Sibiloi National Park

“The Cradle of Mankind”

Located on the wild and rugged shores of Lake Turkana – the cradle of mankind - Sibiloi is home to important archaeological sites including Koobi Fora where the fossil remains have contributed more to the understanding of human evolution than any other site in the continent. The area is characterized by semi-desert habitat and open plains flanked by volcanic formations including Mount Sibiloi, where the remains of a petrified forest can be seen. Sibiloi serves as a stopover for migrant waterfowl and is a major breeding ground for the Nile crocodile. Terrestrial wildlife includes zebras, Grant gazelles, lions, leopards, stripped hyenas, Beisa Oryx, greater kudu, cheetahs and northern topi among others. A total of over 350 species of aquatic and terrestrial bird have been recorded in Lake Turkana. Sibiloi is surrounded by the Turkana, the Gabra and the Dassanach who are communities with very rich and unpolluted traditional cultures.

Key features

‘Skull 1470’, Homo habilis

Known as the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ Sibiloi National Park was created to protect the sites of the many remarkable hominid fossils finds revealed by its searing winds. The park yielded its most striking treasure in 1972 when a 2 million year old fossilized skull was discovered by eminent paleontologist Dr Richard Leaky and his team. The almost complete skull (labeled ‘1470’ by the National Museum of Kenya) confirmed the existence of a sophisticated evolutionary hominid named Homo habilis, the direct ancestor of Homo sapiens. Evidence of Homo erectus was also unearthed along with some 160 additional finds relating to the early hominids.

The Koobi Fora Museum,                       

At Koobi Fora which is to the north of Allia Bay, extensive paleontological finds have been made, starting in 1969, with the discovery of Paranthropus boisei. The discovery of Homo habilis thereafter is evidence of the existence of a relatively intelligent hominid two million years ago and reflect the change in climate from moist forest grassland when the now petrified forest were growing to the present hot desert. The human and pre-human fossils include the remains of five species, Austrolophithecus anamensis, Homo habilis/rudolfensis, Paranthropus boisei, Homo erectus and Homo sapiens all found within one locality. Koobi Fora deposits, rich in mammalian, molluscan and other fossil remains, has contributed more to the understanding of human evolution than any other site in the continent.

Elephant Site

Sibiloi national park is home to an elephant fossil dating 1.7 million years back and is one of the most magnificent archeological findings.

Giant Tortoise

It is a 1.6 million year old fossil of an extinct tortoise. This is the shell and limb bones of a giant tortoise which is lying upside down and may have died by falling from a river bank on its back.

The tempestuous ‘Jade Sea”

Lake Turkana is an isolated chloro-carbonate alkaline giant; Prolific Birdlife covering 6,400 sq Km. Its mercurial blue-green color has earned it the title ‘The Jade Sea’.

Crocodile Kingdom

Survivors of an epoch long before mankind, Lake Turkana’s estimated 12,000 crocodiles have not changed in 130 million years. Despite their monstrous size and formidable appearance they are generally inoffensive creatures living in perfect harmony with their environment and feeding on the lake’s prolific fish.

Petrified forests

The largest areas of petrified wood lying around Sibiloi are the remains of a once-great cedar forest, which covered the Lake’s shores 7 million years ago.

Prolific birdlife

Sibiloi’s avian highlights include: Somali ostrich, Kori and Heuglin’s bustard, northern carmine and Somali bee-eater, chestnut-bellied sand grouse and fox kestrel. The Park is also famous for the European migrants that sweep across its skies between March-May.

Protected Area Type

Park Size

1,570 sq. Km

Climate

Scorching hot and arid (especially December- March). June and July are the coolest months. May- September very strong winds blow both morning and evening. Rainfall less than 250mm p.a. and in some places it may not rain for several years.

When to go

All year round

What to take with you

  • Drinking water, picnic items and camping equipment if you intend to stay overnight.
  • Also useful are: binoculars, camera, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and guidebooks
  • Archeological Safaris
  • Bird watching
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Game viewing

How to get there

  • Distance: from Nairobi is 800km North of Nairobi.
  • By air: There are 2 all weather airstrips in the park.  Other airstrips are also found in Marsabit, Loiyangalani, Kalokol, North Horr and Lodwar. Commercial flights however only operate on the Lodwar airstrip.
  • Gates: There is one main gate (Karsa gate); other gates are Alia bay and Koobi fora
  • Road: The roads connecting the park with the major town has both tarmac and murrum sections. Long distances are however rough roads. High clearance 4WD is essential all year round. Travelling in convoy is recommended.
  • The park is a three day drive from Nairobi via Marsabit and North Horr, or Maralal and South Horr
  • Alternatively travel by road from Nairobi to Kalokol on the lake’s western shores , via Kitale and Lodwar. From Kalokol boat hire services are available across the lake to Aliabay.

Attractions

  • The major attractions include Lake Turkana which is the most saline of the Africa’s large lakes. It is the world’s largest permanent desert lake and world largest alkaline lake. The soda lake owes its lovely nickname to algae particles which shift with changes of wind and light causing Lake Turkana’s color to change from blue to grey to jade.
  • The area is also characterized by semi-desert habitat and open plains flanked by volcanic formation including Mount Sibiloi, the site of the remains of a petrified forest possibly 7 Million years ago.
  • Turkana is an outstanding laboratory for the study of plant and animal communities. The park serves as a stopover for migrant waterfowl and is major breeding grounds for the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus and a variety of venomous snakes. The park also has other terrestrial wildlife like Zebras, Grant Gazelles, Lions, Leopards, stripped Hyenas, Beisa oryx; Greater kudu, cheetahs and Northern Topi among others. A total of over 350 species of aquatic and terrestrial bird have been recorded in Lake Turkana.
  • At Koobi Fora, extensive paleontological finds have been made, including the evidence of the existence of a relatively intelligent hominid 2 million years ago.
  • These human fossils include the remains of Australopithecus robustus , Homo habilis , Homo erectus and Homo sapiens . Other findings include a wide diversity of ancestors of modern animal species. There are over 100 archaeological sites.
  • Community: The site is surrounded by communities with very rich and unpolluted traditional cultures. i.e. The Turkana, the Gabra and the Dassanach. During extreme dry season nomads such as Samburu and Rendile are found within the surrounding areas.

KWS Self Catering

Privately Owned Campsites & Lodges

Sunset Strip Camp
Turkana Campsite
 

Park Entry Fee

Sibiloi National Park

Citizen

Resident

Non - Resident

Adults

KSH

Child

KSH

Adults

KSH

Child

KSH

Adults

USD

Child

USD

350

200

600

350

25

15

* Kindly refer to the document KWS Tarrifs 2016 below for other services and charges 

Park Resources

Email: sibiloi@kws.go.ke or reservations@kws.go.ke

Postal Address:

The Warden,

Sibiloi National Park,

P.O. Box 219,

Lodwar,

Kenya.

Park Gallery