Kenya’s Chalbi Desert Safari Experience
Near Kenya’s border with Ethiopia, far in the north is a small desert, Chalbi desert in Marsabit County.
Kenya’s Chalbi desert borders Lake Turkana, the largest desert lake in the country to the east.
Although Marsabit and entire northern Kenya are very hot due to their arid nature, Chalbi Desert’s temperatures are way higher making it the hottest place in the country.
But this does not take away the beauty of the great desert; it is coated in the scenic beauty of volcanoes and the remains of ancients lava flows. The population is scarce but over the years, people have learnt of its beauty.
The volcanic mountains towering over the desert from afar have thousands of kilometre-long sand dunes that have become so attractive to travellers in and out of Kenya. From the horizon of the desert coarse sand covers pure rocks from the volcanic action that happened millions of years ago.
Just like Southern African Kalahari and the Namib Deserts, Chalbi Desert has several salt pans which benefit the local community that is made up of pastoralists. They feed it to their cattle as a natural salt lick. History suggests that millions of years ago, there was a lake which dried up and formed what is the present-day Chalbi Desert.
Surprisingly, with the hardships of a desert, some communities here have adapted to the seemingly hard life here. They rear camels and cattle which can withstand the arid nature of Chalbi. They feed on very dry vegetation growing between the lava rocks.
On a note of wonders, Chalbi Desert quenches the thirst of thousands of animals from the Kalacha Oasis. However, it is a few days trek to the oasis. The Rendille and Gabbra community are the main inhabitants of this desert.
The best time to visit Chalbi Desert is between July to October; January to February. You can explore the desert in a desert drive or on a camel’s back.