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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tour Kenya's Rift Valley Lakes

The Kenyan Rift Valley is a section of the 6,000km Great Rift Valley which stretches from the Dead Sea in the Middle East all the way to Mozambique. It is one of Africa’s defining geographical features.
Rift Valley Lakes in Kenya are main attraction. Most of them have been declared Ramsar sites. Having been recognized internationally as a vitally important wetland.
These Ramsar sites include; Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria, Lake Elementaita, Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru.
These lakes reveal not only a vast wealth of bird but also hippo, crocodile and near Lake Nakuru, the rhino sanctuary.
The following is an itinerary tour for the Rift Valley Lakes.

Day 1: Nairobi – Lake Bogoria
Depart for Lake Bogoria from Nairobi at 0700 Hrs and drive along Nairobi Nakuru Highway. Along this high way you will see the panoramic view of the Great Rift Valley. Arrive in Bogoria National Reserve and check in and lunch at Lake Bogoria Spa resort. Lake Bogoria Spa resort is the only Hotel with natural spa in Kenya. The lake is a Ramsar site and has been a protected National Reserve since November 29, 1973.

Lake Bogoria is shallow (about 10 m depth), and is about 34 km long by 3.5 km wide, with a drainage basin of 700 km².The lake displays a superb scenery of bluish hills populated with dry bush, grasslands and riverine forests, framing the calm water shallow pinned with flamingoes. Beyond the eastern shore, the soil rises abruptly to 600 m in the Laikipia Escarpment. At the opposite edge, the earth forms strangely coloured swampy crusts, which break up in deep gaps spitting stinky sulphur waters and steam jets.


After noon game drive to see the attractions like hot springs and geysers and variety of bird life and animals like the rear greater kudu are the only the  attraction. Lake Bogoria was first discovered by the Kampala Bishop James Hannington in 1885 while heading for his diocese following Thomsonfs route. The volcanically active lake is lined with spouting geysers.

The park is located approximately 260km from Nairobi and about 25km from the lake Baringo Airstrip. It can be accessed by road or by air.

The lake has the highest number of true geysers in Africa. In addition the lake has around 200 hot springs at three onshore sites while the other hot springs discharge directly from the lake floor. The soda waters of the lake contain the blue -green algae which tend to attract massive flocks of flamingoes seasonally hence the lake is often carpeted with pink.

Other accommodations in Bogoria include;
Acacia camp site
Fig tree camp site

Dinner and overnight at Lake Bogoria Spa resort.

Day 2: Lake Bogoria.
After breakfast Depart for a game drive and return in the hotel and enjoy the swimming pool with natural spa. All meals and overnight in the hotel. Lake Bogoria Spa resort.

Day 3: Lake Bogoria – Lake Baringo

 Breakfast and then depart for Lake Baringo. Lake Baringo is situated in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, north of the Equator, at an altitude of 1,050m (3,500 feet). Lake Baringo is roughly 22km (13.7 miles) long by 11km (6.8 miles) wide at its widest point. It has a surface area of 168sq km (104 sq miles). Baringo lies in a vast bowl flanked by spectacular mountains and rocky escarpments that rise to the east and west, reaching over 1500m (4,920 ft) above the valley floor.
It is approximately 50km from Bogoria National reserve.
Attractions in fresh lake Baringo is hippo and crocodile, boat ride abound but most visitors are entranced by the multitude of birds with over 400 species having been identified. Bird watching is by boat or on foot.

The area is home to the Njemps tribe and a visit to a local Njemps village can easily be arranged to watch traditional crafts being made and tribal dancing.
Accommodation around Lake Bogoria includes; Baringo Island Camp, Lake Baringo Samatian Island Camp, Lake Baringo Tamarind Garden, Lake Baringo Soi Safari Lodge, Lake Baringo Club, Lake Baringo Roberts Camp , Lake Baringo West Bay Camp Site.
After the tour return to Lake Bogoria for dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Bogoria – Nakuru
Lake Nakuru is one of the alkaline Rift Valley lakes and a fantastic bird sanctuary, its shores populated at times by more than one million flamingoes. Breakfast and depart for Lake Nakuru National park. And arrive for check in and lunch at Lion hill lodge.
The park was gazetted in 1968, but since 1961 there was a bird sanctuary at the lake's south sector. You can access the park through the well tarmacked Nairobi-Nakuru highway  which offers easy access to the park by road in less than two hours (from Nairobi). The Naishi air strip is convenient for a quick air trip to the park during the dry season. There are three main gates leading to the park; the main gate, Lanet and Nderit gates.  It is 125 km from Bogoria national park.The park can be visited any time thought the year is always fun.
Main attractions in the park is the highest concentration of flamingoes anywhere. Two species of over 2 million flamingoes, the lesser and greater flamingoes color the shores of Lake Nakuru a vivid pink that will take your breath away.
Other attractions include fish eating birds, pelicans and cormorants. The tilapia grahami has also flourished after being introduced in the early 1960's. There are over 400 resident bird species on the lake and in the surrounding park. Thousands of both little grebes and white winged black terns are frequently seen as are stilts, avocets, ducks, and the migrant waders, common during the European winter.

