KAYAK SAFARIS-Northern Kenya - Travel - Destinations

KAYAK SAFARIS-Northern Kenya   by Alphaxad

in Travel / Destinations    (submitted 2010-10-14)

KAYAK SAFARIS-Northern Kenya

4 or 7 night Kayak Safaris through the Kiunga Marine Reserve in the north of Kenya, the 4 night trip paddles slowly through the reserve starting and ending at Kiwayu and the 7 night trip involves the same first 4 nights plus visits to the historic southern islands outside the reserve, paddling down to Lamu Island.

These are holidays through amazingly beautiful streches of coast, paddling, swimming and snorkelling around reefs, mangroves and remote islands. The expeditions are carried out with support of a (motorised) dhow. Accommodation is on islands using a fully equipped mobile camp. While you paddle each day the dhow crew break camp and move to the next site, setting up and preparing the next meal. At the end of the day experience a refreshing shower under the stars and sit down to dinner crafted by the camp chef. Many dishes incorporate fresh seafood.

You paddle only with your essential kit in 20 litre dry bags. The Kayaks are all specially designed for use in the temperatures and coastal waters of Africa. Due to the warm temperatures of the Lamu Archipelago all kayaks are sit-on-top touring kayaks with no splash skirts or hot neoprene covers. As well as reducing the heat otherwise created under a splash cover, sit-on-top kayaks allow easy exit/entry whilst snorkelling or swimming, do away with the need for technical rolls and provide freedom of movement when fishing or taking pictures.

On the way you will experience amazing marine life, multitudes of water birds and underwater reefs. You will pass some local villages and watch the sailing dhows going out to fish. Depending on the time of year you may witness turtle hatchlings, flocks of roseate terns, inquisitive dolphins and curious land animals.

Kiunga Marine Reserve is a protected reserve and this unique access to it is subject to maintaining a low impact and environmentally friendly camps. On the mainland there are wild animals, such as buffalo and antelope. You will spend most of your time amongst the islands and can expect to see an abundance of marine life, water birds and the occasional island monkeys and smaller antelope. The local villagers are all exceptionally friendly and welcoming.

The dhow and kayak guides have marine radios and can communicate with the Kenyan Wildlife Service. Safaricom cell phone range is possible for the first 3 days and for emergencies the Expedition Leader carries a satellite phone.

There are departures once or twice a month or we at lets go Kenya can tailor make the trip on any dates to suit you.


The trip Includes

All activities, kayak and snorkelling equipment, camping equipment, all meals, soft drinks, wine with dinner.

It excludes Flights.

Best suited for General good fitness, the 4 day trip is similar to doing a 10km hike each day but the 7 day trip needs a higher level of fitness and kayak experience as paddlers are required to cross large bays with exposure to ocean swells and currents.

Best time

Operates from August to April. Best time for snorkelling is November - March, this is also the calmest time on the water.

Getting there

We at lets go Kenya can arrange flights for you to Kenya (Nairobi) and on to Kiwayu / Lamu.

Duration: 4 nights, distances covered are about 10 - 20km per day.

Flying from Nairobi to Kiwayu, north of the Lamu archipelago, the back up Dhow (traditional sailing boat) will collect you and transport you to your first night's camp on one of the many picturesque and uninhabited islands. The next few days you slowly paddle south though islands, reefs and mangrove channels.

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Day 1 - pick up from Kiwayu airstrip 1500hrs, dhow transfer to Kiwayu Island.

Day 2 - Kayak orientation and exploratory paddle, picnic lunch, option of snorkelling and exploring Kiwayu, afternoon paddle to Mkokoni Village for second night (10km).

Day 3 - Early start 0630, portage to Ashwei Beach. Kayak through 5km mangrove channel, picnic lunch, option of snorkelling. Kayak to Simambaya Island Camp. Walk to the ruins. (17km).

Day 4 - Kayak to Mongosharif turtle research station, check beach for nests and hatchlings (seasonal). Paddle to Kui Island. Picnic lunch, paddle to Kishanga Island Camp, option for snorkelling or fishing. (14km).

Day 5 - Dhow transfer to Mombore village 1030. Drive to Mkokoni Village, lunch, visit WWF flip flop project, 1530 depart Kiwayu airstrip to Wilson Airport with scheduled flight, arrive Wilson Nairobi 1800. OR transfer to Lamu for extended stay.

The SEVEN night itinerary continues on day 5 towards Pate Island, pass Faza village and view the ancient Siyu Fort. Continuing south you cross Manda ay, pass along mangrove channels to approach the oldest town on the east coast of Africa, Lamu. Accommodation can be booked for you here should you not wish to return direct to Nairobi.