Marsabit National Reserve covers an area of 1500 square km and consists of a forested mountain that rises like an oasis in the middle of the desert wilderness and is the only source of permanent surface of water in the region.

The reserve has three spectacular crater lakes that provide habitat for a variety of birdlife. One of the lakes, Lake Paradise, is most scenic and famous from early films and writings of Martin Johnson and Vivien de Wattville.

Marsabit reserve is also known because of large elephants like the famous Ahmed, an elephant that was provided with a 24 hour protection by a presidential order. Ahmed, who boasted some of the biggest tusks ever recorded, died at age 55, and his body was preserved and is now on display in Nairobi National Museum.

Marsabit National Reserve is located in Northern Kenya, 560km north of Nairobi in Marsabit District of Eastern Province. From Nairobi, the reserve is reached via Nanyuki and lsiolo a distance of 620 km. The road is paved up to lsiolo leaving a distance of 270 km of very bad road that is only motor-able by 4 wheel-drive vehicles during the dry season. The reserve is 2 1/2 hrs by air from Nairobi and is adequately served by a tarmac airstrip located about one kilometer from Marsabit town center.

Major attractions

  • Pristine forest
  • Scenic landscape and wilderness
  • Crater lakes
  • Elephants and Greater Kudu
  • Diverse bird life
  • Diverse local cultures


  • Ornithological (bird watching safaris),
  • Camel safaris to neighbouring plains (this activity can be conducted by the local people),
  • Visiting to “singing wells’ where local people engage in songs while drawing water from deep wells to water livestock,
  • Game viewing.