HomeGame parks & ReservesMarsabit Nat. Park – Frontier Oasis

Marsabit Nat. Park – Frontier Oasis

This is my second post in my Marsabit County series, the previous post was about my trip to Marsabit town and a bit about the town.

Marsabit National Park is a remote montane paradise located in Kenya’s desert northern frontier,  the park skirts the massive extinct volcano known as Mount Marsabit. Its name loosely translated means ‘Place of Cold‘. Marsabit Mountain is a natural phenomenon, born out of volcanic fire and shaped by mist. The mountain’s great mass has created its own ambient ecosystem. Rising like a mirage above the surrounding burning desert, Marsabit is a cool, green, forested realm often swathed in mist. Every evening at around midnight, the hot air rising from the desert floor cools and forms clinging fingers of mist which grasp the mountain rarely releasing their grip until the late part of the morning.

Semidesert landscapeMarsabit N.R.KenyaArid scrub land a few kilometers outside the park. (Image courtesy of KWS)


ForestMarsabit N.P.KenyaMontane Mist (Image courtesy of KWS)


Forest Marsabit N.P. KenyaThe park is heavily forested. (Image courtesy of KWS)

Back to my post; so I was up pretty early, 4.30 am to be precise. Under normal circumstances I find it incredibly difficult to wake up that early, must have been the excitement.  After breakfast our first stop was Marsabit National Park. BTW the food at JeyJey is palatable and the portions are very generous, just don’t order their chicken. It was actually pretty cold in the morning and foggy too. Carry a warm sweater if you plan on having early morning excursions in Marsabit Town.

Park HQ_Marsabit National ParkI had no idea it was going to be that cold, that’s me covered in a blue shuka.

We drove into the park using Ahmed Gate. I might be wrong but the gate is named after the famous elephant Ahmed. I first met Ahmed (or rather his skeleton) back when I was 6 years old during a school trip to the National Museum. I haven’t been there in in a while but I think his skeleton is still there. Ahmed lived in the national park and was known as ‘The King of Marsabit’. In 1970, in order to protect him from poachers, Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta, placed Ahmed under his protection by presidential decree, an unparalleled occurrence in the history of the country making him the only elephant to be declared a living monument. The giant was watched over day and night by two hunters against poachers.

Marsabit National Park_Ahmed the elephantAhmed the Elephant (image credit C. Francombe.)


Marsabit National Park_Ahmed skeleton

Ahmed, 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. Image source http://artandartifact.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/brooking-disappointment-learning-to-museum-with-an-open-mind/

Marsabit National Park_lone elephant

An elephant roaming outside the Park. The park is famous for it’s large task elephants. Image courtesy of KWS

Marsabit National Park_Sign at entrance to parkSign with a quote by Jomo Kenyatta at Ahmed gate

Our first stop was at the lodge. By now the shuka was gone, it was already getting hot. The view there…. it literally took my breath away. We’d been driving on a very rough dirt road with nothing but thick forests on each side of the road then suddenly we come across a clearing. I am sure the view at dusk is amazing.I would love to go back and spend some time at the lodge. After a bit of research I have discovered that the clearing used to be a lake. Sadly all you can see now is Nile cabbage on its surface.

Gof Sokorte DIka (Crater lake) Marsabit N.P. KenyaView of the Lake without the weed.  (Image courtesy of KWS)


Marsabit National Park_Opening at Marsabit Lodge1The Lake covered with the invasive Nile Cabbage weed


Marsabit National Park_Opening at Marsabit Lodge2View of the ‘lake’ right before the lodge entrance 

We stretched our legs for a bit and took a walk inside the lodge. I forgot to take pictures of the rooms … but I did get a couple of the inside of the lodge

Marsabit National Park_Cabins in Marsabit  LodgeThe cabins at the lodge


Marsabit National Park_Marsabit  Lodge3


Marsabit National Park_Marsabit  Lodge1


Marsabit National Park_Inside Marsabit  LodgeThe county minister for tourism having a look around in the lounge area.

Our next stop was Paradise Lake. The lake was the main reason that we actually decided to go into the park, it had not been part of the plan. Lake Paradise is a crater lake that is sadly being strangled by Nile cabbage, an invasive species. The view of the lake from above makes it look like a map of the world with the patches of Nile cabbage making up the continents

Marsabit National Park_Lake Paradise1


Marsabit National Park_Lake Paradise2


Marsabit National Park_Lake Paradise3Paradise Lake views

After taking pictures from the viewing point Tuko, our driver drove my friend and I down to the lake’s shore where I spotted two Grevy’s Zebras (which are endemic to northern Kenya). That said we were not in the park for a game drive and I am sure we would have spotted more animals had we gone for one. Other Game in the reserve include; elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, buffalo’s, wart hogs, reticulated giraffes, hyenas, antelopes to mention but a few.

