The seven beautiful Islands of Lake Baringo
The seven beautiful Islands of Lake Baringo : Lake Baringo located in Baringo county, Rift Valley Kenya approximately 277kms from Nairobi by road. It is one of the two fresh water lakes in the Great Rift Valley the other being Lake Naivasha. The lake covers an estimated area of 168km² with an elevation of 970 metres. Lake Baringo primary inflow rivers are Molo, Perkerra and Ol Arabel with no visible outlet. It is believed that the water flows from under the lake.
The lake is being in a hot dusty dry area, it is home to over 470 species of birds making it one of the pristine birding destinations in Kenya together with Naivasha are an important birding areas making is the best hub for birds watchers. The lake has the breath-taking views with Tugen Hills to its west and the vast Laikipia Plateau to the east. Lake Baringo is part of the East African Rift system. The water flowing into the lake arises from Mau hills and Tugen Hills. It is a critical habitat and it is home to more than 500 species of birds and fauna with some of the migratory and water birds species found within the Lake. The lake being a fresh water lake is a habitat to seven fresh water fish species . Nile tilapia is the endemic species of the lake ,with fishing being the most important social and economic activity for the locals who depend on the lake . The lake is also a habitat for large population of hippopotamus and Nile crocodiles which one is guaranteed to see during your visit to the lake especially during the boat rides tours. There are also other mammals, amphibians ,reptiles and invertebrates in the region.
Lake Baringo is famous tourist attraction in Rift valley because of its rich biodiversity which comprises of crocodiles, hippos, birds among other.
Birds of Lake Baringo
Lake Baringo apart from its beautiful sceneries, it is also very important Birding Area. It is home to over 500 species of birds both migratory birds and water birds can be easily spotted during a safari tour to Lake Baringo. Some of the birds common in the area include ; Knob-billed duck, Egyptian Goose, Spur winged Goose, Blue Tailed Teal, common quail, crested Francolin, Lesser flamingos, Little grebe, Great Crested grebe, Rock pigeon, Speckled pigeon, laughing dove, Red-eyed dove, kori Bustard, Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, African Green-pigeon, White-Crested Turaco, White -bellies Go-away-bird, African Cuckoo, Black Cukoo, Pied Cuckoo, Nubian Nightjar, Sombre Nightjar, Common swift ,Nyanza swift, African swift, African Crake, Eurasian Moorhen, African Rail, Grey Crowned -Crane, Pied Avocet, Black-Winged Stilt, Long-toed Lapwing, Blacksmith lapwing, Spur-winged Lapwing, Crowned Lapwing, Lesser Sand-Plover, Greater Sand-Plover, African jacana, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper, African Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Three-banded Courser, Black-winged Prantincole, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, African Skimmer, African Openbill, Black Stork, Long-tailed Cormorant, Hermerkops, Goliath herons, Great Egret, Secretary Bird, Bateleur, White-headed Vulture, Egyptian vulture, Common Buzzards, Greyish Eagles, Barn owls, Giant kingfisher, Little Bee-eater, Black-throated Barbet, Silver bird ,Familiar Chat, Little Weaver, Red-headed weaver among others.
The lake has several small but beautiful islands the largest of them being the Ol kokwe island . The island is an extinct volcanic which is related to Korosi volcano located North of the lake. It has several hot springs and fumaroles some which emit sulfur deposits, at Soro on the North-Eastern shores of the island, there are hot springs.
On the Tugen hills there are several important archaeological and paleontological sites with hominids and hominids fossils which are present in the Miocene to Pleistocene sedimentary sequence.
The main town near the lake is Marigat ,with Kampi ya Samaki and Loruk settlements close to the Lake. Many of the inhabitants of the region are pastoralists, the ethnic groups being II Chamus or Njemps, Rendille, Turkana and Kalenjin . The area is one of the main tourist attraction of the region together with the nearby lake Bogoria. There are several Accommodation facilities with high class hotels, lodges and self catering cottages and campsites available on both the mainland and on the islands in the middle of the lake.
Ol kokwe island
The island is the biggest among the lake Baringo islands , located in the middle of the lake. It is the smallest volcano in the northern Rift Valley. There is Geothermal activity is present along the North-Eastern peninsula. The latest eruptive activity at Ol kokwe was estimated to have occurred 1,000 years ago. Hot springs, boiling mud pools ,and fumaroles are present along the faults of the North East peninsula of the island which are the main tourist attractions frequently visited by tourists.
The island host the one of the best tourist camp, which is one of the best in lake Baringo. Island Camp offers a perfect opportunity to escape the city life it also experience less traffic unlike the national parks in Kenya which are highly visited by both the locals and foreign tourists. The Island offers a chance to relax, recuperate and enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of the beautiful Ol Kokwe Island. The Island is highly habited and it has a primary school ,Ol kokwe primary school.
This island has an interesting myth , the locals Ii chamus also known as Njemps who are the inhabitants of the region including the islands believe that the island is home of the devil. This explains the reason of the name of the island.The island is said to feature howling sounds and blue flames that can be seen especially during the night. The locals consider the island as forbidden.
The small island located in lake Baringo is known to be prolific birding area. It is home to the largest population of Goliath heron ever recorded in East Africa. Other birds to be seen here include the fish eagles with Goliath heron being the largest among the heron family and they are found around the water sources .
This is one of the beautiful islands of Lake Baringo, is small green island. The island accommodates the Samatian island camp which offers accommodations to tourist visiting the lake and would wish to enjoy the afternoon breeze of the lake with its spectacular views of the sunsets known as sundowner.
Parmolok is approximately 40acres is under the ownership of Lempakany family. Lempakany was a father of the late lepilian who died on September 2020 at the age of 105 years, leaving behind 5 wives,25 children and over 200 grandchildren.
This island was nicknamed the island of love for a man who had married 7 wives. The family depends on fish and animal products as the island is less productive for farming.
Rongena island in lake Baringo has an estimated terrain elevation of 980 m above sea level. It is situated near the town of Loruk which is approximately 2½ kilometres north of Rongena island.
Lokoros island & Lengai island
These are the smallest among the lake Baringo islands. These islands tend to disappear or get submerged when the lake water levels are high and appear when the levels have subsided.
The islands just like the others can only be accessed by boats, they also add up to the beaten sceneries of Lake Baringo.