Kenya Rift Valley Lakes

The Great Rift Valley Kenya section is home to eight lakes. Out of the eight lakes, two are freshwater lakes while the rest are alkaline. Of the alkaline lakes, the shallow lakes of the Eastern Rift Valley have crystalized salt tuning the shores white and are popular for the huge flocks of flamingo the feed on crustaceans, insect larvae and suspended blue-green algae.

Here is the list of the Kenya Rift Valley Lakes.

Freshwater Kenya Rift Valley Lakes

Lake Baringo

Lake Baringo is in Baringo County in a dusty and dusty remote location, the most northern lake of the Kenya Great Rift Valley Lakes after Lake Turkana.

It is the second largest of the Kenya Rift Valley Lakes and one of the two freshwater lakes in the Kenya Rift Valley the other being Lake Naivasha.

In terms of the size, it is 130 km2 in surface area. It is fed by several perennial rivers including the Molo, Perkerra, and Ol Arabel.  These rivers rise from Tugen Hills, Mau Hills and Aberdare Range (Ol Arabel River). There is no visible outlet but it is assumed water seep through the lake sediments into the faulted volcanic bedrock.

Lake Naivasha

It is located in Nakuru County near Naivasha town which lies on the north-east edge of the lake.

It is a freshwater lake at the highest elevation of the Kenya Rift Valley fed by the perennial Malewa and Gilgil rivers and other transient streams. Lake Naivasha doesn’t have a visible outflow but it is assumed it has an underground outlet since it is a freshwater lake.

In terms of size, it covers 139 km2 of surface area and is surrounded by swamp whose size depends on the rainfall amount at any given period of time. It is 20ft deep on average with the deepest part being at the Crescent Island, a depth of about 100 ft.

Alkaline Kenya Rift Valley Lakes

Lake Bogoria

Lake Bogoria is located in Baringo County south of Lake Baringo.

The lake is a shallow saline and alkaline lake since it lies in a volcanic region in a half-graben basin and has no outlet. It is a Ramsar site and part of Lake Bogoria National Reserve.

Lake Bogoria waters originate from inflows from the Sandai and Emsos rivers and from several alkaline hot springs that are present at three onshore sites namely; Laboru, Chemurkeu, and a southern group of hot springs which include Ng’wasis, Koibobei, Losaramat hot springs.  Other hot springs discharge directly from the lake floor.

Lake Turkana

It is located in Turkana County northern Kenya to the Ethiopian border.

It is the world largest desert and alkaline Lake. In terms of volume, it is the 4th largest salt lake in the world. It is 6,405 km2 in terms of surface area and an average of 30 m in depth.

The lake is fed by three perennial rivers namely; Omo, Turkwel and Kerio Rivers. Omo River source is from Ethiopia, Turkwel River from Mount Elgon, and Kerio River rises from Amasya Hills. It has no outlet and water is lost through evaporation only.

Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru is a shallow soda/alkaline lake located in Nakuru County south of Nakuru town. It is a Ramsar site.

This lake is fed by four season rivers namely Njoro, Nderit, Makalia and Lamudhiak-all of which originate from Mau forest, and one perennial Ngosur River. There is no outflow from the lake.

The lake is Part of Lake Nakuru National Park. It is popular due to the abundance of algae that attract millions of flamingos (both lesser and greater flamingos) that line on the shores. They are best viewed from the Baboon Cliff.

Lake Logipi

Lake Logipi is in the northern Kenya Rift, Turkana County, and 387 km from Nairobi.

The lake lies at the north end of the Suguta Valley/Suguta Mud Flats (an arid part of the Kenya Rift Valley) and is separated from Lake Turkana by the Barrier Volcanic Complex.

The lake is saline and alkaline and is fed by saline hot springs-which are the primary inflows- which discharge on the northern shoreline of the Lake and at cathedral rocks near it southern limit. They are perennial and maintain the water levels at the time of extreme aridity. During the rainy seasons, another source of water emerges from the season Suguta River which flows northward along the Suguta Valley forming a temporary lake, Lake Alablab, which joins with Lake Logipi.

Lake Elementaita

It is located in Nakuru County northwest of Nairobi, a distance of 136 km. the nearest town is Gilgil.

It is a shallow soda lake whose surface area is 18 km2 and an average depth of 1 m.

Lake Elementaita lies between Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru. You can enjoy spectacular views of the lake when on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway since it runs along the nearby escarpment.

Lake Elementaita is popular for it abundant birdlife especially the greater and the lesser flamingos and has hence been protected and has been named as a heritage site by the UNESCO. It is a Ramsar site.

Lake Magadi

It is located in Kajiado County and is the southern-most Kenya Rift Valley Lake.

This lake is saline and alkaline and lies in an endorheic basin formed by a graben. It covers a surface area of 100 km2. The lake water is dense sodium carbonate brine and precipitates vast quantities of mineral trona with some places having more than 40 inches of salt.

 Lake Magadi is fed mainly by saline hot springs that drain into alkaline lagoons around the lake margin with no outlet. Most of the hot springs lie in the southern and northern shorelines of the lake.

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