The next part of the journey was the drive from North Horr  to Sibiloi National Park.  Our first and only stop in Chalbi Desert was at a place called Matiti (Swahili for Breasts).

Koobi Fora_MatitiNotice any resemblance?

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Koobi Fora_Matiti hiking

Turns out you can actually find network atop one of the hills (the one to your right if you’re heading towards Sibiloi). We were there for a bit so I got to climb one of the hills. I am not the fittest of people so it was a bit of a workout.

The drive to the park didn’t seem very long. There was not much wildlife to see but I did spot a lone baboon just before we got to the park. We were soon at Karsa Gate, the only gate into the park. I was having a look around and taking pictures when one of the Marsabit county officials came by with a man with a gun. The first thought in my head was why does this poacher still have his gun… and who on earth would come all this way to poach?! Turns out he is a Home Guard and his work is to provide security.

Koobi Fora_homeguardHe reluctantly posed for photos with us.

Sibiloi National park is named from Mount Sibiloi. Established in 1973 through the initiative of National Museums of Kenya and the government of Kenya its existence serves to protect unique prehistoric and archaeological sites some of which are linked to the origin of man. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

Sibiloi National Park_Karsa Gate

 

Sibiloi National Park_Karsa Gate_sign board

 

Sibiloi National Park_Karsa Gate2

 

Sibiloi National Park_Me at Karsa GateMe at gate

Our final destination for the day, Koobi Fora is about 30-40km from Karsa Gate. In Gabbra language (the Gabbra are the people who live near the site), the name Koobi Fora means a place of the commiphora and the source of myrrh, which is a common plant in this hot and arid area.

Koobi Fora Camp_Bandas

 

Koobi Fora Camp_Banda_close viewMy accommodation for the next 2 nights

The Koobi Fora Base Camp lies on the eastern shore of Lake Turkana (the largest desert lake in the world). Since we were staying so close to the shore I had been hoping that I would be able to take a cooling dip in the lake before lunch. That thought died when I saw a crocodile leisurely get into the water from the sand spit. Koobi Fora is a barren place, there is nothing remotely green for miles. There were cows grazing by the lake’s shores. I am still wondering how they survive. I spoke to one of the rangers in the park and the last time it rained in the park was August 2012.

After getting settled into my room I decided to take a walk to the lake’s shore. There is a sand spit on this side of the lake. Yes I should have been taking photos… can I plead exhaustion? The grass is hard and dry and will probably maim you like it did me because I foolishly wore flimsy sandals.

After a late lunch I finally got to my room.

Koobi Fora Camp_Bandas_Wiki img

Outside view of where I stayed. There are 3 twin rooms in that block we all shared a bathroom and a toilet. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

 

Koobi Fora Camp_My bedThat’s my bed, you can tell that I am not the tidiest of people

Just a warning, there is not much privacy in the rooms. I don’t know if all the bandas are set up this way but the one I was staying is set up such that there is no way you can have a private convo if there is someone else in the next room.  The wall separating the rooms does not go all the way up. That said the camp is more or less a dormitory for researchers. They are available to the public and will cost you Kshs. 1000 ($11) per night.

I set out to relax … I got much too relaxed that I almost missed the sunset.  It is said the sunsets at the Rift Valley lakes never disappoint…

Koobi Fora Camp_Lake Turkana Sunset9

 

Koobi Fora Camp_Lake Turkana Sunset10

 

Koobi Fora Camp_Lake Turkana Sunset7

It was a bit of a walk to the Lake shore.

Finally made it to the shore

Koobi Fora Camp_Lake Turkana Sunset

 

Koobi Fora Camp_Lake Turkana Sunset_red hues

 

Koobi Fora Camp_Lake Turkana Sunset_green hues

 

Koobi Fora Camp_Lake Turkana Sunset3

 

A bit apart from the bandas there is a house at the camp site. If I’m not wrong Dr. Richard Leakey (the famous paleoanthropologist and conservationist) once stayed here.

Koobi Fora Camp_Lake Turkana Sunset4

 

A few more views of the sunset..

Koobi Fora Camp_Lake Turkana Sunset5

 

Koobi Fora Camp_Lake Turkana Sunset6

 

Koobi Fora Camp_Lake Turkana Sunset8

I spent a good chunk of the night lying down on my shuka outside my room. It was very relaxing. The atmosphere was tranquil and the night sky was as usual, a sight to behold. One more thing there are bats … lots of them and they roost in the bandas. The bandas have no ceilings, just a net and the bats roost in the space between the net and the roof.

