THE JEWELS OF THE NORTH
SASAAB – SUGUTA VALLEY – TURKANA – RETETI – SASAAB
SOLIO – SUGUTA VALLEY – TURKANA – RETETI – SOLIO
From hidden valleys to sparkling lakes and extreme deserts to volcanic craters, prepare to be amazed.
Awaken with an early breakfast before setting off at 6:15 am. As the sun creeps over the jagged peaks of Mount Kenya, you will fly northwest from Sasaab, dropping off the edge of the Laikipia Plateau and descending into the Great Rift Valley.
Marvel at the extraordinary landscape as you fly up the Suguta Valley, one of the hottest places on earth and sensationally nicknamed ‘The Valley of Death’. Geologists have long been fascinated by this remote landscape, full of ancient fossils and rock formations. Giant granite rocks perched atop eroded volcanic ash stacks known as ‘Hudus’ dot the valley, before giving way to the ‘Painted Valley’. Here, the deep rocky gorge is layered with contrasting strata of rock and volcanic ash, creating a rainbow-like effect. There is the option of landing for a coffee stop amidst the dramatic rock formations or by one of the natural springs found here.
After a while, the valley opens up into a flat expanse of grassland and palm trees, before giving way to miles and miles of sand dunes, created by the relentless winds that sweep through the Suguta Valley. Touch down to disembark and fully take in this desolate and extraordinary place with no signs of life for miles around.
This epic adventure takes you through the most diverse and incredible scenery imaginable.
At the northern end of the Suguta Valley spot an abundance of crocodiles in the oasis of crystal clear pools which arise here in the middle of the desert. From here, continue north over Lake Logipi, a six-kilometre gleaming expanse of greenish-blue, streaked with the pink plumage of flamingos. This seasonal saline lake is a vital breeding ground for the lesser flamingo. In the middle, a rocky island rises out of the water known as ‘Cathedral Rock’.
Separating Logipi from its colossal neighbour, Lake Turkana, is an enormous barrier of jet-black molten lava. As you ascend up over its 152-metre sides, you will be met by spectacular views of Lake Turkana stretching as far as the eye can see. Known as ‘The Jade Sea’ for its rich turquoise colour and vast size (it is the largest permanent desert lake in the world), it’s a true hidden jewel of the north.
Fly over the perfectly conical Nabiyotum Crater on the edge of Lake Turkana. This geological marvel looks like a giant funnel and is fascinating to see. There is the option for a landing here if you wish. On your way back to the lodge, stop for a picnic lunch at a secret spot and enjoy more spectacular scenery.
The jade sea is the largest permanent desert lake in the world.
It is possible to enjoy ‘The Jewels of the North’ excursion from Solio Lodge. The route will differ at the beginning and end of the trip due to the location of Solio Lodge. The trip time, flying time will remain the same however there is an additional mobilisation fee of US$ 2,000 to get the helicopter from Sasaab to Solio Lodge for the excursion.