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).