If you want to go to Central Island National Park you will first have to find Lake Turkana, in the Kenyan Great Rift Valley. This is a place of volcanoes and Lake Turkana is a salt lake derived from an ancient volcanic activity. It is a long and large water pond stretching between Ethiopia and Kenya and many islands rise from it. The most interesting is Central Island, also known as Crocodile Island because of the name of one of its craters.
Central Island, in fact, is a young volcano – or a system of three volcanoes – active with sulphurous smoke and steam. Its three craters host three small lakes: Crocodile, Flamingo and Tilapia. The island was declared a National Park in order to protect both the wild animals living over there and the landscape and vegetation. Today, it is one of the most charming protected areas in Kenya.
What to see at Central Island
This small island offers so much to tourists! Safaris over there are a great idea to get to know a different Africa with the same wonders. At Central Island National Park you will certainly meet hippos, zebras, Grant gazelles, giraffes, lions, monkeys and many species of birds. The most interesting place is Crocodile Lake. This is the place, in East Africa, with the highest number of crocodiles living all gathered in one environment.
They mostly are Nile crocodiles, which makes the lake both charming and dangerous. So make sure you always go with your guide. You can also admire the unique landscape, the three volcanic lakes with their sulphur steams all around, and the largest lake Turkana surrounding them all. Many tour operators organize both safaris on foot, with hike trips to the highest point of the island or around the lakes. But they also organize boat trips, so to admire the whole island from the outside.
Tourists activities at Central Island
Safari and boat trips are the main activities for tourists who come to visit Central Island National Park. You can choose among many different kind of things to do, from birdwatching to game viewing. You are allowed to go fishing, too, but since it is a protected area you must ask your guide about what kind of fish you can catch. It is possible to camp on the island. The best places for this are close to lakes Flamingo and Tilapia or to the highest panoramic point. You could also enjoy insect watching, since the island is home to wonderful butterflies and dragonflies.
More information about the Park
The best period to visit Central Island National Park is during the dry season, which is not as humid as the rain one. But if you want to enjoy the great experience of the baby crocodiles birth you must come in April or May. In this season the crocodile eggs open and the young ones meet their mother and will be taken, inside her mouth, from their birthplace to the lake.
You can get to the island and its Park by boat, mainly from Kenya but also from Uganda. You will first reach Lake Turkana by airplane, landing at one of the two airstrips nearby. If you come by car or bus you need a 3-day drive trip, from Nairobi along the North Horr road or South Horr. You can also drive directly to the shores, to Kalokol (west) or Loiyangalani (east). Boats to the island leave from both ports.