By Salad Malicha
Isiolo is a town that is located in the middle of Kenya and lies 285 kilometres north of the capital of Kenya, Nairobi. The Isiolo town is also becoming a centre of interest because of its newly acquired status as a resort city cashing in on the popular game reserves, which have become preferred destinations after the famed Maasai Mara. Isiolo lies along the long international road, stretching from Tanzania towards Ethiopia much farther north.
To put the icing on the cake, a few days ago, the World Bank has approved Sh81.3 billion loan dubbed Horn of Africa Gateway Development Project (HoAGDP) to Kenya for the upgrade of the 750-kilometre Isiolo-Mandera road and the laying of the fibre-optic cable. Political pundits from the region have expressed unmatched optimism that this development will spiral provision of basic social services, attract investments, facilitate regional and domestic trade, job creation and improve information sharing and access to internet-based opportunities.
A past retrogressive issue like illegal settlements in game reserves and along wildlife migration routes, poaching, charcoal burning, environmental degradation, lack of support from local communities and conflicts issues affecting the tourism sector have been nipped in the bud by the county government through stakeholders engagement and employing preventive diplomacy.
Across the beautiful hills, valleys, acacia trees, and savannah grassland lie Isiolo town with treasure unknown to many. The town borders the artificial lake, Lewa Conservancy, the Samburu game reserve and the Meru national park. In the midst of Isiolo are Buffalo Springs, Sarova Shabba and Bisanadi national game reserves.
In most of these reserves, the scenery is beyond your expectation. Adorable Ewaso Nyiro river with sources from Aberdare ranges meanders along with the reserves thus attracting the Big Five-Grevy zebra, oryx, Somali ostrich, lion and reticulated giraffe. The game reserves house the Sarova lodge, Simba lodge, Bisanadi lodge and tented camps.
With an impressive landscape and ranges of hills, Isiolo is outstanding. The sleeping Lion and tortoise hills are among the adorable features. Short and evergreen shrubs surround the hilly areas thus giving eye-catching beauty. There are over twenty-one springs in the reserves with varying characteristics. For instance, once you swim in it, the Buffalo spring is therapeutic as it can treat skin-related infections.
Among other exciting highlights of the Isiolo county are the Isiolo resort city, the Lamu-Isiolo-Juba and Nairobi-Isiolo-Ethiopia superhighways, Isiolo International Airport, Isiolo artificial lake, the Isiolo film industry and Isiolo tourist villages. The massive artificial lake will be a wonderful sight to behold with fishing and boat racing as the main tourist attractions. The lake waters will irrigate the semi-arid land into green savanna, orchards and forests.
Above all, the ecstatic Merti plateau, the impressive Lorian swamp and the spectacular Gotu falls are also among Isiolo’s awesome scenery. The pristine Gotu falls with underground springs toward its western side, believed to be the cleanest water for human consumption. The fall is of an iconic attraction to the local tourists and travellers.
Besides, the discovery of mineral resources in Isiolo attracted local and international interests. The latest being the Sericho meteorites stone that hit the headline of national newspapers. Both gemstones and economic minerals are of large deposits in this region. For the last three years, thousands of miners thronged into Isiolo in search of this rare commodity. Locals unearth precious gemstones in this area for a lucrative return.
Isiolo County Governor Dr Kuti and his administration have also resolved to consolidate marketing strategies by promoting the tourist sites both locally and internationally.
A trip to Isiolo region is one of its kind of adventure. You will establish beautiful memories to cherish for a long time.