Travelling Marsabit to Sibiloi
Northern Kenya holds a beauty you won’t find anywhere else in the region. This is the one place you will struggle to get out of mud-bogged rain forest roads and find yourself cruising on dry sun-scorched desert sands few minutes later. It doesn’t sound like much but when you experience it, it is a magnanimous event that will be permanently etched in your mind, right next to memories of the first time you attempted to make chapos.
A few kilometres out of Marsabit, we were in Korori Desert, heading towards Chalbi Desert, with a planned over night in Kalacha.
Nothing grows here. Those things you see popping out of the ground, they are nothing.
There are no designated rest areas on the route from Marsabit to Kalacha. You look for a shade, stop, have lunch, and continue with your journey.
Toyota Landcruisers are the kings, queens and entire royal family of the Chalbi Desert. This is truly the car that Africa can’t break.
In this vastness of stones, hot sand and thorn-infested vegetation, the Gabbra have found a place to call home.
Road maps aren’t very handy here. Only an experienced driver will know where to go. There are no matatus or buses plying this route. Only supply vehicles which offer rides to people going further than their feet can take them.
We had a brief stopover at Maikona Girls’ School in Maikona. We were travelling with the headmistress’ daughter and decided to stop and say Hi. The school has 160 students with 16 seating for KCSE.
With no public transport operating out of Maikona, some students take three weeks to get home once school closes.
Irvine of Safari Desk presents his copy of Steve Job’s biography to Maikona Girls’ head girl. Their library is desperately in need of books and this was his way of helping the situation.
The number of students completing their high school education is much lower than those starting due to early marriage.
After a sumptuous lunch of goat meat, veggies and ugali, we took a photo with the students and proceeded with our journey.
Welcome to Chalbi Desert.
If there’s a show that the desert knows how to set up, sunsets are it. They are amazing to look and marvel at. You’ll always look forward to the next one.
We visited the Kalacha Catholic Church which has key events of the Bible painted on its walls by Ethiopian artists and spotted the young men below relaxing outside the church.
A few seasonal rivers flow on the edge of the Chalbi as you approach North Horr, bringing much needed rain waters from Ethiopia.
The treacherous desert roads are a car breaker. Not just any car can tackle the terrain. Here, its not a beauty pageant, but a brawn battle; it’s more about how toughly a car has been built than how good it looks.
When we broke a leaf spring, some quick first-aid got us back on the road and we were good to go, getting back to Nairobi in one piece four days later.
Even at the entrance to Sibiloi National Park, the car in front is always a Toyota.
At Sibiloi, we found local communities setting up a cultural centre in preparation for the many tourists who would be visiting the area for the eclipse.
No matter where you go, rainbows are always glorious.
Sunset at Koobi Fora Museum on the northern shores of Lake Turkana.
If you’d like to travel to northern Kenya, talk to Safari Desk and they’ll get you the best packages available.