Lake Bogoria N. Park
FANTASTIC 8.4

$523/NIGHT

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Area: 41.31 sq miles Altitude:


Lake Bogoria N. Park

You really don't go to Lake Bogoria to look at animals. There are plenty of places in Kenya, never mind the rest of Africa where the gameviewing is far far better. Spotting the odd zebra or buffalo wandering around on the water's edge is a bonus, although there are good herds of greater kudu. What most people do is what I did ? stop off en route up the Rift Valley to visit the extraordinary bubbling Loburu hot springs on the western shore of the lake. Be very careful how you go as the super-heated mud here can kill. Other worldly pools bubble gloopily and a series of geysers shoot steam 2.5-3m (8-10 ft) into the air. It is highly dramatic and scenically stunning, the rich colours of the volcanic minerals like an artist's palette against the Rift Wall. It is also very smelly, with a strong odour of sulphur hanging in the air.

About 260 kms (162 miles) north of Nairobi), just about on the Equator, Bogoria is one of the smallest of the string of shallow brackish soda lakes that line the Rift Valley. No more than 3m deep, it has no outlet and is fed purely by rainwater pouring off the escarpment, so the size and salinity of the lake varies hugely from season to season. Like the other soda lakes along the line, it has no fish, but is rich in blue-green plankton that is the favourite food of flamingoes, attracting flocks of thousands to the area in season. With them come many other lake birds and predators from fish eagles to batteleurs.

The lakeshore is divided between two conservation areas, the Lake Bogoria National Park and the Lake Kamnarok National Reserve (named after the next tiny lake along the chain). Together they cover about 197 sq kms (76 sq miles). There is a lodge, proud home to Kenya's one and only natural thermal spa (not 5-star de luxe) or there are campsites if you would like to stay longer to go walking or boating on the lake.


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