Turkana safaris is the union of Mickey Mestel and Ismail Ali. The two first met in Ismail's home village of Maralal in northern Kenya in 1996. Since that time they have done numerous safaris together both through the Suguta Valley in the Turkana region, as well as the Kirisia Hills surrounding Maralal.
Ismail was born and raised in Maralal, and took an interest in being a guide from an early age. As travelers and tourists came to town, Ismail found that he had not only a love but a talent for guiding them through the local region, showing them the land, animals and culture so abundant and amazing in the Samburu region. As time went on he became friends with Lochcuh from the village of Baragoi to the north, and the two of them began leading safaris through the Suguta Valley to Lake Turkana. Over time Ismail learned to bridge the cultural gap between the African village and the West, knowing what people are looking for and want to get out of the safaris he leads. He leads people through the land that he loves, guiding them through the bush...
Mickey Mestel is an experienced African and world traveler, who fell in love with Kenya from the moment he first set foot there. Seeking something different, more than just the usual travelers circuit led him to Maralal in '96. There he did his first safari with Ismail through the Carissia hills visiting local Samburu villages, and returned 3 weeks later to do the trek to Lake Turkana. For the next 12 years, he would return again and again to do safaris with Ismail, which usually consisted of a very bare bones style of travel, bringing only what was necessary to survive day to day, and nothing more. Buying a blanket in the market in Maralal, sleeping on the ground with only his towel/sheet/sarong and the blanket, and giving the blanket away at the end. He strove to travel just as the locals did, in as simple a style as possible.
Eventually the two decided to team up and take the safaris to the next level. The thought of what it must have been like 100 years ago when the British went on safari was an intriguing idea. Deep in the bush, in uncharted territory, facing dangers they didn't even know existed, none the less they enjoyed comfortable and even lush camps, sometimes living quite well deep in the bush. So why not do the same? The idea grew of doing the safaris where all day is spent wandering through the bush, but in the evening there is a comfortable camp to enjoy the African twilight. A fine dinner, glass of wine or port, comfortable chairs, table and linen, a blazing fire after a day of hiking and trekking all contribute to an incredible experience in the African bush.
All of this makes Turkana Safaris unique: safaris solely on foot; through the local land, flora and fauna; a comfortable camp and delicious meals throughout the day, and the combined experience of two African bushmen, make for a truly memorable combination.