Appearing mirage-like in the middle of a vast, lunar landscape of extinct volcanoes and lava beds is the world’s largest desert lake. A World Heritage Site, Lake Turkana, the most northerly of Kenya’s Rift Valley Lakes, is extraordinary to behold. Also known as the Jade Sea for the array of blue and green hues produced by the algae it contains, Lake Turkana is fed by the Omo River in Ethiopia and, having no outlet, its levels fluctuate with the rainfall of Ethiopia.
The ‘Jurrassic-like setting’ of the lake, made all the more spectacular by its drastic contrast to the barren surroundings, is steeped in preliistory.
The lake was first discovered by westerners in 1888 when an Austrian explorer found human skulls and bones here and 80 years later was made famous by Richard Leakey’s discovery of fossil remains dating back three million years at his excavation at Koobi Fora. It is widely believed that this is where man first walked upright.
Today, visitors are attracted to the lake to see its population of 22,000 Nile crocodiles in addition to hippos, venomous snakes, Grevy’s and plains zebras, reticulated giraffes, camels and more than 40 different species of fish. There are also plentiful numbers of migrating waterfowl, including flocks of flamingos, to be seen.