HomeDestinationsAfricaKenyaNorthernNorth Horr – Desert Oasis

North Horr – Desert Oasis

In my last post I was in Chalbi Desert on my way to North Horr. We got to North Horr at around 7 pm. I was beat. The first thing I did was sit on a rock and try to figure out the constellations. I failed miserably, I am definitely way better at making out shapes from clouds.  The night sky is beautiful; the stars were so bright that it looked like they were holes in the floor of heaven.

After moving my luggage to my room I had a quick dinner (plenty of delicious goat meat) and then went to shower. The pair of mismatched slippers that I found in my room came in handy when it came to showering. The facilities at Northern Palm Shade are very basic. There is a single loo (a latrine) and shower (for 10+ bandas) and they’re both outdoors. I would advise you to carry your own toiletries.

North Horr_bandaA Banda (a hut with a thatched roof)

There is not much to write about the bandas either. They are made of mud and the roofs are thatched. There’s a light bulb, a double bed, a mosquito net and a chair. That is about it. I remember asking if there was a socket in the room and the proprietor’s reply was ‘Yanini?’ (What for?). It’ll cost you Kshs 1000 ($11) to spend the night there. You can also choose to sleep outside (it so much cooler) .. just make sure you have a mosquito net. Beware of scorpions though.

There is also a bar with a TV, if you feel the need to catch up with local news. You can buy the common brands of beer but do not expect them to be ice cold. There is a generator so I was able to charge my phone and camera batteries.

I think I went to sleep at around 1 am. We were all bonding by the light of the single lightbulb outside the bar. To be honest I was asleep by midnight but I was too lazy to get up to go to my room. I didn’t have the best of nights because my mosquito net didn’t completely cover my bed. I woke up with a couple of mosquito bites in the morning.

I was up by around 6 am the next morning with the help of my human alarm clock, Karue (the photographer). The plan was to walk around a bit and take pictures of the sunrise.

North Horr_first glimpse of sunrise


North Horr_ sunrise near hq


North Horr_the town


North Horr_the town2

We didn’t walk far; we only made it a few meters outside the gate of Northern Palm Shade. I am not a morning person but I am a huge fan of watching the sun rise. The beautiful sunrise at North Horr is definitely one of my favourites.

North Horr_purple sunrise


North Horr_dramatic sunrise

We were a bit late for the sunrise thanks to the long queue for the bathroom but Karue was able to capture some fantastic shots.

North Horr_Silhouette


North Horr_Palms Silhouette


North Horr_day breakThe day finally breaks

While leaving Marsabit we spotted a female camel that had pieces of cloth tied on the ends of its teats. We asked Tuko our driver for an explanation and he told us that their purpose was to stop the milk from flowing freely. In his words ‘Maziwa inatirirka kama maji ya mfereji’ (The milk flows from the teats like water from an open tap). That sounded a bit off to me because last I checked camels are actually milked and I had yet to see a camel leaking milk. I asked around and it turns out that the pieces of cloth are there to prevent the young from breastfeeding.

North Horr_Camel calf breast feeding


North Horr_watering point


North Horr_Camels at watering point

What to do in North Horr *scratches head*… err… camel watch? Meet the locals? If those tickle your fancy then North Horr is THE place to be. I am probably not the best person to ask about what to do in North Horr since I spent most of the time sleeping.

After breakfast we went to see the permanent spring that is the town’s water supply.

North Horr_migrating birdsFlock of migrating birds

The spring is fenced to protect it.

North Horr_Horr Gudha spring


North Horr_Horr Gudha spring2


North Horr_Horr Gudha spring_sign postSign Post at the spring’s entrance


North Horr_Horr Gudha spring_sign post_up close

I only just noticed the addition on the bottom of the sign, ‘Hakuna ruhusa ya kuoga’ ( it is forbidden to bathe at the spring) – I totally understand why one would be tempted.

Soon we were back to the harsh desert, off to our next destination Sibiloi National park.

I’d like to thank KarueWachira for allowing me to use his work for this blog post. You can check out his work here.

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Koobi Fora - Base Camp & Sunset Hues


  1. October 23, 2013 at 11:51 am — Reply

    Beautiful Sunrise, the orange hues are beautiful. Goodness, I have never seen so many camels in one place. You were to tell us how you got to visit all these places, or will that be on the final post?

    • October 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm — Reply

      Yes I will. All will be in the final post.

  2. Manesha
    October 23, 2013 at 11:51 am — Reply

    LOL at the explanation about the camel, the sunrise shot by Karue is breathtaking!

    • October 23, 2013 at 5:16 pm — Reply

      We all had a good laugh about it.

    • Karũe
      October 27, 2013 at 9:26 pm — Reply

      Thanks Manesha!!! The sunrises in the North are some of the most beautiful I have seen!!

  3. keniamoja
    October 23, 2013 at 11:54 am — Reply

    I love the dramatic sunrise.

  4. October 23, 2013 at 6:21 pm — Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    I’d love to go to North Horr to see the beautiful night sky that you saw. The sunrise is also lovely as captured by the stunning photos. I also love the photos of the migrating birds and camels.

  5. October 23, 2013 at 7:26 pm — Reply

    Beautiful photos 🙂

  6. October 24, 2013 at 7:37 am — Reply

    Stunning sunrise! I’m not a morning person either but I’ll get up to watch the sun. It’s such an awe inspiring experience.

  7. October 24, 2013 at 8:01 am — Reply

    Those sunrise photos are spectacular! I would love to go here someday. How neat are those migrating birds and seeing all those camels.What a beautiful place!

  8. October 25, 2013 at 5:20 am — Reply

    I agree with every word Mary said about the sunrise. These photos are breath-taking. I am also a big fan of photos of locals’ faces and the nature. The bird snapshot really took my breath away!

  9. October 25, 2013 at 8:21 pm — Reply

    Love the beautiful sunrise images – especially the silhouette. In a way, it sounds ideal to travel to a destination where there’s nothing to do except watch camels. Sometimes it’s nice to do away with travel plans and itineraries.

  10. October 27, 2013 at 1:14 pm — Reply

    I love what you are doing Rachel,keep it up!

  11. October 31, 2013 at 11:32 am — Reply

    I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your
    blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back down the road.
    All the best

  12. TheF1Croc
    November 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm — Reply

    That sunrise…marvelous!
    Also, “definitely way better at making out shapes from clouds.”

  13. November 25, 2013 at 9:31 pm — Reply

    Another set of gorgeous photos, love them all!

  14. waisay
    February 13, 2014 at 5:56 pm — Reply

    Its beautiful. That guy who takes the pictures is a real photographer. I love! Keep on posting.

  15. June 22, 2015 at 9:30 am — Reply

    Is it just me or the place looks so… dry. If I’m to go backpacking there, I’d probably go just for the beautiful sky. It’s a portrait right there.

    • June 27, 2015 at 9:32 am — Reply

      It is dry..it is in the middle of a desert. It is perfect for camping though, the skies are so clear at night.

  16. John galgallo
    October 30, 2018 at 12:03 pm — Reply

    I am youth from North: born in North horr, schooled my primary level but studeid high school and college out side and worked in North horr many years. It is very condusive environment,animals(domestic) and wild life to be watched and even now it has a swimming pool you can take to cool your body from hot daytime I love north horr.

  17. Emmanuel
    March 14, 2021 at 12:11 pm — Reply

    North horr is a place known for its beauty.Those who love geography, this is your place.

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