The perfect safari holiday in The Rift Valley
Breath taking scenery, with a range of habitats for a wealth of animals, with superb bird watching.
Africa’s Great Rift Valley is a 6,000-kilometre geographic trench stretching from Lebanon to Mozambique. In East Africa the Valley divides and forms the Eastern Rift and the Western Rift (Albertine Rift). The Eastern Rift dissects Kenya and offers both incredible scenery and plentiful wildlife. There are eight lakes that fall within Kenya along the Eastern Rift. Of these eight lakes, three are freshwater and the rest alkaline.
Lake Nakuru sits in the middle of Lake Nakuru National Park. The birdlife here is superb with over 450 species recorded. Large mammals include tree climbing lions, buffalo, waterbuck, hippo and Rothschild’s giraffe. Nakuru is also one of the best places in the world to see black and white rhino and for seeing the elusive leopard.
Lake Naivasha is the largest freshwater lake along the Kenyan section of the Rift Valley. There is plenty to do in and around the terracotta waters of the lake including fishing, hippo watching, golf and horse riding. The scenery is beautiful and is best observed from a boat on the lake itself. Located approximately 1½ hours’ drive from Nairobi over the stunning Rift Valley escarpment, a couple of nights spent by the tranquil waters of Lake Naivasha make an excellent start, finish or break in any safari holiday in Kenya.
Surrounded by arid semi-desert scenery and the imposing Laikipia Escarpment, Lake Baringo has a dazzling array of colourful birds (over 470 species), fishermen continuing a trade little changed for hundreds of years and spectacular sunsets that illuminate the lake’s beautiful bronze waters. Two fantastic island lodges and a hotel on the south-western shore make this a perfect spot for a relaxing mid safari break. A holiday at Baringo is also an interesting alternative to the Kenya coast.
Bogoria lies a short distance south of Baringo and is a long but narrow soda lake with boiling hot springs and steaming geysers. It is surrounded by the steep hills of the Laikipia Escarpment and is a popular birding spot with plenty of greater and lesser flamingos on its shores, especially when Lake Nakuru's water levels are low. There is also a good chance of spotting herds of the elusive greater kudu, as well as the hyena, jackal and leopard which are resident in the area. The Kesubo Swamp to the north and the Siracho Escarpment to the east both fall within the National Park. There are four locations around the lake from where you can witness one or more of the erupting geysers blow over five meters into the air. Geyser activity is affected by the fluctuations of lake level, which may inundate or expose some geysers. Lake Bogoria is a National Park, so an entry fee required to visit. There are no lodges here and visitors are usually based at Lake Nakuru (an hour away by road) or Lake Baringo (half an hour away by road).
Lake Magadi, the Rift Valley’s most southerly lake, covers over 100 square kilometers and has a distinctive pink and white colour from its crystallized alkaline soda deposits. Located in a semi desert area, Magadi‘s temperature remains in the upper thirties most days. There is a series of hot springs around the lake’s periphery that intermittently spray water from the ground at temperatures of 45ºC. This soda lake is surrounded by vast natural salt flats. These sweltering hot plains prevent any animals reaching the alkaline lake at its centre. For this reason, thousands of flamingos descend on the lake each year to nest on elevated mud mounds at the lake’s edge safe from any potential predators. Freshwater springs at the Lake’s shore attract a host of other birds. The vivid colours also provide some interesting photographic opportunities. There are no lodges at Lake Magadi and it is very rarely visited by tourists. It is however simple to reach and we are happy to arrange visits on a tailor-made basis for any travellers keen to take a step off the beaten track.
Located in the semi-desert region of northern Kenya, Lake Turkana is a 270 kilometre stretch of sparkling water and is the ideal destination for the intrepid traveller seeking to experience bio-diversity at its best: ornithology, anthropology, archaeology, culture, fishing, game viewing, astronomy, photography and adventure. This is a lake of intense beauty, a jade sea surrounded by volcanic boulders and purple hills under a brilliant sky by day and star-bright nights.
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Laikipia Safari & Mombasa Explorer
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