today the Samburu and Rendille use this path to cross the mountains, typically regailed in their best beads and finery. Massive boulders that have fallen off the overhanging mountains are clung to by pugnacious figs that envelop everything they touch in roots and intertwined trunks. The spectacular virgin forests are home to countless forms, as yet undescribed. Even the showy De Brazza Monkey was not known to exist here until its discovery only a few years back. This great BBC article outlines the importance of the Mathew's Range and how much remains unknown about this area.
From our last camp high in the forest we will say goodbye to the camels and walk down to where we can meet a vehicle. An extra day or two can be added to this itinerary easily as well as a stay at Kitich Camp.
Kitich camp is one of the most remote states of luxury in East Africa. Located amidst enormous virgin forest, the camp looks out toward the towering heights of Mt. Kimaning.