Western Turkana is more accessible, via the road North from Kitale to Lodwar and onward to Ferguson’s Gulf and the village of Kalokol. There is a basic lodge here- originally a fishing lodge for those looking to catch prized Nile Perch.
About 60 kms further north is beautiful Eliye Springs, home to spring fed oases, large crocodile populations, and many small Turkana villages. There are a few simple lodgings available here.
Just a little further North, the all new Lobolo Camp treads the fine line between roughing it and the more comfortable “easy” tented camps in Kenya’s more accessible Parks and Reserves.
The first permanent tented camp in Turkana, Lobolo is nestled among 100acres of lush forest, watered by a series of fresh water springs. The camp has 6 spacious, spotless tents with spring water showers and specially raised beds to take advantage of cool breezes, and provide views of the sunset over the Lake.
A central mess tent serves up remarkably first class meals, with flame grilled brochettes, fresh salad, and excellent local Nile Perch.
With excellent boats and guides- trips around the Lake, specialized fishing trips for Nile Perch and many others are possible. Lobolo caters for those who still want to enjoy the adventure of travelling to this wild frontier, but still appreciate the value of a comfortable bed, a cool shower in the evening, and the occasional unexpected luxury- such as delicious hot samosas with soy sauce served by the campfire.
Overnight fly camps on Central Island National Park can also be arranged. The island is a great place to spend a day exploring. Although only five square kilometers in area, the hills neatly conceal three separate volcanic crater lakes.
A hike around the crater rims is an ideal way to spend the morning or afternoon.
Each lake has its own unique ecology- and flamingo, crocodiles and plenty of water birds can be seen as you follow the narrow ridges across the islands spine. One of these small lakes is home to an ancient species of Tilapia- a small fresh water fish – whose existence suggests that the Lake may have once been fed by the Nile.
The outer slopes of this up thrust volcanic cone are breeding colonies for many water birds, and a slow drift in a canoe around the island makes for great bird watching- with plenty of nesting pelican, cormorant, heron and gulls- and hunting raptors including African Fish Eagles, Osprey and even Marsh Harriers, and local rarities such as Skimmers.
The delicate ecological balance of this region is threatened by increasing human population pressure, but the development of tourism- and its economic benefit- may just be the vital ingredient for the preservation for future generations of intrepid travelers.
For those who reach these outer limits today, there is no better way to spend a night than stretched out by a campfire on Central Island, listening to the soft lap of water on the shore as the sunset gives way to a stunning stars cape overhead.