The Chalbi Desert Experience

Interestingly, all you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see in it all the marvels of creation where the desert is a natural extension of the inner silence of the body. In my secret reveries, I had always wanted to experience a desert safari. Its vast emptiness scorching sun, blinding heat, red soils, cold night, beautiful sand dunes and the heart of every desert which is an oasis.

The Chalbi Desert, located 500 kilometres from Nairobi in Marsabit County, serve the purpose to satisfy all your desert fantasies. The Chalbi Desert is one of the aridest places in Kenya occupying approximately 100,000 kilometres Of land and is surrounded by volcanic hills.


The desert is a harsh and unforgiving environment that every individual should take enough time to prepare for.

Here is a list of essentials to pack.

1. Water

A popular quote often reminds us that water tells none of its secrets, but in all its forms it carries the knowledge of life throughout the universe. The average temperature in the Chalbi desert is around 43 degrees Celsius to 46 degrees Celsius. It’s advisable to carry more than enough water, but should this sound not doable, Staying at home saves the day. Keeping yourself hydrated in the desert is as important as every gasp of air you breathe.

2. Sunscreen

The misconception that sunscreen is only for the coast will have you roast and toast in the desert as your skin flares with sunburns. Apply your sunscreen before stepping into the desert to allow enough UV protection, and keep reapplying every two hours.

3. Extra food

Hunger pangs are as bad as the need for a bathroom break while racing on a busy highway. They are inconsolable and no amount of brain convincing allows you to ignore the insides of your intestines, which constantly knock in a quest to be full. It is hard to access stopovers for meals during a desert safari, hence the need to take some extra snacks with you.

4. Appropriate Clothes

The greatest walk of shame is glamorously dressing to kill in your favourite wedding attire when attending a burial where mourning will be more popular than your colourful dress. More often people park less and more revealing clothes for the desert safari. This is not always advisable due to the harsh conditions in the desert and it is hence advisable to pack the following.

Lightweight, breathable, loose-fitting clothes.

Wide-brimmed hat.



Heat friendly shoes


1. Desert safaris

Using a land cruiser and an experienced driver, there are various places to visit within Chalbi Desert.

The Kalacha Oasis is a pleasant surprise in the middle of the arid countrywide.

Loiyangalani A tourist town on the shores of Lake

Turkana and you can enjoy the Sundowner or visit the Elmollo Shrine island by boat.

Ngurunit An Oasis is surrounded by Ndoto ranges which is popular for its birdlife.

2. Camel Rides

Probably the most beautiful thing about the camels is that they can work a week without a drink, But man can drink a week without work. A desert safari without a camel ride is like attending a wedding and missing a slice of cake, which is the reason some of us attend weddings anyway.

3. Culture tour

Culture is a way of coping with the world by defining it in detail. Some communities have perfected the skill of redefining what we consider difficult. The Rendille, Samburu, Turkana and the Gabbra who are pastoralists in nature have a beautiful culture and system of survival in the harsh climate something we can borrow a leaf from.


1. Don’t underestimate the amount of water

What makes a desert beautiful is that somewhere in it hides a well. However, let this not blind you into underestimating the amount of water you will need throughout the safari.

2. Don’t wear tight and dark clothes

You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it. Dress appropriately for the desert and let not tight and dark clothes become part of your suitcase delicacy.

3. Do not stray away from the caravan

It’s popular to imagine that a camel that never leaves the caravan will never discover a new oasis. However, hold that
thought before the desert launches its wrath on you with its vast empty stare that will leave you stranded alone away from the group.


1. Nomad Trail Hotel.

Located in Marsabit County 12 kilometres from Marsabit National Park and offers free Wi-Fi.

2. Chicho Hotel

Located 12 kilometres from Marsabit National Park, the hotel offers a restaurant, guest rooms and free Wi-Fi.

3. Desert Rose Kenya

It is located in South Horr, Samburu County and offers an outdoor pool and garden


The animals of the wild exist for their own reasons. The frequent animals to expect at the Chalbi desert are ostrich Grevy’s zebras, and oryx. The most important thing during a safari is to capture the moments and get yourself a souvenir to always remind you of your great experience.

Written by: Wanjiru. c.Wanjiru Copyright: Keshi Tours.


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