The Marsabit National park lies in northern Kenya, about 560km north of Nairobi in Marsabit district. The park covers area of 1,554 sq. Km and comprises of densely forested mountain and three crater lakes that are the only permanent surface of water in the region. At the centre of the park is an extinct volcano – the height of which creates a microclimate that supports a huge tract of indigenous forest that in turn supports a wide variety of wildlife. The Montane forest is supplied water by thick mist which forms overnight as the hot air rises off the desert and cools. The mist often lingers till late morning. The park has many extinct volcanic craters known as Gofs. One of the largest of these is Gof Sokorte Guda which has Lake Paradise at the bottom of it. The lake is ringed with scenic forest and the birding is fantastic. It is also a refuge for the rare Lammergeyer Vulture and is known for the diversity of its butterfly species.
Major wildlife attractions include the African elephant, the endangered Grevy’s zebra, lion, leopard, buffalo, bushbuck, large herds of greater and lesser kudus, common zebra, grant’s gazelles and many other small antelopes. The park is famous for its elephant named Ahmed that was provided with 24hr security surveillance by presidential decree in the 70’s, to demonstrate Kenya’s commitment to wildlife conservation. The parks can be accessed through two gates; Ahmed and Abdul. The park is 2.5 hrs by air from Nairobi and is adequately served by a tarmac airstrip located about 4km from the Park’s main gate.
Marsabit National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife such as Elephants, Rhino, Lion, Buffalo and Leopard. The downside of Marsabit is that the forest is so thick that game viewing is very challenging. However, it can be very rewarding if you have patience. The Park is home to the greatest number of graceful Greater Kudu Antelope and the rare Grevy’s Zebra and Reticulated Giraffe. The park is also home to 350 bird species of which 52 are birds of prey. Click here to read more about Kenya Safari Animals and Wildlife.
The range of landscapes in this park mean there’s a lot of variation in altitude. This, in turn, means the temperature can change a lot too, dropping 6.5°C/3.5°F for every 1,000m/1,000ft you ascend. January to March is hot and dry, April to June is hot and wet,July to October is very warm and dry, November and December are warm and wet.
Like most of Kenya’s parks, Marsabit National Park can be visit all year round and see wildlife. However, the best time for wildlife viewing is during the dry season from June to October and December to March, when there’s a virtual parade of beasts at the crater lakes. The April and May long rains, which bring torrential downpours and washed-out roads, are best avoided.
Marsabit Lodge is the only lodging located inside the park. The lodge lies in an exquisite location and offers stunning views. The other accommodation options inside the park are the two KWS public campsites; Ahmed Campsite is located by the main Ahmed Gate some 3.2 km from Marsabit lodge. Abdul Campsite located by Abdul gate and is close to Park HQ Special Paradise Campsite: a grassy clearing on the shores of Lake Paradise.
Typical double tent interior at Luxurious Elewana Tortilis Camp, Amboseli.
Typical double room interior at Amboseli Sopa Lodge.