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.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Kenya features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Dhows, donkeys and sundowners: why it's time to return to Lamu, Kenya

Dhows, donkeys and sundowners: why it's time to return to Lamu, Kenya

Lamu was once an essential stop during any trip to Kenya. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this historic Swahili town is home to wandering donkeys and lazy dhow…

09 Oct 2017 • Harriet Constable insert_drive_file Article
Saving the elephants: on the poaching frontline in Kenya

Saving the elephants: on the poaching frontline in Kenya

The African elephant is under constant threat from poachers, and numbers have fallen by one third in seven years. Joe Minihane journeyed to the Samburu reserv…

31 Jul 2017 • Joe Minihane local_activity Special feature
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook