Exploring Central Island and Eliye Springs in Turk...

Exploring Central Island and Eliye Springs in Turkana, Kenya

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.

Doum palm trees.

Toyota Probox; The best means of transport in Kalokol and neighbouring towns.

Boat Making.

Dried fish.

More dried fish ready for sale.

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.

Central Island

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.

The boat that carried our stuff.

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.

Approaching Central Island

Central Island National Park.

Pebbled beach.

I promise this was refreshing.

There is always a reason to smile.

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.

The Nile perch from Kalokol.

Magical Sunset

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!

Things we do for sunsets..

Hike mode.

Right on time for the golden hour

Sinking golden ball.

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.

Sun-kissed cliffs.

The race to sleep…

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?!

That moment of denial…Gone but left with beautiful memories.

Sunset so beautiful, it leaves you with absolute happiness.

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.

1% of the total bites. Imagine one knee had 10 bites. All happening within a minute.

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.

Moments before sunrise.

Walking towards sunrise.

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.

Crocodile lake.

Crocodile crater lake from a second cliff.

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.

Flamingo crater lake.


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.

Tilapia crater lake.

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.

Eliye Springs…Our little found Oasis.

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.

Sandy beach.

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,

Manyatta-like boma

Front porch

The bed.



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.


Natural Spa.

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,

Locals welcoming us.

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,

spa, chilling,beaching,

Nzilani says life’s a beach.

and dance.

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.



I travel, I write about travel. I take travel photos. Talk to me about destination reviews,cultural trips, and responsible tourism.


  1. candy

    24 January

    What an incredible time you had. I love the photos, especially that one fish you were holding was huge! I’ve been attacked by tons of mosquitoes and I know it is not a fun time especially when the mosquito repellents don’t work.

  2. Sabine

    24 January

    Wow nice! I found new inspiration to travel to these amazing islands!!
    Too bad that the mosquitos are so many!

  3. Melissa

    25 January

    That spa sells it! And the bomas are adorable.

  4. Cathy majani

    25 January

    This is awesome and amazing in so many ways, glad to have been a part. Lovely Bonita!!


    25 January

    Great post, love the pictures….all have a story.

  6. joel Odimo

    25 January

    I enjoy reading this blog. Very informative! Keep up the good work.

  7. Katie Dickinson

    25 January

    That pile of dried fish is impressive! I love exploring fishing communities… something about experiencing how other countries and cultures interact with water ecosystems is really interesting. And that’s super cool that there were so many different lodging types – truly something for everyone!

  8. Ridima

    25 January

    I am actually reading a lot of articles on Africa these days as I have definitely planned one trip in this year to one of the places in Africa. Although Cape town and Seychelles were definitely scoring, you have given me a good reason to visit Kenya 🙂

  9. Eve

    25 January

    This post comes just on time. I’ve been making a plan lately about my African trip and it includes Kenya. I’ll definitely use your recommendations.

  10. These photos are unreal! That sunrise is enough of a reason to travel here, but when you said spa?? I just about booked a flight…lol, I love a good spa.

  11. Amanda

    26 January

    Oh gosh! Those mosquitoes sound absolutely dreadful! Still sounds like such a great time. Can’t wait to visit Kenya myself!

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