Lake Turkana National Park : Lake Turkana is located at the far northern end of Kenya, crossing into Ethiopia. It was formerly known as Lake Rudolf and is found in the Kenya Rift Valley. Lake Turkana is the world’s largest permanent desert lake and the largest alkaline lake in the world. It is also the world’s fourth largest salt lake after the Caspian Sea, Issyk-kul, and Lake Van, and among all lakes it is ranked 24th. The surrounding area around the lake has rocks as a result of volcanic activity, with Central Island in the lake still being an active volcano, emitting vapor. Dunes, spits, and flats are located to the west and north at a lower elevation; on the east and south shores of the lake are outcrops and rocky shores to thrill while on Kenya wildlife Tours.
The lake experiences sudden violent storms frequently, and its onshore and offshore winds are extremely strong. The lake warms and cools much more slowly than the land. The lake has three primary inflows, which are the Omo River, Turkwel River, and Kerio River, but it has no outflow, with the lake’s only water loss being through evaporation.
Lake Turkana is found at the border of Turkana County and Marsabit County, with the biggest portion of the lake being in Marsabit County. Lake Turkana National Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sibiloi National Park lies on the lake’s eastern shores in Marsabit County together with South Island National Park, which is located on the southern part of the lake. Central Island National Park lies in the lake and within the borders of two counties. Both South Island National Park and Central Island National Park are known for their large numbers of crocodiles.
The county still receives tourists despite being very far from Nairobi, which is at least two days drive from the county’s capital, Nairobi. The lake also acts as an imaginary boundary between the communities living around the lake: the Rendille, the Borana, the Oromo, and the Turkana. The area is primarily clay-based and is more alkaline than seawater.
Sibiloi National Park
Sibiloi National Park is located in Marsabit County, 592 kilometers from Nairobi, on the shores of Lake Turkana, the cradle of mankind. It was established in 1973 by the government of Kenya for the protection of its wildlife and paleontological sites. Sibiloi National Park covers 1,570 km2 and is internationally known for its fossils. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 as a part of Lake Turkana National Parks. Sibiloi National Park is an important historical and archaeological site because of Koobi Fora, where the fossils and remains of human evolution have contributed to our knowledge and understanding of evolution. The area is a semi-desert habitat with open plains and volcanic formations such as Mount Sibiloi.
The park was named after Mount Sibiloi in view of Alia Bay on the south perimeter. Sibiloi National Park serves as a stopover for migrant birds and waterfowl and is also a major breeding ground for the Nile crocodile. Wildlife in the park includes zebras, Grant gazelles, lions, leopards, stripped hyenas, Beisa oryx, greater kudus, cheetahs, and northern topis, among others. It is also a bird haven with over 350 species.
The communities surrounding Sibiloi National Park are the Turkana, the Gabra, and the Dassanach, all very rich in their traditional cultures. There are camping and short-stay facilities for visitors, as well as the Koobi Fora Museum. Koobi Fora Research Center is located in the northern part of the country but is accessible through guided tours. The most famous remains of early man from the park are those of Australopithecus and early Homo. These have since been moved to the Nairobi National Museum, but fossil non-humanoids are still on display in the museum.
CENTRAL ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
Central Island National Park is the furthest national park, about 800 kilometers away from Nairobi. The park sits on the blue-green waters of Lake Turkana, the largest permanent desert lake in the world. The Central Island national park is made up of three active volcanoes that emit sulfurous smoke and steam. There are also three crater lakes, Crocodile Lake, Flamingo Lake, and Tilapia Lake, which provide breeding grounds for the world’s largest population of Nile crocodiles. Central Island National Park has a campsite where visitors can enjoy the beauty of the only desert lake in the world.
The park has a black lava beach, while the moon rises over the menacingly smoking craters. Central Island, one of the smallest national parks in Kenya, is also referred to as Crocodile Island. It is a volcanic island located in the middle of Lake Turkana in Kenya. It is also the location of Central Island National Park, which is governed by the Kenya Wildlife Service. The island is made up of more than a dozen craters and cones, three of which are filled by small lakes. The two largest lakes partially fill craters up to a kilometer wide and about 80 meters deep, the floors of which are near sea level. The highest point on the dominantly basaltic island reaches 550 meters, about 190 meters above the lake surface. An east-west trending chain of small explosion craters cuts the eastern side of the 3-kilometer-wide island. Several small islands represent partially submerged crater rims, and other cones and lava plugs lie beneath the lake surface near the island.
Fumarolic activity is concentrated along the northeast to southeast rim of the central crater, and sprays of sulfur from the fumaroles were observed by visitors in the 1930s. In 1974, intense emissions of molten sulfur and steam clouds were seen from the mainland.
South Island National Park
South island National Park, which is also referred to as the Isle of Misery,” is covered end to end in volcanic ash. The nightly glow of this South Island’s luminous vents has inspired numerous tales of ghosts and evil spirits. It is an island located in the southern part of Lake Turkana. It has a surface area of 39 km2 and is protected as a national park under the Kenya Wildlife Service. It was gazetted as a national park in 1983 and a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997 for its remarkable iridescent vents that glow at night.
South Island National Park is approximately 716 kilometers from Nairobi. It is one of the designated Important Bird Areas (IBA) because it is a key stopover for 34 European migratory bird species, spectacularly viewed as they return home between March and May. There are at least 23 species of birds that breed here, including Goliath herons and African skimmers, while African open-billed storks, ducks, and gulls feed on the shores, and the volcanic island lakes attract lesser flamingos. There are also abundant birds of prey, especially the swallow-tailed kites. The park is a unique tourist destination in Kenya for game viewing and also has the largest population of crocodiles in the world.
If you are looking for the most pristine safari destinations in Kenya, then South Island National Park is a must-visit for it offers a variety of Kenya’s wildlife diversity, from birds and animals on land to marine life.