6 Deserts in Kenya

Here is a list of 6 Deserts in Kenya. These deserts are characterized by harsh winds, have few permanent rivers and feature landscapes dominated by sand dunes, rocky plateaus, and gravel plains.

In no particular order, here is a list of the 6 Deserts in Kenya.

1. Chalbi Desert

Chalbi Desert is located in the Northern Part of Kenya. The name Chalbi means bare and salty.

Chalbi Desert covers an area of about 100,000 kilometers squared and is considered to be one of the hottest places in Kenya. Average daytime temperatures range from 109 F (43 C) to 115 F (46 C) degrees while night time temperature drops to around 57-59 F (14 -15 C) degrees.

Despite being dry and bare, Chalbi Desert is one of the most visited Deserts in Kenya. The sand dunes and volcanic hills covering this desert create a magical panorama. The best time to visit Chalbi Desert is between July to October and January to February.

At the moment, Chalbi Desert is considered to be the only true Desert in Kenya.

Point to Note: Chalbi Desert is considered to be a playa (a dry lake bed)

2. Nyiri Desert

Also referred to as the Nyika, or Taru Desert, Nyiri Desert is considered to be the biggest Desert in Kenya. It is located in the South Central Part of Kenya around 80 kilometres East of Lake Magadi.

Nyiri Desert is characterized by extreme temperatures, sparse vegetation and cacti all over. The climate at this desert can be identified as hot and dry with temperatures hitting above 40 Degrees Celsius during the day. The sun here is scorching

Just like Chalbi Desert, Nyiri Desert is one of the major deserts to explore or visit. Some of the activities you can engage in while at this desert include riding camels, take pictures with a background of the sand dunes and learn about the culture of the nomads living there.

3. Mambrui Desert

Mambrui Desert is arguably one of the most famous and beautiful Deserts to in Kenya. It is located in the Coastal region about 50 minutes away from Malindi Town. To get there, it is highly advised that one should use a bodaboda or a tuktuk. The average cost of riding either one of these motor vehicles is KES 700.

Among all the Deserts in Kenya, Mambrui Desert is the only desert which is covered in white sand dunes. Amazing, right?

Mambrui Desert is also one of the most beautiful deserts in Kenya because it is located besides the Indian Ocean.

Point to Note: There are no Entrance Charges to Mambrui Desert. Entry is free!

4. Kaisut Desert

The Kaisut Desert is also known as the Suguta Valley. It covers an area of about 17,000 kilometres squared and this makes it one of the smallest deserts in kenya.

Kaisut Desert is characterized by salt flats, consistent drought and heat waves that can last for months and months.

Despite its harsh weather conditions, the Karoli Springs bring Kaisut Desert back to life. The springs are a source of water for desert animals such as camels, ostriches, foxes and sand cats.

At the moment, Kaisut Desert is home to nomads such as the Rendille people.

5. Maralal Desert

Despite not being a true desert, Maralal Desert exhibits similar features like other Deserts in Kenya.

Maralal Desert is located in Samburu County at an elevation of about 1960 metres above the sea level. This desert is best known for holding camel derby competitions year in and out.

Generally, Maralal Desert is characterized by very little rainfall, dry riverbeds, and desert animals.

In case you are looking for a fun desert to visit, Maralal Desert should be on your bucket list especially during the derby competitions.

6. Turkana Desert

Covering an area of about 70,000 hectares, Turkana Desert is among the smallest but most popular but major Deserts in Kenya.

Despite being small, the sun at this desert can be very scorching. On average, temperatures at Turkana Desert can reach as high as 50 degrees celcious.

Generally, Turkana Desert is characterized by xerophytes such as cacti, sand dunes and a few oasis here and there.

Turkana Desert is mainly inhabited by the Turkana people.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Deserts are there in Kenya?

There are 6 known deserts in Kenya

What is the largest desert in Kenya?

The largest desert in Kenya is the Nyiri Desert

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