Arriving in Maralal, you’ll invariably attract a flock of (often annoying) “guides” offering evening excursions to see traditional dancing in nearby manyattas, or else visits to local Samburu witch doctors and blacksmiths and Turkana villages. Use your judgement before accepting, making it absolutely clear how much you are prepared to pay. Recent visitors have reported relatively non-commercial and very worthwhile excursions.
An attempt to tame the guides by organizing them into disciplined groups is the Young Plastic Boys’ Co-operative Self-Help Group, named after the street children who used to make dolls and trinkets using plastic bags and cartons. They have now progressed, under the guidance of the KWS and various NGOs, to carving and selling woodcrafts, spears and other souvenirs. Their shop is near the market, and sells a decent range of Pokot, Turkana, Rendille and Samburu crafts (or items inspired by those cultures), and they should also be able to sort you out with a reliable guide, should you need one, and advise on onward travel if you’re having difficulties. If you want to look further for crafts, seek out a Plastic Boys offshoot, Classic Curios, a little crafts shop opposite the Jamaru Restaurant.