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places to visit in kenya

Lake Elementaita

The Great Rift Valley Kenya

Exploring Lake Elementaita in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya

Lake Elementaita, nestled in the heart of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, presents itself as a serene and underrated gem. This soda lake, lying between Naivasha and Nakuru, is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, but it offers unique attractions that merit a visit.

Historical Significance

Historically, Lake Elementaita has been significant to the local communities. The name “Elementaita” is derived from the Maasai word “muteita,” meaning “dust place,” a testament to the dry and dusty conditions of the area during the dry season. The lake and its surroundings have also been intricately linked to the colonial history of Kenya, with many of the farms around the area being former European settlements.

Wildlife and Biodiversity

Lake Elementaita is a haven for bird watchers. It is one of the key breeding sites for the Lesser Flamingo and also a vital feeding ground for the Greater Flamingo. The lake is protected as part of the Soysambu Conservancy, which spans over 48,000 acres and is a sanctuary to a diverse array of wildlife including giraffes, zebras, elands, and over 450 bird species. The biodiverse environment is not only crucial for wildlife but also plays a role in ecological research and conservation efforts.

Tourist Attractions and Activities

Visitors to Lake Elementaita can enjoy a range of activities that highlight its natural beauty and tranquility. Some of the key attractions include:

Accommodations at Lake Elementaita, Kenya

When visiting the serene Lake Elementaita in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, there are various accommodation options that cater to different preferences, ranging from luxury resorts to cozy campsites. Here are some recommended places to stay that will enhance your visit:

Luxury Camps at Lake Elementaita

Lake Elementaita Serena Camp

Lake Elementaita Serena Camp is a luxurious retreat offering an unparalleled experience near the serene waters of Lake Elementaita. Tucked within the vast landscapes of the Great Rift Valley, this camp combines comfort with the adventure of the wild. It’s particularly known for its blend of sustainability and elegance, providing guests a chance to unwind in an eco-friendly environment.

Luxury Lodges

The Pelican Lodge

The Pelican Lodge offers a blend of comfort and elegance, boasting views of the lake surrounded by acacia trees. The lodge provides spacious rooms, a swimming pool, and dining options that feature both international and local cuisine. Guests can enjoy evening walks along the lake or participate in game drives organized by the lodge.

Sunbird Lodge

Located on the shores of Lake Elementaita, Sunbird Lodge features individual cottages with spectacular views of the lake. The lodge emphasizes privacy and tranquility, making it perfect for romantic getaways or peaceful retreats. Amenities include an outdoor pool, spa services, and guided nature walks.

Budget-Friendly Options

Elementaita Country Lodge

For those looking for a more budget-conscious option, Elementaita Country Lodge offers comfortable and affordable accommodations. The lodge has a friendly atmosphere, providing basic amenities and easy access to the lake and nearby attractions.

Camping Sites

Kikopey Beach Camp

For adventurers and those who prefer a more natural setting, Kikopey Beach Camp offers camping facilities right by the lake. It’s an ideal spot for bird watchers and those who enjoy outdoor activities. The campsite is well-maintained with facilities to ensure a comfortable camping experience.

Soysambu Conservancy Campsite

Located within the Soysambu Conservancy, this campsite allows visitors to stay close to nature and wildlife. It’s perfect for eco-tourists and those interested in conservation efforts. The campsite is basic but offers a genuine outdoor experience, with the chance to participate in conservancy activities like game drives and guided tours.


Whether you prefer the luxury of a lodge, the affordability of a country inn, or the adventure of a campsite, Lake Elementaita has something to offer every traveler. Each accommodation provides a unique way to experience the natural beauty and tranquility of this special location in Kenya.

Conservation Efforts

Conservation is a key focus around Lake Elementaita with efforts directed at preserving its sensitive ecosystem. The Soysambu Conservancy plays a significant role in these efforts, implementing projects aimed at habitat restoration, anti-poaching, and community engagement in conservation practices.


Lake Elementaita’s quiet allure calls to those who seek beauty and tranquility away from the more crowded tourist spots. A visit here is not just a journey through a stunning part of Kenya’s landscape, but also a step into the pages of its rich history and a contribution to its conservation legacy. Whether you’re a birder, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply someone looking for a peaceful retreat, Lake Elementaita is a destination worth exploring.

Nearby Lakes in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya

The Great Rift Valley boasts a series of beautiful and ecologically significant lakes aside from Lake Elementaita. Exploring these other lakes provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the valley’s diverse landscapes and wildlife. Here are three more lakes in the Great Rift Valley worth visiting:

Lake Naivasha

Lake Naivasha is a freshwater lake known for its wide array of bird species and its sizeable hippopotamus population. It’s a popular destination for boat tours, which allow visitors to observe the rich birdlife and hippos up close. The shores of Lake Naivasha are dotted with lush greenery and floriculture farms, making it a picturesque stop in the valley.

Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru is renowned for its thousands of flamingos that line its shores, creating a striking pink ribbon against the water. The lake is part of Lake Nakuru National Park, which also serves as a sanctuary for rhinos, lions, and leopards. This high concentration of birds and other wildlife makes it an important spot for conservation and ecological studies.

Lake Baringo

Lake Baringo is a freshwater lake known for its rich biodiversity and unique cultural experiences. It supports an abundance of bird species, along with hippos and crocodiles. Cultural tours around the lake offer insights into the lives of the local Njemps tribe, adding a cultural dimension to the natural beauty. The lake is perfect for bird watching, boat rides, and experiencing authentic interactions with local communities.

These lakes, each with their unique characteristics and attractions, contribute to the ecological magnificence and cultural richness of the Great Rift Valley. Exploring them offers an enriching complement to any visit to this monumental geological feature in Kenya.

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