Lake Turkana, "The Jade Sea" is the largest lake in Kenya on the floor of the Great Rift Valley (about 255 by 50 km). It is an inland sea in the middle of a desert which offers the latest tourist attraction in the country and stretches into Ethiopia in the north where several rivers from the Ethiopian Highlands including the Omo River enter its waters. Like the rest of the Rift Valley lakes, it has no outlet. It's beautiful, clear and unpolluted water is therefore semi-alkaline but rich in fish, crocodile and bird life. The regionís temperature may rise to 145 F (63 C) and sometimes become a bit uncomfortable especially to visitors.
Count Sammuel Teleki von Szeki was the first white man to see the lake in March 1888. He named it Lake Rudolf in honor of his patron the Austrian Archduke .The name was, however, changed to Lake Turkana in 1975 by the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. The southern tip of the lake is characterized by strong violet winds which tear across the lake forming high tides and making that part of the lake extremely dangerous for fishermen. Giant Nile perch grow to over 200 lbs and may reach 400 lbs, much to the delight of the sports fishermen but commercial fishermen look for the more palatable Nile Tilapia which are dried or frozen and marketed in Nairobi and other towns in the country.
The lakeís central island, an active volcano, right at the center of the lake, which sometimes belches out clouds of sulfurous steam and smoke, was established as a National park in 1983 for the protection of the breeding ground for the Niles crocodile. The Island has three lakes; Crocodile Lake, Flamingo Lake and Tilapia Lake.
Accessibility is through Lodwar by road to Ferguson Gulf, some 60 kilometers from Lodwar town and then on the lake using hired motorboats from lake Turkana Angling Lodge at the Gulf. The interesting El-Molo tribe once reduced to only 80 souls and described as the smallest tribe in Africa, inhabits two small Islands and Loiyangalani in the south-eastern corner of the lake. The tribe has, however, now multiplied to well over 500 people. They live on fish ,crocodile meat, and on wild animals like Hippo, Turtle and birds.
South Island National Park (39Sq. Km)
Like the Central Island, the South Island was established in 1983 for the protection of the breeding ground for the Nile Crocodile, the Hippos and its unique venomous snakes - Puff adders, cobra and vipers. It is at the center of the El-Molo country- a surviving tribe just emerging from the Stone-Age standard of living and whom John Hillaby described in 1964 as the "race that time had forgotten to finish off".
Accessibility is through Loiyangalani (a place of trees), where the well named Oasis Lodge provides a base and facilities (motor boats) for bird-watching trips to the Islands and for those visitors intending to make camping safaris to Mount Kulal or Mount Moiti to see its mineral springs
South - Turkana (1091 Sq. Km)and Nasolot National Reserve (92 Sq. km)
The reserves were established in 1979 for the preservation of the remaining wildlife species in Turkana District which like the Turkana people have adapted to the harsh and arid environment. There are limited forest and plains game like elephant, buffalo, eland, impala, lesser kudu and many other lower species found in arid and semi-arid zones.
Nasolot has beautiful scenery, overlooking the Turkwell Gorge. The reserves are suitable for camping safaris as there are no accommodation facilities within or near the reserves.