Things to do in The Great Rift Valley

The Great Rift Valley is a remarkable geological feature and a very popular tourism region in Kenya. The main attractions of the Great Rift Valley are the wonderful national parks and safari opportunities enabled by the wealth of wildlife. It's a particularly good area for birdwatchers due to the string of alkaline lakes which attract flamingos, pelicans, and many other species to the scenic valley.

The freshwater ecosystems at Lake Naivasha and Baringo, the nature reserve at Lake Bogoria, and the Nakuru National Park are a source of endless fascination, teeming with an incredible diversity of birds and large concentrations of animals. At these destinations, visitors can go on water safaris and get up close to the wildlife of the lakes.

Hell's Gate National Park boasts noticeably different landscapes to the parks centred on the lake system and is the place to go if you want to learn about the geological formation of the region and the local mythology that surrounds the rock features and hot springs. Hell's Gate is also special because visitors are allowed to walk or cycle among the wildlife.

Other worthwhile things to see in the Great Rift Valley include the Elsamere Conservation Centre, which showcases the life of Joy Adamson and the lioness Elsa of Born Free fame, and any number of wonderful lookout points from which to admire the valley and take photographs.

Lake Naivasha and Elsamere photo

Lake Naivasha and Elsamere

Lake Naivasha is a shimmering waterscape of floating hyacinth surrounded by mountains, the skies pierced by the distinctive cries of fish eagles. Kingfishers dart into the waters f…

Lake Naivasha and Elsamere

Lake Naivasha is a shimmering waterscape of floating hyacinth surrounded by mountains, the skies pierced by the distinctive cries of fish eagles. Kingfishers dart into the waters from their papyrus perches and ugly Marabou storks plod along the shoreline. The trees are home to Colobus monkeys and at night the earth shudders with the movement of grazing hippos. The southern shore of the lake is lined with hotels, campsites and guesthouses, prettily situated either on the shore or higher up on the slopes of the mountain with fantastic views. Boat trips are a popular way to explore the lake and also the private Crescent Island Game Sanctuary. Along the southern shore is the former home of naturalist and painter Joy Adamson, which is now the Elsamere Conservation Centre, incorporating a guesthouse and a small museum. Visitors are invited to join the guests daily at 4pm for a sumptuous tea on the lawns of the beautifully peaceful lakeside setting.

Address Elsamere Conservation Centre, Moi South Lake Road, Lake Naivasha, Kenya

Website www.elsatrust.org


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Hell's Gate National Park photo

Hell's Gate National Park

Named for the pair of massive red cliffs of the Njorowa Gorge that encloses a geothermic area of hot springs and steam vents, Hell's Gate is one of the two parks in Kenya that allo…

Hell's Gate National Park

Named for the pair of massive red cliffs of the Njorowa Gorge that encloses a geothermic area of hot springs and steam vents, Hell's Gate is one of the two parks in Kenya that allows visitors to explore on foot, making it ideal for hiking, cycling, camping and rock climbing. It's famous for its natural steaming geysers, and the towering cliffs provide an eagle and vulture breeding ground. The wide plains are home to numerous animals, such as zebra, buffalo, eland, gazelle, giraffes, warthog and baboon. It's best to hire a guide when reaching the gorge to help you along the hike route: the guides help you traverse the route through the canyon and explain the interesting geological origins and features of the landscape, as well as explaining the local mythology and Masai names given to the features.

Address Naivasha, Kenya

Website www.kws.go.ke/content/hells-gate-national-park


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Lake Nakuru National Park photo

Lake Nakuru National Park

Although tiny, this park has a high concentration of game with everything wildlife enthusiasts could wish for, except elephants. Lake Nakuru is one of Kenya's most important rhino …

Lake Nakuru National Park

Although tiny, this park has a high concentration of game with everything wildlife enthusiasts could wish for, except elephants. Lake Nakuru is one of Kenya's most important rhino sanctuaries, there are also several prides of lions and it's the best place to spot leopards. The surface of the shallow alkaline lake covers about a third of the park and the saline concentration supports a blue-green algae that attracts thousands of flamingos. Waterbuck and large flocks of pelicans are also attracted to the rich food source in the lake, as are the rare Rothschild Giraffes. The park has several high points with good lookouts and waterfalls, with monkeys and baboons frequenting the rocky cliffs.

Website www.kws.go.ke/lake-nakuru-national-park

Great Wildebeest Migration photo

Great Wildebeest Migration

One of Africa's greatest natural spectacles is the annual wildebeest migration between Kenya's Masai Mara and Tanzania's Serengeti national parks happening sometime between June to…

Great Wildebeest Migration

One of Africa's greatest natural spectacles is the annual wildebeest migration between Kenya's Masai Mara and Tanzania's Serengeti national parks happening sometime between June to October each year. Up to two million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras and Thomson's gazelles make this journey, seeking greener grasses. Predators stalk the enormous, ever-moving herds, from lions in the grasslands to crocodiles during the dramatic, frenetic river crossings. The river crossings at the Grumeti River and Mara River are the most popular part of the migration to witness and there are many great camps set up near the rivers in the Mara. A thrilling way to experience the migration is on a riding safari, when your horses can actually wander among the animals, or in a hot air balloon, which gives you breathtaking views.

Website www.maratriangle.org


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