Over new year we decided a safari into the bush to hunt for Commiphora myrrha trees would be fun. Myrrh trees are known only to occur near the Ethiopian and Somali borders and the idea was to look at the soils and see if I could find them nearer our collection areas. At the moment, we harvest resins from Commiphora kataf, which is a type of myrrh, but does not have that wonderful deep, smoky, bitter aroma of true myrrh.
The first leg of our safari took us to Kampi Nyoka (place of snakes), on the main Marsabit/ Sololo highway and there we turned east on a track and crossed a desolate lava desert for about 70 kilometres.
As it was getting late we had to find a camp site and we turned off towards a small gravelly clearing in a hollow between the lava hills. It was extremely isolated and the quietest place I have been to, without even the sound of a bird. After setting up camp I had a look around and to my joy saw we were surrounded by myrrh trees, all in wonderful shape. What fortune!
Now I have the soil and botanical samples our next safari will be to see if we can find myrrh trees nearer home.