Lakes and Rivers in Kenya


The great lakes in Kenya were formed as a result of the Rift Valley and they all lie at its bottom. Each of these lakes contributes to the uniqueness of the land in Kenya. Lake Turkana is the largest desert lake in the world and is a breeding ground for the Nile crocodile a complete contrast from the surrounding arid seemingly extraterrestrial landscape that is often devoid of life. It is Africa’s fourth largest lake, fondly called the Jade Sea because of its breathtaking colour.

What is referred to as the Kenya lake system under natural category and property of outstanding beauty, comprises three inter-linked relatively shallow lakes (Bogoria, Nakuru and Elementaita) in the Rift Valley and covers a total area of 32,034 hectares. The property is home to 13 globally threatened bird species and some of the highest bird diversities in the world. Lake Baringo and Bogoria have boiling springs and geysers that are high tourist attractions.

Lake Nakuru and Elementaita, highly alkaline from the surrounding volcanic rocks, coupled with little drainage outlets, create an ideal breeding ground for algae and several species of fish, in particular the tilapia. This also makes them perfect breeding grounds for the flamingo and Lake Nakuru is fondly referred to as the pink lake.

Further down the valley towards the border with Tanzania, where temperatures are high and the area is humid, is Lake Magadi. The high evaporation on the water surface results in sodium carbonate and the lake is thus Kenya’s largest supplier of salt, with a salt-based industry right next to the lake. In the region is also Lake Natron, with equally rich but unexploited soda ash deposits.

Rivers in Kenya

  • Mara River
  • Nyando River
  • Nzoia River
  • Yala River
  • Sondu – Miriu River
  • Turkwell River
  • Sabaki River
  • Ewaso Ng’iro River
  • Gucha River
  • Kerio River
  • Mbagathi River
  • Nairobi River
  • Naro Moru River
  • Njoro River
  • Tsavo River

Lakes in Kenya



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