Central Island National Park : A volcanic island called Central Island, also referred to as Crocodile Island, is situated in the middle of Kenya’s Lake Turkana. The Kenya Wildlife Service is in charge of the Central Island National Park, which is also situated there.
It consists of over a dozen craters and cones, three of which have little lakes inside of them. The two largest lakes partially fill craters with floors that are close to sea level and up to one kilometer broad and 80 meters deep. The predominant basaltic island’s tallest point rises to a height of 550 meters, or roughly 190 meters above lake level. The eastern side of the 3-km-wide island is divided by a sequence of minor explosion craters that move east to west. Other cones and lava plugs are hidden beneath the lake’s surface close to the island, while many small islands to the southeast represent partially submerged crater rims. The island is a fascinating location to explore and is both a national park and A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Climate at Central Island National Park
If you visit the Central Island National Park between December and March, it will be extremely hot. The best time to travel is in June or July if you prefer the cooler weather. Strong winds can also be anticipated if you choose to travel between May and September. This is unusual for the Central Island National Park in terms of rainfall. Less than 250mm of rain falls on average each year, and there have been years when it hasn’t rained in some places.
Tourist attractions at Central Island National Park
This tiny island has a lot to offer travelers. Kenya Safaris are a fantastic way to experience the same marvels of Africa in a different setting. You can expect to see hippos, zebras, Grant gazelles, giraffes, lions, monkeys, and a wide variety of birds in Central Island National Park. Crocodile Lake is the location that is most intriguing. The largest concentration of crocodiles in one location can be found here in East Africa.
The majority of them are Nile crocodiles, which adds to the lake’s appeal and danger. Therefore, be sure to follow your guide at all times. The three volcanic lakes with their surrounding Sulphur streams and the largest lake, Turkana, that surrounds them all are also something to behold. Both walking safaris and hikes to the island’s highest point or around the lakes are organized by numerous travel companies. However, they also arrange boat cruises so that visitors can view the entire island from the outside. Other attractions in central island national park includes;
The Kingdom of the Crocs
The estimated 12,000 crocodiles in Lake Turkana, survivors of a time before humans, have not changed in 130 million years. Despite their enormous size and intimidating looks, they are typically harmless creatures who coexist in harmony with their surroundings and graze on the abundant fish in the lake.
The largest crocodile nursery in the world.
Between April and May, crocodiles spawn on the crater lakes of the island. In their eggs, which are buried far beneath the sand to avoid the predatory attentions of monitor lizards and raptors, the infant crocodiles can be heard squealing. They spend their first few months at the water’s edge after their parents rush to dig them out in response to their cries.
Snakes with venom and ancient fish
Some of the most poisonous reptiles in the world, such as the saw-scaled viper, night and puff adder, and cobra, can be found in This Park. There are numerous fish species, including enormous tilapia and Nile perch. Turkana’s prehistoric ties to the Red Sea are indicated by puffer fish, a species typically found in seawater.
Over 84 different kinds of water birds live on the islands, including 34 species of migratory birds from Europe, which are most strikingly seen between March and May. Goliath herons, African skimmers, and at least 23 other species breed here. Foraging African open-billed storks, ducks, and gulls forage along the coastlines, and lesser flamingos are drawn to the lakes on the volcanic islands. There are also a lot of raptors, especially swallow-tailed kites.
The Central Island National Park does not have a lot of vegetation overall, although some of its covered areas are overgrown with thick grass and plants.
The Park Animals
The world’s largest population of Nile crocodiles, as well as hippo, bats, and other animals, may be found in Central Island National Park. Along with this, you may anticipate seeing enormous flocks of flamingos as well as hundreds of other bird species.
Tourist Activities at Central Island National Park
The major activities for visitors to Central Island National Park are Kenya safaris and boat tours. You can select from a wide variety of activities, including game viewing and birdwatching. You are welcome to go fishing as well, but because the region is protected, you must first inquire with your guide about the species of fish you can catch. On the island, camping safari is also available. Given that the island is home to beautiful butterflies and dragonflies, you might also enjoy insect viewing.
Accommodations: Where to stay at central island national park
Visitors to the island can spend the night at the park’s secure center island campsite while taking in the moon and stars shining on steaming craters outside and listening to the sounds of nature. Visit the unspoiled environment and enjoy the rewarding experience of its isolation in the region commonly known as Crocodile Island.
Other accommodations/ Hotels in and around the Central Island National Park includes:
- Kitich Camp
- Sarara Camp
- Desert Rose Lodge
- Apoka Safari Lodge
- Baringo Island Camp
- Muremba Retreat Kitale
- Sun Africa Hotels – Lake Baringo Club
- Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort
Additional details regarding the park
The dry season, which is less humid than the rainy one, is the ideal time to explore. However, if you want to witness the amazing event of a newborn crocodile being born, you must travel around April or May. When the crocodile eggs hatch during this time of year, the young meet their mother and are transported from where they were born to the lake within her mouth.
The island and its park are reachable by boat, primarily from Kenya but also from Uganda. You will fly into one of the two neighboring airstrips to get to Lake Turkana first. If you’re traveling by car or bus, you’ll need to drive for three days from Nairobi along the North Horr or South Horr roads. Driving directly to the shores, to Kalokol (west), or to Loiyangalani are also options. Both ports have boats that depart for the island.