100 Miles for Elephants
A Life-Changing Adventure to Save Elephants
National Geographic Traveler selected 100 Miles for Elephants as one of their ‘50 Tours of a Lifetime: 2013’s most authentic, most innovative, most immersive, best–guided, and most sustainable tours’.
Do you long for a real adventure, far off–the–beaten track in one of the world’s most spectacular wilderness areas?
Would you go the extra mile to support a cause you believe in?
If your answer to all three questions is yes, then you are qualified to be one of the 14 participants on our 100 Miles for Elephants fundraising trek.
This 9–day trek will be an extraordinary expedition in support of a critical cause: fighting the elephant poaching crisis in Kenya. Every day, approximately 100 African elephants are being killed for their ivory – if the slaughter continues at this rate they will be close to extinction in 10 years. Kenya’s Laikipia ecosystem hosts one of East Africa’s largest free-ranging elephant populations and these majestic animals are increasingly the targets of poachers. But there is hope – local communities are desperately trying to protect the elephants, and we can help them! Funds raised on the 100 Miles for Elephants trek will provide wages, equipment and training for vitally needed scout teams in Laikipia. This once–in–a–lifetime adventure is a unique opportunity to connect with local people who share your love of elephants, and to do something extraordinary and meaningful in this diverse, vibrant and captivating part of the world.
We meet in Nairobi and drive northwest of Mount Kenya to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Here we have lunch with members of Space for Giants who are spearheading a big anti–poaching initiative in Laikipia. We also meet the Rapid Response anti poaching team who our fund raising helps to support. Continuing on through increasingly wild country, we reach our first camp by the Ewaso Nyiro River – watch out for elephants along the way! Next morning, after a hearty breakfast, we head off on foot into the wilds! For seven days we walk with a camel caravan across the vast savannah. Accompanying us are guides from the Samburu tribe, who lead us through their traditional lands, where livestock mingle peacefully with herds of giraffes, antelopes, the endangered Grevy’s zebra and elephants.
During the heat of the day we rest in the shade of acacia trees, and at night we gather around a campfire beneath the vast, star–studded African sky. Along the way our guides share stories about their lives and culture, and teach us their songs and the traditional leaping dance!
Each day of our trek, the Kirisia Hills grow bigger on the horizon, until finally we enter the shade of the mountain forest where Hidden Places is funding a community anti–poaching project. This is an enchanted place, a sanctuary for elephants, Cape buffalo, leopards and other megafauna, and is rarely visited by outsiders. Here we meet some of the anti poaching scouts and elders of the Kirisia Community Forest Association, learning first hand how our fundraising efforts help them to save elephants in this pristine habitat. After one night at a base camp in the forest, we say goodbye to our camels and our Samburu guides, and transfer by jeep back to Nairobi.
This trip will be lead by Dr. Dag Goering or Maria Coffey, the founders of Elephant Earth Initiative and Hidden Places Travel. Dag is a large animal vet and photographer and Maria is the award-winning author of 12 books.
How Your Trek Will Save Elephants
We ask that by joining this trip you “go the extra mile” for elephants by launching your own fundraising and awareness campaign. 100% of donations will go to our partner organization Space for Giants for training, equipment and salaries for community anti-poaching scouts, the crucial and unsung heroes in the battle to protect elephants from poachers.
Each participant is asked to raise a minimum of $500, with a target of $2500. Recognizing that fundraising is daunting for many people, we will provide you with a how–to kit and simple tools and ideas that you can use to raise funds, such as asking your family and friends to sponsor you for each mile you cover.
Join us in fundraising and spreading the word about the threats to elephants: your help will make a huge difference and will never be forgotten by the local people you meet on this trek!
The Story of the 100 Mile for Elephants Trek
In January 2012, Dag Goering and Maria Coffey trekked over 150 miles with camels to the Kirisia Hills and back. They were greeted by members of the Kirisia Community Forestry Association, who are working year round to protect the forest and to combat the epidemic of elephant poaching in the area. Inspired by their courage and dedication, on returning home Dag and Maria embarked on a whistle–stop fundraising and media tour through BC, raising over $8000 to cover the first year’s stipends for 12 key Kirisia anti–poaching scouts. They then decided to run 100 Miles for Elephants treks, and to date team members have raised over $80,000. These scouts put their life on the line every day to keep poachers out of the area, and they also promote good stewardship of this amazing ecosystem among their communities. But funds are needed to provide support on an ongoing basis, to provide training and equipment for more scouts and to contribute to anti–poaching efforts across the Laikipia/Samburu area. Your participation in this transformational journey will ensure continuing protection for elephants in the region.
Prerequisites: Participants must be reasonably fit and able to walk up to 15 miles per day. The terrain on the first 5 days is relatively flat, however the ground can be rough as we will be not always be following trails. For the last 2 days we will be trekking in the Kirisia Hills on rough and occasionally steep trails. The altitude is about 4000 feet and the maximum daily temperatures range from 85° F during the day and 50° F at night.
