A Guide To Lake Baringo
The water mass is 60km north of Nakuru town and is surrounded by a scenic rugged semi-desert landscape. Lake Baringo is saline and on the floor of the rift valley. The lake is another birdwatchers paradise, with more than 450 birds’ species and home to crocodiles and hippos. Activities at the lake include fishing, skiing, surfing and boat rides.
Lake Baringo is part of the East African Rift system. The Tugen Hills, an uplifted fault block of volcanic and metamorphic rocks, lies west of the lake. The Laikipia Escarpment lies to the east.
Lake Baringo – Njemps
At Lake Baringo heart is Ol Kokwe Island, a stark rocky island that is home to Njemps villages and a well appointed camp. This is an excellent base for exploring the lake, with boat trips ideal for bird and hippo spotting.
Lake Baringo is the traditional home of the Njemps tribe, a unique people who are the only pastoral, cattle herding, tribe who also fish. Among other pastoral tribes such as the Maasai, eating fish is a taboo.
What to see in Lake Baringo
Water flows into the Lake Baringo from the Mau Hills and Tugen Hills. It is a critical habitat and refuge for more than 500 species of birds and fauna, some of the migratory waterbird species being significant regionally and globally. The lake also provides an invaluable habitat for seven fresh water fish species. One, Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis (a Nile tilapia subspecies), is endemic to the lake. Lake fishing is important to local social and economic development. Additionally the area is a habitat for many species of animals including the hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) and many other mammals, amphibians, reptiles and the invertebrate communities.
While stocks of Nile tilapia in Lake Baringo are now low, the decline of this species has been mirrored by the success of another, the marbled lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus) which was introduced to the lake in 1974 and which now provides the majority of fish output from the lake. Water levels have been reduced by droughts and over-irrigation. The lake is commonly turbid with sediment, partly due to intense soil erosion in the catchment, especially on the Loboi Plain south of the lake.
Lake Baringo – Islands
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The lake has several small islands, the largest being Ol Kokwe Island. Ol Kokwe, an extinct volcanic centre related to Korosi volcano north of the lake, has several hot springs and fumaroles, some of which have precipitated sulfur deposits. A group of hot springs discharge along the shoreline at Soro near the northeastern corner of the island.
Several important archaeological and palaeontological sites, some of which have yielded fossil hominoids and hominins, are present in the Miocene to Pleistocene sedimentary sequences of the Tugen Hills.
How to get to Lake Baringo
Main road access to Lake Baringo is directly from Nakuru by bus or private transport. The nearest town to the lake is Kampi ya Samaki. Some of the hotel and lodges here can arrange transfers to Nakuru/Nairobi.
The lodges and hotels here both organize local excursions. Boats can also be hired.
Baringo is an ideal stopover on a safari to Northern Kenya.
Watch a tour about Lake Baringo