Lake Turkana is located on the Northern part of Kenya. Many people just know it to be a desert lake but there is more to it than that. Plus, it is a tourist destination, as the images below will prove my point. Here are the top 10 fascinating facts about Lake Turkana.
Image credit: Shilssp. He has some really great aerial photos of Kenya on his Instagram page.
10. It’s other name
The Turkana refer to it as Anam Ka’alakol. The term means the sea of many fish. It is from the name Ka’alakol, a town on the western shore of Lake Turkana, east of Lodwar.
9. Jade Deposits
The lake has jade deposits, whose green color can be seen from a distance. This color gave birth to the term the Jade Sea in reference to the lake.
8. Birthplace of humanity
Hominin fossils of some of the earliest human ancestors have been found in the Turkana Basin. Australopithecus anamensis fossils discovered by Meave Leakey in 1994 date to around 4 million years ago. Richard Leakey has led numerous anthropological expeditions in the area which have led to many important discoveries of hominin remains.
7. It is a boundary
It is an imaginary boundary of the Rendille, Borana and Oromo to the Turkana land.
6. Kenya’s largest lake
Despite its northern tip slightly being in Ethiopia, Turkana, whose size is 7000 sq km is regarded as Kenya’s largest lake. Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake, but it is shared between Kenya and her two neighbors, and only 6% of Lake Victoria, which is 4,100 sq km., falls under Kenyan territory.
5. No outlets
The lake is fed by three rivers, Turkwel, Kerio and Omo. Omo provides 90% of the inlet. However, it has no outlet. It’s only form of water loss is evaporation. Note that Ethiopia has constructed a hydroelectric dam on River Omo which environmentalists claim will have adverse effects on the lake and the communities depending on it.
4. Active volcanoes?
Central island, home to Central Island National Park, Nile Crocodiles, and water turtles, is made of three active volcanoes that emit sulfurous smoke and steam.
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3. It is the world’s largest alkaline lake & the world’s largest salt lake by volume and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
2. It has three National Parks
Sibiloi National Park lies on the eastern shore of the lake. Central Island National Park is located on Central Island, also known as Nile Island. It consists of craters and cones; small lakes fill three of them. It is considered the largest breeding ground for the largest concentration of Nile crocodiles in the world. Crocodiles breed on the shores of the Island’s crater lakes between April and May. It also has a large population of water turtles. The island has a campsite, from where visitors can watch the sunset over the lake.
Then there is Southern Island National Park. The Kenya Wildlife Service runs the three parks.
1. It is the world’s largest permanent desert lake
It is the biggest desert lake. The lake neighbours Chalbi desert. Its shores are outcrops, rocky shores, and dunes.