Sprawling lakes and outstanding wildlife dominates Kenya's Great Rift Valley. Surrounded by a vast area of wilderness and home to a wide diversity of wildlife, Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha comprise the main lakes of this phenomenal place. Undoubtedly, it is the Rift Valley's birdlife that is the main draw and the famous flamingo population at Lake Nakuru.
Lake Nakuru is the area's most famous lake; its shallow alkaline waters are a natural draw for the lesser and greater flamingo which come to feast on the phytoplankton that call it home. Depending of the time of year you visit the lake could be populated by hundreds or hundreds of thousands of flamingo, creating a colourful border along its shoreline. The shallow alkaline lake is a great deterrent to predators, leaving the flamingos feeling safe to nest. The Lake Nakuru National Park, in which the lake is set, is home to a number of big cats and is noted as one of the best places in Kenya to see leopard. There also the chance to see plenty of plains game and the critically endangered rhino.
Lake Naivasha meanwhile is a sprawling freshwater lake with over 400 colourful species of bird to spot and hippos lounging in the shallows. The lake is renowned for its fertile soil, perfect for growing fresh fruit and vegetables. Go for boat rides on the lake, visit local schools or take in the views on horseback. Both Nakuru and Naivasha are popular with tourists and the lodges around them are well-appointed and very comfortable.
There are other lakes to explore on holidays to the Rift Valley Lakes, which are perhaps lesser known but are no less dramatic in their scenic beauty. However, their remoteness and the scarcity of places to stay recommend them to more experienced travellers.
Our favourite itineraries, showcasing the best of Rift Valley Lakes
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