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Desert Rose Lodge

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Posted by  Simba Wednesday, 14 June 2006 17:44

Desert Rose Lodge

The Desert Rose Lodge

Nestled on the Southern slopes of sacred Mount Nyiru, Desert Rose commands views over the vast rugged skylines near a spring-fed forest in Kenya's fragile semi arid Northern wilderness.

The Desert Rose staff is made up of Samburu men and women who traditionally live in the area. Your hosts, the Chen family are the founders and inspirators of this remote bush home. They have insured that every aspect of the lodge is totally environmentally friendly, from your hot bath water, of which there is plenty to the disposal, to waste. The five houses accommodating up to twelve people are individually designed around various natural features.

Each suite has it's own private flush toilet and open air en-suite bathroom. The main lounge and pool area have been hand crafted to blend with the indigenous gardens, landscaped to enhance the dramatic views and all the power is solar generated.

The remote location ideally requires a full week in order to fully appreciate the tranquil ambience and the multitude of activities to chose from. Check our excursions page for all your options. Despite its remote location, the lodge is very child-friendly, encouraging families with kids of all ages. Using our home grown fruits and vegetables and the best Kenya butcher, our meals are simply delicious. Dietary subtleties can be catered for on request. There is a fully stocked bar.

The indigenous hard woods utilized in our bush workshop is carefully selected from dead and fallen trees around the slopes of Mount Nyiru. this small industry provides a livelihood to the remote tribal community.



The stunning landscape and interesting vegetation provides great inspiration on a variety of our abundant walks. Game in the area is shy and scattered.

Baboon and leopard are often heard close-by in the granite rock cliffs and the fig trees that abound with bird life. In very close proximity to the lodge we have a exciting natural rock slide and a perfect picnic site, a fun spot to spend the midday hours. There are a multitude of walks one can take from the lodge in the dry rugged country on the valley floor or high in the Cedar and Podo forest.

After more than a decade of close cooperation with the local Samburu community, Desert Rose has become not only an integral part of local life but a lifeline for its pastoralist neighbours. As well as employing 30 local people, Desert Rose has built a small primary school and a vital medical clinic. The depth of their bond with the community means that Yoav and Emma's guests are always invited to local celebrations from circumcisions t o colourful wedding parties, granting the guest a rare insight into Samburu life.

There are a myriad of exciting safaris you could enjoy whilst you are so far North.
Don’t forget distances are deceptive, and it can easily take six hours to cover one hundred kilometers ! or four days to walk it !
In this vast timeless terrain it is easy to walk with our camels for a week or more and not see any sign of a car or another non ethnic person , so you can actually feel quite lonely with the bowl of the universe as night time company.

Desert Rose offers two types of Camel walking safari; the camel train very simple no ice or meat at cost of $120.00 per day, minimum six nights.
Or something slightly more luxurious with chilled wine and three course meals, guided by Emma or Yoav Chen, cost $220.00 per day for a minimum of two pax for a minimum of two nights out.
A typical Day. On a camel Safari begins when the first light seeps over the horizon and the first birds begin to call.
You awake, take a light snack, and tea trying to be prepared to walk with the first morning light; taking advantage of the cooler morning, whilst your camp is packed and loaded onto the rest of the camels. By mid morning the forward party stops, takes a breakfast and awaits the rear party. You march on together until the sun gets too hot or feet become weary and a suitable spot is found for camp. The afternoon is a time for the camels to feed, and you to rest or read. The evening sometimes promises a good hill from which to watch the sun set, whilst your showers are filled, and dinner prepared by your indulgent hosts. This is a time for letting go all the trappings of our modern world, and we recommend you don’t wear a watch !
Camel train leaves Nairobi ONCE a month. Every first Saturday for fourteen days !
We recommend a weeks walk. For more information about any of these safaris, dates and costs please email us.

Other options for adventure

Wood Workshop

Take your experience home with you. Desert Rose has a small wood workshop where they offer the opportunity for guests to create their own piece of furniture. Instructed by their local craftsmen and using fallen wood from the nearby forest. You can make anything from a simple key ring to a rocking chair to take home with you.

Fishing on Lake Turkana

One hundred kilometers north of Desert Rose a mere five hours drive, The jade sea or Lake Turkana as it is now known lies like a jewel in the craggy heat of the Saguta Valley, its northern windswept shores holding testimony to prehistoric life.
On the south eastern shores of the lake, is a small house boat, accommodating up to four people, with an excellently equipped fishing boat available for the serious to go for the Nile perch, and winds permitting, some excellent sport.

