This harsh region has dramatic scenery and spectacular vistas. The inhabitants are predominantly nomadic, and include the Turkana, Rendille, Borana, Samburu, Gabbra and Kenya’s smallest tribe, the El Molo. The major towns are Maralal, Lodwar, Lokichogio, Loyangalani, Marsabit, Wajir, Garissa and Bura. Wajir and Lokichogio have airports with daily scheduled flights from destinations in Kenya. Wajir also has flights to Somalia and Lokichogio has flights to Sudan. A number of airstrips around the region are available for charter flights. Roads are limited, some barely more than a track across a lava field; 4WD vehicles are required throughout the region.
Lake Turkana, the world’s largest permanent desert lake, is a spectacular slash of blue across parched desert, lava fields and craggy peaks. Central Island National Park, where camping can be arranged, has three scenic lakes called Crocodile, Flamingo and Tilapia. There is also an active volcano whose slopes are breeding colonies for water birds such as African fish eagles, ospreys, marsh harriers, pelicans, cormorants, herons and gulls. Activities include boat trips and bird watching.
Sibiloi National Park, established to protect the area’s unique prehistoric and archaeological sites, lies on the northeastern shore of Lake Turkana. The Koobi Fora Museum has information on the fossil beds and other findings, some of which are linked to the origin of man. Nearby sites of interest include the Jarigole Pillor, Sibiloi Fossil Forest and Karari archaeological sites. Wildlife such as zebra, giraffe, hippo and crocodile inhabit the park, as well as numerous bird species including flamingos, pelicans and ducks. Maralal National Reserve, amid the Ol Doinyo Lenkiyo Mountains, completely surrounds the town of Maralal. This rocky, dry reserve is home to a variety of wildlife including leopard, hyena, eland, impala, buffalo and zebra, and over 260 species of birds. Elephants pass through the area seasonally. The annual Maralal International Camel Derby, held in August, is a colourful spectacle with camel races, dancing displays and curio stalls.
Marsabit National Park comprises a densely forested mountain and three crater lakes. The park became famous in the 1970s as the home of the legendary Ahmed, a huge elephant with massive tusks. Wildlife includes elephant, Grevy’s zebra, lion, leopard, kudu, buffalo and bushbuck. Activities include game viewing, bird watching and camel safaris. The Singing Wells, where local people sing while drawing water, are also an attraction.
The Matthew’s Ranges and Loroghi Hills offer scenic views and exciting trekking. Natural rock pools and mountain streams have crystal clear icy water in which the adventurous can swim.
All Year Round.
Marsabit N.Park, Lake Turkana, Sibiloi N.Park, Chalbi Desert, Matthew Ranges