LAKE TURKANA

The New European - - Expertise -

The Omo River brings wa­ter down from the Ethiopian high­lands into Lake Turkana, which is now threat­ened by the dams and ir­ri­gation schemes up­stream.

It is the world’s largest per­ma­nent desert lake – at 150 miles long and 20 to 30 miles wide – and is the north­ern-most of the string of great African lakes along the thou­sand-mile trench of the Great Rift Val­ley. It once formed a larger body of wa­ter which ul­ti­mately drained into the Nile River, but earth move­ments dur­ing the Pleis­tocene Epoch (about 2,600,000 to 11,700 years ago) cut it off.

With no out­let, the wa­ter from the lake – which is al­most all in Kenya – is brack­ish, though drunk by those who live along its shores. The area’s arid­ity, tem­per­a­ture and ge­o­graphic in­ac­ces­si­bil­ity make it one of the wildest lo­ca­tions left on earth.

Nile crocodiles and hip­popota­muses are com­mon.

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