Marsabit County is Kenya’s biggest county and situated in the arid north along the border with Ethiopia. On its western side are Lake Turkana and the Chalbi Desert – an area with a rich rock art heritage. The art here consists of ancient images and symbols that tell to us of different eras when the region, often referred to as the Cradle of Mankind, teamed with wild animals and supported diverse human populations.
The majority of the art has been made by hunter-gatherer/Ndorobo people who were forest dwelling people closely related to the Pygmies of eastern Congo. As little as a thousand years ago large areas of this now arid landscape were still forested, which explains why the art depicts wild animals that do not anymore live in the region, particularly giraffes, which held special significance for the Pygmies. Pygmies, also known as Batwa, also used geometric symbols in their art such as circles and spirals, which related to their ancient belief systems and mythologies.
There are three main rock art sites in Marsabit County. Surima located between Loiyangalani and South Horr, Marti located between Loiyangalani and Mt Kulal, and Afgaba located along the north eastern edge of the Chalbi desert.
How to get there
The rock art sites in Marsabit County are spread out through the region and distances can be long. Please inquire specific information about the locations and local guides from the Trust for African Rock Art.
Other attractions in the area include Marsabit National Park, Elmolo villages, Sibiloi National Park in which you can visit Koobi Fora museum, and Central and Southern Islands of Lake Turkana National Parks. In Loyangalani you can also visit Desert Museum.