Lake Nakuru, Naivasha & Elmenteita

Some of Kenya’s most enduring images have been captured in and around the country’s Rift Valley lakes, their surfaces a shimmering mass of thousands of pink flamingos.

The Kenyan section of the Rift Valley is home to eight lakes, the most famous surely being Lake Nakuru, whose algae-rich warm alkaline waters attract thousands if not millions of pink flamingo. Its shores – protected by a national park that shares its name – are home to both black and white rhino as well as a number of rare Rothschild’s giraffe.

Lake Elmenteita lies about an hour by road to Nakuru’s southeast, a much smaller, shallower soda lake whose waters are a deep blue-green. A RAMSAR site since 2005, Elmenteita is paradise for bird-watchers with over 400 individual avian species recorded in and around the lake including two types of flamingo, African Spoonbill and Great White Pelican. Close to the lake is the Kariandusi Museum, which showcases the prehistoric site where paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey discovered tools used by Early Stone age man in 1928.

Freshwater Lake Naivasha is the farthest south and in addition to prolific birdlife, boasts a sizeable population of hippos. Small but spectacular Hells Gate National Park is situated nearby, and offers visitors an opportunity to hike and cycle amid extinct volcanoes, towering cliffs and deep gorges inhabited by a range of wild animals including zebra, eland and gazelle. Look up, because this park is home to an array of endangered raptors and vultures that are commonly seen circling overhead.


Rift Valley Lakes Highlights

  • See some of Kenya’s most iconic scenery
  • Rich birdlife including flocks of flamingo
  • Rhinos in Lake Nakuru National Park
  • Impressive Hells’ Gate National Park
  • Fascinating volcanic landscapes and early human history

When To Go

These three Rift Valley lakes lie at quite high elevations, so the climate is relatively mild all year round. If you’re hoping to see flamingos, it’s worth noting that their population varies according to the alkalinity of the soda lakes. As such, the more rainfall there is, the less alkaline the waters and consequently, the less flamingos there are likely to be. Therefore it might be worthwhile planning your trip to coincide with the drier months (July to October).

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Our Recommended

Kenya Sample Itineraries

The following itineraries are just some of the many experiences that we can design for you. All of our tours are private, independent and tailor-made to your personal travelling requirements. Please contact us to begin creating your personalised Kenya experience.

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Our Recommended

Luxury accommodation in the Rift Valley Lakes

The following are some of the safari lodges that we recommend in the Rift Valley Lakes region. For information on additional accommodation not featured, please contact us.

Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp

Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp is a tasteful tented property on the shores of vivid blue Lake Elmenteita, whose waters attract thousands of birds including flamingo and great white pelican.

Loldia House

Relive the lives of Kenya’s early settlers at Loldia House, a picturesque former homestead with views over an extinct volcano.

Mbweha Camp

Set on a private conservancy bordering Kenya’s Lake Nakuru National Park, Mbweha Camp comprises of 10 comfortable stone cottages with thatched roofs.

Kenya Overview

What are the best things to do in Kenya?
Kenya has so many exciting and wonderful experiences to enjoy that the options are endless. Top experiences include:

  • Witnessing the great wildebeest migration (September to October) in the Masai Mara.
  • Exploring Samburu Game Reserve with its big game as well as rare endemic species.
  • Breakfast with the Rothschild’s giraffes at Giraffe Manor.
  • Thousands of flamingos and pelicans on the Rift Valley lakes .
  • Getting close to rhino in Laikipia.
  • Meeting the Samburu or Maasai and learning about their culture.

What is the climate like in Kenya?
The highland areas have a temperate climate (22°- 25°C) due to the high altitude, however  it is hotter in low-lying areas like the Rift Valley (30°- 35°C). The coast is hot and humid most of the year. Kenya has two rainy seasons, the ‘short rains’ that take place over 5-6 weeks in November and December and the ‘long rains’ that occur during March to May.

How do I get to Kenya?
Kenya’s major capital Nairobi is the main entry point into the country. Major airlines that fly into Nairobi include British Airways, Etihad Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa and Air France. From Nairobi, Kenya Airways offers flights to other popular African destinations including South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.

What can I combine Kenya with?
Kenya is often combined with neighbouring Tanzania, and with Uganda or Rwanda for a trek to see the gorillas. A few days on the beautiful beaches of the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar is a very popular way to end a Kenyan safari.

Want to know more about Kenya?
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United States: +1 (213) 460 3364
United States: +1 (646) 217 0354
United Kingdom: +44 (20) 4518 8166

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