A Wetland Oasis
No Safari to Northern Kenya is complete without spending at least a couple of nights at Lake Baringo for some fantastic hiking, birding, boating and, or course, fishing. Just a short drive north of the hot springs and flamingos of Lake Bogoria, Lake Baringo is a fresh water lake which has a high silt content and can appear red, yellow, coral or purple, depending on the time of day and the sun’s location. Lake Baringo is a peaceful, wetland oasis surrounded by mountains and rocky hills. A dormant volcano, Karosi, dominates the landscape at the northern end of the lake.
Lake Baringo is perhaps most famous for bird watching, with over 460 recorded birds! The best way to explore is by motorboat. You can also book excellent morning and evening guided walks, or a full day trip into the bush. The Goliath Heronry on Gibraltar Island is home to the largest population of these incredible birds anywhere in East Africa and is a privilege to see. Other activities you’re certain to enjoy are fishing, water skiing or windsurfing on the lake, a cultural tour of an Njemps village and a visit to the Lake Baringo Reptile Park. Not to be missed is a boat excursion to Ruko Conservancy where you can see the endangered Rothschild Giraffe, Ostrich, Warthog, Impala and Hyrax.
The villages on the lake’s shores belong to the Njemps tribe who survive on pastoralism and fishing. You’ll see the Njemps fishing and traversing the lake in canoes called “gadich” made from the Ambatch (balsa) trees that grow around Lake Baringo. Visit the Njemps villages to learn how they create handicrafts, construct their boats, build their homes and smoke their fish.
The lake provides an invaluable habitat for seven fresh water fish species. One, Oreochromis niloticus baringoensis (a Nile Tilapia subspecies), is endemic to the lake. Lake fishing is important to local social and economic development. Additionally, the area provides habitat for many species including a Baringo’s famous hippo and crocodile populations.