Central Island National Park; Central Island is found in the middle of Lake Turkana in Kenya, governed by the Kenya Wildlife Services. However, it is composed of more than a dozens of craters and cones, three of them are nearly filled by small lakes. Therefore, the two largest lake partially fill craters up to a kilometer wide and about 80meter deep the floors of which are near the sea level. The highest point on the dominantly measures 550 meters about 190meter above the lake surface. There are more several small islands to the SE represent partially submerged crater rims and other cones and lava plugs connects beneath the lake surface near the Island.
More so, Central Island is made-up of three active volcanoes that belch sulphurous smoke and steam such as three crater lakes, Crocodiles lake, flamingo lake and Tilapia Lake thus providing breeding grounds for the world’s largest concentration of Nile crocodiles.
The park has a comfortable campsite where visitors can enjoy the spectacular haunting sights of the lake’s luminous water wash up onto a black lava beach while the moon rises over the menacing smoking craters.
Attractions in the Central Island National Park
However, Lake Turkana’s has around 12,000 crocodiles which have not changed in 130 million years. Inspire their monstrous size and formidable appearance which are generally inoffensive creatures living in peaceful harmony with their environment and feeding on the lake’s prolific fish.
The world’s largest crocodile nursery
Along here, crocodiles breed on the shores of the Island’s crater lakes between April and May. Then baby crocodiles can be heard squeaking in their eggs which are buried deep beneath the sand to escape the predatory attentions of monitor lizards and raptors. The more they cry their sound bring their parents scurrying to dig the out and carry them down to the water’s rim, where they spend their first months.
Venomous reptiles and prehistoric fish
The lake Turkana is home to the world’s most venomous reptiles including saw-scaled viper, night and puff adder and cobra. Types of fish species caught around include Nile perch and large tilapia. Puffer fish are commonly found in seawater, which are Turkana’s prehistoric connection to the Red sea.
Abundant birdlife species
This Island is home to notable birdlife over 84 water bird species including 34 species of European migrants best viewed on their returned home between March and May. At least 23 breed species including; African skimmer, Goliath heron, Africa open billed stork, Duck and Gulls feed on the shores as well as volcanic island lakes which attracts lesser flamingos, Prey birds are abundant here, birds to see swallow-tailed kites.
There are more than 350 recorded species including numerous flocks of flamingos.
The lake inhabits over 60 recorded fish species and commonly caught fish include; tilapia, Nile perch.
The vegetable around is scenic though some of the sheltered area are overgrown with think grass and bushes for a short period each year
The islands are inhabitant to hippos, bats and the world’s largest Nile crocodile species.
The climate around is experienced by both hot and arid especially December –March. Then June and July are the coolest months. From May to September are very strong winds blow both morning and evening. The area can experience rainfall less than 250 mm and some places it may not rain for years
Activities in Central Island National Park
Game drive viewing
The park has scenic land scape with variety of species to adventure around. Despite its small size, the park gives a great opportunity to tourists who visits the park with magnificent view of animal species such as grant gazelles, crocodiles, Oryx, hippos, topis, Gravis zebra among others, however, we advise you never to leave the armed guide behind, this is because of the huge number of crocodile seen grazing along the Island for your safe.
This Island is another great location for birders on Kenya Birding Safaris, hosting over 350 species of birds of which 84 are water species and the rest are residential and migratory. Some birds to be encountered include; Goliath heron, Swallow tailed kites, Egyptian geese, great egrets, less egrets, sacred ibis ,Osprey ,African Skimmers ,Egyptian geese ,great egrets among others.
Boat Ride Tours
On visit here, tourists can be able to experience the boat ride from one beautiful lake around and expect to enjoy great rewardable view of aquatic animals and water bird species.
Guided nature walks
The park offers a remarkable and exciting guided nature walks which can be done on foot with an escort of the park ranges who tours around and be rewarded with magnificent view of the lakes and scenery. Tourists can also hike to the top of the flamingo crater and be able to enjoy breathtaking view as well as gainful sights of the endless plains.
You can access Lake Turkana by air and there are two weather airstrips. Therefore, Loiyangalani.
There are three routes that leads you to the park, the journey starts from Nairobi via Marsabat and North Horr or Maralal and South Horr.
Another option, travel by road starting from Nairobi to Kalokol on the lake’s western shores via Kitale and Lodwar. From Kaloki boat hire services which are available to Central Island.
What to carry;
Useful items to carry includes; Camping equipment’s, medical kits, binocular, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, guidebooks, camera, enough mineral bottled water.
Accommodations in Central Island National Park
The park boosts with perfect comfortable accommodation facility ranging from Luxury, Mid-range and Budget and the surrounding gives beautiful view of bird species and at night the stars are rewarding.