Surreal and serene, the Mathews Range is one of East Africa's hidden gems. Rising from the scorched plains of northern Kenya, the mountains are packed with tropically green forest and lush rolling grasslands. If you need an escape, these mountains are the perfect place to come.
Spend an evening in the wilderness.
The evening atmosphere is magical, whether you're staying at a low-key camp amongst the forest glades or gazing across the plateau to the Mathews Mountains. Elephants' trumpeted calls echo, bushbuck and buffalo graze beneath the lucid moon, and there's a charming sense of being hundreds of miles from modernity.
You'll find plenty of wildlife.
Astounding peaks rise above a scattered mix of wildlife, with black and white colobus monkeys in the forest, striped hyena battling kudu on the open plains, and Grevy's zebra radiating a wonderful charm. Elephants migrate across the plateau and provide a sublime focal point to the panoramic photos. Lions and leopards are also resident, along with packs of wild dogs. They're not easy to find but that's not an issue, for the experience in the Mathews Range is more about the spectacular scenery and sense of seclusion.
Meet incredible African tribes.
Samburu and Namunyak tribes are the traditional landowners and they love to showcase the complexities of their home. Head off on walking excursions that are lessons in animal tracking, following the trails made by elephant and bushbuck. Then visit local communities that keep ancestral practices alive, a non-obtrusive visit that is about immersion rather than taking a few quick photos.
Luxurious camps close by to the mountain.
We recommend two camps and they both celebrate the prevailing atmosphere, offering intimate luxury accommodation that doesn't interrupt the beauty of nature. Rather than early morning safari starts, the cooler mountain air makes this a place to relax in the morning, then explore through the day, sometimes taking a picnic to a pristine river where you can swim or watch the antelope skipping nearby.
The Mathews Range is an off the beaten track destination that doesn't receive many visitors. If you're looking for a break from a classic safari, or seeking a rich cultural experience, this is the perfect destination. Don't come for the big five but expect to be charmed by the atmosphere and magical setting.