Star Wars Filming Destination Northern Kenya

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May the Fourth Be With You!

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Star Wars as well as the 10th year since the first Marsabit – Lake Turkana Festival was held. Coincidence? We believe that Star Wars would have found a home in the counties of Marsabit and Turkana.
What’s unique about these two counties that would have them solicited by the producers of the 40-year-old movie sequel?

Cultural Value

Marsabit was named after a Burji farmer, Marsa, who was brought by colonialists from Ethiopia. He would answer yes in Amharic “Abet” whenever he was called hence the creation of Marsa-Abeit. Turkana, on the other hand, was a mispronunciation of Aturkan which means ‘cave land’ in Kiturkana.
The cultural wealth in these two regions has defied modern trends by maintaining traditions. It is in this regard that the government has been organizing the Festival. Not only for cultural entertainment but also as a way of achieving peace across the 14tribes.

Samburu warriors making a fire.

Samburu warriors making a fire.

The Cushites and Nilotes living in the region are predominantly nomadic pastoralists. However, others also practice farming and fishing as a source of livelihood. The tribes include the:

  • Gabbra –lions of the desert that are camel herders
  • Dassanetch – people of the Delta
  • Turkana – ‘cave people’ stemming from corruption of Turkwen
  • Samburu – labelled ‘butterfly people’ due to the flamboyant ornaments
  • Borana – largest Oromo pastoralists
  • Rendille – considered holders of the stick of God as a result of their pious ways
  • Burji – the marginalized farmers from Ethiopia
  • El-Molo – the fishermen facing extinction

Universal Value

Marsabit is the largest county in Kenya with an area of more than 70, whereas Turkana falls second at over 68, The region harbors the major stages of earth’s history. From petrified forests to archaeological findings of 5 pre-human and human species, it is no wonder that the counties have earned the title “Cradle of mankind”.
The Chalbi Desert is the dwelling place of the largest desert lake in the world – Lake Turkana. With a basin surface area of 7 million ha, The National Parks within the Lake spit lava, are breeding grounds of the Nile Crocodile and Hippo and are also the passageway of migrant birds.

Series of lava rock pools at southern end of Lake Turkana

Series of lava rock pools at southern end of Lake Turkana

The harsh climatic condition of the area has worked in protecting one of Kenya’s UNESCO Heritage sites. Its remoteness coupled with Mount Kulal Biosphere Reserve, preserve the ecosystem naturally.

Economic Value

The economic activities besides the flourishing livestock trade that takes in Moyale are salt mining, sand harvesting, and fishing. Small-scale farming was introduced near Turkwell and Kerio rivers as a way to fight starvation. The Borana engage in farming around Mounts Kulal and Marsabit.
The recent discovery of commercially viable oil has attracted a variety of businesses in addition to the British oil firm.

Scenic Value

Here is our choice of the various locations that the Star Wars production team would find fascinating.

Chalbi Desert

Chalbi Desert

  • The Chalbi Desert located on the east of the Jade Lake which is a vast salt pan with sand dunes in the north boundary
Paradise Lake Dry Season

Paradise Lake Dry Season



Dancing Stones of Namoratunga

  • Namoratunga Site – 19 basalt pillars aligned with 7 star systems found beside the road from Lodwar to Kalokol


Sibiloi National Park

Sibiloi National Park

Happy Star Wars Holiday and May The Fourth Be With You.


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