Lake Elementaita or Lake Elmenteita is a soda lake in the Great Rift Valley area just between Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru lying in the silhouette of the sleeping warrior a local hill. The Lake is located in central Kenya, about 120km North West of Kenya’s capital Nairobi just off the Nairobi- Nakuru highway.
Elementaita or Elmenteita is a maasai word that means dust place and Lake Elementaita was named Elementaita to refer to the excess dustiness of the area especially during the dry months between January and March.
Lake Elementiata forms part of the Soysambu conservancy that was home to British Lord – Lord Delamere during the colonial era in Kenya. Lord Delamere settled in soysambu between 1879 and 1931 which is on the western side of Lake Elementaita. The other side of soysambu which is Kekopey ranch was occupied by Hon Galbraith Lowry Egerton Cole Between 1881 and 1929. Currently the Soysambu conservancy covers about 2 thirds of Lake Elementiata shorelines and harbours about 10000 mammals that include the Rothschild giraffe, herons, leopards, bush pigs, jackals, Elands, gazelles, zebras and others.
Lake Elementaita is home to over 400 bird species include the famous flamingos and for that reasons it’s a protected area to help conserve the birdlife on the lake plus the lake is listed as a UNESCO heritage site so it needs to be protected; Lake Elementaita is also a Ramsar site.
The variety of birds found on Lake Elementaita include but not limited to:- flamingos, ducks, geese, spikes, cormorant, kingfishers, Montane white-eye, Northern puffback, Pallid harrier, Red-capped lark, pelicans, Rufous-throated wryneck, Long-tailed widowbird, Maccoa duck, Rüppell’s vulture, Rüppell’s robin-chat, Schalow’s wheatear, Shining sunbird, Slender-billed greenbul and many more.
On top of the birdlife on the lake, the lake comprises of the famous Kikopey hot springs that are a spectacular tourism attraction. The surrounding of the lake is full of acacia woodlands, bushy plains and euphorbia trees.
Though not a popular tourist site and less visited compared to Lake Nakuru National Park and Lake Naivasha, Lake Elementaita offers some great attractions that its guests get to explore and experience and these include:-
- Birds: The numerous birds that make their life on the lake.
- Animals: The animals here are not as many but still you will glimpse some mammals as they move through the surrounding vegetation. Also most of the animals live in the Soysambu conservancy.
- Hyrax Hill
- Kariandusi site
The activities that guests to Lake Elementaita engage in while at the lake or around to the lake include:-
- Birding: This is the main activity at Lake Elementaita, the lake is hub of birds so visitors to the lake are excited to explore the different bird species that make their life on and around the lake.
- Bush dinning: Have a meal in the bushy plains around the lake, you can choose to have a picnic in the bushes or have a candle lit dinner as you view the lake waters glowing in the evening.
- Hot air balloon: Hop into the hot air balloon and roam over the beautiful Elementaita waters
- Camping: Camp out under the sky in the bushy plains as you experience the lake’s weather and surrounding, listen to the bird sounds and if lucky see zebras pass by up-close.
- Nature Walks: Take walks through the woods and grasslands enjoy the different scenic views of the lake and the surroundings. You can also enjoy birding watching and view some animals as you walk.
- Game drives: Have game drives around the lake especially at the Soysambu conservancy.
- Kikopey Hot springs: explore the amazing hot – hot springs to experience their uniqueness and super heat
- Quad biking
- From Lake Elementaita you can also have a connecting safari to Lake Nakuru National Park, Lake Naivasha or Hell’s gate National Park.
All these activities and many more can be done at Lake Elementaita anytime of the year, however the most pleasant times are during the dry seasons, because they are less rains, the roads are dry and easy to navigate; the dry kind of weather greatly compliments the success of your visit to the lake. The dry months for Lake Elementaita are June, July, August, September, October, January and February.
You can access Lake Elementaita through the Nairobi – Nakuru highway and enter the lake area through the Lake Nakuru National Park’s Nderit gate; the drive to Lake Elementaita from Nairobi takes about 2 to 2 and half hours. By air you fly from the Nairobi Wilson Airport to one of the airstrips in Naivasha then drive to Lake Elementaita.