Our name is derived from the Marich Pass, a deep, rocky cleft carved where the Moruny River emerges from the Cherangani Hills onto the dry plains of the Lake Turkana Basin. The Centre is situated on the boundaries of distinctive ecological zones, where a wide variety of physical landscapes, vegetation, wildlife and human lifestyles is within easy reach.
The Centre has been developed in harmony with the ecotourism ethos. It is built on land leased from the Pokot County Council, using traditional materials. The compound is set within 30 acres of natural forest, of which 10 have been cleared for building the Centre on the Moruny river frontage. The Centre is owned and managed by African Field Studies Centre Ltd, a private company registered in Kenya. The Centre Director is Mrs. Hidat Roden, who with her late husband Dr. David Roden founded the Marich Pass Field Studies Centre. There are 20 full time staff, one-third of whom speak some English. Pokot guides, who speak English, take clients walking in the area. They can explain their traditional agricultural methods and culture, and have a general knowledge of wildlife.
On the compound vervet monkeys and monitor lizards can be seen daily. Over 100 different types of birds have been identified on site, and almost 400 within a radius of 30 kms. The surrounding scenery is superb, and the general area remains one of the least modernised in Kenya. Marich Pass is at an altitude of about 900 m and enjoys a mild to hot climate. Annual rainfall is approximately 750 mm, but variable in both annual and monthly distribution. Generally, December through to March are dry months with cool nights and warm to hot days.
The area is steeped in archaeological history, much of it still undiscovered. Pokot agriculturalists are situated in the mountains, whilst semi-nomadic pastoralists are to be seen in the arid plains, giving an insight into several traditional ways of life. The Pokot wear ornate jewellery - beadwork and brass, and still pan for gold in the Moruny River.