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Best 6 Reasons To Visit Central Island

Best 6 Reasons To Visit Central Island

Best 6 Reasons To Visit Central Island

The best 6 reasons to visit Central Island National Park include; crocodile kingdom, bird life and wildlife. Central Island National Park is also known as a Crocodile island, and it is a volcanic island located in the middle of lake Turkana in the northern part of Kenya, made up of three crater lakes which are; crocodile lake, Tilapia lake, and the Flamingo lake known for attracting flamingos and other bird spices.

The park is the furthest national park about 800 kilometers away from Nairobi. It is also made up of active volcanoes that emit the sulphurous  smoke and steam. Central island covers an area of 5 kilometers (about 1.9 square miles) which is small but it provides a truly unique tour experience to a tourist.

The highest point of this pumice island measures 550 meters above the surface of lake Turkana which is the largest desert lake in the world that forms green and blue waters. This national park provides visitors with a captivating stunning panoramic view of the surrounding lake and landscape. The national park is safe for visitors and is also managed by Kenya wildlife services. The park has a black lava beach while the moon rises over the menacingly smoking craters.

The following are the 6 best reasons to visit Central Island National Park;

1. The Crocodile Kingdom In Central Island National Park

Central Island National Park is renowned for inhabiting a huge concentration of crocodiles that add up to 12,000 crocodiles. It is also formed as a volcanic island where you see a number of crocodile species which have been existing for millions of years ago, despite their monstrous size and formidable appearance, they are mostly non-combative creatures living in perfect harmony with their sorrounding and feeding on the lake’s prolific fish.

Visitors to the park may have the opportunity to see crocodiles basking along the shoreline. While crocodiles are fascinating from a safe distance, it’s essential for visitors to exercise caution and adhere to ensure their own safety and the well-being of the wildlife.

There is also the world’s largest crocodile nursery, the crocodiles breed on the shores of the island’s crater lakes between April and May. Baby crocodiles screech in their eggs which are buried under sand to in order to prevent the predatory attentions of monitor lizards and raptors.

The visitors to the Crocodile Kingdom can enjoy the guided boat tours or walking safaris so that they observe these incredible creatures up close, while learning about their behavior, habitat and conservation status.

The park’s conservation efforts helps to protect the crocodile population and their habitat which ensures long-term survival of these incredible creatures

2. Abundant Bird Life In Central Island National Park

The central island national park is a home of to a profusion birdlife over 350 species that attracts bird enthusiasts and researchers worldwide. The park’s strategic location on lake Turkana, a vital migratory route, contributes to it’s remarkable bird population. The abundance of birdlife in Central Island National Park makes it an unforgettable destination for bird enthusiasts, scientists, and nature lovers alike.

Some of the bird species found in Central Island national park making it a birdwatcher’s paradise include;

Migratory types; The park is a crucial stopover for birds migrating between Europe, Asia and Africa with over 350 species recorded in total. The migratory ones include goliath heron, African skimmers, grey heron, Egyptian geese, great egrets, sacred ibis, egrets, osprey, swallow tailed kites

Aquatic types; The lake’s shores and surrounding wetlands support a wide variety of water birds, including flamingos, pelicans, cormorants and herons.

Terrestrial birds; The island’s arid land scape is a home to a number of terrestrial birds, such as sandpipers, plovers, and vultures.

Endemic species; The park is a home to several endemic bird species, including the Turkana cisticola and the Williams’s lark.

Reasons why Central Island is a good birding spot;

Breeding grounds; The park provides a safe haven for birds to breed, nest and raise their young ones, making it an ideal destination for observing breeding behaviors.

Abundant food sources; The lake’s rich aquatic life and surrounding vegetation support a diverse array of bird species, ensuring a constant food supply for the birds.

Unique habitat; The park’s volcanic landscape, hot springs, and scenic beauty creates a unique and fascinating environment for birds to thrive.

3. Wild Life In Central Island National Park

Central island national park is a home to a variety of wildlife, both terrestrial and aquatic. On the island, visitors can observe populations of Nile crocodiles which are abundant in the surrounding of lake Turkana. The park has sixty fish species for example pufferfish, catfish, Nile perch and tilapia.

Central Island national park  has over 84 water bird species including 34 species of European migrants most spectacularly viewed as they return home between March and May.

