On day 5 we packed up and some of us left at the crack of dawn to meet two awaiting helicopters while the others slept in and flew by fixed wing. My sister-in-law, Erica and I took one for the team despite the fact that we usually get motion sick and were terrified of flying in a heli. Well let me tell you, my life changed that day! Ben and Chris, our fearless pilots took us on a wild ride up the Suguta Valley (I think) through canyons and over dry river beds and past sheer cliff faces. We buzzed over tribal camps and herds of animals grazing and finally set atop the highest peak around for breakfast and everyone was awestruck. After a meal and stroll in the forest past prehistoric cycad trees we hopped back into the helis for our journey to Lake Turkana and our next camp at the Turkana Basin Institute.
Oh, but lunch! We couldn’t miss a meal so the helis landed at the Desert Rose Lodge (magnificent!) and then went to fetch the others who landed at an air strip nearby. The lodge sits way atop the mountains and the views are spectacular. And they have their own slippery rock! We were treated to an incredible lunch and the use of the lodge and pool for the afternoon.
So now the life changing bit! We hopped back into the helis and we rode with the doors open the whole way to Turkana!!! Erica and I bookended and were each by an open door. What a rush! And to be able to take pictures from the air like that was amazing. I admit to being a heli hog for the next several days but honestly I couldn’t get enough. For a professed landscape photographer I was in heaven!