Chalbi desert a former lake that dried up about 10,000 years ago is located in Kenya’s North, in the middle of the county of Marsabit.

Chalbi Desert, Extreme Climate, Oasis and Pictures?

The equator on the east of Great Rift valley passes through Nanyuki town, which marks the beginning of a swathe of Climatic Extremes. Starting with the immediate snow capped Mount Kenya, to the Lowlands of Samburu along the tarmacked A2 highway. All the way to Lake Turkana, Kenya’s largest lake and world’s second largest desert lake.

On the East of Lake Turkana is Chalbi Desert, Extreme heat strangles the towns of North Horr through the Desert where the elements reign absolute. To the periphery where you can find the Oasis at Kalacha that’s the lifeline support for local communities and their herds.

Maikona, Camel Caravan
Camel Caravan in Maikona, Chalbi Desert

Geology and Climate

In a book, Sabkha Ecosystems: Volume III: Africa and Southern Europe – edited by Münir Öztürk, Benno Böer, Hans-Jörg Barth, Siegmar-W. Breckle, Miguel Clüsener-Godt, M. Ajmal Khan.

Chalbi desert is composed of saline and alkaline sediments and stabilised sand dunes; a resulting formation of the old bed of Lake Chalbi.

During the Pleistocene (1.8mya to 10,000 years BP) this lake drained the volcanoes of marsabit. It has since dried up to form the extensive Chalbi desert.

The area lies in depression between 430 and 500 mm above seal level sorrounding a large central plain. Precipitation is low with an average of between 100 and 250 mm a year for the region. This mostly occurs between March-May and October-December.

The drainage from sorrounding mountains (Mt Marsabit, Hurri Hills, Mt Kulal, Mt Nyiru, Ol Doinyo Mara and Ndotos) maybe lost by evaporation and never reach the Chalbi Desert

Sabkha Ecosystems

The observations by Sabkha Ecosystems is however flawed in part; as there are flash floods from Mount Kulal and Hurri Hills. This happens especially in the rainy months of April and October that makes the ground soggy and impassable

The flash floods only last a couple of hours and are soon drained or evaporate by mid the following day. At night, Chalbi Desert provides the best environment for sky observatory . Astrophotography is also suitable as the night skies remain unpolluted with city lights.

Kenya’s Desert Tour?

Begin North Adventures has a robust ground network of contacts and local intelligence. The company is also premium subscribers of village level weather forecast and can therefore plan the best desert experience for you

You may contact us right away or subscribe to our newsletter for free; and learn more about Kenya’s North and it’s untold beauty.

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Begin North Adventures
Begin North Adventures

Begin North Adventures, is Your Travel Partner, with focus on Kenya's North. Occuring East of Rift Valley and North of Equator: are lands with extreme climates from the snow capped Mount Kenya, to the World's 2nd largest Desert Lake, the Jade Sea (Lake Turkana), Chalbi desert, UNESCO protected biosphere of Mt. Kulal, the protected Marsabit Forest that remains largely unchronicled until now. Let's help you create memories on these Virgin lands

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