North of Nakuru is another of the Rift Valleyâ’s soda lakes, Lake Bogoria. The park is home to leopard, klipspringer and caracal as well as the wonderful greater kudu and in fact, it is one of the best places in Kenya to see this mighty animal with its splendid, spiralling horns. The greater kudu favours the isolated and wooded southern reaches of the park, where a wealth of other species can also be found.
The greater kudu is a beautiful animal with large spiral horns and a fringe of hair on the throat (only the bulls), wide ears, the body vertically striped in white and a characteristic white chevron between the eyes. Its population, formerly very extended, was severely affected by cattle rinderpest in the 19th century, restricting its habitat away from the livestock haunts.
Other mammals in the reserve include buffalo, baboon, Grant’s gazelle, Kirk’s dik-dik and klipspringer, the latter at the rocky slopes south and east of the lake.
Lake Bogoria has been described in the past as the Jewel of the Rift Valley and by the words of Bishop Hannington on his first sight, “The most beautiful view in Africa.” With the backdrop of the Eastern Wall of the Great Rift Valley, It is a stunning beauty that has always enchanted its’ visitors.
Lake Bogoria National Park’s hot springs and geysers are a further attraction although precautions should be taken since the hot springs are hot enough to boil an egg. Just north of the Park is Kesubo Swamp, an important wetland to the Lake ecosystem and a fascinating area for birdwatchers to visit as it has over 200 recorded species of bird.
Just to the north of Lake Bogoria and the most northerly of all the Rift Valley lakes is Lake Baringo, a freshwater lake dotted with picturesque islands. Baringo is the home to the Njemps fisherman who go about their traditional work in their amazing and unsinkable reed boats. The waters support a multitude of hippo and crocodile and over 450 of Kenya’s 1,200 recorded native species of bird.
Lake Baringo is one of the water bodies that line up on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, the Earth’s scar that crosses the East of Africa north to south. After the huge Turkana, Baringo is the second northernmost and largest in Kenya, with 130 km². Baringo and Naivasha stand up as the only freshwater shallows in the Kenyan Rift.
This amazing environment draws birdwatchers from all over the world, eager to catch a glimpse of a special rarity. Birds are the kings and queens of Baringo. More than 400 recorded species make the visit to the lakeside a competition to achieve the highest numbers of species sighted, the world record set at 342 species in 24 hours. The experience is more rewarding during the rainy season, when many birds fly back to Baringo. If you are not an expert ornithologist, you will enjoy it in any case with a good field guide in your backpack and trying to mimic the bird noises you hear.
What to Do:
Bird Watching and Bird Walks a day with a resident ornithologist. Birders are transported short distance to the cliff, the home of many large birds of prey and noisy restless `bush’ birds.
Boat Trips – There are no scheduled trips but there are plenty of boats with their captains for those who want to see hippo at close quarters, crocodile and the abundant lake birds.
Hot Spring Tour – There are two hot springs in the area. A visit to the hot springs on a close by island takes two hours with plenty of bird, crocodile and hippo watching en route. Another colorful sight en route is one of Njemps fishermen off-loading nets full of tilapia, catfish, and mudfish and bass while the village women and children sort them into size.
How to get there:
Lake Baringo is approximately 240kms from Nairobi while Lake Bogoria is 270km from Nairobi. One can drive or fly to Lake Baringo Airstrip on charter flight since there are no scheduled flight.
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