Central island national park offers  opportunities to see wildlife  such as topis , hippos, crocodiles, oryxes, giraffes, gravy zebras, grant zebras. Visitors are however advised to move with armed guides due to the high crocodile population in the park

4. Venomous Reptiles And Prehistoric Fish In Central Island National Park

Venomous Reptiles In Central Island National Park.  Lake Turkana is a home to some of the world’s venomous reptiles, these reptiles  include cobra, puff adder, saw-scaled viper, night and puff adder, cobra.

Prehistoric Fish in Central Island National Park. Central Island National park is a home to many species of fish including huge Nile perch, large tilapia and puffer fish, this is a group which is normally found in the sea water, indicating lake Turkan’s prehistoric connection to the Red Sea.

5. The World’s Largest Crocodile Nursery In Central Island National Park

The world’s largest crocodile nursery in central Island national park, The nursery is located in Central Island National Park which is situated in the middle of Lake Turkana in Kenya.

Crocodile Breeding; Crocodiles breed on the shores of the island’s crater between April and May.

Baby Crocodile; The baby crocodile can be heard screeching in their eggs that have been buried deep beneath the sand to escape the predatory attentions of monitor lizards and raptors.  Their cries always brings their parents scurrying to dig them out and carry them down to the water’s edge where they always spend their first months.

Crocodile lake; The crocodile lake is a significant highlight as it serves a breeding ground for the world’s largest concentration of Nile crocodiles.

Crocodile population; Lake Turkana has an estimated 12,000 crocodiles that have not changed in millions of years, they are generally harmless creatures living in harmony with their environment and feeding on the lake’s fish.

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6. Unique Volcanic Landscape In Central Island National Park

Central Island national park features a unique and breath taking volcanic landscape, shaped by it’s location on lake Turkana, a rift valley lake.

The park’s terrain is characterized by;

Volcanic cones and craters; Numerous volcanic cones, craters, and calderas including the iconic Island Central volcano, which rises 900 meters above the lake’s surface.

Fissures and faults; The park’s surface is marked by numerous fissures and faults, evidence of the region’s tectonic activity.

Lava flows; The extensive lava flows

Unique geological formations; Central Island  national park’s landscape has created unusual formations, such as the Giant tooth and the Devil’s furnace. The park’s volcanic landscape provides a dramatic and awe-inspiring backdrop for exploration and scientific study, this makes Central Island national park a fascinating destination for geology enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Activities Done In Central Island National Park

Game Viewing
Despite the fact that Central Island is a small national Park, it offers a great chance to to view animals such as Oryx’s, crocodiles, zebras, hippos, topis and gazelles.  Visitors are advised to go with armed guide because of the high population crocodile on the island for their safety.
Best 8 Reasons To Visit Central Island

Boat rides

Central island national park also conducts boat tours so that tourists explore it’s coastline, observe wildlife, starting at kalokol which offers a reward view of animals and birds for the tourists.



Being a home to more than 350 bird species, Central Island National Park is indeed a birding paradise. 84 of the bird species are water birds while the remaining 266 are residential and migratory bird species. Types of Birds found in this park include goliath heron, African skimmers, grey heron, Egyptian geese, egrets, sacred ibis, osprey, swallow tailed kites, flamingos, pelicans, cormorants and herons plus many others.

Camping is one of the most stunning activities carried out at the central island national park . Tourists spend a night under the stars by camping on the central island, having incredible views of the lake, and listening to the sounds of nature. Visitors have a unique and immersive experience while camping at Central Island National Park.

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Fishing lovers can also engage in this activity with the help of an experienced fishing guide with them while carrying out that activity on the boat .The lake has over 60 species of fish where tourists will not miss a chance to catch any of these species while fishing.

Guided nature walks

This is experienced by hiking along the island where tourists hike to the top of the flamingo crater so they can have great views of the magnificent lake and beautiful scenery of the whole of Central Island National Park.

Game Viewing

The park gives a taste of how Kenya is rich with diverse wildlife though despite its size. It hosts game animals like, Gravis zebras, grant gazelles, hippos, Oryx’s, crocodiles.  Tourists are advised to be accompanied by armed guides due to the high population of crocodiles.

Cultural Tours

This helps visitors to learn about the local communities and their traditions.

Adventure Expeditions

Visitors  embark on guided expeditions to explore the park’s rugged terrain and scenic beauty.


Visitors are  always able to capture stunning  images of the park’s unique landscapes and wildlife.

