South and Central Islands National Parks
The islands from the remote lake of Turkana are one of the unique wildlife habitats in Kenya. These islands together with Sibiloi National park are classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site for their bio-diversity of wildlife, marine life and vegetation. The most common name for the three national reserves is the Lake Turkana National Park that in total occupies an estimated 161,485ha
The central island National Park is located within the lake is a small active volcano with three alkaline crater lakes namely; flamingo, tilapia and crocodile. This island likely has one of the largest populations of the Nile crocodiles in the world. The island occupies an estimated 500ha mid way of the lake in the rift valley province.
The south islands National Park is found on an island in the southern area of Lake Turkana. It is actually the biggest island in the lake covering nearly 3,900ha with rocky shores, muddy bays with extensive bushes and weed fro spawning fish. The south and central islands national park were declared national parks in 1983 and 1985 respectively managed by the Kenya Wildlife service.
The islands are remote with the lake preserving the natural wild habitat for both animals and birds. The vegetation is majorly of spear grass, acacia woodlands, toothbrush bush and weeds growing on the muddy shores and rocky beds.
The islands are protected areas for the breeding of the Nile Crocodiles, hippos, puff adder, Egyptian saw-scaled viper, cobra and other reptiles. Other animals live on the shores of the lake in South Island National Park including the caracal, stripped hyena, olive baboon, gravy zebra, grant’s gazelle, oryx, lesser kudu and the dikdik among others
The lake attracts several migrant birds from Somalia and there are more than 350 species recorded in the island parks and neighboring Sibloi National parks. South island alone boasts 84 different species with 34 of them classified as palaeartic migrants. Some of the notable species are greater flamingoes, spur winged plover, ringed plover, little stint, African eagle, banded snake eagle, Abyssinian ground hornbill and African skimmer among others.
The lake is recorded with more than 60 species of fish including the delicious tilapia fish.
There is an airstrip near Turkwell dam. There are boats to take tourists to the island park at the Oasis Lodge at Loiyangalani south east of the lake. Motor boats take tourists to South island for bird watching trips and game viewing among others
Northern Kenya is quite dry and hot but the island parks have cool weather. October to January are the driest months while the months of July August are the cool months in the year.
Lodging and Accommodation
There are lodgings on the eastern shores of the lake as well as three hotels. Oasis Lodge offers motor boats for island tours and safari lodging while camping facilities are offered from the Koobi Fora Museum and Research base and Rocodoni camp overlooking Mount Sibiloi. Camping tourists however are encouraged to carry private camping gear and supplies.