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9-Days Samburu, Marsabit, Turkana, Sibiloi Expeditions.

Overview:

Samburu game reserve lies on the northern bank of Uaso Nyiro River, the river serves as the only source of water, without which the game in the reserve could not survive in the arid country. Samburu’s topography is composed of river Uaso Nyiro which flows from the Kenyan highlands and flows to Lorian swamp, scattered acacia, riverine forest, thorn trees and grassland vegetation. The climate for Samburu is hot dry with cool nights with an average annual maximum temperature of 30ºc and minimum annual temperature of 20ºc. There is a wide variety of animal and bird life seen at Samburu National Reserve. Several species are considered unique to the region, including its unique dry-country animal life: All three big cats, lion, cheetah and leopard, can be found here, as well as elephants, buffalo and hippos, Olive baboon, gerenuk, warthogs, Grant’s gazelle, Kirk’s dik-dik, impala, waterbuck, Grevy’s zebra, Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe. Somali Ostrich and over 350 bird species. Samburu is also a Maasai land, the Maasai people whom by definition speak the Maa language hence the name Maasai have held on to their culture even in these times of modernization. The Maasai are an attraction in Kenya since they managed to stick to their culture.

Marsabit: The town of Marsabit is a major urban civilization in the Marsabit county, a vast desert of northern Kenya. Marsabit town is situated on an isolated extinct volcano. Mount Marsabit, which rises almost a kilometre above the plateau. The hills have a cool dense tropical forest in contrast to the adjacent deserts of Kaisut, Korr and Chalbi. It is a cool, green and forested realm, often swathed in mist. This has supported full-scale agriculture and wildlife in the park. The leafy terrain supports the Marsabit national park and the larger Marsabit national reserve.

Marsabit town is a cosmopolitan but mainly inhabited by the Cushitic-speaking Borana, Burji, Gabbra and Rendille. There are also some Nilotic Turkana and Bantu Ameru residents. Additionally, there are a few Somali traders. It might have been named after a Burji farmer called Marsa who was brought to Marsabit (from Ethiopia) by colonialists to teach the locals how to grow crops. When his name was called out by his masters, “Marsa” used to answer “Abet” (Yes in Amharic) and this led to the creation of the name Marsa-Abeit – which later became Marsabit. Another possible narrative of a white explorer Donaldson Smith who wandered the plains of lowland Marsabit in the 1890s and, pointing to the mountainous region, said: It looks like the surface of Mars a bit”

Marsabit National Park comprises a forested mountain and three impressive crater lakes that provide a habitat for a huge population of animals such as buffalo, elephants, giraffe, Grevy zebra, leopard, hyena and lion. Lake Paradise and Bongole Crater located in the heart of the forest are both local attractions for tourists. The park also hosts numerous species of birds.

Kalacha: A small settlement by the oasis located at the edge of Chalbi desert. It is dotted by doum palms and acacia trees. The main inhabitants are the Gabbra tribe. These are pastoralist keeping camels as a sign of wealth and status. Gabbra has beautiful traditions, their unique adornments and dances are eye-catching.

 

Sibiloi: the cradle of mankind – Sibiloi is home to important archaeological sites including Koobi Fora where the fossil remains have contributed more to the understanding of human evolution than any other site in the continent. The area is characterized by semi-desert habitat and open plains flanked by volcanic formations including Mount Sibiloi, where the remains of a petrified forest can be seen.

The park boasts most striking treasure of a 2-million-year old fossilized skull of Homo habilis that was discovered here. Evidence of Homo erectus was also unearthed along with some 160 additional finds relating to the early hominids. An elephant fossil estimated 1.7 million years old was also excavated here. Another archaeological milestone was 1.6-million-year old fossil of an extinct tortoise.

Petrified forests – the largest areas of petrified cider wood that used to cover the lake shores about 7-million years ago.

The Koobi Fora Museum: extensive paleontological finds have been made, with the discovery of Paranthropus boisei. The discovery of Homo habilis thereafter is evidence of the existence of a relatively intelligent hominid two million years ago and reflect the change in climate from moist forest grassland when the now petrified forest were growing to the present hot desert. The human and pre-human fossils include the remains of five species, Austrolophithecus anamensis, Homo habilis/rudolfensis, Paranthropus boisei, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens all found within one locality. Koobi Fora deposits, rich in mammalian, molluscan and other fossil.

