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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The spring is fenced to protect it.
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.