Flights take off in the Laikipia region. From here, you can explore the epic vistas of the Great Rift Valley, soaring high above to take it all in or flying low and skirting the treetops to enjoy the lush riverine forests or the open rolling plains of this diverse region. The pilots are exceptionally well trained and are as passionate about the land as they are about the blue skies above – this means they’re perfectly qualified to operate as your safari guide for your flight.
Mount Kenya is easy to access, and you can touch down high up on the mountainside to tuck in to a spectacular picnic breakfast or lunch. If you wish to travel farther afield, you can visit the largest permanent desert lake in the world, Lake Turkana, to enjoy the breathtaking and otherworldly basalt outcrops and volcanic shores – here you can even camp out in comfort on the lakeshore!
The experience of flying to Mount Kenya and Lake Turkana
To reach Mount Kenya, it’s an early start boarding the helicopter, to ensure you reach the mountain before the heat sets in – the pilot aims to get you there for 07:30! However, the effort of getting up at this time is well worth it, as the scenery is absolutely amazing. Acres of savanna sprawl below, herds of herbivores grazing the grass. Perhaps a lion or a leopard is on the prowl, causing a group of gazelles to scatter suddenly and race through the rippling plains. Then savanna meets woodland, even forest, beautiful banks of indigenous trees alternately standing still and waving gently as you pass overhead. Suddenly the foliage thins and a river emerges, rushing through the park or reserve.
The pilot touches down on Mount Kenya and the first treat here is a hearty picnic breakfast! It’s awesome to tuck into the first meal of the day while enjoying the fantastic views. Then, if you wish, you can while away a few hours fly-fishing on one of the tranquil lakes or tarns that adorn the mountain’s upper slopes.
After your visit to the majestic mountain, there’s the opportunity to fly to Lake Turkana. This, too, is a superb sight. The largest permanent desert lake in the world, Turkana combines volcanic shores and basalt outcrops to astonishing effect! The sheer inaccessibility of the area makes for a truly pristine environment, where fish such as cichlids, and reptiles such as Nile crocs and turtles, live and thrive. There is plenteous birdlife too, including flamingos and cormorants, while the surrounding grasslands are home to small populations of lion, cheetah, gazelle, zebra, giraffe – and even the cushioned gerbil!
Other activities on offer around Lake Turkana
In addition to wildlife watching, Lake Turkana is perfect for fishing and quad biking – and there’s even a hint of history, in the fossils of Homo habilis, a species of the Hominini tribe, that remain on the shores. Ancient rock art has also been discovered, on the south beach. And travelers keen on culture will relish taking some time to observe the Rendille people as they bring their livestock to drink here. In total, more than a quarter of a million tribespersons are dependent on the lake, so it’s a real privilege to visit this waterworld!
Please note that we recommend our travelers only consider flights in a Bell type helicopter, which holds a much better international safety record than the smaller R44 helicopters. We actively recommend against flights in the smaller R44.
This experience is available in northern Kenya – just get in touch with us to find out which camps and lodges feature helicopter safari in their activities menu.