Day 1 — Nairobi – Laikipia
Leave the bustle of Nairobi behind as we drive to remote Samburu National Reserve, stopping for lunch in Nanyuki with the Space for Giants team, whose anti-poaching work in Laipakia we are helping to support through this trek. From our tented camp we enjoy an evening game drive to see elephants, giraffes, antelopes and with luck even elusive leopards or wild dogs.
Day 2 — Ewaso Ecosystem
After a hearty breakfast, we meet our team of Samburu guides and load up the camels. We set off on foot towards the Ewaso Nyiro River. Along the way we observe elephants and other wildlife drinking and wallowing in favourite watering holes .
Day 3, 4, 5, 6 — Leroghi Plateau
Follow the camels across the wild Leroghi Plateau, enjoying stunning vistas, passing large herds of zebra and impala and watching the Kirisia Hills grow on the horizon. By night, gather around the campfire, marvelling at the star filled African sky and learning local songs from our Samburu guides.
Day 7, 8 — Ewaso Ecosystem
We spend glorious days following the river, crossing open plains and passing rock kopjes while keeping a look out for waterbuck, eland, gerenuk, grants gazelle, lesser kudu, giraffe, Grevys zebra, warthog and a diverse array of birds.
We eventually arrive at the edge of the wild Laikipia Plateau, enjoying stunning vistas, passing large herds of zebra and impala and watching the Kirisia Hills grow on the horizon. By night, gather around the campfire, marveling at the star filled African sky and learning local songs from our Samburu guides.
Day 9 — Kirisia Hills
After a final early morning walk, say farewell to the camels, their herders and our guides, before heading by jeep to Loisaba airstrip (watching out for game along the way) for flights to Nairobi or Masai Mara.
Please note: this itinerary serves as an example of trip highlights and is subject to change.
What does the Land Cost cover?
Includes transfer from Nairobi to Laikipia, all accommodation (based on double occupancy), all meals, guide fees, park fees, conservation fees, camping equipment, camel support, and medical air evacuation within Kenya.
Does not include beverages (except drinking water, tea), airfares, insurance, gratuities.
What does the Land Cost not cover?
Does not include beverages (except drinking water), airfares, personal insurance, gratuities, transfer from Kirisia to Nairobi.
How do I fund raise?
We will be providing a kit to help you solicit sponsors. The minimum donation we ask you to raise is $500, with a target of $2500.
Where will the money raised go to?
All donations will go directly to Space for Giants, for the vital cause of saving Kenya’s elephant population, by providing wages, equipment and training for scout teams and other anti-poaching efforts in Laikipia.
Can I get a tax receipt for donations?
Yes, for donations over $100. Please contact us for details.
Who will be guiding the trip?
The trip will be lead by a representative of Space for Giants and/or a Hidden Places representative, and our superb Samburu guides.
What about safety on this trip?
On the trek we will be accompanied by professional safari guides, who are highly skilled in the wild and who will always have our security as their highest priority, both when we are walking and camping. We will also be accompanied by a crew of camel herders, cooks and local guides from communities whose territories we cross.
Where does the trip start and end?
Starts in Nairobi from where you will be picked up. Ends at the Kirisia Hills, where you transfer by vehicle to Nairobi. (Cost is approx. US$100)
How do I get to Nairobi?
Nairobi is one of Africa’s biggest hubs with many flight connections to Europe. You can get direct flights from London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt with major carriers.
Where can I stay in Nairobi?
We will give you hotel recommendations.
What are the physical activities on the trip and what level of fitness do I need?
We will be walking for up to fifteen miles a day, mostly off paths and sometimes over rough ground, at an elevation of 5000 feet. You need a good level of fitness and we also recommend that you train for the walk.
What is the food like?
Plentiful, nutritious and filling — perfect for long distance walkers!
I’m a vegetarian, is that a problem?
Not at all, but please let us know in advance, and advise us on what you can’t eat.
Do I need a visa?
Yes. You can either apply for one ahead of the trip through a visa agency or the nearest Kenyan embassy. Alternatively, you can get one on arrival at Nairobi airport, although this can involve a long wait.
Do I need any special insurance?
Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
Included in the contribution is medical air evacuation within Kenya with AMREF Flying Doctors.
Do I need vaccinations?
Your routine vaccinations (Tetanus-Diphtheria, Poliomyelitis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella) should be up to date. In addition, for travel in Africa yellow fever and hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended. Please consult your doctor for advice.
What about malaria?
Malaria is endemic throughout East Africa, however we are there at relatively dry times when the risk is low. Despite this, it’s recommended to take prophylactic medication and avoid mosquito bites by using an insect repellent and a mosquito net at night (nets are provided in all our accommodations).
