SOUTH TURKANA NATIONAL RESERVE
South Turkana features both as a national reserve and park. It is popular for its rugged terrain and expansive landscape. South Turkana National Park is situated in the northern tourist circuit with most of the national parks and reserves. It has many thorn bushes and riverine forests while its landscape comes with most of the seasonal Riverbeds as well as a vast mixture of vegetation cover and stunning landscape. South Turkana National Reserve and National Park are located on the highway between Kitale and Lodwar 348 kilometers away from Nairobi capital. It covers an area of 1100 square kilometers just at the base of Mount Nasalot near Lake Turkana. On the southern circuit, it is just a drive to the man-made Eden of Katilu southwards to the natural wonder of this reserve which expands to the eastern side. For visitors who are interested in exploring most of the undisturbed safari destinations, then South Turkana National Reserve is worth including in your travel plan.
Tourist attractions in South Turkana National Reserve
South Turkana National Reserve is popular for its scenic landscapes that come with breathtaking views of Mount Mtelo-Kenya’s 5th highest mountain that stands at an altitude of 3336 meters and Mount Nasolot in the west. This reserve is also proud of its numerous permanent rivers that inhabit most of the woodland fringes and salty springs. At the center, you will find Kailongol Mountain expanding up to 2067 meters and best for visitors on camping and bushwalking safaris. The eastern region of this mountain features salty springs that attract most of the Pokot herdsmen and some wildlife species. The key wildlife species at the reserve include the giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, Oryx, warthogs, bushbucks, greater kudus, impalas, grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle, leopards, lions, cheetah, spotted hyenas, jackals, crocodiles that thrive within its rivers and many bird species that flock around the River Kerio’s banks including the Kori Bustard that is mostly sighted in the savanna grassland of this protected area. The notable Lakes that are found within the reserve include Lake Turkana, Kamnarok, Baringo, and Bogoria. Besides South Turkana National Reserve, Kenya’s northern tourist circuit also comprises of the Central Island, Nasalot, Sibiloi, Marsabit national reserves, Laikipia National Reserve, and others. This reserve is also run management of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
What to do while on safari in South Turkana National Reserve
South Turkana National Reserve is perfect to visit for game viewing experiences, walking tours, ballooning, camel riding (annual camel derby), fishing, horseback riding, birding adventures, mountain biking, and others. For visitors who are planning for their next vacations to this reserve, make sure that your packing list should include a brimmed hat, good sneakers or sandals, walking shoes, T-shirts, long shirts that are environmentally friendly, trousers, camera, binocular, lightweight rain jacket, personal toiletries, sunglasses, insect repellent, copy of your passport and many more.
Getting to South Turkana National Reserve
South Turkana National Reserve/park is located on the northern circuit and its gate can be reached 98 kilometers away from Kitale town. It is just a drive from the Nairobi A1 route through Wabuye on A104 to Lodwar and Lokchogio. This route leads visitors up to the western part of South Turkana National Reserve. Visitors can still drive from Lake Baringo and or Kerio Valley where you will connect to the Lokichar route and a 4 wheel drive safari cars are recommended for you to navigate through the remotest routes to the reserve. You may also embark on a public means of transportation that can take you up to Kapenguria, West Turkana, and Lodwar area. Alternatively, the reserve is also accessible by air and there are scheduled flights from Nairobi.
Accommodation in South Turkana National Reserve
South Turkana National Park/Reserve doesn’t have accommodation facilities however, the other lodging options are found within Kitale and Lodwar cities. In Kitale town, you can opt for Elgon View Hotel, Karibuni Lodge, Aturukan Hotel, Alakara Hotel, Westside Hotel, Sky nest County Hotel, and Mid Africa Hotel while in Lodwar town you can have an overnight stay at Splash Guest House, County Palace Lodwar, Turkwel Lodge, Lodwar Lodge, Ceamo Prestige Lodge, and others. There is also camping at the reserve’s headquarters along the main road.
When to visit South Turkana National Reserve
South Turkana National Reserve is hot and dry and can be visited at any time of the year.
In conclusion, South Turkana National Reserve is one of the least visited destinations and rewards visitors with untapped natural wonders and lifetime experiences