It was Count Teleki who was the first European to discover Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, also known as the Jade Sea, because of its vibrant green waters caused by a high algae content.
Battered by extreme heat and incredibly strong, energy-sapping winds, ours too was a tough expedition. Trekking with fierce Turkana tribesman armed with spears, rifles and razor-sharp wrist knives and pack donkeys to carry the loads, the expedition battled dehydration, thrashing jade-green waves and monster crocs that were not adverse to stalking the expedition’s inflatable boats and taking bites out of one of the pontoons.
But the wild beauty of Lake Turkana stole our hearts: flamingos, volcanoes and lava flows, ancient fossils and strange, seldom documented nomadic tribes. We completed a crazy circumnavigation, including venturing to Koobi Fora, where Dr Richard Leakey and his team of palaeontologists discovered human remains that suggest our ancestors walked here some four million years ago.
We were to return to this desert lake again during the Great African Rift Valley expedition and again in 2014, as part of our Living Traditions anthology.