Marsabit Travel Guide

Plan your next trip to Marsabit with our comprehensive travel guide. Discover the best places to visit, things to do, and where to stay in Marsabit, as well as travel tips and practical information.

A Comprehensive Travel Guide to Marsabit, Kenya

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination in Kenya, Marsabit is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Tucked away in the remote corners of Eastern Kenya, Marsabit offers visitors a unique blend of cultural experiences, stunning natural beauty, and outdoor adventures. In this comprehensive travel guide, we’ll take you on a journey to explore what makes Marsabit a one-of-a-kind destination and how you can make the most of your trip.

Introduction to Marsabit

Marsabit is a remote town located in the Marsabit County of Kenya, bordering Ethiopia. The town sits on the slopes of Mount Marsabit, the region’s most prominent landmark. The mountain, which rises to 1,700 meters above sea level, is an extinct shield volcano and hosts a variety of wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, leopards, and several bird species. The town has a rich history, with evidence of prehistoric settlements going back over 3,000 years.

Marsabit’s population is predominantly Muslim, and the main languages spoken are Gabbra, Borana, and Somali. The town is famous for its colorful markets, where you can find unique handicrafts, spices, and traditional clothing.

List of Places to Visit in Marsabit

Marsabit has a lot to offer visitors, from cultural attractions to outdoor adventures. Here are some must-visit places in Marsabit:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Marsabit National Park: The national park is home to a wide range of animals, including elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and lions. Visitors can explore the park’s diverse landscape, which includes grasslands, forests, and volcanic lava flows.
  • Gof Sokorte Guda: This ancient archaeological site is believed to be over 3,000 years old and is the oldest settlement in Marsabit County. Visitors can explore the ruins and learn about the region’s prehistoric history.
  • Marsabit Museum: The museum showcases the region’s cultural heritage, including traditional clothing, artifacts, and archaeological finds.
  • Kargi Market: A vibrant market that operates every Monday, Kargi is a great place to experience Marsabit’s bustling African culture. Visitors can find a range of goods, from spices to traditional crafts and textiles.

Natural Attractions of Marsabit: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Mount Marsabit: Hiking to the summit of Mount Marsabit is a must-do for those who love outdoor adventures. The trail is challenging but rewards hikers with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Chalbi Desert: Located to the north of Marsabit, the Chalbi Desert is a starkly beautiful wilderness of sand dunes and rocky outcrops. Visitors can explore the dunes and experience the unique desert ecosystem.
  • Lake Paradise: A serene oasis nestled in the heart of the Chalbi Desert, Lake Paradise attracts a variety of bird species, including flamingos and pelicans. Visitors can see the lake on their way to or from the Chalbi Desert.
  • Marsabit Forest Reserve: This lush forest reserve is home to a variety of endangered tree species, and visitors can hike under the canopy of trees and spot rare bird species such as the Taita Thrush.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Marsabit

Marsabit offers several popular hiking and biking trails for eco-tourists and adventure seekers.

  • Climbing Mount Marsabit: This challenging hike takes approximately six hours and offers unparalleled views of the surrounding landscape. Hikers can camp along the trail or book accommodation in Marsabit town.
  • Mountain Biking: Visitors can rent a mountain bike in Marsabit and explore the town’s environs. The terrain varies from dusty roads to rocky singletrack, and the biking routes offer a unique opportunity to explore the region.
  • Exploring Chalbi Desert: While it is not safe to hike in the Chalbi Desert, visitors can explore the region by camel or 4x4 vehicle. This journey offers an authentic safari experience, with the chance to see ostriches, gazelles, and Somali giraffes.

Best Things to Do in Marsabit: Activities and Tours

Marsabit offers a range of activities and tours that cater to varied interests and preferences.

  • Bird Watching Tours: Marsabit’s diverse landscape is a haven for bird watchers, with the chance to spot rare species such as the Stresemann’s Bush Crow and the Taita Thrush.
  • Cultural Tours: Visitors can book a tour of Marsabit’s cultural attractions, including the Marsabit Museum and the Kargi Market. These tours provide a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage.
  • Nature Walks: Visitors can explore Marsabit’s natural beauty through nature walks with local guides. These walks provide an opportunity to see the region’s unique flora and fauna up close.

