Animals in Maralal Game Sanctuary

The Sanctuary ia approximately 250 sq kms. Set amidst the majestic Ol Doinyo Lenkiyo mountains in north-central Kenya around the Samburu town of Maralal . Altitude: 1,490 m Vegetation: Rocky and dry terrain.

Fauna: Mammals of the dry zone include impala, eland, buffalo, baboon, warthog, leopard, hyena, giraffe and zebra,.

Visitor Facilities: Maralal Safari Lodge. The Maralal National Reserve is one of Kenya's little known treasures. Tucked away in the centre of the country amidst the Ol Doinyo Lenkiyo mountains, Maralal completely surrounds the Samburu town of the same name. Within the Reserve's boundaries, eland, impala buffalo and zebra keep a watchful eye on predators such as the leopard and hyena. Seasonally, elephant pass through the Reserve descending from the forested hills to the north. In all directions from Maralal , the scenery is beautiful and the processions of wildlife sharing land with Samburu herders is spectacular. Related to the Maasai futher south, the Samburu warriors of Maralal , dressed in their traditional clothing, live in symbiosis with the environment and wildlife around them. Despite its beautiful landscape and wide assortment of wildlife, Maralal National Reserve receives relatively few visitors in relation to the Samburu reserves to the east. This helps makes Maralal a truly enjoyable destination. Seasonally elephant pass through the sanctuary descending from the forested hills which lie to the north. Much of the wildlife can be seen from the comfortable terrace of the Maralal Safari Lodge for the only permanent water in the sanctuary is a small waterhole just a few metres away. Here, throughout the day is an almost continuous pageant of wildlife.

All the animals in this ection were snapped from the Maralal Safari Lodge Game Viewing Terraces. They are all animals you can expect to see within 20 yards of the Lodge.

Giant Eland

The largest antelope on Earth.The massive male eland, has a fawn-colored coat; it develops a broad, deep-fringed dewlap extending to the knees. Its strong horns spiral straight upward and are usually about 70 cm (28 in) long in large males; in the light, small red-brown females the horns are longer but more slender. The male and the female are so different that they almost look like two different species.

Elands are gregarious, relatively slow-moving animals with no definite breeding season; they live for up to 20 years. Hunted for their meat, they are potentially valuable as domestic animals.

Impala and Burchell's Zebra

Burchell's Zebra are common in the sanctuary. Grey's zebra are within a half-hour drive, where we have one of the few places in the world where both types may be seen together. The two zebra are very different, and cannot interbreed. Burchell's is reminiscent of a donkey in pijamas, while Grey's looks more like a horse in pinstripe suit.

The Impala is the gazelle of the area. Grant's and Thomson's gazelle may be found nearby, but not at the sanctuary. Impala are a favourite delicacy of leopard

Baboons and Wart Hogs

The baboon is an intelligent and very powerful beast. At the Lodge, they successfully consume any crops planted for human use. A full grown baboon male can diembowel a predator with a slash of his finger nails, and is more than a match for a leopard, which is as well, because baboon babies are favourite meals for leopards. During the day, a leopard will stalk a troup of baboons, looking for an opportunity to mug one of the babies playing inside the protective ring of sentries. If he sees an opportunity, the leopard will rush in for the kill, and make-off before the sentries can get him. But the leopard cannot carry-off his booty. He will return for it after dark, when the odds swing in his favour, and the baboons are up trees. If you camp in the forest, you can track the movements of leopard returning to their kills by the screams of the baboon sentries.

Wart hogs are the clowns of the savannah, running like clockwork machines in families, tails erect like radio antennae. The wart hog kneels to drink or dig, and can usually be seen "praying" around the Lodge

The Sanctuary can be accessed by air from almost anywhere in Kenya to a landing strip used by Maralal Safari Lodge.

By road travel from Nyahururu along the C77 road which is paved as far as the town of Rumuruti. Alternatively, Maralal can be reached from Isiolo along the A2, C79 and C78. Access is also possible from the south-west at Lake Baringo along the eastbound C78. There is usually one bus a day in either direction between Nyahuru and Maralal and between Isiolo and Maralal. Vehicle traffic is very scarce north of Nyahururu and west of Isiolo, that very few other options exist. Tours to Maralal can be arranged by Maralal Safari Lodge.

The only lodge in Maralal National Reserve is the 48 bed Maralal Safari Lodge. Located north of Maralal town, it is the only one in the area with adequate visitor facilities.

To return to Marala Safari Lodge Home Page click here