Lake Turkana

Lake Turkana, about 800 km or two days driving distance from Nairobi, is a lake in the Kenyan Rift Valley, the largest desert and alkaline lake in the world. Because of the large number of primate fossils found in the area, anthropologists regard the lake as an origin of the human race.


Initially, the lake was named after Prince Rudolf of Austria when it was first discovered by Europeans in the late 1800s. The native Samburu referred to the lake as Basso Narok, meaning "black lake." Throughout the colonial period, the lake maintained its European name, and following independence, the lake was renamed by the reigning president after the dominant tribe at the time, Turkana.  The lake has acquired a variety of names over the centuries, but alien and indigenous, including the most well known Jade Sea, so called for the turquoise color of the waters as seen while approaching the lake.



Residing in the desert, Lake Turkana offers much to the local wildlife as a major source of water and life. Many of the animals include fish, birds (both native and migratory), reptiles, such as crocodiles and turtles, and mammals, such as zebra, giraffes, lions, and cheetahs.

Richard Leakey & Anthropology

Several million years ago, it is claimed that the area of Lake Turkana was home to a large population of hominids. Discoveries by Richard Leakey, who led a variety of anthropological digs, of skeletons and skulls, confirm that hominids did in fact inhabit the area.

Turkana People

Turkana People
Turkana People

The Turkana are a native people of the Nile Valley, residing in the semi arid region of Kenya that borders Lake Turkana.  Some of their notable trades and crafts include raising livestock, such as camels and cows, and basket weaving.  Known as the people of the gray bull, the domestication of the Zebu marked the history of the Turkana people.

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