A Guide To Lake Jipe

Lake Jipe is a small, shallow lake (area 28 sq. km and average depth less than 3 m), lying astride the Kenya-Tanzania border, just to the east of the northern Pare Mountains of Tanzania (Mwanga district, in the Kilimanjaro region).

It is 12 km long and 2.5 km wide, 12 square km belong to Tanzania and 14 square km to Kenya. Tsavo West National Park of Kenya borders the southern portion of the lake while Mt Kilimanjaro dominates the horizon some distance to the northwest.

Lake Jipe receives its main inflow from Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania via River Lumi passing through Kenya. The other main inflow is via River Muvulani from the Pare Mountains. Several temporary streams, mainly from the Pare Mountains, also drain into Lake Jipe. The lake has one outflow, the River Ruvu, located in Tanzania to the south of River Lumi, the main inflow.

The lake’s outlet forms the Ruvu River. Kenya’s unfenced Tsavo West National Park protects part of the lake’s northern shore, while on the Tanzania side Mkomazi Game Reserve is nearby. The lake is known for its endemic fish, as well as water birds, mammals, wetland plants and lake-edge swamps, which can extend 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from Jipe’s shore.

Jipe is a shallow backwater of the Lumi river, which afterwards becomes the Ruvu River, and enters in the Nyumba ya Mungu Reservoir. After joining there with the Kikuletwa the stream flows as Pangani River in the Indian Ocean at Pangani.

Lake Jipe
Lake Jipe

As for wildlife, Lake Jipe not only offers an abundance of hippo and crocodile but there is also a small herd of zebras, To the northern end of the lake are also a few tiny villages whose inhabitants make a living from fishing.

Lake Jipe is located at the south-western tip of’ the Tsavo National Park, Lake Jipe is framed by tall reeds, with plenty of hippo, elephant and birdlife its shallow waters.

The lake is one of Kenya’s most important wetlands, providing refuge for numerous water and marsh birds. There is a motor boat for hire at the gate.

How to get to Lake Jipe

By road: On the main Nairobi/Mombasa road take the Taveta turn off at Voi opposite the petrol station. The road is initially tarmac and graded murram thereafter. After about 60 kms take a left turn sign posted Maktau gate, through which you enter Tsavo West National Park, and follow the signs to the Lake Jipe gate.

A Map to Lake Jipe

 Lake Jipe Safari Camp

Lake Jipe Safari Camp a luxury safari camp is located on the shores of Lake Jipe and just 5 minutes away from the Tsavo West National Park entrance. Only around a kilometer from the Lake Jipe this piece of heaven has views of Tanzania’s mountains including Mt Kilimanjaro, with glorious sunsets. As a large fresh water source, Lake Jipe is a meeting point for many animals and birds in the area.

Prolific birdlife coming to feed at the bird table and water give photographers an ideal opportunity to capture such colorful creatures such as the Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Western Violet-backed Sunbird, Yellow bishop, Abyssinian White-eye and Red and Yellow Barbet to name a few. Elephants come through Lake Jipe Camp almost every morning and you may see the elephants as they come to bathe and drink daily in the Lake.

The cottages are fully furnished and suitable for 2 people. Each cottage has bathroom with a flush toilet, hot and cold shower, Mosquito nets and a private veranda.

The restaurant offers African and European cuisine to suit all tastes and their well stocked bar serves cold drinks throughout the day. The swimming pool provides guests the opportunity to cool down from the heat of the day. Lake Jipe Safari Camp Africa is indeed a jewel in the safari crown of Kenya.

Lake Jipe Safari Camp Activities

  • Game drives in Tsavo West and also along the lake shores outside the park.
  • Lake Jipe is a fantastic bird watching area, especially in November/December and January when many migratory birds visit the lake.
  • A trip on the KWS fiber glass boat or on a local fishing canoe from the nearby village.
  • A walk to visit the farming area in the swamps around the Lume River.
  • Salaita Hill – a famous WW1 site.
  • A day trip to Lake Chala which is approx. 35kms away
  • Visiting Grogan’s Castle

Lake Jipe Bandas

Lake Jipe Bandas are situated on the shores of Lake Jipe, and have lovely views of the water and the game that frequents it. There are 3 bandas, each equipped with 2 single beds .The communal bathrooms are external. Bed linen, mosquito nets and kerosene lamps are provided. Jiko barbeques, kitchen utensils and water for cooking are also provided. A resident caretaker lives on site. KWS recommends that guests bring drinking water, gas cooker, candles, torches and insect repellent. Guests will also need to bring food, drink, firewood and charcoal.

Watch a tour video of Lake Jipe