Lake Magadi is one of the Kenya Rift Valley Lakes (Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria, Lake Logipi, Lake Elementaita and Lake Turkana). 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.
During the dry period, the lake is almost 80% covered by soda. During the rainy season, a thin layer of brine covers much of the saline pan but evaporates quickly leaving a huge expanse of white salt.
The lake is famous for its warding birds including the flamingos and extensive deposits of siliceous chert.
Tourist Attraction Sites close to Lake Magadi
- Magadi town which lies on the lake’s east shore and is home to Magadi Soda Factory
- Nguruman Escarpment which lies west of the lake
- Loita Hills, a good place for hiking and trekking
- Amboseli National Park
Lake Magadi Animals/Wildlife
The lake is home to a variety of birds species including the flamingos.
Only a single species of fish are known to inhabit the hot alkaline waters of this lake and is mostly seen in some of the hot springs pools around the shoreline, where the water temperature is below 45°C.
Things to do in Lake Magadi
- Bird watching
- Hiking/trekking at Loita Hills and Nguruman Escarpment
- Camping at the western shores of the lake-Nguruman Escarpment
Lake Magadi Weather & Climate
The lake has a local steppe climate. Little rain is experienced throughout the year with an annual average of 470 mm. March to May are the wettest months while June to October is the driest period.
The annual average temperature is 25°C with temperatures ranging from the highest 26.7°C on March to the lowest 22.9°C in July.
Best time to Visit
Lake Magadi is a bird paradise during the dry spell due to the wide variety of birds it attracts.
How to get there
The lake is 120 km from Nairobi using the Magadi road after Ongata Rongai town.