Lake Turkana

This Lake features as an expansive inland sea from the northern side of Kenya and the largest permanent desert Lake in the world. Its length covers about 250 kilometers even longer than the whole of Kenyan coast and covers an area of 6405 square kilometers from the northern area of the Great Rift Valley. Before, this water body was popularly called as Lake Rudolf and straddles in the farther northern Kenya and surrounded by Sudan and Ethiopia in the northern side. In the southern part, there are 2 (two) primeval sentinels Teliki’s volcano and the Nabiyatum cone.

Lake Turkana is popular as the Jade Sea and offers a rare sight as its shimmering colors contrast sharply with the barren landscape of extinct volcanoes and lava beds which border it. Its description came due to the algae particles which shift with changes of the wind and light and the surface of the water moves from blue to grey to fabulous jade. This Lake is also fed by River Omo, Turkwel and Kerio which flow from Ethiopia and its water level keeps changing depending on amount of rainfall. Its climatic conditions tend to be harsh around this waterbody and there is less human activity being carried out.

Around the dry lakeshore and grasslands, the area is designated as a world heritage site plus the nearby Sibiloi National Park. On the northeastern shore, Sibiloi National Park lies near Koobi Fora archaeological site at Alia Bay which is one of the remotest protected areas in Kenya and refuges a number of wildlife species. About 22000 Nile crocodiles call this waterbody a home as well as several hippos, over 40 fish species while the rocky shoreline offers refuge to carpet vipers, scorpions, mammals, water turtles and many more. In order to conserve the breeding sites of avifaunal species and crocodiles, 2 (two) nearby islands of the Southern and Central Islands were designated as national parks. Around the dry grasslands, there are grevy’s zebra, snakes, topis, grant’s gazelles, reticulated giraffes, camels, lions, cheetahs and many more. There are also some avifaunal species that make up a total of about 350 resident and migratory avifaunal species including the little stint, sand pipper, African skimmer, white necked cormorant, heuglin’s bustard and many more. The main activity that is practiced here is fishing and the major fish species that thrive in this waterbody include tiger fish, Nile Perch, tilapia, elephant fish and many more.

Lake Turkana also features as a main source of life for most of the tribes that live around it. It has ancestral ties to Uganda and the El Molo-the hunter gatherer existence on the shores and their villages have rounded reed huts. Loyang Alani is another remote settlement along this Lake shores and mainly inhabited by the Turkana people.

How to get to Lake Turkana?

The fact that Lake Turkana is undoubtedly the most remote destination, getting to it alone is an adventure of its own. However, the east and west shores of this Lake can be reached differently and they are physically divided by the expansive Suguta Valley south of the Lake Turkana. The eastern shores can be accessed through Marsabit and Maralal whereas the western shore can be reached through Kitale and Lodwar. Besides, there are airstrips which offer charter aircraft services for tourists who are interested in air flights. The fact that road trips to this water body are a big challenge, flights are preferably the best option. There are boat rides along the shores of the lake.

Where to stay in Lake Turkana?

The accommodation options around this waterbody is remote and provides self-catering accommodation and hotel as well as guesthouses around Marsabit town. There is Lake Turkana Safari Lodge at El Molo which features about 31 guestrooms and provides basic hotel facilities such as shuttles, transfer, running water a mention but a few.

Conclusively, Lake Turkana is a stunning waterbody with incredible species and due to its strategic location, it allows visitors to also explore more wildlife species besides its own natural wonders. Any plans to visit Kenya this coming holiday, consider this waterbody a must to include in your travel plan and you won’t be left in regrets.