Turkana Lake, An Impressive Unique Landscapes Complimented by Intact Traditional Culture
Turkana, the second largest of all 47 counties, is covering 13% of the Republic of Kenya’s surface. There is more than one routing for overland trips to Lake Turkana, but in each case, it’s worth remembering that the journey is as much part of the experience as the destination. This might sound like a travel cliché, but you’ll not only see remarkable sights along the way tribe’s people, strange mirages, phenomenal volcanic remnants, but you’ll have the chance to feel the long route on board a enhanced 4×4 off road jeeps. Although only known to few outsiders, it offers a range of unique landscapes and ecosystems as well as an impressive, intact traditional culture. Whether you are after bird watching, a wildlife safari, archeological experiences, relaxing on the beach or simply out for new discoveries – Turkana has it all! Turkana is known to have generating a lot of public interest from numerous organization especially after the discovery of its fresh water underground reservoirs capacities estimated to be able to supplying the whole country with water to a period of 70 years.
I just a snick preview of the larger Turkana region without limiting ourselves to the lake surroundings, we find a unique ensemble of sand dunes, lakescape, doom palm trees and a swampy lagoon characterize the area of Lobolo swamp. Myriads of flamingo, holy ibis and other waterfowl have chosen it as their stomping ground. In case you are a bird watcher or merely a nature lover, you will enjoy staying and unwinding here very much! There is an exclusive tented camp near a natural spring covered by a shady palm groove, right at the shores of beautiful Lake Turkana. Whether you simply want a calm time to unwind or explore the surroundings on foot together with the camp’s naturalist and mingle with the resident flamingos, you will have a rewarding time in Lobolo, just some 20 kilometres north of Eliye Springs.
More to these is the lake Turkana Festival takes place some times in onset of summer May every year in Loiyangalani, a small town located on the south-eastern coast of Lake Turkana. The name means “a place of many trees” in the native Samburu tongue and is home to the El Molo, an almost extinct community, amongst other communities. Its main industries include fishing, tourism and gold panning. For sure a remote place on earth that has fast overturned the events of time and is emerging fast as a popular tourist destination in Northern Kenya, as the surrounding El Molo and Turkana villages, amongst others, offer unique cultural experiences.
We who love nature and follow closely the Kenyans Tourism can recall that on the June of 2008, the National Museums of Kenya officially opened the first and only Desert Museum in Loiyangalani, which mirrors the Cultures and lifestyles of the eight communities that live in this area. This is also the year when the 1st Lake Turkana Cultural Festival took place celebrating and uniting all tribes affiliated to Loiyangalani, that live around Lake Turkana. The 3 day carnival is a celebration of the rich cultures of the El Molo, Samburu, Gabbra, Rendile, Watta, Dasannach and the Turkana all who live around the Jade Sea. The Lake Turkana Festival is worth attending as you explore this northern frontier and enjoy the myriad of colorful cultures while discovering the hidden treasures of Lake Turkana.
Among the numerous areas to visit in the Turkana region is the Ferguson Gulf a huge bay full of shallow water, confined towards Lake Turkana by a sandy ridge overgrown by doum palm trees – a terrific landscape! Everybody around seems to be busy fishing, thousands of pelicans, flamingos and yellow billed storks as well as the local fishermen who practise their trade with sailing boats, canoes with outboard engines or traditional rafts which supposedly are the most ancient vessels of human kind. It all explains why the nearby town of Kalokol is the centre of Turkana’s fishing industry. At Ferguson Gulf, you can watch the work of the fishermen and accompany them when they go out to the lake, do some bird watching or simply come to marvel at the sunrises and sunsets which turn the orange waters into fluid fervour. With every famous photographer wanting to pitch a tent on the valleys, I am also dusting my lenses again just to make sure that I capture the moments of spectacle.