Overland Expedition to Kalacha

Another Days drive from the lake shores, North easterly lies the Chalbi Desert whose mirages loom mysteriously from the Ethiopian Boarder, where the Gabbra and the Galla peoples have for generations evolved their livelihood in symbiosis with the Camel, true desert nomads, they come with their camel caravans from hundreds of miles to water at the Kalacha springs .
It is nestled among palm trees, a small camp consisting of five houses where a central pool and dining area provide cool shade from which to make morning and evening excursions. A drive into the desert to see two thousand year old rock art, or a cultural walk around this oasis village.
You then spend one night at the lake and two nights at this charming spot and return to Desert Rose on the fourth day.

In February of 2006, Ray Johnston designed a labyrinth at Desert Rose. This gives guests the unique opportunity to experience the spirituality of the area as they get in touch with their inner selves.

Navigating Instructions

The overland distance covered between Nairobi and Desert Rose is 420 km. The sealed road goes as far as Rumuruti, through Gilgil to Nyahururu, and can usually be covered in 3 hrs 30 mins. The next section to Maralal, roughly 100 kms, past Mugie and Saguta Mar Mar, takes two to three hours. If you are in Maralal before one o clock you are doing well. There are two fuel stations, one at the first round a bout, and one opposite the matumba market. You can have punctures fixed here too. No more fuel until you return roughly 250 kms.
Next puncture repair Baragoi.
At the first round about in Maralal, turn left. Go past county council offices and over next round about. As you begin to climb a hill take the right fork up and out toward Porror. This is the slowest bit of the road. Only eighty something kilometers to Baragoi, through Merti, but it can take 3 to 4 hrs sometimes. Otherwise you can be in Baragoi by threeish..
If there has been no rain, there is a less bumpy, but same distance road that you can find just before the grain silos, on the east side of Maralal town, take the left track above an old Ministry of works Park, which winds through a small bit of forest, and drops down into a little village where you join a track that goes to Barsaloi, cross the lugga and continue through to Baragoi.
Eighteen kilometers past Baragoi, five kilometers past the Tuum sign, on the left there is a gas cylinder and several desert rose plants, turn left.
From this junction into the Ewaso Rongai valley, after one sandy lugga is roughly fifteen kms. As you approach the valley mouth there is a fork. Straight goes to the village so you can go that way, but left takes you into the Acacia tortillis forest, and the track which follows the river, crossing in three more places before you reach our camel base; a green tin hut.

Here you must put yourself in LOW FOUR WHEEL DRIVE, and come up in first gear!
Send a runner up if you are worried, and we can help!
Or get a lift with a helicopter. GPS coordinates.. N 02 03.410 E 36 49 .699

Flight time one hr fifty, Driving ten to twelve hours.

Our airstrip is called KOWOP. It lies east west at the southern end of Mt Nyiru it is now 900 meters long, and has a constant wind from the east. The lodge is behind a large hill so radio contact is dodgy, but we do have 123.4 on when we hear aircraft overhead. Please make sure we are aware of your arrival if it is a last minute thing, it takes 30 to 40 minutes to reach by car from Desert Rose. We can collect you, and arrange for askaris to watch the plane if necessary.

We have a satellite telephone no: 000873762133395 if you wish to talk to us directly.


By air - one can charter a flight from Nairobi or wherever you are in Kenya.
We collect you at the Kowop airstrip for a 30 minute drive to the lodge.

By road - It is a 400 kms (8 hours drive) from Nairobi. Map on request.
If you are in the Laikipia area, a helicopter excursion through the spectacular Suguta valley to Desert Rose is definitely worth the treat.


The lodge itself is located at 5,500 feet amsl so it is recommended to bring something warm to wear in the evenings. Days are hot. May and June are our wettest months but we are open all year round.


Complimentary in-house masseuse, friendly local guides, daily laundry service, radio and satellite telephone and email connections to the outside world.

Email us for our latest rates and package options

Contact Details

Desert Rose - Northern Kenya
Karen Connection, Office No 27.
P.O Box 15026,00509 - Nairobi, Kenya
Tel - 254 (0) 20 883460 (0) 734 257647 (0) 720 863269
Email - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Skype - kgvalley




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