Central island national park is the furthest National park about 800 kilometres away from Nairobi the park sits on the blue-green waters of Lake Turkana, the largest permanent desert lake in the world. The Central Island national park is made up of three active volcanoes that emit the sulphurous smoke and steam. There are also ,Three crater lakes, Crocodile Lake, Flamingo Lake and Tilapia Lake, providing a breeding grounds for the world’s largest population of Nile crocodiles. Central Island national park has a campsite where visitors can enjoy the beautifully of the only desert lake in the world.
The park has a black lava beach while the moon rises over the menacingly smoking craters. Central Island, is one of the smallest national parks in Kenya also referred to as Crocodile Island. It is a volcanic island located in the middle of Lake Turkana in Kenya. It is also the location of Central Island National Park, which is governed by the Kenya Wildlife Service. The island is made up of more than a dozen craters and cones, three of which are filled by small lakes. The two largest lakes which partially fill craters up to a kilometre wide and about 80 metres deep, the floors of which are near sea level. The highest point on the dominantly basaltic island reaches 550 metres about 190 metres above the lake surface. An East to West trending chain of small explosion craters cuts the eastern side of the 3-kilometres wide island. Several small islands to the represent partially submerged crater rims, and other cones and lava plugs lie beneath the lake surface near the island.
Fumarolic activity is concentrated along the North East to South East rim of the central crater, and sprays of sulfur from the fumaroles were observed by visitors in the 1930s. In 1974 intense emission of molten sulfur and steam clouds were seen from the mainland.
355 meters above sea level.
The park being in a dessert has scorching hot and arid climate especially December to March .June and July are the coolest months. May to September very strong winds blow both morning and evening. The park receives rainfall less than 250 mm per annum and in some places it may not rain for several years.
How to get to Central Island national park
The most convenient way to access the Central Island national park and Lake Turkana is usually by air and there are two all-weather airstrips ,the Lodwar airstrip and the other being Loiyangalani
The park drive by roads is very long tedious especially if travelling from Nairobi. It takes approximately three day drive from Nairobi via Marsabit and North Horr, or Maralal and South Horr. Alternatively one can travel by road from Nairobi to Kalokol on the lake’s western shores, via Kitale and Lodwar. From Kalokol boat hire services are available to Central Island.
Attractions of Central Island National Park
The Crocodile Kingdom
The park has for ages being known as the original early habitat of early mankind, Lake Turkana has estimated 12,000 crocodiles have not changed in 130 million years. Despite their monstrous size and formidable appearance, they are generally inoffensive creatures living in perfect harmony with their environment and feeding on the lake’s prolific fish.
The world’s largest crocodile nursery
The Crocodiles breed on the shores of the island’s crater lakes between April and May. The 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. Their cries bring their parents scurrying to dig them out and carry them down to the water’s edge, where they spend their first months.
Reptiles and Fish
Turkana is known to be home to some of the world’s most venomous reptiles, including saw-scaled viper, night and puff adder and cobra. There are also many species of fish including huge Nile perch and large tilapia. Puffer fish, a type which is normally found in sea water.
The islands are home to a profusion of birdlife (over 84 water bird species), including 34 species of European migrants most spectacularly viewed as they return home between March and May. At least 23 species breed here, including Goliath heron, and African skimmer, while African open-billed stork, Duck and Gulls feed on the shores and the volcanic island lakes attract lesser flamingos. Birds of prey are also abundant, especially swallow-tailed kites.
Park Entry fee
Citizen kshs 300 kshs 125
Resident kshs 300 kshs 125
Non resident 22USD 13USD
The best time to visit central island National Park
The best time to visit Central Island National Park is in the months of June and July when the temperatures are moderately cooler. From December to March it is Scorching hot and extremely arid. Tourists are advised to carry plenty of drinking water and snacks.
Activities done in Central island national park
The central island national park is home to more than 350 bird species ,84 of them are water species others are residential and migratory which include; Goliath heron, African skimmers, grey heron, Egyptian geese, great egrets, sacred ibis, less egrets, Osprey, swallow tailed kites many more.
There are boat rides from the shores of the lake which offer guests which reward the visitors an wonderful, unique view of aquatic animals and some water birds.
The park is small in size but it gives a taste of how Kenya is rich with diverse wildlife in a Kenya wildlife safari experience like no other. The park hosts game animals such as hippos, topis, Gravis Zebra, grant gazelles, crocodiles, Oryx’s .Tourists are advised to be accompanied by armed guide due to the high population of crocodiles .
The are guided nature walks and the wonderful hiking on the island highest elevation which have views of the magnificent lakes and scenery, tourists hiking to the top of the flamingo crater will come across many interesting sites on the way and most importantly breath taking views of the whole park, and the case the butterflies, dragonflies and insects are also to be expected.
This is a perfect places to camp in kenya because of the parks unique location that makes it the most stunning and amazing activity done in the park where you expose to the nature in the park and also to have incredible views of the lakes .
Accommodations at Central Island National Park
While at Central Island national park there is no accommodation inside the island apart from a campsite, the other accommodation sectors are on the mainland such as :Eliye springs resort, Malabo resort, Oasis Lodge among others offering midrange, economy to the most luxurious facilities