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Lake Elmenteita, not only bird watching paradise

The small lake of the Rift Valley is rich in history and landscapes

15-07-2020 di redazione

Located between Lakes Naivasha and Nakuru, however small, Lake Elmenteita (also known as Elemantaita) is one of the most important in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, as it is the breeding and feeding ground for many rare and endangered bird species. The area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 and included in Kenya's protected areas in 2011. The Elmenteita is nestled in the eastern part of the Great Rift Valley offers idyllic landscapes: hills and valleys gently descend to its shores where large herds of buffaloes, water antelopes, eland, zebras, giraffes, gazelles including the rare major and minor kudu, find abundant pastures in the more than two thousand and five hundred hectares that make up the natural sanctuary, just over an hour's drive from Nairobi and forty kilometers from the most famous national park of Lake Nakuru.
During the dry season, the black lava islands are the only nesting and breeding grounds suitable for the Great White Pelican of the Rift Valley region.
Due to the small size of the lake, fluctuations in water level affect its salinity. As a result, conditions change, making it unstable where flamingos can rely on food supplies. However, the lake is a paradise for bird lovers, as it is home to over 450 species, including migratory birds.
Lake Elmenteita is part of the Soysambu Conservancy, founded in 2007 and about 30 km from Lake Nakuru, the freshwater lake is located on private land, but visitors are allowed to enter. Here, too, the birdlife is abundant, particularly with flamingos, and you can come across zebras, gazelles, eland and warthog families. The lake and its surrounding forests are ideal for long walks and to enjoy a splendid view of the Rift Valley.
The Masai have wandered the area for centuries and the name comes from their name Ol muteita which means "place of dust". The first settler to reach the area of Lake Elmenteita was Lord Delamere in 1897. Besides being one of the proponents of English colonialism in East Africa, Delamere was a pioneer of agriculture and in 1906 he settled permanently on Lake Elmenteita, where his descendants still live today.
The landscape around the lake is varied, with craters, lava flows, caps and other remains of the volcanic history of the area. There are also strange geometric patterns created by the erosion of the very porous soil. Towards the southern end of the lake are the hot springs of Kekopey, a place thought to be an ancient trading place for ivory and slaves of yesteryear.
Today the locals depend on the hot springs around Kekopey for domestic fresh water supply, subsistence irrigation and to water their livestock.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

TAGS: parchi kenyariserve kenyalago elmenteita

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