The Marsabit Forest remains one of the biggest virgin forests in Kenya. It has been able to survive exploitation and human damage thanks to its geographical position. Located within the Marsabit National Park, the Marsabit Forest is approximately 570 kilometres from Nairobi and around 200 kilometres from Isiolo. The harsh climatic conditions surrounding the forest make it minimally habitable, therefore keeping away people that might want to harm the forest. Below are some reasons why the Marsabit Forest is a hidden haven of life.
Major catchment area
If you have been to Marsabit, then you know that the county falls between arid and semi-arid descriptions. The area has little green vegetation with mostly scrubs, scattered grass and acacia trees at best. However, the Marsabit Forest is heavily green full of different plant and tree species all of which play a huge role in catching water from above. Every day winds from the Indian Ocean blow towards this forest where they fast condense thanks to the low temperatures experienced in the forest. The clouds formed either fall as precipitation, or get caught by the moss and leaves of the tall trees therefore creating a permanent film of fog present throughout the year. The rain that falls in this forest provides water for the animals and locals in forms of lakes, springs and underground wells.
The Marsabit Forest is home to over 300 bird species, mammals, reptiles and other invertebrates. Among them include leopards, lions, gazelles, zebra, oryx, wild camels and Elephants. In fact, the Marsabit Forest likely holds the largest number of heavily tusked elephants, which faced major threats up until the 1970’s. The elephants enjoy the heavy cover the forest provides and occasionally come out to play, bath and drink from the different lakes found in the forest.
Mount Marsabit is an extinct Volcano that lies in the heart of the forest. In fact, it is because of the raised altitude the mountain provides that the rain forest is able to survive and thrive.
Being dormant, the craters formed from previous volcanic activities now act as lakes that hold water from the constant rains. There are three crater lakes in the forest namely: Gof Sokorte Dirka, The Elephant Pool and the more popular Lake Paradise. The lakes are permanent and are homes to several bird life including wild geese. The lakes also provide water for the various animals found in the forest.
Activities around Marsabit Forest
As was already mentioned, Marsabit Forest lies within the Marsabit National Park. One can enjoy a number of other activities after enjoying the exploration of the forest. These include:
- Game drives in the park
- Picnics and camping in authorized areas
- Camel rides across the plains
- A visit to the singing wells
- Meeting local people
Getting to and driving through the Marsabit Forest requires a raised 4WD car thanks to the muddy and often flooded tracks.