Apart from its rich and abundant wildlife and sandy beaches, Kenya is blessed with a number of exotic lakes. From the great lakes that line the Great Rift Valley to the east, to the fresh waters of Lake Victoria in the west, here are 15 lakes in Kenya you need to see to believe.
1. Lake Nakuru
Famously known for teeming with thousands of flamingos, Lake Nakuru is one you don’t want to miss. The lake is situated on the floor of the Rift Valley and is not only home to flamingos but other bird species as well as rhinos, leopards, Rothschild’s giraffe and zebras. Make your way to Lake Nakuru and witness for yourself what has been described as the greatest bird spectacle in the world.
2. Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is one of Africa’s greatest lakes and the largest. Shared by three countries, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, the Lake is part of an ecosystem known as the Lake Victoria Basin. The Luo community, Kenya’s fishing community, lives in the region surrounding the lake.
3. Lake Bogoria
Situated about 60km from Nakuru town, this saline lake is an enigma of all sorts. The steam geysers and the hot springs at Lake Bogoria are its main attraction. The water is so hot that you can boil an egg in minutes and have it ready to eat!
4. Lake Baringo
In what can be described as an oasis against the harsh semi-desert landscape, this freshwater lake is literally another one of Kenya’s gems. The lake is a shelter to more than 400 bird species, thus making it a birdwatcher’s paradise.
5. Lake Naivasha
Papyrus-fringed Naivasha is a beautiful freshwater lake located outside the town of Naivasha. It’s the highest Rift valley lake, lying at over six thousand feet. The lake is home to a wide variety of wildlife most notably a sizeable hippo population, numerous bird species such as fish eagles, grey-backed fiscal, marabou storks and doves.
6. Lake Turkana
Fondly referred to as the Jade Sea because of its breathtaking turquoise color, Lake Turkana is the world’s fourth largest salt lake spanning about 320km. This saline lake is also home to three island parks which are now listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
7. Lake Elementaita
Located near the town of Gilgil, Lake Elementaita is the only known breeding place for pelicans in the East and Central Africa regions. Flamingos are a sight here as well, though in much smaller numbers than at Lake Nakuru. The lake can be viewed from as far as the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway which runs along the nearby escarpment.
8. Lake Magadi
With plains of baking salt stretching into the horizon, Lake Magadi is surrounded by vast salt flats that shimmer in the intense heat that is characteristic of the area. It is the world’s second largest source of sodium carbonate. The soda water changes to a pink color in the light, and fresh water springs at the shore provide a natural spa for the visitors.
9. Lake Amboseli
Within one of Kenya’s oldest and most famous parks, the Amboseli National Reserve lays a non-permanent lake from which the park derives its name. Lake Amboseli is predominantly saline, thus little vegetation is present on its shores. In drier seasons, the lake is nothing but a vast frying pan covered with shattered saline earth full of whirlwinds.
10. Lake Jipe
Straddling the Kenyan and Tanzanian borders, Lake Jipe is a relatively small lake that’s located in Tsavo West National Park. On the lake’s shore is the Lake Jipe Safari Camp, a perfect camping site for tourists seeking tranquility.
11. Lake Logipi
Located at the northern end of the Kenya Rift in the arid Suguta Valley, Lake Logipi is a saline, alkaline lake. It’s separated from Lake Turkana by the Barrier volcanic complex, a group of quite young volcanoes that last erupted during the late 19th century. The waters in the lake come from the Suguta River in the rainy season, but also from saline hot springs which discharge on its northern shore.
12. Lake Alablab
Quite close to Lake Logipi, this lake is only temporary in nature. Its waters come from the Suguta River in the rainy season, before the Lake joins with Lake Logipi.
13. Lake Kamnarok
Only a relatively small lake, Lake Kamnarok is just one km² in size. It’s at the base of the Kerio Valley, and was gazetted in 1984 when Lake Kamnarok Game Reserve (home to 500 elephants) was created. Although noted in existence before 1961, the floods of that year led to its enlargement, and the evacuation of people living in the surrounding area.
14. Lake Chew Bahir
Technically an Ethiopian lake, Lake Chew Bahir makes it into this list because when it is completely full, it stretches into northern Kenya. The lake measures some 40 miles (64 km) by 15 miles (24 km).
15. Lake Chala
Straddling the borders of Tanzania and Kenya, Lake Chala is a popular destination within Tanzania. It’s a crater lake in an old caldera , with steep (100m) volcanic cliffs around the sides. It’s close to the Tanzanian town of Moshi. The lake is fed by groundwater flows from Mt Kilimanjaro. The colour of the waters change depending on the time of year, ranging from deep blue to turquoise or green.
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