Marsabit National Park
Far to the north of Kenya, a densely forested mountain and three crater lakes provide a haven for a variety of birdlife, mammals and reptiles. The beautiful Marsabit National Park is a refuge for huge tusked bull elephants, diverse birdlife and reptiles. Hikes in the dense forest, wreathed in mist can be enjoyed along with camel rides, bird watching and visits to the singing wells.
Marsabit National Reserve covers an area of 1,500 square km and 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.
The Reserve has three spectacular Crater Lakes that provide habitat for a variety of birdlife. One of the lakes, Lake Paradise, is most scenic and famous from early films and writings of Martin Johnson and Vivien de Wattville.
Marsabit Reserve is also well known because of large Elephants like the famous Ahmed, an Elephant that was provided with a 24 hour protection by a presidential order. Ahmed, who boasted some of the biggest tusks ever recorded, died at age 55, and his body was preserved and is now on display in Nairobi National Museum.Pristine Forest, scenic Landscape and Wilderness, Crater Lakes, diverse local cultures. Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Greater Kudu, Hyena, Aardwolf, Caracal, Klipspringer, Grant’s Gazelle, Oryx, and reticulated Giraffe. Diverse Birdlife.
A safari into this area brings the promise of plenty of wildlife. Keep in mind that game here is less exposed to human contact than wildlife in the Southern Parks. Finding animals can take time, but tracking down game in this pristine wilderness is a challenge, and like all real challenges, success comes with a rewarding sense of achievement.
Some of the best game viewing in this area is in Marsabit National Park. Plains game, including Northern endemics such as Grevy’s Zebra, Reticulated Giraffe and Oryx are often seen as well as large herds of Elephant. This reserve was once home to the great Tusker Ahmed, a bull who carried Africa’s largest ever recorded ivory. Ahmed’s blessing became a curse as he became a target for poachers, and he was placed under special Presidential guard until his death from natural causes. Ahmed was considered one of Kenya’s National Treasures, and he is now preserved in forecourt of the Nairobi National Museum.
The Riverine Forests of Marsabit are good birding country. Leopards have been known to frequent these Forests, and have been sighted here at sunset. The slopes surrounding Marsabit are an excellent place to see Greater Kudu, the large antelope with distinctive curved horns.
The best time to see game is early morning and late afternoon. In the midday heat, most animals retreat to the cool of thick undergrowth and become invisible. Marsabit Reserve is easily visited from Marsabit town. If you have a particular Wildlife or Birding interest, look for a Safari Operator who can offer you specialized guiding and services to suit your needs.
Trekking – Marsabit is a good area to explore on foot, and there are many interesting hikes out of Marsabit town. There are plenty of interesting local sites within walking distance, including some impressive Volcanic Craters. Just outside Marsabit are a series of Borana wells. These deep wells are used to water herds of cattle. The depth of each well means that several men have to descend into the well, and use a chain of buckets to transfer water up to the waiting herds. These wells are found throughout this area, and are vital to the survival of the Borana. Hiring a local guide is advised.
Mountain/Rock Climbing – The impressively stark massif of Ol Olokwe, south of Marsabit, has some excellent climbing routes. Ropes and Equipment, and a guide with some good local knowledge are all required.