Turkana County in north—western Kenya borders Marsabit County to the east, Samburu County to the south-east, and Baringo and West Pokot Counties to the south. Lodwar Town is the county’s headquarter.
ATTRACTIONS IN TURKANA COUNTY
This is the world’s largest permanent alkaline desert lake located in the north-western part of Kenya and covering an area of 6,405 square km. Its northern tip crosses into Ethiopia and is fed by three rivers – the Omo of Ethiopia, the Turkwel and the Kerio. The lake is also called the Jade Sea because of its azure-green colour from algae in bloom.
Lake Turkana became known after Count Teleki’s expedition struggled over incredibly barren and inhospitable terrain and reached its shore on 6th March 1888. Teleki named his discovery Lake Rudolf to honor the Crown Prince of Austria. In 1975 the Kenya Government changed the name to Lake Turkana to honor the lakeshore people.
- Sport fishing
- Island hopping
Central Island National Park
The island park in Lake Turkana is 5km2. Central Island has three scenic crater lakes – Crocodile, Flamingo and Tilapia and an active crater.
How to get there
- Road: 800km from Nairobi to Lake Turkana, then take a boat from Sibiloi National Park or from Lodwar. Access from Nairobi is on the main Nairobi – Moyale road or from Maralal to Loiyengalani through Baragoi and South Horr.
- By Air: Two airstrips at Sibiloi
Three crater lakes – Crocodile Lake, Flamingo Lake and Tilapia Lake and an active volcano.
Loiyangalani Desert Museum
The museum on a hill overlooks Lake Turkana. Opened in 2008, it focuses on the lives of the eight communities living in the area and on the natural environment in this harsh country. The eight communities are Turkana, El-molo, Rendille, Samburu, Gabbra, Watta, Boran and Dassanash (Merillle).
The site with a museum lies on the eastern shores of Lake Turkana. Koobi Fora is one of the world’s leading pre-historic sites for the study of human evolution. In 1972 the area was gazetted as Sibiloi national park and is a World Heritage Site since 1977.
Sand Dunes in Turkana
The sand dunes are best enjoyed in a four-wheel drive adventure to an oasis surrounded by palm trees. The dunes measure over 40 feet high with breathtaking sceneries.
Sibiloi National Park
Dubbed “The Cradle of Mankind”. It lies on the northeastern shore of Lake Turkana about 800km from Nairobi. The semi-desert ecosystem was established to protect its petrified cedar forest, wildlife and the unique prehistoric and archaeological sites linked to the origin of man.
The park is waterless except for the alkaline lake. It is nonetheless rich in wildlife such as zebra, giraffe, hippo, crocodile and numerous bird species such as flamingos, pelicans and ducks. Other attractions are the preserved wildlife fossils, which include the Giant Tortoise and the 20-foot long crocodile.
How to get there
- By Air: There are two all weather strips.
- Gates: One gate
- Roads: High-clearance 4WD is essential all year round. Travel in convoy is recommended.
The lake is a three-day continuous drive from Nairobi via Marsabit and North Horr. The other route is Maralal via South Horr. lt’s best to take a few extra days to enjoy stops enroute. Alternatively travel by road from Nairobi to Kalokol on the lake’s western shores, via Kitale and Lodwar. From Kalokol, boat hire services are available across the lake to Allia Bay.
Scorching hot and arid (especially December-March). June and July are the coolest months. May-September very strong winds blow most of the day. Rainfall is less than 250mm per annum.
Origin of man: Koobi Fora museum and research base
- The tempestuous ‘Jade Sea’
- Petrified forests
- Prolific birdlife
Zebra, Grant’s gazelle, Reticulated Giraffe, Beisa oryx, topi, Greater kudu, hippo, lion, cheetah, leopard, Striped hyena and Silver-backed jackal. The world’s largest Nile crocodile population breeds on Lake Turkana’s Central Island.
Where to Stay
- Loyiangalani (south tip of Lake Turkana)
- Oasis Lodge
- Lobolo Tented Camp
- Palm Shade (bandas and campsite).
- Self — Catering Accommodation
- Allia Bay Guesthouse: offers 3-double bedrooms, solar generated electricity and furnished indoor sitting, dining and kitchen.
- National Museum of Kenya, Koobi – For a research base and campsite.
- Lake Turkana Lodge.
Two public campsites:
I. Turkana campsite, and
II. Koobi Fora Campsite
- Game drives
- Archeological safaris
- Bird watching
Facts About Turkana County
Turkana County is located in north western Kenya bordering Marsabit county to the east, Samburu county to the south east, and Baringo and West Pokot county to the south, to the South-west
Area (Km 2): 68,680.3 Km 2
Climate/Weather: Warm and hot climate, unreliable rainfall pattern ranging between 300mm and 400mm per annum
Road Network: Bitumen Surface (319.2 Km), Gravel Surface (296.7 Km), Earth Surface (2030.5 Km)
Key National Monument(s): Lake Turkana National Park
Population of Turkana County
Population: 855,399 (Male – 52 %, Female – 48 %)
Population Density: 6.9 people per Km 2
National Percentage: 2.2 %
Annual Growth Rate: Not Available
Age Distribution: 0-14 years (46.0%), 15-64 years (51.6 %), 65+ years (2.4%)
Number of Households: 123,192
Government Turkana County
County Capital: Lodwar Town (proposed)
Number of Constituencies (2010): 3 (Turkana North, Turkana Central, and Turkana South)
Registered Voters: 116,816
National percentage: 1.0 %
Number of Districts (2009): 6 (Turkana Central, Turkana North, Turkana South, Turkana West, Turkana East, Loima)
Number of Local Authorities (2010): 2 (Municipal council of Lodwar, County Council of Turkana)
Economy of Turkana County
Poverty Level: 95% of population live below poverty line
Age Dependency Ratio: 89.4
Resources: Natural (gemstones and saltlicks, gold – dormant, wildlife, Lake Turkana, Turkwell Dam)
Tourist Attractions: Lake Turkana National Park, Loiyangalani Desert Museum
Financial Services: 3 Commercial Banks, 2 Micro-finance Institutions
Main Economic Activities/industries: Livestock farming and trade, fishing, weaving, and tourism
Agricultural products: Sorghum, Maize
Education in Turkana County
Number of Institutions (2007): Primary (202), Secondary (19)
Primary: Enrolment (122,883)
Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1: 51
Secondary: Enrolment (48,004)
Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1: 27.7 (Public Schools)
Tertiary: At least 2 Institutions
Adult Literacy Classes: Enrolment (562)
Health in Turkana County
Health Facilities: District Hospitals (3), Sub-District Hospitals (2), Dispensaries (91), Health Centres (6), Medical Clinics (19), Health Programs (3) Others (3)
Doctor to Population Ratio: 1:52,434
Infant Mortality Rates: 60/1000
Under Five Mortality Rates: 12/1000
Prevalent Diseases: Malnutrition
Notable Hospitals: Lodwar, Katilu, and Lokitaung District Hospitals