How can I access cash when I’m on the trip?
You will need to bring cash (Kenyan shillings or US $) and you also get extra shillings at ATMs in Nairobi Airport or when we stop for lunch in Nanyuki on the first day. Once we get to Laikipia we will be far away from banks. On the trek you will only need money to tip the guides and maybe to buy some souvenirs from villagers, such as beaded jewelry.
What clothes and equipment will I need?
When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.
I’m travelling alone, is that a problem?
Absolutely not. We have many guests who travel with us on their own. They appreciate the camaraderie of our Hidden Places groups, and usually go home with new-found friends. On this trip single accommodation can be limited, so you may have to share accommodation (large, roomy tents) with another guests.
+ Add On Excursions
Safari Extension: Elephant Reintroduction Camp
Join us on a magical excursion to Tsavo National Park, for a special access visit to the camps where orphaned elephants from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust are reintroduced to the wild. Astounding things happen here: watch older orphans, who have been released many years ago, come and train younger orphans how to live in the wild. An amazing experience you will never forget. Final details are yet to be arranged but we plan to make it a 4 or 5 day trip.
Limited to 6 guests! S0 please let us know a.s.a.p if you are interested.
Safari Extension: Rwanda Mountain Gorilla
See mountain gorillas in their natural habitat — the ultimate wildlife experience! A short flight from Nairobi takes us to Rwanda, the ‘Switzerland of Africa’, and its peaceful capital, Kigali. After settling into our five-star hotel we have a city tour, learning about Rwanda’s miraculous recovery from its recent history. Next day, we drive through the storybook scenery of this ‘land of a thousand hills’ en route to glittering Lake Kivu, our base for the next two nights. From our lakeside hotel, a very early start takes us to Volcanoes National Park, where Diane Fossey did her groundbreaking research on mountain gorillas, and helped bring them back from the brink of extinction. We trek through magical rainforest for astoundingly close encounters with a family group of these extraordinary animals – some of the last remaining 780 individuals in the world. The following morning we can choose between another gorilla trek (optional add-on) or a land and boat tour on the shores of Lake Kivu. In the afternoon we return to Kigali to celebrate our once-in-a-lifetime experience over a fabulous dinner!
To be announced
Scheduled: Sep 2019
Private: Year round
8 nights camping
Thank you so much for this wonderful trip.. Kenya is beautiful and the Kenyans are so warm and helpful and generous. Who ever wants to go home again?
You can feel the heartbeat of Africa in your footsteps.
Thank you for an experience we would never have had without you! It was a whirlwind of happy surprises and magical moments. The memories made with our trekking group and Samburu family will be forever imprinted on our hearts.
Many, many thanks for such a beautiful experience. It was truly the adventure of a lifetime and a memory to be cherished.
A most wonderful adventure – peaceful, exciting, spiritual, calming, exhilarating! Amazing food, spectacular campsites, incredible views, and the best guides ever. I believe this walk will change everyone at a profound level. 11 stars out of 10.
The trip far exceeded my expectations. The countryside, the villages, our Samburu guides, the exquisite campsites, the camaraderie: A wonderful experience.
A whole new perspective on Africa. Textures, colors, earth under our feet, rolling by. The wisdom and humor of our Samburu guides. An experience of a lifetime – thank you.
We are the most fortunate people in the world to have participated in this trek. It exceeded our expectations, and then some. Many thanks for showing us the remote and beautiful African landscape and introducing us to its extraordinary people.
Thanks for such a wonderfully organized adventure, it was second to none. This is an experience I will remember and moments I will treasure for the rest of my life.
The support team were wonderful and Gabriel is an excellent guide, teacher and generally wonderful human being. The food surpassed all expectations, the accommodation was comfortable – and I am surprised by my affection for camels!
I will remember friendly, gracious people, red earth, armed trees and delicate plants and flowers in the light of the equatorial sun. The walking was always interesting and the food and many luxuries of camping were truly amazing.
This trek was a life changing experience. I enjoyed every moment. The wildlife is breathtaking. Thank you so much!
A challenging, rewarding and fun adventure. The care and consideration of our guides and camp staff was awesome. Interacting with local people, walking with a common purpose, and sharing so much laughter as well as tears were the highlights.
Thank you so much for the adventure, it has been an awesome experience. You and your team are doing a great job at protecting and supporting elephants.
Thank you so much for organizing this fantastic trip and for all you’re doing to help elephants. It has truly been life-changing, with memories I’ll keep forever.
A "trip of a lifetime" in every way. The walk was well organized and couldn't have been better. The trip leader Jean was thoroughly professional, knowledgeable and engaging. I always felt safe - even when the lions roared outside our tents and hippo walked across our path!
"This trip literally changed my life. It was an emotional experience which left me at peace and full of gratitude."