Wildlife Viewing and bird watching

Visitors spot crocodiles, hippos, and other wildlife in their nature habitats. With over 350 species, this is a birdwatcher’s paradise for the visitors.

Accommodation In Central Island  National Park

In Central Island national park, there are no accommodation options. There are safe campsites available for visitors who wish to stay overnight. The accommodations are on the mainland offering midrange, budget to the most luxurious facilities.

Visitors are able to listen to nature sound and the sight of the moon and stars on steaming craters are rewarding when camping.

Accommodation facilities such as;
Camping; Many visitors at Central Island national park opt for camping as their accommodation choice. This allows visitors to immerse themselves in the beautiful nature of the park. In this, visitors are advised to bring their own camping gear among others.  The park has several campsites that are perfect for those who want to spend a night outdoors. Campsites offer basic amenities like restrooms.

Eliye  springs resort, Oasis lodge, Malabo resort.  Theses  ones are some of the  accommodations and they are  located on the mainland.

Urban point hotel; This is a 4-star hotel located 0.7 miles from Central Island national park. Nomad palace hotel Nairobi is also another hotel which is 0.7 miles from the park.

The best time to visit  Central Island National park
Central island national park is open to tourists/victors throughout the year. The best time to visit Island Central National Park depends on visitors/tourists interests and preferences.

Dry season; The dry season at the park runs from June to October, this is the best time to visit if the tourists want to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, wildlife viewing among others.

Cooler months; The coolest months at the park are June and July when the temperatures are cooler.  This makes them ideal for visiting the park.

Rainy season; The rainy season at the park lasts from March to May and November to December, this can be hot and humid with occasional showers and thunderstorms.

Scorching hot and arid; From December to march it’s scorching hot and extremely arid, there fore tourists should have plenty of drinking water when visiting the park at this time.

How to access Central Island national park

By Road

In this, you drive from Nairobi via Marsabit and North Horr, or Maralal and South Horr. This is a very long and tedious route though and it would take 2 to 3 days to get there.

You can travel from Nairobi to Kalokol on the lake’s western shores passing via Kitale and Lodwar.  you can hire  boat services when you reach Kalokol which are available to central island national park.

By Air

Visitors can access lake Turkana by domestic flights since it has two all-weather airstrips,  Lodwar airstrip and Loiyangalani airstrip . This is the most convenient way to access Central Island National Park.

It’s always advisable to plan trips in advance and coordinate with local tour operators for transportation and permits.

Climate at Central Island National Park.

The climate at Central Island National Park is as follow;

Arid and hot; Central Island  National Park  has a desert climate, with temperatures soaring in the summer months of December to March.

Cooler months; June and July are always the coolest months of the year despite Central Island national park being in a desert.

Strong winds; There are always strong winds from morning to evening during the months of May to September.

Low rainfall; Central Island  National Park receives less than 250mm of rainfall per year, with some places experiencing no rain for several years.

Scanty vegetation; The vegetation in Central Island National Park is scarce, with some sheltered areas experiencing brief periods of thick grass and bushes each year.

Frequently asked questions about Central Island national park

1. How do I get to Island Central National Park?

Answer; You can fly to Lodwar, Kenya and then arrange for a boat transfer to the island

2. Is it safe to visit Central Island National park with active volcanoes?

Answer; Yes it is safe to visit. The park authorities closely monitor volcanic activity, and safety measures are in place to ensure that visitors are safe.

3.What is the best time to visit the park for birdwatching?

Answer; The best time for birdwatching at the park is during the dry season from November to April when migratory birds are present.

4. Can I camp in Central Island National Park?

Answer; Yes, there is a campsite on the island. However, it’s essential to obtain the necessary permits and also following park regulations.

5.Is there accommodation in Central Island National Park?

Answer; Accommodation options are limited, so it’s advisable to bring camping gear.  Lodging can also be found in nearby towns like Lodwar among others.


In conclusion, Central Island  National Park is a remarkable destination that offers an unparalleled wilderness experience, with it’s unique landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage.  If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure, this park is definitely worth considering.

Central Island National Park is a must visit destination for adventure seekers, nature lovers, and also those who are interested in geology, wildlife and culture. With it’s unique features,  it’s an experience that will leave visitors with lifelong memories.

For a thrilling safari experience in Central Island National Park, Kubwa 5 Safaris should be your first choice because it will offer you a great safari experience that you will never forget.