Lake Turkana- World’s largest desert lake in Kenya

Lake Turkana is the one of most amazing desert lake in the world. Lake belongs to the “Lake Turkana National Parks” in Kenya. This desert lake, also known as Lake Rudolf is located in the Kenyan-Ethiopian border where northward of Great Rift Valley of Kenya. This lake, reminiscent of a Great Sea, area is 6,405 square kilometers in size. Actually, this lake is the largest desert lake in the world and most saline lake in the Eastern Africa.

Lake Turkana Map

Emo, Turkwel, and Kerio rivers of Ethiopia are fed the Lake Turkana. But 90% of the water delivered by Emo River. However there is not a single river that starting from the lake to takes water out of it. Evaporation by high desert temperature is the main process of water exhaust from the lake. Lake Turkana is 290 km long, 32 km wide, and the maximum depth is 109 meters. The watershed is spread over 165,100,000 acres feet.

About 7,000 – 8,000 years ago, the lake was more than 400 kilometers long. At that time, a river flowed from lake to northwest into the famous Nile River.

Lake Turkana

Extremely strong wind and storms generate in Lake Turkana. During the warm sunlight, the lake gets hotter quickly and cooler slowly than the land. Therefore severe wind storms blowing across the lake often. So this area is suitable land for the wind power generation. Wind turbines built in this lake surrounding are generates electricity of megawatt 310 (MW) by steady strong winds. This is the largest wind power generation project in Africa.

Lake Turkana wind power

Life in the lake

The lake surrounding is a dry, arid landscape. But Lake Turkana is home to a large number of flora and fauna. The largest Nile crocodile population in the world lives in this lake. In addition to that, Hippopotamus, Bird species, variety of venomous snakes and hundred species of fish’s home is this Lake. The rocky shore environments are inhabit by Scorpions and Carpet Vipers.

The oldest fossil remains of human Homo habilis, who lived before two million years ago, have been found on the shores of Lake Turkana. This fossil deposits are common in Mammalian and Molluscan remains. These fossil deposits have contributed to understanding the paleo-environment in the region than any other deposits in the continent.  

Today, more than four million indigenous people belongs to ten African tribes life depend on this lake. They cultivate food crops, animal husbandry and fishing associate with the lake around. Lake is rich in fish but variety of fish species are few with comparing other lakes in the continent.

Lake Turkana

Impact on Lake Turkana

At this time, Lake Turkana is facing a major disaster. The Lake’s main source of Emo River is going to be cross by dam (Gilgel Gibe III Dam) and generate hydro power. This will drain out the lake’s water and will be the dead lake like Aral Sea. There is a perception that watershed will be exhausted and it would be a great disaster for not only fauna and flora but also indigenous people depending on lake.

Due to the significance of the Lake, Turkana Lake National Parks has listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

See also;- Red Lagoon in Bolivian Plateau