Week-Long Itinerary for Marsabit

Visitors can use this week-long itinerary to plan their trip to Marsabit:

Day Activity
1 Arrival, check-in, and explore Marsabit town and markets
2 Visit Marsabit National Park
3 Hike to the summit of Mount Marsabit
4 Explore Gof Sokorte Guda and Kargi Market
5 Go on a cultural tour of Marsabit Museum
6 Visit Chalbi Desert and Lake Paradise
7 Departure

Food and Drink Scene of Marsabit

Marsabit offers a unique culinary experience, with a mix of traditional African and Indian flavors.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Ugali and Nyama Choma: A staple Kenyan dish, Ugali is a maize flour-based dough served with grilled goat meat, chicken or beef.
  • Biryani: A rice dish traditionally cooked with meat, spices, and vegetables, Biryani is a popular dish in Kenya’s Indian communities.
  • Pilau: A fragrant rice dish cooked with spices, meat, peas, and potatoes.

Local Beverages

  • Chai Tea: A ubiquitous Kenyan beverage, Chai tea is prepared with black tea, spices, and milk.
  • Mursik: A sour milk-based beverage made by the Kalenjin people, Mursik is believed to have medicinal properties.
  • Tusker Beer: A flagship Kenyan beer, Tusker is a refreshing lager that pairs well with spicy foods.

Where to Stay in Marsabit: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Marsabit offers several accommodation options for visitors with varying budgets and preferences.

  • Marsabit Lodge: A luxurious lodge located in the heart of the national park.
  • Marsabit Resort: A budget-friendly hotel with modern amenities, located in Marsabit town.
  • Guest House Marsabit: A quaint guesthouse with rooms that offer a glimpse into Marsabit’s traditional architecture and culture.

What to Buy in Marsabit: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Marsabit’s market is a treasure trove of unique handicrafts and textiles that reflect the region’s culture and traditions. Visitors can find items such as:

  • Beaded Jewelry: Handmade by local artisans, these unique pieces showcase intricate designs and bright colors.
  • Traditional Clothing: Visitors can buy traditional Borana, Gabbra or Somali clothing made with Kikoi, Kanga, or Kikoy fabric.
  • Spices: Marsabit’s markets are famous for their unique blends of traditional herbs and spices.

Local Culture and Customs of Marsabit

Marsabit’s population is predominantly Muslim, and visitors should be sensitive to local customs and traditions. Female visitors should dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees, while men are expected to cover their legs and shoulders in the presence of women. Visitors should also remove their shoes before entering mosques or homes.

Best Time to Visit Marsabit

The best time to visit Marsabit is during the dry season, from January to March and July to August. During this time, visitors can explore the region’s outdoor attractions without the risk of rainfall or flooding.

Do’s and Don’ts of Marsabit


  • Dress modestly and appropriately.
  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Bring a hat, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes for outdoor activities.


  • Take photos without first asking permission.
  • Eat or drink in public during the holy month of Ramadan.
  • Swim in Lake Paradise or other water sources, as there is a risk of bilharzia.

Safety and Health

Safety in Marsabit

Marsabit is a safe destination for tourists, but visitors should take precautions to ensure their safety:

  • Avoid walking alone at night.
  • Secure your valuables and keep them out of sight.
  • Follow safety guidelines while hiking or biking in Marsabit’s outdoor areas.

Health in Marsabit

Visitors to Marsabit should be up to date on routine vaccinations such as measles, mumps, and rubella, and should consult their physician for any additional recommended vaccinations. Visitors should also bring mosquito repellent as there is a risk of malaria in the region.

Getting to Marsabit: Transportation Options and Logistics

Marsabit is accessible through several transportation options.

Airports Near Marsabit

The nearest airport to Marsabit is the Marsabit Airport.

Bus Stations Near Marsabit

Visitors can take a bus to Marsabit from Nairobi or other major cities in Kenya, with several companies offering daily bus services to the region.

Other Options

Visitors can also hire a private taxi or rental car to travel to Marsabit.

How to Get Around in Marsabit

Visitors can use motorbikes, taxis or rental cars to get around Marsabit. Bicycle rentals are also available for visitors interested in exploring Marsabit town and its environs on their own.

Where to Go Next from Marsabit: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Visitors can explore other nearby destinations after their visit to Marsabit, such as:

  • Samburu National Reserve: Located approximately 140 km from Marsabit, Samburu National Reserve offers visitors the chance to see unique wildlife, such as the Grevy’s Zebra, gerenuk antelopes, and Somali ostriches.
  • Moyale: A town located on the border between Kenya and Ethiopia, visitors can experience the unique blend of cultures and traditions.
  • Lake Turkana: Known as the “Jade Sea,” Lake Turkana is the world’s largest alkaline lake and attracts visitors with its stunning views and unique ecosystem.


Marsabit is a unique destination in Kenya, offering a combination of cultural attractions, outdoor adventures, and stunning natural beauty. We hope this comprehensive travel guide has provided you with the information you need to plan your next trip to Marsabit. Whether you’re interested in exploring the national park, hiking Mount Marsabit or immersing yourself in local culture and traditions, Marsabit is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression.