ABOUT SIBILOI NATIONAL PARK
Sibiloi National Park is located in the wild and rugged shores of Lake Turkana, the cradle of mankind. Sibiloi is home to important archaeological sites including Koobi Fora where fossil remains were discovered by scientists and researchers such as Dr. Richard Leaky and have contributed more to the understanding of human evolution than any other site in the continent. The most famous remains from the park are the Australopithecus and early Homo fossils. The park was gazetted in 1973 and named a world UNESCO heritage site in 1977.
CLIMATE IN SIBILOI NATIONAL PARK
The climate in Sibiloi National park is scorching hot and arid especially in the months of December to March. The months of June and July are the coolest. In May to September, very strong winds blow both morning and evening. Rainfall here is less than 250mm per annum and in some places it may not rain for several years.
The area is characterized by semi-desert habitat and open plains flanked by volcanic formations including Mount Sibiloi, where the remains of a petrified forest can be seen. The habitat supports a distinctive number of birds, small mammals, and reptiles which are adapted to the environment.
WIDLIFE AND BIRDS
Wildlife species within Sibiloi national park are adapted to its environment and they include burchell’s and grevy’s zebras, grants gazelle, beisa oryx, topi, lesser kudu, cheetahs, lions and a good number of crocodiles can be seen along the central island and in Lake Turkana. Central island is one of the major concentration areas for flamingos.
Bird species that can be sighted include Somali ostrich, Kori and Heuglin’s bustard, northern carmine, Somali bee eater, chestnut bellied sandgrouse, fox kestrel, ducks, pelicans, taita falcon, black tailed godwit and many other bird species
ATTRACTIONS IN SIBILOI NATIONAL PARK
Attractions found in Sibiloi national park include the following;
- Lake Turkana – It is the most saline of the Africa’s large lakes. It is the world’s largest permanent desert lake and world largest alkaline lake. The soda lake owes its lovely nickname to algae particles which shift with changes of wind and light causing Lake Turkana’s color to change from blue to grey and jade.
- Koobi Fora – This site is located north of Alia bay where evidence of humanity was found dating up to about two million years ago. There is a paleontological museum at Koobi fora where these remains can be seen with tracks leading to and from the archaeological sites. Remains of the ancestral fossils include the Australopithecus robustus, homo habilis, homo eretus and homo sapiens. The deposits in Koobi Fora has supported intensive research allowing a reconstruction of the Lake basin to make way for studies about geology and also human and animal evolution.
- Petrified Forest – The largest areas of petrified wood lying around Sibiloi are the remains of a once-great cedar forest, which covered the Lake’s shores 7 million years ago. The Petrified Forest was discovered by researchers in the early 70’s and is concrete evidence of climate change in the Lake Turkana Basin. A petrified forest forms when buried tree trunks turns to stone by the action of mineral-laden water.
- Local Community – The park’s sites are surrounded by communities with very rich and unique unpolluted traditional cultures. That is the Turkana, the Gabra and the Dassanach. During dry seasons, nomadic people like Samburu and Rendile are seen within the surrounding areas.
- Karari escarpment – It is a low ridge that extends south consisting of fluvial deposits and flood plain silts. This site is extremely rich and has a diverse archaeological record of earlier hominid activity and large samples of stone artifacts. The escarpment is also known for excavations of ancient sites.
- Jarigole pillars – Jarigole is located near Alia bay and it lies at the foot of the Jarigole hills not far from the waterhole. Some of the artefacts discovered include Nderit ware which dates back to between 4000 to 4500 years ago. This site is also known as a pre iron age burial ground containing archaeological artifacts like broken ceramics, lithic artifacts, beads, small quantities of animal teeth fragments, bones and many other remains.
- Wildlife species – There are alot of animals adapted to this park’s environment and they include burchell’s and grevy’s zebras, grants gazelle, beisa oryx, topi, lesser kudu, cheetahs, lions and a good number of crocodiles can be seen along the central island and in Lake Turkana. Central island is one of the major concentration areas for flamingos. Bird species that can be sighted include Somali ostrich, Kori and Heuglin’s bustard, northern carmine, Somali bee eater, chestnut bellied sandgrouse, fox kestrel, ducks, pelicans, taita falcon, black tailed godwit and many other bird species.
ACTIVITIES IN SIBILOI NATIONAL PARK
There are several activities that tourists can engage in on their visit to Sibiloi such as Archeological safaris, Bird watching, Camping, Fishing, camel rides, desert exploration, culture visits, bush walk and Game viewing.
- Game viewing – Game viewing in Sibiloi national park is quite an amazing experience where one can be able to adventure a wide range of wildlife on semi-arid areas such as gravy’s zebra, beisa Oryx, gerenuk, greater kudu, lion, spotted hyenas, jackals, caracals, leopards among others.
- Nature Bush-walks – This is part of an activity where tourists can engage in trekking through the petrified forest as well as along the Koobi Fora spit. Bush walk experience allows travelers to get close observation to park’s attractions. Along this activity you will be guided by professional guides who will explain aspects about the different fossils and archaeological findings.
- Culture visits – On your visit to Sibiloi national park, go visit the unpolluted and rich traditional culture in the surrounding communities such as the Turkana, Gabbra and Dassanach. Interact with them and also learn about their amazing lifestyle and the clothing style.
- Bird Watching – Sibiloi national park boasts with over 350 bird species aquatic and terrestrial some of which are residential and others migratory birds examples of the birds to be seen include; pelicans, African skimmers, Huggins bustard, crested lark, ducks and flamingoes o mention a few.
- Fishing – The lake holds about 50 fish species, including 12 endemics. During the early Holocene, the water level of the lake was higher, and it overflowed into the Nile River, allowing fish and crocodiles access. Consequently, the non-endemic fishes in the lake are mainly riverine species of Nilotic origin. Some of the non-endemics do not breed in the lake, but migrate up the Omo River and other affluents to breed. The lake is heavily fished.
ACCOMMODATION IN SIBILOI NATIONAL PARK
Sibiloi national park offers classified accommodation ranging from Luxury to budget accommodations. Some of the accommodations facilities include; Desert Rose lodge, Lobolo tented camp, Oasis lodge, Jirime resort, Nomads trail hotel and Imperial dale hotel Marsbit.