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.