Mountain Bike Safaris

The idea of developing a new cycling and walking route through Maasailand came about through discussions between the owners of Wildebeest Eco Camp in Nairobi and John Blissett, from Willetts Safaris. John agreed to carry out an exploratory trip to test the feasibility of running this new safari in a remote corner of Kenya’s Maasailand.

In August 2012 John travelled down into the southern end of the Loita Hills and met a number of communities to arrange permission to travel through and camp on their land as well as meeting potential guides and askaris. He also looked at the possibility of getting down to the floor of the Great Rift Valley from Enchorro Naibor as an alternative route back to Nairobi. John made another trip, down past Magadi to Shompole, in early October to meet the Maasai in that area and establish another new camp there. Later in October 2012 the route was tested by three Wazungu (Alan Whickham, Nigel Farthing, John Blissett) and three Maasai (William Luka, Moses Letoluo, Cyrus Kereto). The result is this new safari.

The safari appeals to people looking for an adventure in a remote and wild corner of Kenya. People undertaking this safari will need to be physically fit and prepared to bike and walk over rough terrain for up to 8 hours a day, but they will be rewarded by an unforgettable experience in one of Kenya's least visited and most spectacular areas.

This safari will also appeal to people as an alternative "Charity Challenge" that can be used by people to raise money through sponsorship, much in the same way that people climb Kilimanjaro for charity.

The safari lasts a minimum of six nights and takes place in a remote corner of Maasailand, well away from the normal tourist routes and is a significant physical challenge. For much of the time there will be vehicle support available, making it possible for people to cut short their days in the saddle or on foot if the going gets too tough.

Starting on the northern edge of the Loita Hills, the route skirts the hills and crosses the Loita Plains to the edge of the Siana Plain and Ilparakuo Camp, near the Maasai Village of Labentera, where Willetts Safaris operates a camp in association with the local community. The route then heads south east, past the small town of Naikara, stopping for a night at a fly camp, Entargotua, established specifically for this safari, on the way to Walking with Maasai’s eco-camp of Olkoroi at Olorte, where the Loita Hills come to an end, close to the Tanzanian border. These days are by mountain bike over rough terrain and involve a number of climbs up and over high passes.

The safari pauses at Olkoroi for with an optional extra day available for walking along old elephant trails into the Naimena-Engiyio (Forest of the Lost Child) or to just relax by the spectacular Olkeju Arus River. From Olorte the safari continues for about 30 kilometres, through the hills, to the viewpoint at Enchorro Naibor. From here there are outstanding views out across the Rift Valley to Lake Natron and Shompole. On a clear morning it is sometimes possible to see Mt Kilimanjaro, over 150 kilometres away.

After spending a night under the stars the next day involves returning to Nairobi or going on an optional safari extension to the Maasai Mara.

The following table shows distances and total of the ascents for each day (these are based on GPS data and must be regarded as approximations).

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Transfer to Maji Moto
Cycle 27 kms to Labentera
Cycle 53 kms to Leshuta
Cycle 45 kms to Olorte
Rest Day in Olorte
Cycle 30 kms to Enchorro Naibor
Return to Nairobi or Maasai Mara

240m of ascent
825m of ascent
520m of ascent

905m of ascent
Community Camp
Ilparakuo Camp
Entargotua Camp
Olkoroi Camp
Olkoroi Camp
Fly Camp