Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lake Elementeita

Click here to read Part 1 in this series. It starts with my stopover in Nairobi, Kenya.
Click here to read Part 2 in this series in Kenya. It continues with my sojourn in Nairobi, Kenya.
Click here to read Part 3 in this series on Kenya where I stop to view a stunning lookout.

As we continue our journey northward from the look out along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway as seen in my post here, we eventually make our way to Lake Elementeita. Lake Elementeita, also spelled Elementaita, is a soda lake, in the eastern limb of East Africa's Great Rift Valley, about 120 km northwest of Nairobi, Kenya. The lake gets it's name from the Masaai word "muteita" which means "dust place", a reference to the dry and dusty quality of the area, especially between January and March.

I passed through this area in November 2010.  At the time the area was nice, lush and green.  Elementeita is located between Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru. The major Nairobi-Nakuru highway runs along the nearby escarpment giving motorists a spectacular vista towards the lake. However I wanted a better look at the lake.


At the entry gate just off the highway we paid a small entry fee and then turned off to drive down a very bumpy dirt road to the lake.  Don't let the bumpy road deter you from the experience of seeing the lake.  I still remember my first trip where I couldn't get over how bad the roads were and now it doesn't bother me at all. By the way, many of the major highways have been improved since my first journey to Kenya.


Taking these close up views of the mountains and surrounding area will make any bumps you encounter more than worth it!


After the busyness of Nairobi and the traffic jams we encountered every day, I felt myself relaxing the tense muscles in my body. It was just so wonderful to be out in natural surroundings of which the country of Kenya is bountifully blessed.


As often happens when you veer off the beaten path, children appeared out of nowhere.  Some had been working and some had been playing for at least one of them had a machete, a common implement here. The children excitedly ran down to the lake to meet us. I often have candy with me and small change for like children everywhere they hope to be given a small treat.



The first white settlement at Lake Elementeita occured when Lord Delamere (1897-1931) established Soysambu, a 48,000 acre ranch on the western side of the lake. Delamere gifted the land nearest the lake to his brother-in-law, the Honorable Galbraith Lowry Egerton Cole (1881-1929).  Egerton Cole is buried on Kekopey Ranch which today is called Lake Elementeita Lodge and is open for overnight guests.


On our drive back up the road to the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway, I snapped these photos of the buildings on the surrounding hillside.   You can see some of the birdlife in the foreground of the lake.

There are between 350-400 bird species recorded in the Lake Nakuru/Lake Elmenteita basin. Elementeita attracts visiting flamingoes which feed on the lake's crustacean and insect larvae and on its suspended blue-green algae.  In 1962,  tilapia fish were introduced to the lake from Lake Magadi in Kenya.  An unfortunate side effect of tilapia introduction is that the flamingo population has dramatically dwindled.  The tilapia fish attract a lot of fish eating birds that also feed upon the flamingo eggs and chicks.  Over a million birds that formerly bred at Elmenteita are now said to have sought refuge at  Lake Natron in Tanzania.


*All photos mine*

Overnight visitors to Lake Elementeita can spend the night at the Elementaita Lodge as well as camping at Mbweha camp.  You can find breathing photos of these lodgings by clicking on the links (as underlined).

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Elmenteita
http://www.africanmeccasafaris.com/kenya/guide/lakeelementaita.asp
http://www.enhols.com/kenya_safari/lake/elementaita.aspx

18 comments:

Jo said...

HiPenny;) this lake and Lake Boringa was pointed out to us as an attraction when we drove from Nairobi last month. thanks for the wonderful post. It makes me feel as though you are SO close! Bless you my friend and have a good weekend. Jo

Joyful said...

Wonderful Jo! There are many great lakes in Kenya. I also went to Lake Boringo so I'll have a post about it later ;-) I am close in spirit. Big hugs. You have a great weekend too.

Diane said...

I find it quite amazing how when you stop a car in an isolated place, suddently several people appear by your vehicle. We even found this in the Congo in the middle of what looked like pure jungle!!!! Diane

Joyful said...

Hi Diane, my country is about 17.5 times larger in land mass than the country of Kenya and it's population is smaller by about 9 million people. I've learned on the internet that Kenya has about 65 people per kilometre which is much higher than the world average of 49 people per kilometre. Also 80% of the population lives in the arable belt of the country, a narrow swathe of land in the area I tend to travel. When I consider all these things, it is easy to see that people indeed come out of the woodwork, lol. As for the Congo, I've read that it's sparse population is highly concentrated in its 3 urban cities. I guess if you were in the countryside, the people keep an eye out for anything entertaining, like foreigners, lol. When I was in the countryside in Kenya, it amazed me how people would sit by the side of the road to watch the people. I guess this makes sense when you have no TV or other forms of entertainment and little money. I remember when I was a child, I used to see old folks sitting by the roadside on Indian reserves here also.

Jan said...

Hi Penny, great photos, and thank you for sharing your journey and your love of the country and people.
Blessings,
Jan

Joyful said...

Thank you Jan. I'm glad you are enjoying the Kenyan tour. When I was in Nairobi and Nakuru, there were a lot of your countrymen there though most of them are from western Australia since it is closer to Kenya.

candy said...

its really interesting there, hey! its interesting for me to see these pics... its amazing!

Joyful said...

Hi Mrs. J, yes! Kenya is a really, really interesting place and so abundantly blessed with natural beauty.

Unknown said...

You have a beautiful blog.Great pictures!And true, Kenya is a wonderful place plus there are alot of attractions. Thanks for sharing.

Tina said...

Well hello,

Thanks for coming on over to my blog. I am glad you are able to make use of the clothes!

I love the nasturtiums. They are one of my favorite flowers to grow. I will come back and have more of a look around your blog. Just the few posts I read were great!

xxxooo

Joyful said...

Murugi, thank you so much for your visit and your kind words. I'm delighted that you like my post(s) on Kenya. You live in a beautiful country. I hope you'll visit me again.

Joyful said...

Tina, so great you could pay me a visit and that you've enjoyed what you've seen so far. Come again soon :-)

Regina said...

The tilapia fish is one of my husband's favorites..too bad about them attracting fish eating birds which feed on flamingo eggs and chicks? Wow that's a lot..so they had to go to a more hospitable place!! These photos are beautiful..what a nice share. I missed a few of your posts:)

Joyful said...

Tilapia fish is very popular in all of Kenya. I like it too. We have it here also but mostly the Filipinos eat it. I've yet to hear of anyone else eating it but since I've learned about it, I buy it now and then. It comes frozen so it isn't the same as eating it in Kenya where they generally fry it.

EG CameraGirl said...

Beautiful countryside!

Joyful said...

EG Wow, the countryside of Kenya is very beautiful indeed. I never tire of seeing it's beauty.

Joyful said...

Hi Mrs. J, yes! Kenya is a really, really interesting place and so abundantly blessed with natural beauty.

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