Maralal is surrounded by the Maralal National Sanctuary. This sanctuary in the Province Rift Valley and the Baringo district lies at a height of 1490 M and is one of Kenya's little known treasures.
In the sanctuary you can see zebras, impalas, buffalos, baboons, warthogs. There are also hyenas and leopards and sometimes elephants. On our way to Maralal we saw cattle along the road, but also a lot of zebras and impalas at the plains. The dry riverbeds in the area are used as tracks for the nomadic cameltrains. Unfortunately we didn't see any camels on their way.
And what did we see at the most important crossroad in the centre of Maralal ? A roundabout with many signs, but also some cows. This shows the character of the maintown of the Samburu, a people of pastoralists.
The centre is dusty and hot, especially at midday, but the shops and wild-west type verandas give the town an unique and lively atmosphere. So don't just pass this town on your way to Lake Turkana , but take your time to hang around a bit and experience it yourself.
Fondest memory: Sitting in the shade at one of the wide tree lined mainroads, looking at the passing local Samburu people, traders, warriors and women. While waiting for camels, which didn't come, I saw only some 4WDs.
During our guided walk in the undulating plains around Maralal we enjoyed the beauty of the scenery. We saw some Samburu herdsmen with their cattle, like at this pond at the picture.
The Samburu people with their cattle live in symbiosis with the surrounding nature and wildlife, sharing the same land, like they allready did for centuries.
Fondest memory: Though we didn't see any wildlife, I really enjoyed to walk early morning in this rural and natural area. We tried to get a little idea of the people and their life-style in this barren area by the information, which Idi, our guide, gave us during our walk.
In the Yare Safaris Maralal Lodge we arranged a walk in the hilly surroundings. Our Samburu guide Idi could tell us a lot about the area. He knew a lot about the plants, bushes and trees. So he told about the medical use of the aloe vera and he showed us the antimalaria plant, which the local people use for treatment of malaria.
On the hilltops grow cedars, lower at the hillslopes you can find thornscrub. It was an very informative walk. Idi explained us also everything about safari-ants. I recognized some trees, which I also saw at the Canary Islands.
Maralal in the north of Kenya, 350 Km north of Nairobi, is the regional administrative headquarters of the Samburu people, whose area is more than 20.000 sq. KM. Maralal lies high up the hills above the Lerochi Plateau, north of Nyahururu and Nanyuki and north-west of Isiolo. The town has a frontier atmosphere, lying at the beginning of the Great Northern Wilderness.
Maralal itself is surrounded by an attractive area of grassy undulating plains with forests of coniferes. The white settlers in the colonial area liked to settle in this area , but didn't succeed. The colonial authorities expected too much violent opposition of the Samburu.
Maralal has not many visitors, except during the International Camel Derby. It's a good place for making camelsafaris or bushwalking. Other travellers use Maralal as stop on their way to Lake Turkana in the north.