Turkana County is located in the northern part of the country. It borders Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan. Attractions to visit include Lake Turkana, its islands and national parks.
A Safari to the Land of the Jade Sea
A trip to Turkana County needs guts and a passion for lengthy road trips. It also needs an adventurous heart and gallons of water to live through the harsh, dry climate. This northern region has experienced a number of droughts in the last 50 years and when it gets hot, we are talking about 30 degrees Celsius on a good day. Overall, Turkana is an idyllic location, bordering Uganda to the West, South Sudan and Ethiopia to the North.
Places of Interest in Turkana County
South Island National Park
It is the largest island on Lake Turkana. If you are into adventurous boat safari s with strong winds rocking your vessel, this is the place to visit. It is mystical and beautiful. South Island is an exposed rim of a crater. The rest of is under the water. The island is accessible from Loiyangalani. People do not live here, but you will spot some goats in the underbrush.
Koobi Fora is a paleontological site whose findings include extinct creatures, human fossils and stone tools.
The 3-room house served as the home of the first president of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta when he was detained during the colonial era. It was given museum status to preserve that piece of Kenya’s history.
Take up the challenge to climb the hills that dot the plains of Turkana. There are several of these, some of which have not been thoroughly explored so expect an adventurous climb. Kakurotom Range is about 34km away from Lokichar. These vistas resemble faces or human forms staring at the sky and hidden in dense underbrush. As you get closer, the shrubbery clears up and you can see the outline of the hills. Other ranges worth exploring are Pelekech Range, Mogila Rande and Ngapoi Hills.
Nasolot National Reserve
This small conservation area is actually in Pokot. However, the Kenya Wildlife Service treats it as part of the South Turkana National Reserve.
The breathtaking view from Nasolot National Reserve offers a sweeping panorama of Turkwel Gorge, Nasolot Hill and some scenic rocky formations. Wildlife in the reserve includes hyenas, leopards, baboons, lesser kudus and buffalos.
South Turkana National Reserve
Within this large reserve are Masol, Kailongoi and Laiteruk hills. The vegetation in the reserve is mainly shrubbery that supports a good population of birds and other wildlife. Riverine vegetation is on the shores of Kerio River. Apart from birds, other animals to see there are crocodiles, kudus, elephants, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, buffalos and gazelles.
In addition to being a lake of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Turkana is also the largest permanent lake in a desert. Three rivers drain their water into the lake- Turkwel, Kerio and Omo. Though the water is alkaline, it supports a population of fish and crocodiles.
The turquoise coloured waters give it the name the Jade Sea and it was known as Lake Rudolf before it became Lake Turkana. There are several islands on this lake, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Explore Lake Turkana from Kalokol, which is a fishing village on the shores. There are motor boats for hire. Kalokol is a Turkana word that means a lot of fish. Mingle with the locals and learn a thing or two about their culture and economic activities. From Kalokol, you can reach Central Island, Sibiloi National Park and Koobi Fora.
Central Island National Park
This island sits in the middle of the Jade Sea. Buy tickets to the national park at Kalokol then enjoy a 14km boat ride to the island. The island has a series of craters. The three prominent craters are Flamingo, Tilapia and Crocodile, and they look like three small lakes.
Central Island has the most number of crocodiles in Lake Turkana. Other wildlife animals to see are flamingos.
It is the smallest of the islands on Lake Turkana and the least popular. North Island is hot all day long. Due to recent volcanic activity, the air reeks of sulphur.