Overview – Marsabit NP

Anthony Ham
Expert
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Marsabit National Park is located in northern Kenya, a part of the country that will only appeal to the intrepid, adventurous traveler. Anybody traveling this far north will find a stopover in this little-visited park very worthwhile. Its wildlife-viewing centerpiece is a beautiful forest-fringed crater lake overlooked by Marsabit Lodge. Elephants, relatives of Ahmed – a former big tusker that received ‘presidential protection’ in his day – pass by the lake daily.

Best Time to Go June to September and January to February
High Season December to March and July to October (Not busy)
Size 1,554km² / 600mi²
Altitude 483-1,513m / 1,585-4,964ft

Pros & Cons

  • Un-touristy, little-visited park
  • Beautiful crater lakes in dense forest
  • Magical elephant encounters in front of Marsabit Lodge
  • Excellent birding
  • Only one very run-down lodge
  • The park is undeveloped
  • Human encroachment
  • Only one short game-drive track
  • Very hot climate

Marsabit NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

The dense forest of the park and lack of facilities and tracks makes wildlife viewing very challenging, but a visit to the lodge in the late afternoon is a great way to catch the elephants on their daily walk around the crater lake. The elephants here are renowned for their big tusks. Other animals present, but rarely seen include lion, leopard and buffalo.

Scenery

The densely forested Mount Marsabit is a fine example of a basalt shield volcano. The mountain is peppered with extinct volcanic craters, known as gofs (the name given to them by the local Borana people). The craters are lined with stands of juniper. Scenic Gof Sokorte Dika lies immediately in front of Marsabit Lodge.

Weather & Climate

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. Generally, though, it stays hot here, certainly in the Dry season (June to September) but even more so in the heart of the Wet season (October to May).

Best Time to Visit

Animals roam far and wide when the park is wet, and those that stay can easily disappear into the dense vegetation. So, the Wet season (October to May) is not the best time to strap on your binoculars – unless birds are your priority, that is. To see other animals out in the open, visit in the drier months when there’s a virtual parade of beasts at the crater lakes.

Want to Visit Marsabit NP?

Marsabit NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Nana Luckham  –  
United Kingdom UK

Nana is a travel writer and author of multiple guidebooks, including the Lonely Planet guides to Africa, Zambia & Malawi and South Africa.

Deep, dark woodland and crater lakes
3/5

With its remote location and terrible access roads, Marsabit National Park doesn’t make it onto many tourist itineraries. Those that do journey up here won’t find big five excitement but can instead enjoy wild, dense forest and crater...

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Latest User Review
Ronald Vriesema Reviewed: Aug 21, 2012
2/5

Not much wildlife, difficult to travel. Lake has dried up.

Full Review