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Marsabit National Park

Mount Marsabit, a 1700m high extinct vulcano, is a green oasis surrounded by dusty desert in all directions. A Noahs Ark, some would argue, and obviously lake Paradise was associated with something otherworldly when being named. There are several beautiful crater lakes on Mount Marsabit and the rainforest on the mountain is a refuge for the wild animals in the region.

View over Lake Paradise
Lake Paradise with the lower lying desert in the horizon. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

In John Hillabys informative and very humorous book “Safari to the Jade Sea” there is a wonderful description of how it feels to take refuge from the heat of the desert in the rainforest on remote Mount Marsabit in the most northern part of Kenya – one of the last true frontier regions.

Lone elephant Lake Paradise
Elephant walking at the shore of Lake Paradise. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

The elephants in Marsabit are famous for their impressive size and large tusks. Kenyas legendary elephant Ahmed lived in Marsabit and had 200-300 kg tusks -long enough to touch the ground. Since poaching has been, and some places still is a serious problem in Kenya, former President Jomo Kenyatta ordered Ahmed to be protected by an armed ranger day and night.

Elephants inside Gof Sokorte Dika crater in Marsabit
Elephants meet at dusk to drink in Gof Sokorte Dika crater in Marsabit. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

At an altitude of 1700m, Mount Marsabit is a towering green in the midst of an immense desert. The mountain forces the air to rise and cool off into clouds of tiny drops of water feeding the mosses. Every morning and sometimes at night, the clouds congregate around the mountains top, feeding the forest with water – not from the ground, but from the top resulting in thick blankets of moss covering every branch in parts of the forest. The mosses absorbs the water like a sponge, as the ground also does and so the mountain is an important catchment area for the otherwise extremely sparse rain in the area.

Branch covered with moss Mount Marsabit
Every morning the hot and humid air from the Indian Ocean is being forced upwards by Mount Marsabit, thereby being cooled off and formed into mist. Being enshrouded by the mist everyday since time immemorial, the trees in the virgin forest on Mount Marsabit has slowly become covered with a thick layer of mosses, giving an almost fairytale feel to the mystical and fascinating green oasis in the midst of a vast and desolate desert. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

With its beautiful crater lakes rimmed by jungle, the mountain is a haven for a big part of the wildlife and a wide selection of species are found such as lions, leopard, buffaloes, rhino and the massive forest elephants of Marsabit. Therefore you should always be accompanied of an armed ranger when walking in the park.

Gof in Marsabit area
A huge crater or Gof near Marsabit. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

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