Judging from the time everyone came in for breakfast, it was evident that the previous day was bad, to say the least. It took us two hours to get to Kalokol for Central Island.
Kalokol is on the western shore of Lake Turkana. It is the heart of the fishing industry in Lake Turkana. This is where lorries are loaded daily with dried fish and transported to different parts of the country. It is a sandy and dry expanse with lots of doum palm trees.There are lots activities that goes on around the area including boat making, fishing net weaving, transport services and fish mongering.
Islands of Lake Turkana
Lake Turkana has a total of three Islands namely; Central Island,South Island National Parks.(These two are completely uninhabited and North Island which is inhabited.
One of the places of interest during the Turkana trip was Central Island.The only way to get there from Kalokol was by using motorized boats. The boat rides don’t come cheap though, each was priced at Ksh. 18,000 per ride.That cost covered the ride to the Island then to Eliye Springs.
Irreducible minimums to the Island
Considering the Island’s accessibility was only via water and the boats were small, we only carried essentials to the island…just enough to survive the next few hours on the island as the truck made its way to Eliye Springs;our next destination.
Turkana has the hottest sun in Kenya in my opinion. I have never experienced such heat intensity in my life before! The sun must have been shining a few kilometers lower…The one or so hour boat ride got us to Central Island National Park moments to 2:00pm.
The immediate move when we got to the island was to take a dip. The sharp but pleasant contrast between the scorching sun and the cool waters was everything one could ask for at that time.
From Kalokol,we had bought a 15kg Nile perch which was transformed by our chef into lots of crispy fish fingers served with potatoes wedges and veggie salad. If there is one thing I always looked forward to with so much excitement during the entire trip was meal time. Might probably go on a trip with Xtrym just for the food.
If what the locals told us about the Turkana Sunset was anything to go by,then a 30 minute hike to a vantage point to catch the epic sunset was worth a try. As we climbed higher, we realized that hadn’t seen half of the island’s beauty yet!
Sun-kissed cliffs,golden rays,a retiring sun that dramatically transformed into a big yellow ball as it sunk into the horizon, and an interesting cast of colors spelled Awe. Magic.
Sunset so good that almost leaves one choking with emotions as you marvel at the wonders of nature. I mean who taught the sun these tricks?!
Mosquitoes from Hell
As I soaked myself in the greatness of the moment, I got the rudest interruption of my life.Mosquitoes. Tonnes of them. The whining and the buzzing was the most annoying thing I have come across in my recent past. All of them of competing for the juiciest bit of my body to suck out blood. These mosquitoes where shameless. At this juncture, no one told us it head back! It just happened. Every step downhill was met by an additional twenty or so mosquitoes. Not even movement and slapping stopped the mosquitoes. When we got to the base camp, we got the full understanding of the use of the metal stands that were brought alongside the mosquito nets.
Everyone rushed for their different types of mosquito repellents but strangely none of them worked. If anything, they only attracted more mosquitoes. At that point, there were only two options left, either stand next to the bonfire (remember this will only protect the side facing the fire only) or get into the mosquito as early as 7:00 pm, all through the night till the morning. Tough choices.
That was the longest night. As we lay down for the night, the mosquitoes tripled.Some of them even squeezed and made it inside the nets. I gave up the fight and watched helplessly as the stupid creatures fed.
Exploring Central Island
At the crack of dawn, just in the time for another doze of a beautiful sunrise, we set out to explore Central Island. The well fed mosquitoes were not as keen on feeding and I guess they just wanted to stretch and sleep.
Shades of blue, turned to purple, then yellow followed by orange painted the sky as the most awaited guest, slid skillfully behind distant hills to the herald the birth of a new day.
That sight at an instant went away with the bad memories of the mosquito night. The 2 hour ascend saw us to a vantage points that allowed us to see all the three island lakes clearly from above.
Central Island Lakes
The first crater lake was the crocodile lake where we saw two crocodiles from the previous evening from a far. Locals say that it has lots of crocodiles. Of the crocodile lakes, it is the deepest. The crocs population has increasingly reduced over time due to human activities.
The second lake was the Flamingo Crater Lake, unfortunately at the time of visit we did not spot any of them given that it was off their season in their migratory pattern.The lake is fed by hot springs that make it conducive for microbial growth that feed the flamingos. The microbes give it the characteristic green color.
The third and smallest lake was the Tilapia Crater Lake. History has it that years back it was only known habitat of the ancient Tilapia in the lake, it is also said this was because the lake was connected to river Nile hence tilapia fish.
By the time we were finishing the three lakes the sun was unbearable. Never mess with the Turkana sun. I can bet it never came out to play.Must be four regular suns combined and lowered.
The descent was paced hence dehydration. Dry lips and saliva-less mouths was the order of the day.
When we got to the base camp, we headed straight to the boats for Eliye Springs Resort. The boat ride was roughly two to three hours long.
Eliye Springs Resort.
Eliye springs resort is everything you need to rejuvenate after your trips around Turkana. It is like a small oasis. First things first, there is water.Cold drinking water. At the resort, they don’t stock plastic water bottles. You buy a water bottle flask which gives you unlimited water supply during your entire stay at the Resort.
I guess the lady who came up with the phrase water is life must have hiked central island and quenched her thirst in Eliye.
Eliye Springs resort got its name from Eliye Springs located in Eliye, that supplies consumable water to the local communities, the resort and other neighboring camps.
The resort is located 40 Km from Kalokol the western shore and 60 Km from Lodwar. Eliye Springs Resort is located at the heart of remoteness, enjoys seclusion and is located right next to a sandy beach hence an ideal holiday destination.
The lodge has different types of accommodation options ranging from (6 unique) Manyatta-like bomas with a raised patio facing the beach, another six bomas that are fully self-contained,
together with a campsite is strategically located on the undulating sand dunes, facing the lake and under the lovely canopy of doum palms. Camping gear can also be rented out from the hotel.
In addition to all these, the resort has a restaurant that has an international al a carté menu. (Guests on full board basis have a set menu, because of difficulty in purchasing and storage of food.) I however looked at it as an opportunity to enjoy local food.
The bar was always fully stocked with the coldest drinks. (Something we all always looked forward to) .
The one thing that I enjoyed most during my stay at Eliye Springs Resort was their spa. I almost practically lived in the spa .The water that feeds the spa flows directly from the springs. You however have to be a good swimmer because of its depth.
Generally, Eliye is safe and the locals are the most friendly you will get to interact with.
From a warm welcome by the locals who had us break into a dance,
to the young men who always played water polo with us in the evening, and the staff of Eliye Springs Resort who mastered all our names within the first few hours of arrival made our stay most memorable.
Our stay in Eliye was characterized by good food, cold drinks, water polo, yoga,
Eliye must have been the reward scheme after the long trip and the night at the island.
Rolf; the owner of the resort was as warm as everyone else,this made us feel at home the entire time.
Recommendation: Go to Turkana, head straight to Eliye Springs Resort, take a day trip to Central Island then head back to resort.
After two day and two nights, we continued with the rest of the journey down south to Eldoret.
If only we stayed longer.