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The Cradle of Mankind: Sibiloi National Park

The Cradle of Mankind: Sibiloi National Park

sibiloi national park
sibiloi national park

Sibiloi National Park Kenya is on the northeastern shore of Lake Turkana in Marsabit County. It is one of the world’s greatest treasures as the cradle of humankind. It was originally established by the National Museums of Kenya to protect unique pre-historic and archaeological sites. The park has contributed more to our understanding of human evolution than any other area on the planet so far.

The landscape

The land is beautiful in its way even though it is so very dry. It is a wilderness made up of the lakeshore, Savannah, volcanic terrain and riverine forest. Lake Turkana is the biggest of the Rift Valley Soda Lakes – its enormous proportions and striking color has led it to be called the Jade Sea. The lake is located in the far northern frontier of Kenya and is just less than 270 km long. Sibiloi National Park is situated on the eastern shores of the lake, near the Ethiopian border and covers just under 1 600 square kilometers.

Environment

The park is extremely hot and arid, yet it protects a range of wildlife that is dumbfounding in its own right. Animals that can live in arid conditions, such as Grevy’s Zebra, Beisa Oryx, Gerenuk and greater Kudu, are present in the park. Other species include a comprehensive range of predators namely Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Striped and Spotted Hyena, Jackal, and Caracal to name a few.

Birdlife is prolific with more than 300 species recorded around Lake Turkana. This number is increased during the summer months when migrant species arrive. The alkaline lake is not suitable for many species, but Flamingos and Pelicans love the algae in the water and the salty environment. A variety of water birds including African Skimmers, Herons, and Gulls can be spotted on the shoreline. The park is also home to local species such as the Crested Lark, Heuglin’s Bustard, White-headed Vulture and African Swallow-tailed Kite.

Sibiloi National Park visits

  • Visit Lake Turkana, with its fascinating color changes due to algae growth and the shifting winds; changes colors from grey to blue to jade. The world’s largest permanent desert lake and the largest alkaline lake in Africa.
  • Koobi Fora- boasts deposits rich in mammalian, molluscan and other fossil remains. It has contributed greatly to the study of human evolution. It holds the world’s richest record of human pre-history.The longest and most complete record of human ancestry spanning over 27 Million years . A rich fossil heritage stretching back over 100 million years into the dinosaur age. This is the largest and most-well documented collection of human-related fossils that exists and is unmatched anywhere in the world, and can only be found at the Koobi Fora Museum and the National Museums of Kenya Headquarters.
  • Petrified Forest– this lies on the edge of the Sibiloi Mountain at Alia Bay. The largest areas of petrified wood lying around Sibiloi are the remains of a once-great cedar forest. Which covered the Lake’s shores 7 million years ago.
  • Bird Watching- Sibiloi national park boasts with over 350 bird species aquatic and terrestrial some of which are residential and others migratory birds examples of the birds to be seen include; pelicans, African skimmers, Huggins bustard, crested lark, ducks, and flamingoes o mention a few.
  • Karsa Waterhole– is a rare pool of standing fresh-water where wildlife go to drink
  • Jarigole Pillars– an excavation site of a pre-iron age burial ground
  • Karari Escarpment– for excavations of 2 ancient sites that are more than a million years old
  • Nature walks in the Petrified Forest and along the Koobi Fora spit.

What you should know

Sibiloi National Park is completely waterless apart from the salty waters of the lake shore and a few remote waterholes. It is very hot and dry here. Safari options include a guided fly-in tour or over landing on an extended safari through the northern frontier. Any type of expedition should be well equipped, self-sufficient and conducted by experienced guides.

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