Tourists hardly know a place called Malka Mari. But it exists, and it is a beautiful natural area on the northern border of Kenya, very close to Ethiopia. It is quite recent, as a national park, and unfortunately it rises into a troubled region. The Mandera County is not always a safe place, as for politics and social events are concerned. So the National Park has had problems since its creation. Today you have the chance of going on short safaris in the surroundings, and maybe you will see a part of it. Some of the most beautiful African animals find their shelter into this incredible “lost paradise”.
About Malka Mari National Park
Malka Mari National Park was created in 1989 in order to protect the unique fauna of the region on the border with Ethiopia. The place was in fact a hunting area for local tribes. After the opening of the Park, the County wanted to welcome tourists and change the local economy to a new improvement. But the climate of the place – very hot and dry – and especially the political instability have kept most foreigners off. Except for few tour operators, who work during short periods of the year, not so many people have explored Malka Mari, so far. Will you be the next ones?
Characteristics of the Park
Malka Mari is a triangle covering 876 sq km in the far north of Kenya. It is part of the Mandera Plateau, bordered by river Daua and 750 km from Nairobi. The territory consists of wide plains, mostly desert or bushy lands, and groups of woods along the river’s bed. River Daua runs into the valley of the same name which enters then river Jubba Valley. Both valleys have been isolated for ages, so today they are habitat for rare endemic animals, especially birds.
Here you can admire over 20 species of birds, among which the most famous are: streptopelia decipiens, cichladusa guttata, ploceus dichrocephalus and the very rare corvus ruficollis (desert crow). Of course you will also meet the typical African animals here, like giraffes (Somalian Giraffe), Nile crocodiles, the spotted hyenas and the lovely Madoqua Antelopes.
Things to do at Malka Mari
Today the Malka Mari National Park is not yet a real tourist place, even though it hosts lodges and camps. Except for a few visits every now and then, it is still waiting for the crowds to come. Yet there are so many things you could do, over there. Exploring the land and admiring animals, birdwatching, camping plus a very interesting visit to the ruins of an old military fortress are interesting activities. The name Malka Mari means “meeting point”, so the hope is that soon tourists will be able to meet local people and local animals more often. This wonderful paradise deserves to be discovered.
How to get to Malka Mari National Park
The best way to get to the National Park’s area is by airplane. You can book a charter flight to land at Mandera Airport (220 km from the park ) or you can book private flights to land at two airstrips nearby (70 km from the park).