User Reviews – Lake Turkana

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The last bit of Africa from childhood dreams
Overall rating
5/5

I have driven nearly 60,000 kilometres around Africa through 32 different countries. Nevertheless, it is the Turkana region that still stands out in my mind. This area is the cradle of humankind. Not only have some of the earliest humans been found here, but also the oldest complete human skeleton (1.5 million years old). In some strange way, the place just feels like home. The surroundings are ever changing, but always rough and unspoiled. Very much like James A. Michener describes the Khoikhoi (San) people in Southern Africa in the first chapter of his book "The Covenant", the Turkana people are, to me, the true Africa, along with the Masaai. They are, as you might expect, barely clothed, unable to speak any common language and largely untouched by modern ways.

We drove unsupported, stacked with supplies and fuel and, according to some, a great deal of courage, through the Turkana region from the border with Ethiopia. For some 700-800 kilometres we didn’t come across a mechanic, supermarket or petrol station. We camped in the bush, found leopard tracks where we slept, spotted a cerval cat eyeballing us from a hill and watched the largest group of camels that I had ever seen. The terrain is, unfortunately, not ideal for spotting a lot of game, or perhaps that was just due to the drought. Nevertheless, we saw hartebeest, eland, duikers, bush pigs and a few other animals. Huge termite hills are dotted all over the landscape. And it was here that I was witness to the most astonishing African sunset I have ever seen.

Do realise that by travelling through this region you are representing a world that the people who inhabit it do not know. A modern world. Do not give into begging, for it kills any entrepreneurial spirit and causes people to lose their dignity and traditional values. Instead, trade with them so they can learn and explore the world beyond their dry savannah. One Turkana man, about my age (early 20s), came up to our vehicle and properly saw himself for the first time in our side mirror. That, to me, was the Africa as you imagine it in childhood dreams. Unfortunately, in the most accessible parts of the continent, that world no longer exists. Tread lightly, but never stop exploring.

Average User Rating

  • 4.0/5
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