5 Top Reasons To Visit Sibiloi National Park
Here are 5 top reasons to visit Sibiloi National Park. Located in Northern Kenya on the north eastern shore of Lake Turkana, Sibiloi National Park is among the most beautiful places you will ever come across when in Kenya. Although limited and not as big as other safari parks in the country, Sibiloi’s 606 square miles should be your go-to place to learn more about culture and human evolution at large. It is home to several geological and archeological sites like Koobi Fora hence her catch phrase, “The Cradle Of Mankind” as often referred to by locals and tourists from all over the world. Meanwhile earth movements and human origins going as far back as 4 million years have been noticed on several site. By 1973 this area was already a national park, however 15 to 20 years later in the 1990s the numerous unique historical findings and authentic traditional assets enabled the park to be recognized as world heritage by UNESCO, how cool is that?
Although semi-desert in nature with a hot dry wilderness, the park has several breath-taking scenery and terrains, these include; Lake Turkana which is the biggest desert lake in the world and also the largest soda lake in the rift valley takes the parks natural beauty on a whole different level. The savannah grasslands and riverine forests will take your mind on a safari of its own. There are over 300 recorded bird species some of which are migrant in nature, the commonly seen ones include; pelicans, herons, flamingos, African skimmers among others, the beautiful off-shore area in the park serves as a breeding ground for the birds and crocodiles.
This park is home to large numbers of various animal species that you will spot while touring, among these are the lions, cheetahs, leopards, jackals, spotted hyenas, Grevy’s and Burchell’s Zebras, kudu, large crocodiles and so many others.
I could go on and on about this amazing place, so here are 5 top reasons why you and your loved ones should visit Sibiloi National Park;
1. Koobi Fora Museum.
There are so many preserved pre-historic artifacts and fossils of both humans, plants and animals at Koobi Fora like the remains of a 45-foot-long crocodile named behemoth and the 3-million-year-old giant tortoise’s remains among several other findings. As if things could not get any more interesting than this, there is still plenty of virgin land at the park filled with exposed fossils that have not yet been explored! The museum is going to be filled to the brim with lots of cool stuff for you and I to look at and learn about.
2. Bird Watching (Birding).
With over 300 recorded aquatic and terrestrial bird species, the park will surely quench all your bird watching thirst. The most commonly seen birds include; The Chestnut-bellied sand grouse, Somali ostriches, Northern Carmine and Somali bee-eater, Kori and Heuglin’s bustard among others. Birding is more prominent on the northern shores of Lake Turkana. There are several European migrant bird species that are often sighted at the park especially around April and May. You will be able to take as many pictures and videos of any birds of your choice.
The park is home to several terrestrial mammals like the lions, zebras, Beisa oryx, Grant gazelles, stripped hyenas, cheetahs, greater kudu and several others. It is also home to the largest desert lake in the whole world (Lake Turkana) which a well-known breeding ground for the Nile crocodiles and hippos. While touring you will be able to see all of these amazing animals and even birds. Their beauty will blow your mind away.
4. Game Drives.
This a major activity that the park is famous for. It involves driving through known trails around the park in order to have a close up look at most of the animals. Game drives at Sibiloi will give you a chance to see some rare and endangered species like the striped hyenas and Grevy’s zebras, these are both rare and endangered respectively. Sightings of the plain zebras, cheetahs, hippos and even some members of the Big Five like the lions and leopards will grace your game drive.
This is the largest alkaline lake in the world and happens to be the only source of water for the entire park which makes it an essential part since it sustains all the aquatic life. Lake Turkana has three islands and they act as breeding grounds for the Nile crocodiles and hippos and at the same time act as stop overs for migratory birds. This huge lake is a must-see when at the park.
5. Cultural Experience.
The humble surroundings of the park are home to three local tribes these are; the Turkana, Gabbra and Dassanach local people. Their traditional cultures and practices are still pure and intact hence have never been tampered with by modern practices. During harsh dry seasons some other tribes like the Rendille and Sambura people join them. If planned ahead of time, tours of the traditional people can be arranged and you get a chance to experience their technology free lifestyles. On the other hand, you can witness the uniqueness of all these people during their annual cultural event locally known as, “The Marsabit-Lake Turkana Cultural Festival” which takes place at Loyangalani.
This involves you walking on foot to see the different features, animals and birds at the park. Nature walks are an ideal exercise but most importantly enable you to have a hands-on experience of the park and its inhabitants. Trained game rangers who are familiar with the area will lead you into the forests, lake shores, to different areas of your choice. Just be sure to carry your camera and enjoy the thrill.
When To Visit The Park
The park is open to tourists 12 months a year, this means that whatever time is convenient for you, the park is available. The desert climate of Lake Turkana implies that they receive little to no rainfall, I advise you to visit just after the rainy months for a more breath-taking scenery preferably between December and March.
How To Access The Park
The park is approximately between 665 to 700km from Nairobi (Kenya’s capital city) so the park can either be accessed by air or road.
There are several chartered flights leading to the park for example from Nairobi to Lodwar which is at the western side of Lake Turkana, there are other flights leading to different places near the lake. Book whichever is more convenient for you.
This can only be possible using a convoy of preferably 4×4 vehicles that can pass through the Chalbi or Karoli deserts to get to the lake.
You do not have to worry about where you will be sleeping when touring here. Several hotels and lodges were set up to offer you the best accommodation as you desire. They offer luxury, mid-range and budget accommodation.
Luxury Accommodation includes;
These target customers who have no specific budget and are willing to spend as much as they want.
– Lobolo Tented Camp
– Oasis Lodge and
-Desert Rose Lodge.
Mid-Range Accommodation includes;
– Jirime Hotel and Resort which is 114.80km from the park
These are for tourists who are willing to spend but not too much.
Budget Accommodation includes; This is the cheapest accommodation for tourists who have a strict budget that is low and manageable.
– Nomads Trail Hotel, this is 114.39km from the park
-Imperial Dale Hotel Marsabit.
Sibiloi National Park promotes culture, respect archeological studies and research, it preserves a lot of otherwise would-have-been forgotten important pieces of history. It is therefore worthy of your visit.