Lake Turkana is a long and narrow Rift Valley Lake, and is quite remarkable for the colourful, ever-changing reflections that decorate its surface. The lake has three volcanic islands, of which South and Central Islands are national parks. This is one of Kenya’s most celebrated fossil areas, with a famous site at Koobi Fora.
The lake sustains 60 species of fish which are much sought-after by anglers, including tiger, cat and puffer fish, tilapia and Nile perch. Turkana is the most saline of all the freshwater Rift Valley Lakes. Also numerous in the lake are Nile crocodiles, which have numbers in their thousands. The fossil site at Koobi Fora has unearthed a fossl of a crocodile that was estimated to be 13.5 m in length.
On the west side of the lake, Kalokol, Lobolo Springs and Eliye Springs are the most interesting places to visit, whilst Central Island can be accessed from Kalokol.
- Kalokol itself is a small town with an abandoned fish factory being its most prominent feature. It is best as the place to leave for visits to the island.
- The springs have swimming pools that are normally fed by the springs, and lakes in which you can swim.
The Central Island National Park protects two lakes in craters, of which one is Flamingo Crater and attracts up to 20,000 lesser flamingos every year. These are not the only birds; goliath and grey herons are common, and Eurasian spoonbills nest on the cliffs and are often seen. Crocodiles and large water turtles are also common here, mainly seen in the aptly named Crocodile Lake.
To the east, South Island National Park and El Molo Bay are easily accessed, whilst the Sibiloi National Park and Koobi Fora are also in this area.
- South Island National Park has excellent crocodile viewing, and with huge volcanic sand banks playing host to some monstrously proportioned reptiles, this can be a sobering sight. Hippo live here too, as well as a host of venomous snakes.
- El Molo Bay is the home of the smallest tribe in Kenya, the el Molo. The grass shelters that are their homes sit prettily on the bank from which they make their living on subsistence fishing, and the people are extremely friendly, so the price it costs to walk through the village is worth it. This money is payment for photographs amongst other things.
The Sibiloi NP is regarded as the cradle of mankind, as plenty of fossils of early man have been found here. Other incredible fossils include an ancestor of the elephant with enormous tusks, and a giant tortoise shell that is 3 million years old. The park itself is covered in yellow spear grass and doum palms, with arid bush to the east. The game is surprisingly varied given that the only water is from the lake itself, and includes Grant’s gazelle, Grevy’s zebra, cheetah and striped hyena. The birdlife is excellent with ducks and pelicans being a prelude to the more interesting Taita falcon and black-tailed godwit.
On the southern shore, Sugata Valley is the most interesting place to visit, with the valley being the hottest and most hostile place on earth. Temperatures reach up to 60° Celcius, and the perfect cone of Mount Nyiru is one of the most interesting parts of the scenery. The barren and remote wilderness, as well as the lava flows from the Teleki volcano are fascinating to see.
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