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A Rose Among the Thorns -- Currently, the only luxury accommodation anywhere north of the Mathews Range or even remotely near Lake Turkana is the sumptuous, beautifully designed Desert Rose (tel. 722/638-774, or satellite phone 162/110-7002; www.desertrosekenya.com), a remote and exquisite lodge in the vicinity of Baragoi. Pleasingly, it's off the track regularly beaten by overland trucks and highway traffic, a hidden jewel on the slopes of Ol Donyo Nyiro. The lodge consists of private individually designed cottages that seem to erupt from the natural contours of the landscape. There are five in all, each with an open-air bathroom (with a tub) and jaw-dropping vistas. Besides lazing at the pool taking in the scenery, there's a long list of activities to keep you occupied, whether your interest is predominantly in tribal culture or simply exploring the terrain (you may even spot the occasional wild beast, although -- as with much of the far north -- this is certainly not a serious wildlife destination). Rates are $1,000 double and include all meals, most drinks, transfers, and activities. Reservations and transport arrangements should be made through New African Territories (tel. 020/386-4831 or -4832; www.africanterritories.co.ke). Baragoi is a 5-hour drive from Loiyangalani and some 90km (56 miles) north of Maralal, which translates into yet another 4 or 5 hours along a terrible rock-strewn track. If you can't face the thought of any more driving, Desert Rose has its own Cessna 206, available for transfers to and from the lodge or for scenic flights over Lake Turkana and the Suguta Valley.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.