Below is a summary of the park charges. Sibiloi National Park also has its own website and you can find more about the park here http://www.sibiloi.com/.

Adult Child Student
Citizens Ksh.100 Ksh. 50 Ksh.50
Residents Ksh.500 Ksh.200 Ksh.100
Non-residents US$15 US$5 US$5

Once again I would like to thank Karue Wachira for letting me use some of his images for this blog post. Feel free to drop by his Facebook page for more sights of magical Kenya.

In the next post we continue to explore the park, stay tuned.

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Tsavo West National Park adventure

17 Comments

  1. October 28, 2013 at 9:58 am — Reply

    Wow!! The orange hues are just beautiful. Even beats the ocean sunsets. I like the corruption of the name ‘commiphora’, typical of Kenyans.
    Plus where were the crocs as you were clicking away?
    Gatuiri recently posted…Guest Post: Chicken MasalaMy Profile

    • October 28, 2013 at 6:33 pm — Reply

      The whole time I was there I only spotted that one.

  2. October 28, 2013 at 10:26 am — Reply

    Amazing photos 🙂
    Muza-chan recently posted…Japanese Garden technique, Wara-makiMy Profile

  3. keniamoja
    October 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm — Reply

    LOL! who the hell came up with the name ‘matiti’? I must admit the sunset hues are spectacular.

    • October 28, 2013 at 6:34 pm — Reply

      I have no idea..they are really distinct from afar so I see how someone could have come up with that name.

  4. October 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm — Reply

    Looks like a great trip! Beautiful skies!
    Erica recently posted…Home in Khon KaenMy Profile

  5. October 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm — Reply

    Hi, Kenya is such a beautiful country. I like the pictures, they are very clear and eye catching.
    Lovely work.
    waisay recently posted…Make Organic Living a LifestyleMy Profile

  6. October 29, 2013 at 6:18 pm — Reply

    I just pinned a couple of the shots because they are so pretty. At my age I do like a little more luxury but sometimes simple accommodation is the price you pay to visit incredible spots.
    Leigh recently posted…7 Ice Hotels That Will Keep You Warm at NightMy Profile

    • October 29, 2013 at 10:06 pm — Reply

      Zero luxury but I enjoyed every single minute I spent there.

    • Manesha
      October 31, 2013 at 2:24 pm — Reply

      I concur about the luxury but the beautiful pictures make it tempting to take this trip.For some strange reason I was expecting sandy beaches…#wishfulthinking#.@Rachael since the park is so far,how do they attract visitors?

  7. October 30, 2013 at 8:39 pm — Reply

    Beautiful sunset images! And it’s a good thing you noticed the croc before you decided to take a dip in the lake.
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted…Review: Bluffer’s Guide to Insider HollywoodMy Profile

  8. October 30, 2013 at 9:57 pm — Reply

    The sunset pictures are gorgeous! What a great experience to capture.

  9. October 31, 2013 at 5:40 am — Reply

    I love those sunset photos! Those are just some spectacular scenery. I don’t think I’ve ever seen myrrh trees before. Though I’m not sure I can stay in those blocks alone but it would be great for families.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted…Bone Church Artistry in the Czech RepublicMy Profile

  10. October 31, 2013 at 5:43 am — Reply

    There is one thing I need to admit – you are an expert of taking sunset photos. They are just truly amazing, no joke! I wish I could visit one of the local villages and interact with people around :).
    Agness recently posted…Postcards from CreteMy Profile

  11. November 2, 2013 at 9:53 am — Reply

    Rachel, your photos are absolutely spectacular! It looks like you had to “rough” a bit but it’s all give and take, isn’t it? To find a heavenly place like that may require to stay in a place like it was meant to be visited. In it’s natural way. Great post! 🙂
    Mike recently posted…My Top 10 +1 Favorite Robert Downey Jr MoviesMy Profile

  12. November 5, 2013 at 6:48 pm — Reply

    They are beautiful photos but I definitely have a soft spot for those sunset shots! 😉

  13. […] Park in Northern Kenya – commonly referred to by Anthropologists as the Cradle of Mankind. Koobi Fora which lies inside the park boasts deposits rich in mammalian, molluscan and other fossil remains […]

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