If you want to see lakes and birds our day trips to Baringo and Bogoria are a must. Kembu is a birding paradise, but to really appreciate this area, a drop in altitude to the north up the Great Rift Valley to the hot bus country is an experience well worth the effort. An early morning departure allows you to have morning coffee on the equator and a picnic bush breakfast.
Lake Bogoria National Reserve
Lake Bogoria is one of those incredibly desolate and beautiful landscapes – a scenic park rather than a wildlife haven. It epitomises the Great Rift Valley sunk down between fault lines, the steep escarpments dropping away to this long green soda lake. The water is so viscous that the reflections of the surrounding cliffs and hills are amazing.
Our favourite approach is from the south end through the sisal plantations of Mogotio and down through Emsos Gate. This little used track is a 4×4 route only. On entering the National Reserve one is treated to a stunning view of the lake, little dik diks flit across the road, and hornbills calls echo up the valley. At the bottom of the hill is a sharp junction to the right that takes you across a small clear-water stream to the giant Fig Tree grove on the very southern tip of the lakeshore – a lovely serene natural cathedral of shade where you can get out and stretch your legs.
Backtrack over the stream to the junction and turn right to continue north. After Acacia Campsite you will see a little used track on your right where the main track cuts up the hill to the left – take this and drive slowly looking for the elusive Greater Kudu that frequent this headland. You will join up with the main track and be faced with the choice of the high road or the lakeshore road. When lake levels are high the lakeshore option is often flooded so the high road is the only option.
All along the lakeshore are geothermal steam jets – geysers. The best examples of these are halfway up the lake on the western shore. Here the water boils to the surface releasing clouds of sulphurous steam. Often these are surrounded by Lesser Flamingos who feed on these algae rich waters.
We like to put a few fresh chicken eggs into an old rugby sock, tie that to the end of a stick and suspend the eggs in the boiling water. 11 minutes, and we get beautifully cooked hard-boiled eggs. If you do this, PLEASE don’t litter the area with eggshells, they take far too long to break down and are really unsightly.
By this time you will be really feeling the heat so we recommend you exit the park via the northern Loboi Gate and just after the noisy bridge turn left into the lake Bogoria Hotel. Here they have a hot spa pool fed by one of the hot springs, and there is nothing nicer than immersing yourself in this with an ice cool drink. Each time you surface the evaporation off your shoulders has an instantly cooling and refreshing effect. The Hotel also serve snacks, but order well in advance as service is a bit slow.
Float around here until it is time to go home. Bliss. Leave by 4.00 pm, turn left out of the hotel, and left again on the main Baringo road to get back to Kembu on the tarmac.
Lake Baringo & the Ruko Conservancy
The birdlife between Kembu, Lakes Baringo & Bogoria is legendary. Over 400 species have been recorded in the area we visit. Join professional birding guides on a day trip of a lifetime and while you’re on the lake see hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, ostrich andmany other animals.
Lake Baringo is a freshwater lake renowned for its amazing birdlife. This brown watered lake is the first large piece of fresh water that southbound migrant species of bird find after crossing the deserts of Northern Kenya. Teeming with hippos and crocodiles, Lake Baringo is well worth a visit. This is one of our favourite days out – a visit to the hot country to spend time basking by a pool and get home before the mozzies come out. Baringo is a malarial area, so if there overnight take precautions.
We would normally depart as early as possible with a picnic breakfast to have on the road somewhere, and get out onto the lake by boat for a two-hour boat ride. Then we get dropped off at Island Camp for lunch and a lazy afternoon by the swimming pool, before wending our way back home.
Boats can be hired from the community boating groups, Roberts Camp, or Island Camp themselves. Registration fees need to be paid to the County Council as you enter the area, and a conservation fee paid at Roberts Campsite if your boat trip will include the lily pads and bush walk in the Ruko Conservation area. Ruko is one of those amazing places where one can walk among giraffe, ostrich, and other wildlife. One really appreciates how tall a giraffe actually is when one is on foot. On the boat the guide may be in a position to set you up to witness a fish eagle swoop down and catch a fish right in front of you.
The journey there is about 130km all on tarmac. From Kembu you drop down over 1000m in altitude into dry thorn country. Between Marigat and the lake are a series of dry river beds that sometimes flood in the afternoons for a few hours, if there has been rain in the Tugen Hills to the west of the road. To be safe on a thundery afternoon, your guide may ask you to leave Baringo by 3pm to be back before any rivers might flood.
Please contact us if you have any questions about these great trips.