Sibiloi National Park

Are you planning to travel to unusual destinations for your vacation but you do not know which exact place to visit? If so, then consider Sibiloi National Park a must to include in your bucket list. This protected area features among the very few tourist destinations in the world that reward visitors with authentic wilderness experiences that they have ever thought about while on safari in Africa. Sibiloi National Park lies along the shores of Lake Turkana (the famous Jade Sea), northeastern Kenya. Lake Turkana is popular as the largest permanent desert Lake in the world making it one of the most exceptional safari destinations. Unlike other protected areas, Sibiloi National Park features as the Cradle of Mankind due to its significant archaeological sites which comprise of Koobi Fora where most of the rare fossil remains have largely played a significant role towards understanding human evolution. Koobi Fora area is undeniably the best site for archaeological, paleontological and geological exploration. It is famous for movements of the earth, human origins and mammalian evolution that occurred more than 4 million years ago and the most interesting part of it is its largest landscape with fossil exposures which a waits for you to explore and discover while on safari in Africa.

Sibiloi was designated as a national park in 1973 mainly to offer refuge to its rarest archaeological sites on earth and also its significant ecological biodiversity. Due to its untouched natural, cultural and historical attractions, Sibiloi National Park features among Kenya’s most significant UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The park covers an area of 157o square kilometers and it comes with incredible sceneries. It mainly features semi desert habitat and vast plains along side volcanic mountains like Mount Sibiloi which also features the Petrified Forest. This park is an incredible stopover for most of the migrant waterfowl and also acts as the main breeding ground for most of the Nile crocodiles that can be sighted on the north, Central and southern Islands of Lake Turkana. This Lake holds more than 12000 crocodiles making it the largest solitary thriving community in the world.

Besides, it is also one of the important sites for you to spot out most of the lions, leopards, grant gazelles, gerenuks, Beisa Oryx, Grevy’s zebras, stripped hyenas, northern topi, cheetahs, greater kudu as well as more than 350 distinct species of water and terrestrial birds including pelicans, flamingos, ducks, skimmers, herons, Heuglin’s bustards,  crested lark and others. The park is bordered by the Turkana, Dassanach and Gabra which also come with amazing and authentic traditional cultures.

Besides, the park also inhabits distinct flora species especially commiphora woodlands, desert roses and euphorbia. For the most fascinating safari in Kenya, never miss to pay a visit to Koobi Fora Museum and the park’s distinct archaeological sites that describe this protected area as the cradle of Mankind. You will have a chance to sight some of its most groundbreaking fossilized finds especially the giant tortoise remains that date 3 million years, skeleton of an Elephas recki, 45 foot long crocodile called Behemoth and the prized Turkana Boy that is only sight privately at the Nairobi National Museum. This national park became famous after Dr. Richard Leakey has exposed more about the ancient skull of an early man at the site and up to the park plus the Turkana basin have turned to be areas for scientific study and research.

Other remarkable tourist attractions that are of great interest for most visitors include the Karsa waterhole which features as a unique site for freshwater that attracts most of incredible wildlife species that come and drink its water, Jarigole pillars which stands as an excavation site of a pre iron age burial ground, Karari escarpment-an excavation of two old sites which are over a million years old and not to forget nature walks in and around the petrified forest and along the Koobi For a spit; mount Sibiloi also straddles within 1700 meters above sea level making it one of the best areas for visitors to sight as well as other areas like Lake Turkana on the northeastern border which features as the main source of life in the dry-semi arid parts of the park. The park derived its name from Mount Sibiloi which offers the spectacular views at the Allia Bay along the south perimeter.

Tourist activities in Sibiloi National Park

Sibiloi National Park is remarkably the best protected are in Kenya that allows you to enjoy a fly in tour of Koobi Fora, cultural encounters through interactions with local tribes like Gabra, Dassanach and Turkana which reward visitors with remarkable and authentic African experiences, birding, wildlife viewing, camping, archaeological exploration and many more.

Best time to visit Sibiloi National Park

Given its strategic location in the Northern Frontier of Kenya, the park experiences both hot and semi arid type of climate. During daytime, the temperatures are kept high all year round but differs based on certain months of the year and location. Sibiloi plus Lake Turkana and the Matthews Mountain ranges including Namunyak along with the precincts of Mount Nyiru feature among the two stunning points of interest which provide distinct weather patterns altogether. The average high and low temperatures on the highlands at times remain lower than that at the lowland desert Lake borders. Lake Turkana also experiences the least annual precipitation compared to the Matthews Mountain range, Mount Nyiru and Namunyak. The temperatures in the upland areas can be cool and this is at night time and this means that you have to come along with your fleece to keep you warm through the night. Around Matthews mountain ranges, Mount Nyiru and Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy temperatures range from 29 to 32 degrees Celsius and at night hours they decrease to 16-18 degrees Celsius but this still differs from month to month. This region experiences 2 dry seasons and 2 wet seasons and preferably the dry season is the best for you to explore this park while you are on safari in Kenya. During this period, though most wildlife species become more central and least dispersed this region features below average wildlife numbers. Most wildlife species confine in fewer water sources making it the perfect season to view the largest population of these incredible wild creatures.

Visitors should also note during the dry season, vegetation covers becomes scarce and the dry terrain turns to be more ideal for wildlife viewing, safari walks and excursions to most of the park’s archaeological, cultural and historical sites around Lake Turkana.  These remarkable variables offer the best time for ecological viewing as the viewing areas can be easily accessed. The long dry season takes place from July to October while the short dry season starts between January and February. The moisture comes with renewed life of flora and fauna and it is a period when you will have a chance to catch a glimpse at several newest generations of herbivores given the abundant water and pasture. Visitor numbers decrease between April and May in some areas between June and even lodges tend to reduce on the costs of their rooms. Note that it is at times challenging for one to transverse during the wet season given the fact that the terrains become wet. The shortest rains start between November and December.

How to access Sibiloi National Park

Sibiloi National Park is located 800 kilometers away from Nairobi and it takes visitors about 3 days while driving from Nairobi through Marsabit and North Horr and Maralal and south Horr. The other route takes you from Nairobi to Kalokol down the Lake’s western shore through Kitale and Lodwar. By road, the park is best accessible by a 4 wheel drive which can navigate through the remotest areas of Kenya.

From Kalokol boat rental services are available for you to cross over to Allia bay. There are also two key airstrips for visitors who may prefer using flights to connect up to the park the one at Koobi For a and around the park. Others are located around Marsabit, Kalokol, Loiyangalani, North Horr and Lodwar and only commercial flight do operate on the Lodwar air field. Note that Sibiloi National Park has only one major gate at Karsa gate and others are found at Allia Bay and Koobi Fora.

Lodges in Sibiloi National Park

For visitor stays, the notable accommodation facilities include tented camps which are available around the Oasis Lodge and Lobolo Tented Camp. The Kenya Wildlife Services self catering accommodation also solely straddles at Allia Bay Guesthouse. Other Camping sites include Koobi Fora, Turkana campsite and sunset strip camp.

In conclusion, Sibiloi National Park is one of Kenya’s most spectacular protected areas that you shouldn’t miss to include in your travel plan. This park features among the very few stunning conservations which offer the rarest tourist attractions that are of significant interest to the world travelers. If you are an archaeologist, cultural enthusiast, bird lover, nature lover or you are interested in wildlife viewing, Sibiloi National Park is such an incredible site that is worth visiting while you are on safari in Africa.