 Other attractions outside the park include;
The Kariandusi Prehistoric site. It was discovered in the late 1920s during Louis Leakey’s first visits to the central Rift Valley. It is locate 4km from Nakuru.  A second site was discovered by R. Terry during the 1970s, and investigated by the author. The sites are well-known for their obsidian hand-axes, but the lower site includes mainly specimens made of a local trachyte lava.The site is one of the museums of National Museums of Kenya.
Numerous sites around the hill belong to different time periods with the earliest finds dating back to the Neolithic period. There is evidence in the form beach sands that a fresh water Lake once extended right to the base of the hill; turning the hill into a peninsular or even an island. The mighty prehistoric lake is believed to have covered the valley from Nakuru to Lake Elementaita about 8,500 years ago. Traces of it have been found at Hyrax Hill, the Wakumi Burial Site, Gambles cave and amongst other places.
After lunch go for an evening game drive in the Park.Dinner and overnight in the lodge.
Hyrax Hill Museum Gallery
Hyrax Hill Museum depicts the lifestyle of seasonal settlement by prehistoric people at least 3,000 years old. The Museum is a former farmhouse ceded to the monument in 1965, by the Late Mr. A. Selfe. A small museum was opened here where artifacts from the Hyrax Hill site and other sites in the Central Rift Valley are displayed. The hill was named after hyraxes which are found in abundance, living in cracks within rocks found in this area. Other attractions within the site include: Picnic Site, Camping Site, Nature Trail, Picturesque View of Lake Nakuru,Tortoise Pit
The park was recently enlarged to accommodate 25 black rhinos. A few white rhinos are also protected in the sanctuary. There are also Rothschild's giraffes, Waterbucks, impalas, dik diks and grant gazelles found here. Predators are the lion and the leopard, the latter being more common in recent times. Large sized python snakes that inhabit the dense woodlands and can often be seen crossing the roads or dangling from trees. Accommodation around the park include; Jumuia Guest House, Merica Hotel, Sarova Lio, Hill Game Lodge, Lake Nakuru lodge, Sunbird Lodge, Stem Hotel, Hotel Kunste, Maili Saba Camp, Hotel Cathay, Bontana Hotel .
After lunch go for an evening game drive in the Park.Dinner and Overnight in the lodge.Sarova  Lion Hill.

Day 5: Lake Nakuru - Lake Elementaita - Lake Naivasha
After morning game drive you will  return to your lodge for breakfast. After breakfast check out from the lodge and leave for  Lake Naivasha with a brief stop at Lake Elementaita.

Lake Elementaita is strategically situated from a cliff on the Nakuru- Nairobi highway 30km from Lake Nakuru and 120km from Kenya capital city Nairobi. Lake Elementaita is derived from the Maasai word muteita, meaning "dust place", a reference to the dry and dusty quality of the area, especially between January and March. The town of Gilgil is located near the lake. In the south-to-north sequence of Rift Valley lakes, Lake Elementaita is located between Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru. Lake Elementaita was profiled as a Ramsar site and a Wetland of International importance in 2005.
After the vie proceed to lake Naivasha.
Naivasha is a freshwater lake in Kenya, lying north west of Nairobi, outside the town of Naivasha. It is part of the Great Rift Valley. The name derives from the local Maasai name Nai'posha, meaning "rough water" because of the sudden storms which can arise.
Lake Naivasha is located 90km North West of Kenya’s capital Nairobi and 10km from Naivasha town. Lake Naivasha is just over an hours drive by public or Private Transport, including Charter Flights. The lake is located some distance from the town.

Attractions in Lake Naivasha include
Water sport Activities, Walk at Crescent Island, Geothermal Power Station, Unique Waterbird Viewing, Upper Lake and Hippo Point, Elsamere Conservation Centre, Scenic landscape (Crater Lake and Volcanic Sceneries), Visit of Private Ranches and Farm in Hell's Gate corridor, Possibility to go for Walk, Bike, Horse Riding and Hiking in Hell's Gate National Park, Splendid 360 panoramic view on Volcanoes and Escarpment surrounding Lake Naivasha.

The lake is home to a variety of types of wildlife including over 400 different species of bird and a sizeable population of hippos. The fish community in the lake has been highly variable over time, influenced by changes in climate, fishing effort and the introduction of invasive species. The most recent shift in the fish population followed the accidental introduction of common carp in 2001 [3]. Nine years later, in 2010, common carp accounted for over 90% of the mass of fish caught in the lake [4].
There are two smaller lakes in the vicinity of Lake Naivasaha: Lake Oloiden and Lake Sonachi (a green crater lake). The Crater Lake Game Sanctuary lies nearby, while the lake shore is known for its population of European immigrants and settlers.

Hotels and lodges at Lake Naivasha;
Hotels and Lodges around Lake Naivasha  include;  Lake Elementaita Lodge, Elementaita Country Lodge, Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort, Longonot Ranch House, Loldia House, Lake Naivasha Country Club, Chui Lodge, Kiangazi House, Longonot Ranch House, Naivasha Simba Lodge, Crater Lake Lodge Naivasha, Great Rift Valley Lodge, Lake Naivasha Resort, Sawela Lodge, Jaza Resort Naivasha .

Arrive at Lake Naivasha Country Club for check in and late lunch. Dinner and overnight at Lake Naivasha Country Club.

Day 6: Naivasha - Hell's Gate National Park.
Early morning breakfast and then depart for  Hell's Gate National Park. Hell’s Gate National Park covers an area of 68.25 square km and is situated in the environs of Lake Naivasha about  90 km from Nairobi. The park is 14 km  after the turnoff from the old Nairobi - Naivasha highway.

It is characterized by diverse topography and geological scenery. It is an important home of the lammergeyer. Hell’s Gate has two gates that are used by visitors – the main Elsa Gate and the Olkaria Gate. The latter also serves the Olkaria Geothermal Station that is located inside the National Park.
Attractions here in Hell's Gate National Park:
Game viewing, Raptor nesting in cliffs, Spectacular gorge walk, Hot springs, Fischer’s Tower, Central Tower, Scenic, landscape, The Geothermal Station, Maasai culture and Njorowa gorge.

Activity option
Hiking, Camping, Rock climbing, Bird watching, Photography, Wildlife viewing, biking. After visiting Attractions in Hell's Gate National Park return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Departure
After breakfast depart for Nairobi