In Kenya the lakes are usually small shallow soda lakes with crystallised salt turning the shores white and alkaline waters in which algae and tiny crustaceans thrive.
LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK
One such is Lake Nakuru, around which a National Park was gazetted in 1968. It was created to protect the large flocks of lesser flamingoes, which turn the lake a vivid pink. The park now protects other endangered species in the woodland and bush grassland, in particular black and white rhino. Game viewing is easy in this park as the roads run through the bush and along the lake.
LAKE BOGORIA NATIONAL RESERVE
Lake Bogoria National Reserve is another alkaline lake whose blue-green algae seasonally attracts a million or so flamingoes, making it one of the most colorful of all the lakes. The lake takes up most of the reserve, which has a splendid backdrop of the Siracho escarpment rising almost sheer for 1,950 feet (600 meters). Orientation is simple as there is just one road skirting the lakeshore. Towards the end of the road are some boiling hot springs, some of which spout up to a height of 16 feet (5 meters), while the rest just bubble away like a witch’s cauldron.
Further south is a beautiful freshwater lake – Lake Naivasha, which is used extensively to irrigate vegetables, fruit and flowers that are exported fresh-cut to Europe. Fertilisers and pesticides from these producers have seeped into the lake, causing a decline in the aquatic life. Nevertheless, it still harbours hippos and plenty of birds. It does not have protected status as most of the land around the lake is privately owned.
It was this beautiful lakeland area that was first settled by the British in the 1930’s and where the ‘Happy Valley’ set made a scandalous name for themselves. Many farms around here are still owned by white Kenyans.
ANIMALS & BIRDS
Lake Nakuru National Park is famous for its flamingoes and pelicans, and there is nowhere else you can see black and white rhino browsing and grazing with such a backdrop. It also has black and white colobus monkeys as well as numerous antelopes, buffalo and the rare Rothschild’s giraffe. Leopard are often seen during daylight hours.
Lake Bogoria National Park has herds of rare and handsome greater kudu, as well as buffalo, zebra, impala, dik dik and other small mammals. 135 species of birds have been recorded here.
LAKE NAKURU SPECIALITIES
· Thousands of flamingoes
· Black and white rhino
· Rothschild’s giraffe
· Black and white colobus monkeys
LAKE BOGORIA SPECIALITIES
· Rare greater kudu
· Hot springs
· Fish Eagles preying on flamingoes
Temperatures are very pleasant year round and do not vary that much, with an average of 75°F (24°C)
Rainy Season: April – June – hot and wet (long rains), November – December – warm and wet (short rains).
Dry Season: January – March – hot and dry, July – October – warm and dry
This is a malarial area.