The Great Rift Valley is a beautiful sight to behold from one of the escarpment viewpoints. It is also adorned with lakes, both salty and fresh, with each having a unique feature to it. The valley has a total of 6 lakes, 3 of which are salty and 3 that are fresh. Salt-water lakes simply have no outlets while the fresh ones have outlets which allow for the dilution of the salinity. You cannot fully grasp the glory of these epic lakes until you have your feet standing by their shores. Here is a short preview of each.
When travelling from Nairobi, the first Rift Valley lake you will come into contact with is the Lake Naivasha. This lake is both a natural and economic source of nourishment for the locals and the country at large. On your way there you will notice many flower and fruit farms which hugely rely on the lake water for irrigation. The lake also sustains an ecosystem of different animals including hippopotamuses that call for tourists both domestic and international. You can enjoy a boat ride with the hippos below, a fishing expedition, or a simple nature walk amongst the zebras and antelopes.
Lake Elementaita is a salty water lake believed to be formed due to volcanic activities thousands of years ago. The Lake acts as a temporary home to flamingos during their migration transit. It also hosts a few fish but locals do not eat those because of the high levels of salinity in the waters. The fish act as food for the numerous bird species that have made the lake their home. There are also wild animals living around the game park which coexist with the locals who often take their cattle to graze there. When visiting Lake Elementaita remember to ask about the sleeping warrior!
Lake Nakuru is perhaps one of the main reasons the town of Nakuru grew into the economic hub it is. For years, Lake Nakuru has been known as the home of the flamingos with millions of them gracefully basking on its waters. The Lake is also part of the Lake Nakuru National Park which houses some of the big 5. These are; buffaloes, giraffes, lions and cheetahs. Only Elephants lack in this lake but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the amazing Lake.
Lake Bogoria and Lake Baringo
These two lakes are very close together so it would be easier to visit them at the same time. You could spread the trip into 2 days, or in one depending on your time and budget plans. We advise you to begin with Lake Baringo since it has less activity. Lake Baringo is almost similar to Lake Naivasha in terms of activity but unfortunately, there are no wild animals around. However, the stories from the locals about the myths surrounding the lake will surely make your trip worthwhile. Do not leave until you hear about the tale of the island man.
Lake Bogoria is unique because it hosts several hot springs. The springs are a result of continuous volcanic activity happening below ground level. When visiting the lake make sure to dress lightly as the atmosphere is always hot and humid. Carry some experimental eggs, which you can freely boil on one of the springs as you enjoy a free and natural spa day in the open. You will also get to see flamingos, antelopes, zebras, monkeys, gazelles, warthogs and ostriches when you take a game drive around the park.
Our last stop is the magnificent Lake Turkana, which is as magical as it sounds. Your trip there will be long and treacherous but it will make every minute count once you arrive. The lake has a few belts under its waist including being the largest lake in Kenya. It is also a desert lake and the largest one in the world for that matter. Lake Turkana has small islands surrounding it, which all carry amazing flora and fauna including Nile Crocodiles and Salt Water Turtles. The sunsets over this lake are to die for and the cultural lessons waiting to be learnt immensely.