A Northern Kenya Adventure: Part 2- Marsabit Town to North Horr
In the last post, we travelled from Nairobi to Marsabit town. This is part two of the series covering the journey from Marsabit town to North Horr.
Photography by Elvis and yours truly
After a simple hot breakfast, we embarked on our journey to North Horr. We left at around 7:30 am and less than ten minutes away from the town, we took a left turn and immediately bid the smooth tarmac road goodbye.
The heat also kicked in at this point and our driver Francis let us know that it was a good introduction to what the next couple of days would look like.
Shortly after we made our way to Gof Aredo crater. We trekked up a small hill to get to the crater and it was very windy, so much so that it feels as though you will be swept away. The crater itself is big and beautiful. There is no signage to get to the crater so I’d recommend travelling with a local guide. Aside from the locals, not many people have visited the place or even heard of it.
From there, the landscape is dusty and bare, you might want to cover your face with a scarf or close the windows in the vehicle lest your face and hair are filled with dust. Just like I mentioned in Part 1, you need some snacks and you need to stay hydrated. There’s not much to see, other than pastoralists with their herds of camels and goats and dry luggas. The journey feels endless and you might want to get lost in some music or take a nap.
We could see some hills in the distance, and lava flow which made the landscape so interesting. I could not help but marvel at the beauty and diversity of this country.
The road here is rocky but not rough but I would highly recommend using a 4WD vehicle. We got to see a Kori Bustard, casually strutting by. I later learnt that they are the largest and heaviest flying birds and that they are native to Africa.
As luck would have it, were informed that we could not go to Chalbi Desert because it had rained a couple of weeks prior. When it rains, the desert accumulates and somehow becomes a makeshift lake. Chalbi desert, unlike what many people assume, is a plain salt bed, there are no sand dunes.
Usually, vehicles pass by the desert to cross over to North Horr. For that reason, we had to take a detour which cost us almost two hours on the road. When you’re planning a trip to North Horr, it is important to find out about the state of the desert and the road and I would recommend or travelling with a local. At this point it was so hot, everybody was exhausted.
After hours of staring at the same scene, passing by Kalacha shopping centre was so refreshing. We then made our way to Kalacha Oasis, which sits at the edge of Chalbi Desert. The Oasis is absolutely beautiful, not to mention cool, which we appreciated. It has natural springs and herders come to water their livestock. Doum Palms dot the place and it definitely looks like what you’d imagine an oasis to be, minus the small lake. The place is stunning and of course we stopped to take tons of pictures.
The drive from Kalacha to North Horr is not long but the bumpy ride will make it feel like three hours. We got to North Horr just in time for lunch at our home for the night, Northern Palm Shade Lodge.
After lunch, the only thing that makes sense is to nap or go for swimming, given how hot it is. We opted to do the latter. We went to and paid Kshs. 300 each. A quick refreshing dip was much needed.
Right after we headed to the moving sand dunes of North Horr, the moment everyone was waiting for.
Seeing just one dune was a bit disappointing, to say the least. I expected at least two dunes and, way bigger than the one we saw. Bear in mind that you might just find one dune when you visit, as they move.
Though it looked small, we quickly realised that it was huge once we climbed it. The dune is absolutely beautiful and the golden sand shimmered against the setting sun. The result was these beautiful pictures.
We visited just in time for sunset and we caught the most dramatic sunset I’ve seen in a while. It was spectacular. The best time to visit the dune is right before sunrise or sunset, to witness the beauty of the place and to avoid the scorching sun.
The drive back to our accommodation was so lovely, the beautiful dusk colours in the sky as night creeped in and a magical moonrise. Nature was really showing off that evening.
We made our way back to accommodation for the night, had dinner under the stars, and played card games. The temperature at night is cool, which is perfect. We slept in traditional huts and do bear in mind that accommodation here is very basic. Do not expect anything fancy. so bear that in mind. At Northern Palm Shade, you can either sleep in the huts or camp. The bathrooms and latrines are outdoors and shared. Though our hosts provided slippers, some toilet paper and soap, I’d suggest that you carry your own toiletries.
Each hut has a light bulb and sockets, so we were able to charge our devices. Safaricom network/cell reception is also available. The hosts have a fridge, where you can cool your drinks and they also sell water and soft drinks.
That was day two, quite long but it ended beautifully.
Stay tuned for Part three of my Marsabit County adventure. If you’re hungry for more, enjoy the sneak peeks and behind the scenes of the journey on my Instagram.
Until next time,