From the Horse's Mouth - Richard interviews top Kenyan guide Kerry Glen
Author: Richard Smith
Kerry Glen runs Karisia Safaris and organises wonderful walking trips in Kenya. We love her walking safaris as do many of our clients who often cite them as the highlight of their trips. Here Richard has asked her to tell us a little bit about what makes Karisia so special.
What’s your background? I was born and brought up here in Kenya and my parents are both avid
safari goers. Every holiday was spent on a safari to some far off place, walking up some random mountain
in the middle of nowhere or watching animals for hours while Dad sketched them. I went to school in
England and university in South Africa before coming back to work in Kenya. I’m now 38 years old and
have been a guide for 17 years. My husband Jamie (also a guide) and I have three and a half year old
twins Rufous and Daisy.
What is your favourite area in Kenya for a safari? Northern Kenya because it is so
vast and varied. There are thickly forested mountains jutting out of the arid landscape and wide open
plains with rivers running through them. There is not as much wildlife the Mara but you get a sense
of vastness. My favourite walking routes are down the Ewaso Nyiro River through the steep valleys and
gorges, the Karisia Hills and the Mathews Range where there are some fantastic walks.
What type of equipment do you take on walks? Everything we take on our walking safaris is
carried by camels, so although we can’t take a four poster bed, we can take a king size mattress with
feather pillows. The tents are large and comfortable. There are hot showers and toilets and we always
have freshly cooked, sit down meals in the evenings. You have everything that you need and there is
always a cold drink on tap.
Who do you think would enjoy walking? People who are looking for a different experience
of Africa. It’s great for families with children who don’t want to drive for hours, honeymooners who
want to be alone, or friends who want to enjoy a few days together in a far off place.
Is walking safe for children? Yes, totally. We tailor each safari according to the group.
If there are small children on the walks we will only cover a very short distance. With children on
safari we will take extra care that they are being entertained and watched by our team as much as possible
so that the parents can relax a little. We take safety very seriously. On our walks we tend to have
the guide plus a tracker. The guide carries a rifle or we have an armed scout along with us. We will
always avoid any thickets that might house a sleepy buffalo or elephants and try to be very aware of
our surroundings and who we are sharing them with.
Do you have to be fit to go on a walking safari? The shortest walks we offer cover
about 8 kms in the mornings through gently rolling country. So no you don’t have to be particularly
fit to enjoy these, and you can always ride a camel if the walking gets too much. We walk to our new
campsite in time for lunch and we don’t have to walk again until the following day, so for those who
want to relax for the rest of the day they can.