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Chalbi Desert Guide

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The Chalbi Desert is a real gem, it is located in Marsabit County, east of the famous Lake Turkana ( the largest desert lake in Kenya), spreading to the Ethiopian border. Covering an area of 100.000 kilometer square, the Chalbi Desert is one of the hottest and arid places in Kenya. 

Interesting Facts about Chalbi Desert 


  • Chalbi Desert is a stretch of coarse sand spiced up with pure rocks and immense clay where there are also ash-gray ridges and broken clusters of tiny huts.
  • There are pans of salt in the desert which is picked up by many pastoralists and used as a natural animal's saltlink.
  • The desert is surrounded by volcanic hills that create a magical panorama with only selected animals and vegetation that can withstand hostile climates in the entire Sub-Saharan regions.
  • The southern part of the desert is home to the Rendille while the eastern part which is towards the Ethiopian border is home to the Gabbra People.
  • It’s believed that there was a lake in the Chalbi Desert that has dried up a thousand years ago, therefore it was named the Chalbi Desert which means bare and salty.


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All you Need to Know about Chalbi Desert


How to Get There


From Nairobi, you can take a long trip approximately 8 hours. There will be lots to see on the road trip from Nanyuki to views of Mt. Kenya. 




Chalbi Desert is the hottest and most arid area in Kenya. Average daytime temperatures range from  109 F (43 C) to 115 F (46 C) degrees whereas the temperature drops to around 57-59 F (14 -15 C) degrees at night. The area experiences two dry seasons and two rainy seasons. The long-dry season takes place from July to October, and the short dry season is in January and February with parts of March.  The long rainy season occurs in April and May through parts of June while the short one happens in November and December. 


Best Time to Visit


Best time to visit Chalbi Desert is during the dry seasons, from July to October and in January and February.  It is when the animals gather around the few remaining water sources and the dry terrain is much more conducive to game drives and safari walks.

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Things to Do in Chalbi Desert


1- Desert Safari


Chalbi Desert has a lot to offer in picturesque sceneries and tranquil oases. While being there, you can hop on a landcruiser and enjoy a perfect short drive desert safari. The vehicles are excellent for sand dunes racing and surfing.  


2- Camel Ride


Exploring the desert on the back of a camel is quite impressive. It is an ideal way to enjoy the desert and to know how ancient civilizations and some of modern desert people transport. It is a unique experience. 


3- Culture Tour


A desert Safari in Chalbi Desert gives visitors the opportunity to interact with local communities like the Rendille, the Turkana, the Samburu, and a few others. It is a way to explore their culture and to know their traditions and lifestyle.