Lake Turkana is a desert lake in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, and the most saline of Africa’s great lakes. With no access to the sea, and no river to fill it, Turkana’s level fluctuates with the seasons, its shoreline creeping up and down the desert sands. It both looks and feels ancient.
The three National Parks in the area (Central Island, Marsabit, and Sibiloi) are stopovers for migrating waterfowl, and the lake is a major breeding ground for hippo, the Nile crocodile, and various venomous snakes. The poetically named Koobi Fora deposits are rich in fossil records – the discoveries made here have contributed more to the understanding of past environmental and climatic conditions than any other site in Africa.
The National Parks in the Lake Turkana region were declared World Heritage Sites for exactly this reason: the very important mammal fossils that have been uncovered here led to great scientific advances. Also, the Lake Turkana ecosystem is exceptional for its diverse birdlife and desert environment – it’s a great laboratory for ecological study.