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Countdown to solar eclipse event in Sibiloi National Park starts

Date Published: 03 Oct, 2013
Countdown to solar eclipse event in Sibiloi National Park starts

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is ready to host astronomy enthusiasts who will visit Sibiloi National Park to view a spectacular astronomical event whose countdown was announced this morning.

The November 3, 2013 total solar eclipse - when the moon passes between the sun and the earth and directly blocks the light of the sun - will be viewed by thousands of astronomy enthusiasts from all over the world at the Alia Bay in Sibiloi National Park in Marsabit County.

Kenya has been placed on the world map as hosting one of the best locations on earth with clear skies to view a rare astronomical occurrence, the hybrid total solar eclipse.  The total phase of the solar eclipse will be very brief and will only be seen in Kenya for 15 seconds. The partial eclipse will start at 16:25 pm, the total eclipse will then occur at 17:25pm and the partial eclipse will then end at 18:27 pm.

Today’s launch of the countdown was presided over by Ms Phyllis Kandie, the Cabinet Secretary for East African Community, Commerce and Tourism, during a media briefing at Hotel Inter-Continental in Nairobi.

The launch was also attended by Dr Hassan Wario Arero, the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and the Arts, representatives of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Tourism Board, National Museums of Kenya, Brand Kenya, Kenya Association of Tour Operators, the Marsabit County Government, and the Kenya Tourism Federation. 

While this occurrence will take place at different points on the earth astronomers says Sibiloi National Park will offer the best view of the eclipse as it is only at the park where clear skies will occur. Satellite and surface measurements indicate that the weather prospect in northern Kenya is the best along the entire 2013 eclipse track. 

“Standing in these untouched landscapes – gazing up at the unreal fuchsia hues of the solar prominences, the swirling wisps of corona around the black disk of the Moon – promises to be an experience one will carry forever,” said Ms Kandie.

Kenya has been placed on the world map boasting as one of the best locations on earth to view this hybrid total solar eclipse, which according to scientists is a rare occurrence. Tourists will also witness a 14- 22 seconds sunset total eclipse of the Sun by the shores of Lake Turkana in a desert landscape.

This event will be used to showcase Northern Kenya as an additional tourism attraction with the promise of adventure tourism and exploitation of astro and archaeological Tourism. This gives Kenya an opportunity to showcase other parts of the country not known to many. Tourists‐ both local and international will have the chance to experience world‐class desert safaris while visiting the Cradle of Humankind (Northern Tourist Circuit).

KWS is spending Sh10 million in preparations to host thousands of astronomy enthusiasts at the event in Sibiloi National Park in Marsabit County on the eastern shores of Lake Turkana.

The November 3, 2013 total solar eclipse will pass over equatorial Gabon in Western Africa, Congo, Uganda, Kenya and finally Ethiopia.

Background to Sibiloi National Park:

The site of the total solar eclipse Sibiloi National Park was gazetted in 1973 and is located to the East of Lake Turkana. The park gained its UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1997 due to its richness in biodiversity and fossils. In 1972, a 2-million-year-old fossilized skull was discovered in the park by Dr. Richard Leakey and his team, consequently Sibiloi is referred to as the cradle of humankind. Other archaeological sites found in the park include the elephant, crocodile, tortoise, and petrified remains of primeval forest fossils.





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