Baboons Marsabit N.P. KenyaBaboons are abundant in the park. (Image courtesy of KWS)

After viewing the lake we were taken to a dam inside the park that provides water to the town.

Marsabit National Park_Dam inside park


Marsabit National Park_Wall of dam inside parkDam wall


Marsabit National Park_Trees in dam inside park


Marsabit National Park_Dam that supplies water to Marsabit town


Marsabit National Park_Nile Cabbage on dam

The Nile cabbage has invaded some sections of the dam.

Nile cabbage is quite an issue inside the park. Hopefully KWS will be able to deal with the problem before the plant takes over all the water bodies inside the park.

Below is a summary of the park charges. You do need a vehicle to get into the park and you can find the charges on the KWS website (http://www.kws.org/). If you are interested in staying inside the park you can either camp or stay at MarsabitLodge(not run by KWS). KWS has very fair rates for camping (carry your own gear) and you can even camp by the shores of Lake Paradise.

I would definitely go back again, there is so much more to see inside the park.


EA Residents (Kshs) EA Citizens (Kshs) Non Residents (USD)
Adults 200 500 20
Children 100 250 10

My next stop is a desert location known as North Horr.

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  1. October 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm — Reply

    Great photos 🙂

  2. Hakquim
    October 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm — Reply

    The Ahmed tasks are massive,Are their possibly other elephants in the park with such massive tasks? Didn’t Ahmed leave some siblings?

  3. keniamoja
    October 14, 2013 at 5:28 pm — Reply

    Excellent pictures, the place is surprisingly green. What are the rates for the cottages?

  4. October 14, 2013 at 6:32 pm — Reply

    Outstanding web-site. A lot of helpful tips right here. I am submitting the item to some good friends ans furthermore discussing around delicious. Not to mention, owing to your energy!

  5. October 15, 2013 at 5:04 pm — Reply

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  6. October 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm — Reply

    If you are going for best contents like me, simply pay a quick
    visit this web page every day because it presents
    feature contents, thanks

  7. October 16, 2013 at 10:18 pm — Reply

    Useful information. Fortunate me I discovered your website unintentionally, and I’m surprised why this accident did not happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

  8. October 16, 2013 at 11:30 pm — Reply

    Lovely photos! My writing group partner grew up in Kenya and one of the chapters of her work in progress takes place in Marsabit. It just came to life a bit more for me with these pictures.

  9. October 17, 2013 at 12:38 am — Reply

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  10. October 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm — Reply

    Nice… But I never been in this park ever in my life but the best thing of this post is images. I really liked image. These are most Beautiful picture in of this park 🙂

  11. October 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm — Reply

    I’ve enjoyed reading this post. I feel like i was seeing everything over your shoulder. Thanks for the ‘tour!’

    Kenya was on my list for this year but an injury changed my plans. Now you’re making me think of it again for next year.

    I’d never heard of Nile cabbage before. What’s that exactly? And do you only find it in Kenya or east Africa?

    • October 18, 2013 at 5:57 pm — Reply

      @ Marcia, you are welcome to Kenya anytime.

      The Nile cabbage was first discovered in the River Nile close to Lake Victoria, but has now spread to many tropical waterways.

  12. October 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm — Reply

    Oh, forgot to mention. I saw the flag and all I saw was the green, gold and black. My first thought was, that’s a Jamaican flag! I looked again and saw the blue and white.

    • October 18, 2013 at 5:58 pm — Reply

      It is actually the South African flag.

  13. October 18, 2013 at 5:46 pm — Reply

    I love this.It really is beautiful.

    October 25, 2013 at 4:00 pm — Reply

    Something needs to be done,let’s save Lake Paradise.the only Lake in A DESERT

  15. October 26, 2013 at 2:40 pm — Reply

    What’s up to every one, the contents existing at
    this site are in fact awesome for people experience, well, keep
    up the good work fellows.

  16. Manesha
    November 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm — Reply

    Wait the Nile cabbage is not the same as that annoying weed in lake Victoria,…needless to say it almost impossible to “weed” a lake so I guess keeping its memory in photos is the only option..

  17. […] the most famous elephant in Kenya, Ahmed the Elephant died in 1974 at the retirement age of 55. The male elephant was born at the Marsabit National […]

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