Lakes in Kenya
Kenya has a large number of lakes, mainly formed by the Great Rift. There are many beautiful lakes, some filled with freshwater and some with saltwater. Travelling from lake to lake is a journey through a world of contrasts: From papyrus fringed Naivasha with its abundance of birdlife, through Nakuru with its famous flamingo population, the steam geysers of Bogoria, the crocodiles and hippo of Baringo and North to the mighty Jade Sea of Turkana.
These are two of the more remote lakes, lying approximately 250 km (150 miles) from Nairobi. Lake Baringo is the second freshwater lake in the Rift Valley (Naivasha being the only other) and is a source of constant amazement to first time visitors, as it is a permanent muddy brown colour.
Lake Turkana is one of the natural wonders of the world, a massive inland sea that is classified as the largest desert-lake in the world and covers 6,405 sq km. The lake is a source of life to some of Kenya’s most remote tribes and is also believed to be ‘the Cradle of Mankind’ due to the 1.6 million year old ‘Turkana boy’ (Homio erectus) found here. It is a very remote destination, but one that repays the intrepid traveller with rich rewards.
Being the world’s second-largest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria covers an area of nearly 70,000 sq km and is one of the chief sources of the Nile. Life here has not changed for centuries and fishing is a major industry. The cultures are fascinating, the people beautiful and the scenery spectacular.
The most famous of the Rift Valley lakes, Nakuru is a soda lake set within the 62 sq km park, renowned for its magnificent array of spectacular bird life. It is the migratory flocks of thousands of greater and lesser flamingo that really create the attraction here, when the lake’s shallow waters turn pink with their vast numbers. Black and white rhino, the rare Rothschild’s giraffe, a small herd of buffalo, dik dik, klipspringer, eland, the occasional leopard and many other plains game are also found here.
This scenic area, surrounded by high hills, is a bird watchers’ paradise.
In the cliffs just inland from the lake a number of raptors can be found as well as varieties of dry country birds which live in the scrub. Waders and water birds inhabit the lake and the river and bird viewing can be arranged either on foot or by boat. Hippo and crocodile can be seen in the lake and on the shores.
This scenic alkaline lake is dominated by the sheer face of the Siracho Escarpment to the east. In recent years this has become another favourite home of the millions of flamingo which seasonally visit its shores. It is a truly unspoilt area, with no tourist accommodation at all, and on the western shore a series of hot springs and geysers erupt. The heat is such that it would be possible to boil an egg over these if anyone could venture close enough.
There is a small wooded area to the south of the lake which is populated by greater kudu and zebra, gazelle and warthog graze on the lake’s shores. Buffalo, leopard and cheetah are occasionally seen.
North of the lake the Kesubo Swamp offers excellent opportunities for bird watching.