ABOUT MARSABIT NATIONAL PARK
Marsabit National Park is a national park and nature reserve located at Mount Marsabit in northern Kenya near Marsabit town. It is located 560 km north of Nairobi. The Park is a refuge for huge tusked bull elephants, diverse birdlife and reptiles. The park was established in 1949, it spans 1554 square kilometers of mist writhed montane aura on the upper regions and semi arid bushland on the lower parts. The park consists of a forested mountain that rises like an oasis in the middle of the desert wilderness and is the only source of permanent surface water in the region. It has three spectacular crater lakes that provide habitat for a variety of birdlife. One of the lakes, Lake Paradise, is the most scenic and famous from early films and writings of Martin Johnson and Vivien de Watt Ville. Marsabit national park is also home to large herds of elephants. Perhaps the most famous elephant in the world Ahmed, Ahmed was known for his large tusks and put under 24 hour protection in Marsabit National Park by Kenya’s first president, Kenyatta.
CLIMATE IN MARSABIT NATIONAL PARK
In January to March it can be hot and dry, April to June experience a hot and wet season, July to October can be every hot and dry and November to December persists to be warm and wet.
WILDLIFE AND BIRDS OF MARASABIT NATIONAL PARK
The park is home to diverse wild animals such as Elephants, greater/lesser kudu, buffalos, Hynes, Kirk’s dik-dik, Grevy’s zebras, Reticulated Giraffes, Lions, Leopard, Peter’s Gazelles. Primates to see include Olive baboons, vervet monkeys, baboons among others. The cliffs in the northern end of Lake Paradise, in Gof Sokorte Gurda, are home to a number of birds, including Ruppell’s griffon vultures, peregrine falcons, mountain buzzards, black Kites and African fish eagles. Ducks such as garganeys, southern pochards and teals are found on the lake, which is also home to red-knobbed coots, Hammerkops, Ibises, Purple Herons, and Yellow-billed Storks.
- Three craters – There are three beautiful crater lakes on Mount Marsabit and the rainforest on the mountain is a refuge for the wild animals in the region. Sokorte dika crater, its estimate terrain elevation above seal level is 1479 meters. Gof Sokorte guda crater, its estimate terrain elevation above seal level is 1333 meters. Bongole crater, its estimate terrain elevation above seal level is 845 meters.
- Lake Paradise – Lake Paradise has been famed as one of the jewels of Northern Kenya and the home to the legendary elephants Ahmed and Abdul among many others. These are elephants that had the longest tusks in Kenya. It sits atop an extinct volcano at the height of 1,340 meters above sea level and on the cliff edges of Mt Marsabit. It is a beautiful crater lake where life for years has remained remarkably the same and wildlife is flourishing.
- Birds – Marsabit National park is a birder’s paradise. It has almost 500 species recorded including 52 different raptors, the rarest of which is the bearded vulture lammergeyer. The crater lakes are great to spot many waders. Just north of the reserve lies the black lava Galgalla desert, which is the best place to look for the endemic Williams’s lark, restricted to Kenya and a number of near-endemics restricted to Kenya and marginal areas beyond including Somali bee-eater, masked lark and Somali sparrow.
- Butterflies – Marsabit National Park is home to 30% of Kenya’s butterfly population.
- Wildlife – Wild game includes the Elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, greater kudu, hyena, aardwolf, caracal, klipspringer, Grant’s gazelle, oryx and the reticulated giraffe.
- Culture – The Marsabit region shelters a fascinating array of nomadic herders. Most noticeable are the Rendille, fantastically clothed in animal skins and elaborate beadwork and with intricately braided hair. Camel grazers like the Samburu and the Maasai, the Rendille show little interest in adopting a more sedentary lifestyle and prefer to roam the desert. Other major ethnic groups include the Boran and the Gabbra, both pastoralists who graze cattle rather than camels. All bring their animals in from the desert to water them in the mountain springs – known as the ‘Singing Wells’.
There are several activities that tourist can undertake on their visit to Marsabit national park which include the following;
- Visit the singing wells – You will get a chance to watch the Samburu families taking their herds of cattle to the Singing Wells, where they dig for water to fill up troughs for their cows, goats and camels. For a large majority of the year, these wells run deep, requiring almost a chain of people to pass up a bucket in order to quench the thirst of their cattle. Whilst doing so, each family chants or sings their individual family song, which leads the cattle to their family well, and quite astoundingly, the cattle recognize their song.
- Game viewing – Game viewing in this park is rewarding with sightings of animals such as Zebras, Elephants, Lions, Giraffes, Buffaloes, Black and White Colobus, Blue Monkeys, Bushbucks, Sunis, and Leopards among others
- Hiking – Marsabit national park’s landscape consists of an extinct volcano standing 1,707 meters above the sea level, this volcano is dominated with a thick forest with many tree species and the forest hosts a variety animals and birds. Hiking here is done on this volcano using perfectly kept trails, with a help of a ranger guide who will help you hike to the top of the volcano.
- Bird watching – Bird watching safari experience in the park is done following trails with a help of a birder guide who is knowledgeable about where to find the birds. Birds spotted on this experience include Somali bee-eater, masked lark and Somali sparrow and migratory bird species. Bird species in Marsabit national park include African olive pigeon, bearded vulture, hartlaub’s turaco, Heuglin’s bustard, little grebe, masked lark and many more.
- Rock climbing – It is an amazing activity carried out on stark massif of Ol Olokwe, south of Marsabit, offers some wonderful climbing routes which can be conducted by a trained guide with some good local knowledge.
- Corporate and special events
ACCOMMODATION IN MARSABIT NATIONAL PARK
There is accommodation within the park but there are plenty of overnight options from Marsabit town near the park, they include; Ahmed campsite and Abdul campsite where camping is offered inside the park, Camp Ndotto, Jirime Hotel and Resort and Nomads Trail Hotel.