The Petrified Forest is approximately 5 km away from the Karsa Gate (the main entrance to the Sibiloi National Park). There are signs inside the park so it shouldn’t be too difficult to drive there.
To the best of my knowledge the Petrified Forest is the only one of its kind in Kenya.
Petrified wood (from the Greek root petro meaning “rock” or “stone”; literally “wood turned into stone”) is the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation.
Petrified wood is formed when the organic matter in plant material is gradually replaced by minerals. This process is called permineraliztion.
The plant material gets buried by sediment and mineral rich water flows through the sediment replacing the original plant material with inorganic matter such as silica.
The minerals form a perfect copy of the original substance including cell structure and fibres. This forms a 3 dimensional structure of the original organic material. A forest where such material has petrified becomes known as a petrified forest.
The Petrified Forest was discovered by researchers in the early 70’s. It is approximately 7 million years old and is concrete evidence of climate change in the Lake Turkana Basin.
The petrified forest in Sibiloi National Park is definitely one of Kenya’s hidden gems and we would highly recommend this place to anyone. Get to experience life in this middle-of-nowhere in Kenya’s northern frontier. The remoteness undoubtedly adds to the charm of the destination.