Loyangalani – It is the home of the El Molo and Turkana tribes by the eastern shores of L. Turkana.  It has fresh water springs supporting green vegetation. It got its name from the Samburu dialect meaning “a place of many trees” The major attractions include fishing, desert museum and cultural display.  A chloro-carbonate alkaline water mass with mercurial blue-green color that has earned it the title ‘The Jade Sea’.The Marsabit cultural festival is held here annually bringing all 14 resident tribes together. 

 

Day 1: Nairobi – Samburu

Depart Nairobi and drive North past coffee plantations via Mt. Kenya to Samburu National Park. Picnic lunch and game drive en route. Enjoy an afternoon game drive in the park. Dinner and overnight at the campsite.

Day 2: Samburu {Full Day}

A full day of game viewing in the park. Early morning game drive after breakfast when most game is active just before the hot scorching sun force most animals look for shelter. Lunch will be served at the camp. When the sun turns to the west, we leave for afternoon game drive. Despite being so far-flung, the reserve harbours a number of species rarely found anywhere else. Among these are Grevy’s zebra, the reticulated giraffe and the beisa oryx, all of which are only found north of the equator. All Meals and overnight at the camp.

Day 3: Samburu – Marsabit

We drive further through the hot dry plains of Archer’s Post, Merile, Laisamis, Loglogo to Marsabit. The cool weather welcomes to the oasis of Marsabit. The green natural vegetation and farmlands make a sharp contradiction to the neighbouring expansive arid area. We drive to the national park, Abdul gate campsite. We do our evening game drive. Overnight at the Abdul campsite or optional town hotel.

Day 4: Marsabit – Kalacha

Leave Marsabit heading West, traverse Korori desert, a plain of hard compacted sand, black volcanic rocks with minimum vegetation and no shade in sight. The area is hot but the scenic landscape soothes.

Day 5: Kalacha-Sibiloi

Leave Kalacha via Noth Horr to Sibiloi National park arriving in time for lunch. The Chalbi desert the only true desert, in a shallow depression after drying up of a former lake. During the rainy season, water flows mostly from the mountains in Ethiopia and the sprouts grass despite the high salt content in the soil. Optional boat ride into the lake. Dinner and overnight at the camp/Bandas

Day 6: Sibiloi {Koobi fora}

Leave Sibiloi National park to the Archeological site Koobi Fora National Museum arriving in time for lunch. Spend your afternoon by exploring this Fantastic Museum and various excavation sites. Petrified and unearthed: elephant, crocodile, turtle, fish eggs and a forest. The museum is located on the finds of excavations by the Leakey family. The gallery forest on the only temporary water leading river Il Alia is populated by many birds. In ponds catfish and crocodiles can be found. Few game also roams the park. Dinner and Overnight at the camp.

Day 7: Sibiloi – Loiyangalani

After early breakfast at 06:00hrs leave Koobi Fora for Loiyangalani oasis at shore of Lake Turkana which is the largest desert and alkaline lake in the world and extends for 288km up to the Ethiopian-Kenyan border. It is surrounded by volcanic rock and desert arriving in sfternoon. The Jade Sea, as it is also known, is famous for its large crocodiles. The smallest tribe of Kenya’s the El Molo is found here. This is an unforgettable experience under a star studded sky so close you. Dinner and overnight at the camp.

Day 8: Loiyangalani – Mararal

We depart early in the morning and proceed on a rocky road south to Mt. Nyiro (2,752 m), across lava flows and sand fields to South Horr Valley situated between Mt Nyiro and Ol Doinyo Mara with breathtaking scenery. It passes the valley of Suguta valley with only a few hundred meters above sea level. one of the deepest and hottest points of the Great Rift Valley. The valley is characterized by volcanic cones and dry riverbeds (in the rain they become raging rivers) as we continue to climb on torturous, rocky hills to Maralal. Near Maralal is one of the most breath taking scenes in all of Kenya – the Losiolo escarpment, an endless stretch as land drops down to the Suguta valley. Dinner and overnight in camp.

Day 9: Mararal – Nairobi.

Heading south again via Laikipia plains.  A stopover at the Thomson Falls just outside Nyahururu town. After lunch, drive back to Nairobi arriving by late afternoon.

♦♦♦♦♦ End of safari.♦♦♦♦♦

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