Lake Turkana

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Lake Turkana is a lake in the Great Rift Valley, located in Turkana County. It is the largest alkaline water body the world over and the largest permanent desert lake.

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Do You Fancy a Tour of the Jade Sea?

Forget attractions in the capital city, at the coast or in the scenic central part of Kenya and drive to the heart of the Great Rift Valley to explore a region that is hot and dry daily, annually. Discover the country’s far-flung region that has remained the same for centuries. It is like time travel to the past.

Leave Nairobi for a 734.9km road trip to Lake Turkana.   This road trip will take you through the attraction laden Great Rift Valley towns on an over 10 hour journey to the hot and dry Turkana County. You can half the time by flying from major towns in Kenya to Lodwar Airstrip.

Lake Turkana is situated on the North western edge of Kenya and Ethiopia. It flows from Ethiopia into Kenya creating a channel along the Great Rift Valley.   This lake is known as the Jade Sea because of its turquoise coloured sparkling water.  The scenic attraction is a complete contrast to the miserably dry plains around it and the neighbouring counties. The scorching sun feels twice as hot because there is little to no vegetation for miles.  The lake is the largest desert water body in the world.

On this lake are three islands. Do not let the sweeping view from the shores of Lake Turkana fool you because these islands as twice as beautiful as they are from a far when you explore them. The heat is unbearable but the view if magnificent.  Enjoy a boat ride to these islands, and see wildlife species such as crocodiles and hippos.  There are goats too.

When two European explorers first saw the lake, in 1888, they named in Lake Rudolf to honour an Austrian prince. The communities living around the lake, who include the Turkana, Daasanach, Gabbra and the Rendille have names for it too. Nevertheless, it became Lake Turkana in 1975 when the second president of Kenya, Daniel arap Moi named it after the Turkana community, which is the largest group in the region.

Meet the local fishermen on the lake; fishing is the main economic activity in the region.  The lake is slightly alkaline but it has a copious supply of Nile perch, carp, tilapia, dog fish and spiked koko. A fishing expedition is a great idea too.

The lake has hundreds of birds; a birding safari should be on your to do list as well.  Anthropological finds of this region include a 1470 human skull, a skeleton of the now famous Turkana Boy and another human skull believed to be 3.5million years old.

There are plans to tap wind power from the strong winds that blow over the lake. Other important activity that pushed the lake to the local and international limelight is the Lake Turkana Festival that takes place at Loiyangalani.

Map of Lake Turkana

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