Looking for something remote and beautiful beyond your typical game drive? EJ Co-Founder Elizabeth Gordon shares highlights from her thrilling helicopter safari through the most remote reaches of Northern Kenya. These landscapes carved by rain and wind are secluded, unsung gems not to be missed. And seeing everything from high above makes your safari all the more surprising and delightful. Read on to discover just how amazing it can be to spend a day in a helicopter.
Why Choose a Helicopter Safari?
Simply put: for the outstanding access to Africa’s most remote areas.
On a helicopter safari, there’s no need to schedule your entire day. Paired with a private pilot who’s an expert in the region, you really can kick back and go wherever the wind takes you. (On our helicopter safari, we stopped six or seven different times over the course of the day.)
My own journey to Ol Malo bush home in Laikipia in Kenya’s serene northern stretches was no exception. My husband, David, and I both agree that the number-one highlight of our stay was a full-day helicopter safari.
Quite frankly, exploring Northern Kenya by helicopter exceeded all my expectations. It perfectly exemplified the free-wheeling joy I found throughout my stay at Ol Malo–and in other private, dedicated safari camps and lodges across Africa.
Taking to the sky simply kicked the joy up a notch and made for a genuinely breathtaking perspective of a place I already loved–and now know even better!
David and Elizabeth soar above Northern Kenya’s stunning landscapes. ©Extraordinary Journeys
Freedom and Flexibility
Needless to say, there were plenty of adrenaline rushes.
But the biggest bonus was that traveling by helicopter provided complete freedom and flexibility all day.
We spontaneously followed whatever sights or areas piqued our interest. We got close enough to touch the treetops and landed whenever and wherever we wanted!
Breathtaking Scenery & Wildlife Sightings
From the air, the out-of-this-world sights were practically endless.
We scanned the horizon as Kenya’s near-empty Laikipia Plateau stretched out for hundreds of square miles beneath us. We saw wildlife roaming freely through a patchwork of privately owned ranches, communal grazing areas, and ruggedly beautiful terrains ripe for adventure.
On our journey, we criss-crossed Karisia’s forests, dense with plants I’d never seen before, then followed the trees as the terrain dropped off thousands of feet into the Great Rift Valley. There, we followed marshes, ran down sand dunes, and swam in lakes.
We literally soared just above the surface of Lake Logipi alongside thousands of bright pink flamingos! It was incredibly beautiful, and it felt special to be a part of the birds’ flight in that way.
After flying over a forest of cedars crowning Mount Nyiru, we dipped down to wind through the dramatic Suguta Valley, one of the places where mankind first began. This really is about as far off the beaten track as you can get–it’s virtually inaccessible except by helicopter.
Below us were the eroded pinnacles and canyons of the Painted and Hoodoe Valleys that soon gave way to the desolate dunes of Suguta’s desert.
Beyond that, we surveyed the sparkling jewels of Lakes Logipia and Turkana, surrounded by an otherworldly array of sun-bleached volcanic beaches, granite outcrops, and petrified lava flows.
We gained an incredible appreciation for Kenya’s rugged northern landscape by seeing it from above the ground.
RELATED: Getting to Kenya Just Got Easier
A Personal Connection & Inspiration to Serve
Spending time at Lake Turkana during my journey to Northern Kenya was especially important to me. I had never been before, but my mom, Marcia, had camped there before I was born, so I was eager to connect the family stories with the actual place.
The Turkana are the only people living in that remote area. It’s unbelievable to see them continue to thrive in such harsh conditions and to know that some of our oldest human ancestors came from here. The whole landscape feels heavy with history and stories from millennia past. It’s awe-inspiring.
And while my husband, David, wasn’t so sure about venturing into a lake known for its huge crocodiles, we trusted our pilot and wound up jumping into Lake Turkana for a swim in the most amazing jade-colored waters you can imagine!
Carefree moments like those–soaking in the adventure with loved ones–is what travel is all about for me. And it’s what we always aim to create for Extraordinary Journeys clients.
6 Perfect Destinations for a Helicopter Safari
If this take on Northern Kenya inspired you to explore other helicopter safari destinations, here are a few of our favorites in Africa and beyond:
- Take in Victoria Falls from a bird’s-eye perspective
- Fly over Botswana’s Okavango Delta
- Discover remote Ethiopia by helicopter (see our itinerary below)
- Departing from Mwiba Lodge in Tanzania, head south toward the drop-off to Lake Eyasi, a ledge plunging 3,000 feet into East Africa’s Great Rift Valley
- Land on the top of a glacier in New Zealand while staying at Minaret station
- Explore the Great Barrier Reef from above (and picnic on a deserted island!)
Plan Your Visit
Ready to start planning your own incredible helicopter safari adventure? We make the process stress-free and enjoyable. Call or email us today to explore your best options for a safari holiday you’ll never forget!
Then, start packing that suitcase because we’ve got all the details covered.