Kenya’s North is desert country- hot, parched and broken by volcanic activity, where ancient blackened lava flows and endless thorn trees stretch from horizon to horizon.
Getting to Turkana overland is no mean feat. While it is possible to fly to the Lake in a Chartered aircraft (and indeed flying is recommended for the furthest Northern reaches) it must be said that flying to Turkana some what distills the adventure.
This is place where the journey is very much part of the destination- and it is only by taking the long difficult road that a real sense of remoteness is gained. However, the flight itself is quite an experience, taking in wonderful vistas across the Suguta Valley and providing a birds eye view of the Lake itself.
Most visitors make the longtrip from Nairobi over a 2 or 3-day period, stopping en route at Maralal, Samburu, or Marsabit. The trip winds through some beautiful country, and travelers invariably encounter Rendille camel trains, and pass by tiny villages and nomadic encampments along the way.
The history and cultures of the North- the Samburu, Pokot, Gabbra, Borana and many more are written upon the soil of this trackless land- and travelling through this area is a great education in itself. Both the East and West shores of the Lake each offer unique areas of interest.
At the South East tip of the Lake, reached via South Horr, the tiny oasis of Loiyangalani (“the place of the trees”) attracts many travelers to its palm groves, where a constant wind offers relief from the searing heat.
There is a well-maintained campsite and basic lodge here. Many safari companies and operators offer truck trips to this area- sometimes combined with a Camel safari further south.
Cradle of Mankind
For over 100 years, the National Museums of Kenya’s has been protecting, preserving, and promoting Kenya’s Historical, Natural, Cultural heritage and recently its Contemporary Art through Museums, Antiques and Monuments.
Kenya is endowed with the richest pre-historic fossil heritage dating over 100 Million years ago, back into the dinosaur age. The Lake Turkana eco-system is amongst Kenya’s six World Heritage Sites. The lake is the world’s largest desert as well as alkaline lake containing the largest Nile crocodile population.
The National Museums of Kenya holds the world’s largest collection of human pre-history, the longest and most complete record spanning over 27 Million years. You can also find records of fauna and plant species related to the evolution theory e.g. elephants, crocodiles- displayed in-situ at the Cradle of Mankind site.
In addition to fossil records, the existence of a long record of technological evolution with tools as old as 2.3 million years old also exists. The study of human evolution still continues to-date through the tireless efforts of Kenyan scientists at the National Museums of Kenya.
A Kenyan; Mr. Kamoya Kimeu, made our most famous discovery, the Turkana Boy dated 1.6Million years. This was a young boy of 9 – 12 years old, 1.6 meters tall, and is the only almost complete skeleton of a human related fossil ever found in the world.
Make your pilgrim trip to the Cradle of Mankind and discover the land where our ancestors once trod. Take a journey through the most spectacular scenery in Kenya while experiencing the rich cultures of minority communities like the almost extinct El Molo.
Loiyangalani is a good base for exploring- either by boat to South Island National Park, or by climbing nearby Mount Kulal- a challenging climb which needs to be undertaken with care.
El Molo Bay is home to Kenya’s smallest tribe, the El Molo whose numbers have dwindled through intermarriage and linguistic and cultural absorption into the Turkana and Samburu communities.
One of the last true hunter-gatherer communities, the El Molo are centered on this small bay, which is also a good place to spot crocodiles and birdlife.
Outside influence has been slow to reach this distant frontier, and the El Molo, Turkana and other communities along the Lakeshores still live lives dictated by tradition, myth and custom.