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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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…
It was a bit of a walk to the Lake shore.
Finally made it to the shore
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.
A few more views of the sunset..
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/.
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.
Linked to Travel Photo Mondays