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Chalbi Desert Ultra Run & Festival

14 September, 2023

Chalbi Desert Ultra Run & Festival

About the Run & Festival

The Chalbi Desert Ultra (CDU) is a 80km endurance race set in the Northern desert of Kenya. The run is designed to be the ultimate running challenge in Kenya. The inaugural event will be on 11th November 2023 at Kalacha Marsabit. Participants will set out to run 15km, 30km, 50km, and 80km routes in the harsh desert terrain.
The Chalbi Desert Festival (CDF) is an experience designed to run alongside the Chalbi Desert Ultra in Kalacha Marsabit. The festival is set against the stunning backdrop of Marsabit County landscape. It is a celebration of Endurance art, music, and cultural diversity like no other. From the moment you step foot onto the festival grounds, you
will be transported into a world of enchantment and wonder. Immerse yourself in a vibrant tapestry of live performances by renowned DJs, and artists, spanning various genres. From pulsating beats that make your heart race to
soulful melodies that touch your very core, the festival promises to be a sonic feast for outdoor lovers under the stars of the Chalbi Desert.
As the sun dips below the horizon, the desert comes alive with an ethereal ambiance. Witness awe-inspiring performances marvel at stunning light displays, and revel in the company of kindred spirits under a starlit sky.

Event Summary

Date:11th November 2023

Location: Kalacha, Marsabit

Available Distances: 15km, 30km, 50km, 80km

Start Time: 0500hrsRegistration

Travel & Event Program | Itinerary

9th Nov: Thursday
For the Overland Truck Package – Morning departure from Nairobi and travel to Kalacha
to arrive in the evening.
10th Nov: Friday
Local Excursion at Kalacha and the Desert Dunes. The Team taking up 2nights package
arrive in Kalacha today.
11th Nov: Saturday; Run & Festival
0400hrs Assemble at the Start line.
Karibu Jua party
0430hrs Race Briefing
0500hrs 100km Start.
0530hrs 50Km & 30Km Start.
0630hrs 15Km Start.
0900hrs Cultural Tours & Excursions
1800hrs Finish Cutoff
1830hrs Chalbi Desert Festival (Stardust Party)
12th Nov: Sunday
Travel Back to Nairobi.

How To Get There | Event Venue

The Ultra Run festival will be happening in Kalacha town located in Marbasit. Kalacha is accessible by road and take approximately 10-12 hours from Nairobi.
Group Joining Road Transport: We will have a group joining Landcruiser and Overland
truck travel packages departing from Nairobi. The travel packages as outlined at the end of the documents and more will be shared as partners go live.
Self-Drive: For those seeking to self-drive, A 4×4 vehicle with good clearance is recommended.
Kindly note that a section of the road is rough terrain with limited services along the
way. It is there crucial to have spare tires, tools, and provisions.
From Nairobi, Drive to Isiolo to Marsabit and onwards to Kalacha.
Air: We are working closely with a charter company to provide a flight on Friday with a
Sunday return. Details will be shared in due course.
PS: It is recommended that you plan for 2 extra hours when traveling with Overland
trucks and large vehicles.

Spectators Entry & Activities

To witness the greatest ultra in the land you will purchase a festival ticket.The festival ticket gives you access to the festival and spectator areas in the run.
Advance Festival Ticket:  KSH 3,500
The ticket can be purchased on the website Or Make payments MPESA Paybill 695596 Account (Your Name Followed by Festival)

Extra activities will be available on the festival website via local tour operators and include: –
1. Camel rides in the desert.
2. 4X4 tours to the dune and villages.
3. Adrenaline activities (Quad biking and Buggies)
Kids Ticket (7-12yrs) – Kes. 1000

Race Entry Includes
1. Race Logistics(Aid Stations with hydration, water and nutrition)
2. Finishers Medal & Digital Certificate
3. Race Support, Health and Safety Logistics
4. Festival ticket
Available Slots
Due to the nature of the logistics, we will admit the following entries on the inaugural run:-
80km – 30 Runners
50km – 50 Runners
30km & 15km – 150 Runners
Spectators – 800 Festival Tickets
Race Support
The race will have support points at least every 10kms for water, fruits and hydration refill. The Aid stations will also coordinate bailout options for participants. The Race will be supported by Ground 4X4 Crews and Ambulance.

50km, 80km Runners Self Assessment
This is an endurance run in some of the harshest conditions. While the race starts before dawn, it is expected that 50km and 100km runners will run in harsh desert terrain and temperatures for a considerable period of time. It is important that runners joining for this race tick the following boxes:-
1. History and experience of running distances above Full Marathon (42km).
2. Experience of trail and track running.
3. Ability in basic navigation using GPS and or natural features.
4. Experience in self-support races. Even where support is provided you will need to carry your water and supplies.
5. No history of incapacitation due to high temperatures.
Finish Time & Cutoffs
For health and Safety reasons the organizers will employ a cutoff system that requires runners on the route to have finished certain distances at certain times. A comprehensive list of this cutoff system will be released. The system ensures we get all runners back to camp by darkness.



Kalacha is surrounded by hospitable communities that used to hold the famous International Kalacha Cultural Festival.
The organizer is partnering with the local Community, Area Member of Parliament, County Government and National security agencies in ensuring a safe event for all participants.

Weather in Chalbi

The weather in Chalbi has been unpredictable in the last 5 years due to global warming.
Traditionally November is the short rain season but these rains have failed in the last 5
years. Temperatures range with Lows of 17 °C to Highs of 20 °C to 27 °C.


At the event, there will be several food points strategically set up and open to everyone. Throughout the event, participants can explore these food points at their own convenience and pay directly to the providers.


Kalacha is a remote town with limited accommodation options. Different accommodation units will be set up to provide comfort & convenience.

Travel Packages

The festival Organizer will partner with Tour Companies and Camp service providers in providing various Travel and Accommodation packages. Running Clubs are encouraged to also create their team logistics. A member of our team is available to support the clubs in this regard. The available packages from different organizers include the
following. More packages will be shared with participants via the event website as they become available

What To Carry

  1. Running Trail Running Shoes.
  2. Comfortable pair of socks(Extra pair recommended)
  3. Identification Card | Passport
  4. GPS Sports Watch
  5. Proper hot weather attire(Nights can be cold)
  6. Personal Effects (Wash kit, Slippers, Soap, Tissue paper, Toothbrush + paste)
  7. Hoodie/Warm Shuka / Shawl for evenings
  8.  Refillable Water Bottles
  9. Hydration/camel bag for your run
  10. Headlamp /Torch
  11. Sunhat and Sunscreen
  12. Insect repellant and Anti Histamine
  13. Preferred drinks, rehydration tablets& Refreshments.
  14. Snacks
  15. Any personal medication / Personal first aid items

Event Merchandise and Memorabilia

Should you love to keep the memories with you, we have these exciting race items for you!
To get these items ready on the day of the event kindly pay in advance. Charges are to be borne by the participant.

❖ Custom Finishers Medal – Free to all participants.
❖ Custom Sports T-shirt – KSH 2,000
❖ Flask Bottle – KSH 1,500
❖ Sun Visio Cap – KSH 1,500

Payment and Booking

Make payments via MPESA Paybill 695596 Account (Your Name-ChalbiRun)

Confirmations and queries must be confirmed with 0729 995 059 | [email protected]

At a glance
  • Kes. 2850
  • Kes. 2500
  • Kalacha, Marsabit
Jemoh Maina,

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