When I got to Lodwar, I couldn’t believe it’s the Turkana I always have in mind. Just being a cosmopolitan and busy town amazed me. Street lights, night clubs, airstrip, weaving market and shops equate Lodwar to any other major town in Kenya. Am not sure what exactly I had in mind, but this town doesn’t harbor an impression of illiteracy or primitive traits.
Despite the often overflowing rivers due to siltation, moving around the town is very convenient.
To my surprise, cabs are in their numbers with affordable rates and drivers hailing from different parts of Kenya. It can get really hot in Lodwar with temperatures as high as 38 degrees or thereabout. However, modernity in this town is evident. Gazebos, shades, makuti and cold drinks to counter the heat are readily available. I loved Lodwar and I will be back.
It’s easy to get to Lodwar by air at around Kshs. 8000 or $80 one way. Alternatively, you require 2 days to get to Lodwar from Nairobi by road via Nakuru, Eldoret, Kitale, Kapenguria and Lokichar. Your guess as to which means of transport I chose is as good as mine. If you have been travelling with Eliud, then you know am a sucker for road trip moments. Since most of you have been to Nakuru, Eldoret and Kitale, I will start my highlights of the road trip with Kapenguria. This does not mean that I did not have an interesting time in Lake Bogoria, Lake baringo, Kabarnet, Iten, Nandi and Eldoret. My next article will highlight the magic I saw in these areas and that is more reason for you to keep it here.
My history teacher-Mr. Wanjohi-would be proud of me because when I got to Kapenguria, my only interest was the Kapenguria six. My driver and guide did not disappoint. He took me through West Pokot County buildings and offices to where kenya’s six freedom fighters namely Mzee jomo Kenyatta, Bildad Kagia, Kung’u Karumba, Paul Ngei, Richard Achieng Oneko and Fred Kubai were held awaiting trial.
It is called Kapenguria Museum.
I was able to see the cells of each one of them in the same state it was when they were prisoners.
The Museum also houses Uhuru memorial library, Sengwer Cherangani gallery, and a snake house. A guide walked me through the facility and took me back to my history class.
After indulging with the Kapenguria six, it was time to hit the road. For those who do not know, Kapenguria is the headquarters of West Pokot County whose Governor is the famous and King of memes, His Excellency John Lonyangapuo.
This County is beautiful. Through my numerous travels across Kenya, I have learnt to never have an opinion about a destination before visiting it. However, I cheat myself most of the time. My perception of West Pokot was not an exemption. I always thought of it as a remote area, dry and with no amenities, but I was surprised. These pictures will get you surprised too.
It’s tarmac all the way to Lokichar and an 85km stretch of murram road to Lodwar town where my overnight stay would be.
The next day I joined my colleagues and we left the Cradle Tented Camp for a Lake Turkana Excursion. A few kilometers from the town, we said goodbye to tarmac. On board land cruisers, the rough road had nothing on us.
This was the Turkana desert. It resembles North Horr in Marsabit. Camels, brown sand and scattered homesteads.
This changed immediately we arrived at Eliye springs. This beach resort, along the shores of Lake Turkana gives you nothing, but the coastal feel.
Eliye Springs has a restaurant, a bar, accommodation in form of rooms and bandas as well as a beach bar.
Unlike the humid breeze you get in Mombasa, Eliye springs give you a cool and dry breeze that leaves you relaxed and nourished. I never thought awesomeness existed on this side of Kenya.
We enjoyed the beach experience for a while before taking a boat ride to Central Island.
The lake was calm and the sun rays hotter than fire flames as if it was angry with us.
I had no idea what was waiting for us. The last time I saw such beauty inside a Lake was in Homabay. However, this was something else. Right in the middle of the Lake, the islands popped.
Central Island consists of three islands. Interestingly they make Central Island National Park managed by Kenya Wildlife Services. We reached the Main Island (bigger than the other two) and got off the boat.
The rock formation here is similar to Hell’s Gate National park.
We hiked up the island enjoying the beauty of Lake Turkana.
When we got at the top, I could not believe my eyes.
Another Crater Lake added to my list.
It is called Flamingo Lake because these birds visit on a daily basis from Lake Bogoria.
It appears green because of algae (favorite food for flamingos). I have seen crater lakes such as Lake Chala, Lake Paradise, Crater Lake Naivasha and now this beauty. How many have you seen?
After enjoying the view, we hiked down and back to the boat ready for another adventure.
A small ride got us on the other side of the island. Here, we found KWS campsite called Chiroo campsite. This is an amazing place to do camping especially during full moon. The guide also told me that it’s the best location to view the eclipse.
About 200m from the campsite is another beauty-the Crocodile Lake. This lake is a Nile crocodile haven. They breed here before moving to the main lake.
Because of time, we did not make it to Tilapia Lake still on the island, but that is more reason for me to go back.
We got to the boat before the tides raised and enjoyed a ride back to Eliye springs. We enjoyed fresh fish from the lake and later started our journey back to Lodwar.
Before getting to town, we saw this hill and got curious.
Even if curiosity killed the cat, it’s the best driver for adventure seekers. We drove right to it.
This is a holy hill. It’s called Christ the Redeemer Shrine.
For those who believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, this hill symbolizes the way of the Cross. It has stages that Jesus followed before being crucified and when he resurrected.
Apart from the spiritual moment, the view of Lodwar town from here is something else.
We enjoyed the sunset before saying our last prayer at the mountain.
Just as the sun went down in Lodwar, so is this article. There is another side of the Northern Kenya that we know little about. Let us preach positivity. I want to believe that this article will prompt you to take that bold step and Tembea Kenya.
I will be going back to this part of Kenya towards the end of June with a few friends. We will be camping and using public means of transport to cut the costs. If interested to join, hit me up.
Until next time, keep travelling…………..
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