Every year, a remarkable event takes place in the heart of northern Kenya – the Ewaso Ng’iro Camel Caravan. Organized under the auspices of the Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority (ENNDA), this 5-day trek along the Ewaso Ng’iro North River ecosystem brings together a diverse group of dedicated individuals and organizations united by a common purpose: to raise awareness about the critical importance of conserving the river and promoting peaceful coexistence among the communities that depend on it.

The Ewaso Ng’iro North River, a lifeline for the counties of Nyandarua, Laikipia, Isiolo, Samburu, and Wajir, has faced significant challenges in recent years. Climate change, unregulated water usage, and other factors have contributed to declining water levels, severely impacting the livelihoods of pastoralist communities downstream. The Camel Caravan serves as a powerful platform to address these pressing issues and forge a path towards sustainable water management and community resilience.

During the trek, participants, including community members, conservationists, policymakers, and other stakeholders, embark on a 100-kilometer journey across rugged terrain, walking alongside a majestic caravan of camels. This unique experience allows participants to connect with the land, the river, and the people who call this region home. As they traverse the landscape, participants engage with local communities, gaining first-hand insights into their struggles, aspirations, and traditional wisdom in managing this vital shared resource.

The Camel Caravan is guided by key objectives that reflect the multifaceted nature of the challenges faced by the Ewaso Ng’iro basin. By creating awareness about the importance of conserving water catchment areas and wetlands, the event aims to foster a deeper understanding of the ecological significance of these critical ecosystems. The Caravan also serves as a platform for communities to embrace cultural diversity, promoting dialogue, understanding, and collaboration among the various ethnic groups that rely on the river’s waters.

One of the most significant aspects of the Camel Caravan is its ability to bring together a wide range of stakeholders, including government agencies, to address the pressing water challenges faced by the region. Through discussions, workshops, and knowledge-sharing sessions, participants identify strategies for mitigating resource-based conflicts, promoting equitable water allocation, and implementing sustainable water management practices.

The impact of the Ewaso Ng’iro Camel Caravan extends far beyond the 5-day trek itself. The event plays a crucial role in keeping the plight of the Ewaso Ng’iro basin communities and ecosystems in the spotlight, garnering attention and support from both local and international stakeholders. The outcomes of the Caravan are manifold, ranging from improved water management policies and the protection of catchment areas to increased commitment from donors and government entities.

Most importantly, the Camel Caravan directly contributes to securing the livelihoods of the indigenous pastoral groups who have depended on the Ewaso Ng’iro North River for centuries. By fostering a sense of unity, shared responsibility, and collective action, the event empowers these communities to become active stewards of their natural heritage, ensuring the sustainability of their way of life for generations to come.